Friday, 11 May 2012

Sunrise in Paradise

6:58 am - Funchal

Adam and Eve - a young couple smooching - stood against a lamp post in my street. Their bodies locked in an embrace so tight I wondered if there could be a micron of space between them.  Their lips sloshed and slided around each others mouths as if eager to consume one another there and then.   As I walked past I couldn't resist a smile.  Eve glanced my way and I wondered if she could detect the subtle hint of envy in my expression.

I continued past my apartment block, down towards the harbour and the Cafe I knew would be open. 

My street ends with a steep drop of 50 metres or so down to the roundabout at the entrance of Funchal's harbour.  Just before the descent, the buildings come to and end, allowing a view of the whole town and bay.  I stopped, open-mouthed and admired the image unfolding before my eyes.

The grey-blue clouds hovering high above the bay allowed multiple shafts of white-gold  dawn light to rain over the city below. The predominant colour was lilac.  A warm, iridescent lilac blended from the fusion of dawn colours and city lights.

The tall mountains surrounding Funchal were painted a deep purple; the sea, a shimmering palet of jade, ochre, silver and grey. 

The street lights poured cone-shaped beacons of golden light onto the streets, evenly spaced and orderly, like candles on a birthday cake.

Attached to the inner wall of the harbour like a giant glowing barnacle, the brightly lit Porto Santo ferry waited for dawn to provide its crew and passengers for the scheduled 8:00 am departure.

The horizon cut a perfect chalk line of distinction between the steel-grey sea and the light blue infinite of space.

The moon, in its last throes of displaying nocturnal brilliance, slipped slowly beyond the horizon, glowing yellow as if to mimic its ascending replacement -the rising sun.

Lost for words, I remember uttering the word "wow" several times, mesmerised by the magical image of a natural and man-made creation in glorious multi-coloured harmony.

I briefly regretted not having my camera, but instantly decided to commit to memory what I was witnessing and recreate it later with words rather than pixels.

Minutes later I turned and entered the Cafe, a small cosy shelter perched high above the harbour entrance.  I was surprised to see it buzzing with people. Some were continuing their previous nights celebrations with beer and sandwiches, others announcing their new day with coffee and toast. This Cafe is a place where the night-shift revellers cross paths with the day-shift workers of Funchal.

In my twilight state, I opted for a Chinesa coffee and an Espada fish sandwich.

As I savoured my delicious fayre, I smiled - this time with no hint of envy...

... just pure and simple gratitude.



  1. What a lovely picture you painted Joe. I almost feel as though I was there, enjoying a coffee after a night out.

  2. well written piece!
    i do like the sound of that cafe...