Portugal in the Box – #19

Tuesday 17th June 2008

Praia de Mira – Torreira

… there has been some kind of environmental contamination coming from

Nature itself, from the sea. A part of the coast has been contaminated and the people living there have been evacuated. But some humans are immune to the poison. I am one of them. I have decided to move to that part of the world because it has many advantages for me, especially the environment – it now looks incredibly beautiful, It has been changed by the poison, all has become much more colourful. For example the sand grains on the beach have all colours of the rainbow, and the stones too are all in different bright colours. And the rain too. I have bought a house there and I am going there now. As I see the house I am a little bit deceived, as the outer walls are deep black. Inside it looks very chaotic, much seems to have been destroyed by the poison. Especially the air is filled with millions of black particles. There is a garden too, and a part where one grows vegetables normally, and I see that all vegetables have died, except one strange sort, which when I look closer, seem to be books.

I then go for a walk along the beach to the dunes. Suddenly I notice that strange things are growing out of my fingers. Kind of roots. And the roots grow very fast and soon there are some little branches with dark brown leaves coming out of each of my fingers.I get panicked, thinking that I have an unknown kind of allergy to the poison filling the air. But I succeed in ripping one of the roots out of one finger and decide to wait until I meet somebody else to take them all out.

A little bit later I meet an acquaintance who brings me my dog. But my dog dies at once. Then I arrange to get five puppies all looking the same, with white lamb faces, hoping that one will survive. But very soon three die, because of some bones imploding inside. One is growing very well, and looks quite healthy and lively.

I go back home and notice that I have got some neighbours, They have just bought the house and are building immense plastic walls around their house, which seem to reach the sky, They say they want to be protected against the poison of nature. Then the postman comes and brings me a telegram, saying that my sister-in-law has left my brother in Tahiti and is having fun around Europe now… and later I am taking part in a competition where one has to symbolise publicly, but alone, with gestures, all the different possibilities of sex, even masturbation …“

We had a wonderful bike ride this morning, through the town in search of an internet cafe or cyberspace, but we were informed that there was no such place in Praia do Mira, except the Culture Centre. I had to ask some different times to finally find out that the Culture Centre was in fact 100 meters away from our starting point, the motorhome!

The Portuguese seem really to have a problem with everything concerning the traffic logistic and directions. It is very rare when you ask them where is what, that you get the info which sends you directly to the place, even if this place is on the corner. Don´t they care or are they unable? One wonders sometimes that one of them, once, was able to find the way to India… but perhaps the discovery sense is something quite different to the orientation sense? Or perhaps is something much deeper involved in having the right direction sign at the crucial point or to get the right advice to go from point A to point B than to find a sea way to India?… surely a big field for brain research…

Anyway as we finally found the culture centre, it was closed, and should reopen at 7 PM… a little bit late… so we cycled outside the village, to the dunes. A fantastic scene was awaiting us on the other side of the dunes, on the beach. Seagulls in a quantity I had never seen before, it must have been thousands and thousands, stood on the beach, on the waterline. Fishermen pulling a boat out of the wild water with 2 tractors… what a powerful scene! In these moments where Human, Animals and Natural Elements are so deeply involved and interconnected in a powerful but peaceful survival fight I always get quite mystical and it gives my soul good faith material …

We thought the boat came back from fishing but apparently it just came here to get the nets loaded… what a work, by the way! Hundred of meters of rolled and piled net to unravel, my God, what patience! And there were in fact about 6 men working at it! When I think how impatient I get when I have to unravel my 2 meters of computer lead, then I really wonder how they can do it1 I guess hundreds of years of tradition in blood and brain…

We made a lot of photos and rode back to the motorhome for a lunch. From the window I suddenly saw a lot of people gathered down on the dunes by the sea. I had the feeling that something important was happening. I took my camera and ran down the dunes, not an easy matter by the way, the sand was very deep. What I saw there was the most extraordinary Men/Animals/Nature spectacle I have ever seen in my life. The fishermen were pulling out the nets from the sea, and thousands of seagulls were flying around the nets, and hundreds of people were gathered around, most of them trying to catch some fish escaping the net. I have tried to estimate the quantity of fish they caught, there must have been at least 100,000. I wonder how often they do that, everyday? At just that spot of the coast? How is it possible that the ocean is not empty yet? It is a mystery for me. A mystery too, who eats this enormous quantity of fish. They must work for international export, I guess, which would explain why the fishermen let the people take the escaping fish without one word…

I was quite sad not to share this event with Kevin, but it was impossible to have got him in time, everything would have been finished then. At least I could show him the many photos I took!

Late afternoon we took to the road again, but the highway this time, and drove to the next interesting place by the sea, called Torreira. Unfortunately one of these places where the „Forbidden to motorhomes“ signs appear everywhere, but we still managed to find a great place by the water, close to the little harbour full of pretty rainbow boats.

By the way: they should be careful in Portugal not to annoy too much the motorhomes tourists. Since we are here we have noticed that 90% of the tourists are travelling in motorhomes. Considering the fact that fuel is very expensive here, and that motorhomes by definition need a lot of it, even if Portiugal is a great country, it is not obvious that motorhomes tourists will always come back. The Portuguese should not fall into the temptation to forbid us the best parking places, and to send us to places where we have to pay to stay. We are still far from this situation, but I noticed a certain tendency… this would be the wrong calculation, no doubt!

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