Sunday, 25 December 2011

Update from Paradise - part 10

Just a few pics from the night of the 23rd. It is the most celebrated night of the festivities here in Funchal. The market area stays open all night and everyone gets properly sloshed.  Here are a few pics taken around 5am.

The merry bunch on the "poncha"

The market scene around 4am

5 am and I'm still standing!
 Great night, can't wait for next year's. Met so many known faces, in a  friendly celebration that involves little or no police presence. That's Madeira for you, folks!

Paradise on earth.

Conclusion: the night of the 23rd of December rules! At least as far as I'm concerned.

It is now 2pm, the 25th, and am getting ready to go and join the rest of my family for Christmas lunch.

Merry Christmas, love and peace to all mankind...and the rest.


Thursday, 22 December 2011

Update from Paradise - part 9

Back to the "update..." series of posts in time for the Christmas edition.

Funchal is lit up to the hilt, as is usual this time of year, and I walk around town mumbling childish expletives such as wow, ohhh, ah, yeah.

All the streets in  Funchal have Christmas illuminations

even the quiet back streets

over a quarter million bulbs are used. Roughly a bulb
 per head of population

Tomorrow, the 23rd of December, tradition dictates we all go to Funchal Market after midnight for  last minute shopping. Its not so much shopping as making merry, eating and drinking until the early hours. Fruit sellers have their goods displayed in the streets surrounding the market and the snack and alcohol selling kiosks fill up every other available slot. There will also be folklore dancing and music to enhance the festive mood.

Snacks such as pork vinho d'alho, which incidentally gave origin of the Indian dish vindaloo, is a  hot favourite, no pun intended.  

(Back in the 15th century our explorer Vasco Da Gama found the sea route to India and started the spice trade. He also introduced the 'vinho d'alho' Portuguese method of marinading meat. It was later adopted by the Indians and the vindaloo dish was created! )

I remember as a child being so excited at staying up late enough to go to the market on the 23rd and then falling asleep in the car before even getting there. Great fun and very fond memories.

Christmas is  a colourful but quiet time in Funchal compared to the New Year celebrations. Madeira hosts the second largest fireworks display in the world on the midnight hour of the 31st Of December. It is a spectacle that lasts around 20 minutes and totally lights up the whole bay of Funchal.

But that's for another post.

Merry Christmas all!


Saturday, 17 December 2011

Is there ANYTHING you don't sell?

The Chinese Bazaar opposite The Forum Shopping Centre is open all hours. Owned by an oriental family, obviously, who all take turns at the till and all possess the same permanent, enforced half-smile.

I have visited this labyrinth of cheap treasure many a time and always when looking for some unusual item that no one else sells. Or at least I don't know who else sells it. Stuff you can't even find on the net.

If you're after things such as a toe-nail clippings collector, a pomegranate peeler or arm-pit hair dye for instance, this is the place to visit.

I was after a connector for a power adaptor extension (?!?) for my digital recorder and yes, you guessed it right, there it was. Not just the connector I needed but also adaptors for the connector and extensions  for the adaptor. Sorry for the jargon, I know I'm getting technical here...or confused...or both!

I was so impressed with the vast array of gadgets in stock that I asked at the till if there was anything they didn't sell.

"Such as?" replied the dad-the-shopkeeper.

"I was wondering if there's anything I could ask that you don´t stock! Whatever I ask for you always say yes, follow me."

"Well, do try me"

"Do you have a cure for a broken heart?

"Are you from Trading Standards?" Came the answering-a-question-with-a-question answer.

"No er...well...I trade my music from venue to venue and I do have standards"

"Close enough" replied daddy-shopkeeper in a serious tone. "We have no cure for you".

"But it´s not for me, it's for a friend of a friend. It´s for Ruben's friend, to be precise"

"No , sorry, can't help you or your friend".

I walked away wondering what would've happened if daddy-shopkeeper hadn't got spooked about Trading Standards. I reckon he would have led me by the arm to some room behind the shop where scantily-clad oriental girls, sat on some red silk sofa, ready and waiting to help mend the broken hearts of surprised clients. But maybe not...

What on earth is happening to me?


Thursday, 15 December 2011

An overdue epilogue

In the previous post I mentioned it would be the last entry about Madeleine, but I have since changed my mind.

This story is important enough to warrant a proper epilogue; a swan song if you like, so here it is.


I allowed my resentment to rule my head and as a result reported this matter in a far too personal manner.

I will now  redress the balance.

Despite all that has happened, Madeleine was a very special person in my life and always will be remembered as such.

I loved her deeply, and mentioned it many times in this blog.

I was besotted by her beauty and smitten with her smile.

I liked her attitude to many important things in life. We were compatible on many levels and had lots in common.

We had a meaningful and loving relationship and shared many wonderful moments together.

I was heartbroken with the way we parted- but I helped bring about our demise.

Madeleine lit up my life in many different ways. For that I am eternally grateful.

I share the blame for our break-up. For that I am eternally sorry.

Madeleine was and still is, a very good person. I wouldn't change the last four years for anything. I just wish we had made each other happier.


Now I can and will move on to other subjects... other stories... other settings... other people.


Tuesday, 13 December 2011

So long, Ikea girl... was not nice knowing you.

Last Saturday night, at around 11:45, I was at the FX Cafe with friends for the CoolFeel Band gig, when she waltzed in.

The FX Cafe is a snazzy bar in Funchal with a large outdoor area where live music is played at weekends until the early hours. See pic below.

FX Cafe - On the right is the stage area and the esplanade stretches left of the picture another 20 mts or so

I say waltzed because of the fact she looked well on the way to being drunk. She arrived with a large group of work colleagues and new BF, after attending her work´s Christmas do. I learned that later from a few of her colleagues who came over to greet me.

Her group sat at the end away from the stage and about 25 mts behind me. Curiosity forced me to turn around every-so-often and sneak a look.  I saw her go from a state of being merry to well-oiled within the hour or so and then noticed that look on her face. That very look and expression I dreaded when with her in similar situations. Induced by alcohol, it is a look of  'I don't give a fuck about anything or anyone'. 

I felt a pang of empathy for her new BF and relieved at no longer being in his shoes. After all, he'll have a lot to put up with until he, like all others before him, move on.

At last, light at the end of the tunnel

But I also felt anger at her lack of sensitivity for smooching  with the new  BF in my presence. I consider that a cheap thing to do. Something I would not be able to do. But then again, unlike her, I happen to care for others.

And it dawned on me just how fortunate I was to be free. Free from the frosty clutches of the Ice Maiden.

This post is the final report on this chapter of my life. The last post about her. I will now return to writing about more interesting things. Much more interesting and worthy of my attentions.


Saturday, 10 December 2011

Can it really be true?

I read in a magazine yesterday that men can, and often do, fall in love very quickly; within minutes sometimes. I don't remember the sample size of this survey or the validity of the researchers but I do agree with it. I'm sure it has happened to me, and not so long ago. After all we men are simple creatures driven by desire and impulse. Maybe simple is not the right adjective to use here. Uncomplicated? Less complicated? Yes, that's it.

But just as quick as some men fall in love, some women seem to fall out of and in love again. That's a more interesting fact.

Take for instance my case with  Madeleine (like you didn't already know). We had a relationship that lasted 4 years. Stormy, volatile years yes, but 4 years nonetheless.

As recently as 2 months ago Madeleine and I were discussing our future plans. We spoke about the home we were going to move into, the pet goats, cat, dog, pug and mini-pig, the children, and our future business plan. 

Most importantly, Madeleine told me how she loved me more than anything else and wanted us to be together , forever.

It is because of such words, spoken frequently, that kept me trying to make a go of our doomed relationship. In other words, I knew things weren't right but somehow felt that I should work at it because there was love involved on both parts. Or was there?

A month after that she was seeing someone else! 

OK, we had all but broken up but still...

Madeleine came around to my place last week to collect some of her stuff and I asked her if she was in love with this new chap and after a short pause, she answered 'yes'. The kind of yes that means; uhmmm? I think so.

Now that's a quick turn around.

I would appreciate any comment from my dear blog friends that may help me understand this situation. But  don't worry, I'm not holding my breath!


Tuesday, 6 December 2011

You can call me Al...

Al  looked through the gap in the linen curtains at the street outside and the December sun was shining brightly, making him squint. He looked left up the road to the intersection  and saw no traffic  or  pedestrians.

"Quiet for the time of day", he muttered to himself.
"Usually by 10:30 am there is some movement outside", he thought. "It´s not even bank holiday"

(Bank holidays are a common occurence in Portugal; thirteen of them every single year. The recent economic situation has forced the government to scrap four of next year’s  bank holidays and bring the number in line with the rest of Europe. The financial deficit caused by past and present incompetent politicians will have to be paid by everyone.) 

Al  grimaced at the thought of having to pay for someone else’s  mistakes. Something he deeply hates.

Looking right, down towards  the dock,  Al saw the deep blue sea, resplendant in the  morning sunlight. Each wave crest  decorated with a blob of shimmering white light resembling diamonds scattered over  blue velvet.  A beautiful sight that would normally  induce a  reaction of awe.  Until recent events, that is.

The stunning scenery that is Madeira bathed in sunlight is one of incredible natural beauty. The 4500 ft blue- green mountains surrounding the bay of Funchal ensure calm weather conditions all year round.

Paradise city of Funchal - Photographs don´t do it justice

These majestic mountains stand tall and strong, as if protecting the Funchal city dwellers from the mid Atlantic winds and all else Nature can conjure up. The scenery that would have until recently filled Al with joy seems to have lost some of its impact. Temporarily at least. The world outside has changed  simultaneously  with the world inside his head.
"It is difficult to to see beauty clearly through  eyes filled with tears" thought Al. A situation only time can heal...or so he believed.

Safe and sound...

Later that evening Al's fortunes were to change as a result of meeting up with a female friend at a gig. Several hours later and after copious amounts of alcohol and music, Al learned a very important lesson:

Time is not the only healer of broken hearts.

There is an ancient therapy that never loses popularity and is far, far more remedial than time itself. 


Saturday, 3 December 2011

100 words: If

If you stumble upon these words, do not assume they´re about you. They are about me and of me.

If you see me walking by, do not assume I'm pursuing you. I am merely heading towards the unknown.

If you hear me singing, do not assume I'm singing about you. It is the song of all humanity.

If you see me weeping, do not assume it's for you. It is for all the ones I've lost, and am yet to lose.

If you see me staring at you, do not assume I'm imposing. I am merely trying to see through and beyond you.


Friday, 2 December 2011

Update from Paradise - part 8

I have three subjects to post about and need your help in the third one. Advice needed, please.

Thank you in advance.

1 ) The wrong time to do the right thing!

I have two business projects to start up but am finding it difficult to concentrate and get motivated. I guess I´m living turbulent times and the need to have fun is greater than the need to work. But fun doesn´t pay the bills, unless you're in the sex industry, I hear.

2 ) The right time to do the wrong thing!

I am living day to day and slowly adjusting to single life.

Single life has it´s benefits (none healthy) as far as enjoying the freedom to come and go as one pleases and having no one to answer to. It is wonderful to stay out late every night drinking socializing and playing music and I intend to carry on, for now at least. But... I miss certain things only cohabitation brings :(

I am seeing the other side of life but am not too impressed, if the truth be told.

Things can only get better on that front. Changing my status from single to whatever is the only thing I'm currently "working" on.

3 ) The girl I want wants a girl!

I´m so keen on a girl I´ve met recently and have socialized with over the last few nights that I decided to send her a 'friend request' of FB sooner than I normally would. It was immediatly accepted and I had a quick look at her info and... there it was.

Interested in women!

Damn it! I don´t half pick them! I must subconsciously go for the most difficult and/or awkward when it comes to women. But she is sooooo beautiful and talented. I wonder if she can be encouraged to change? I don´t quite know how that works.

I have heard that sexual preferences aren´t necessarily permanently fixed in some I can live and hope.

I obviously need your expert expert help here. I would appreciate some guidance on this front as I can only live in hope for a very short space of time.

Are sexual preferences fixed or not?

Meanwhile...I'll let you know what happens over the next few days