Posts Tagged ‘travel’

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Summer Time

July 2, 2013

j1School is out and the summer has officially begun!  It’s a holiday today and everyone is out celebrating the Nation’s birthday with cottage trips, lake-side strolls and fireworks, of course. Where does the time go? (Can’t believe I’m starting to use phrases like that.) It’s incredible how you can think you’ve got all the time in the world and then suddenly realize there’s a gig just around the corner or you look through some of your old lyric pads and be shocked when you realize the date was from last year or older.

I was recently thumbing through an old notebook I carried around with me last summer, hoping to pick out any brilliant song ideas that were left cleverly, buried there. (insert snicker here.) And I came across the diary I kept when I traveled to the Azores. It was cool to read it a year later and remember what I experienced. I was still stuck with writer’s block back then and desperately trying to find my groove.  Thank goodness that’s passed – for now! Thought it might be fun to share, since I usually do with my travels.

So here it goes:

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A very full first day in Sao Miguel. It’s been thirteen years since I last set foot on this island. I was just a kid. This island once so removed from my familiaritieIMG_0145s, now so removed from my memories of it. This place, this culture that used to stretch out its dirt roads to welcome you now presents its slick asphalt highway to get you from one end of the island to another. The main city now has its own doors (archways) to the city – or doors to the ocean depending on which side of them you are standing on.

7:20am the plane landed and it was a wonderful sight to see my favourite uncle, Nic, awaiting my arrival. Surprisingly a wave of emotion came over me as this is the first time I arrive here alone. It reminds me of the family that used to be here but is no longer as well as the family that didn’t come along this time.

It’s funny how our memories can keep our hopes and expectations frozen in another time – another era. But in reality everyone and everything moves forward. We arrive at uncle’s “garden estate” as I’ve decided to call it. Surprisingly, he no longer lives in my grandmother’s house (which is now his house but he has rented it out.) He now lives in a new property just outside of Ponta Delgada in a smaller township called Lagoa, which means lake.  And I call it his garden estate because it’s probably a full acre – if not more – of floral paradise. The long drive invites you up to the four bedroom homestead which I affectionately call “The Manor“.  All around are flowers and plants to a horticulturalist’s delight. Wild orchids, hydrangeas, hibiscus (the biggest I’ve ever seen), lemon trees, banana trees. A crop garden with rows of kale, garlic, tomatoes, exotic fruits like apple-melons (yet to try). And lastly an animal sanctuary where two geese roam free with their friends the chickens, a rooster, pigeons, rabbits, ducks, three pigs and a proper turkey to rule over them all. It’s like a mini version of Neverland Ranch without all the carnival rides!

Along the drive, when you look south, you are treated to breathtaking views of the Atlantic. On a clear day you can even see the next island over, Santa Maria. The air is fresh and swirls lightly in a welcoming embrace. The hillsides are lush and green. his man-made pIMG_1509ond full of frogs and lily pads bid you an inviting hello.

Home. There is an unspoken, settled feeling that I’ve come back home after so long.

After a neat breakfast and a brief tour, I promptly collapse onto the first bed I see and have a “nap” that will end up taking me seven and a half hours into the other side of heaven. I awake to uncle Nic’s friend AnaBela who is warm and charming despite her regular use of expletives. She instantly puts me at ease with her comedic ways and commentaries on frustrations of her day to day activities. With her, we take a quick trip into the city where new hotels now stand and a whole ocean front scene creating an Ocean Drive ambiance with an infinite row of open air restaurants lining the shore. It’s a new Sao Miguel I am seeing. Much more modern than the horse-back riding culture of when I was a child. The island always seemed to be a century behind the rest of the wIMG_1421orld but it’s clear to see that in the last two decades, the island is all caught up to 2012 with their internet cafes and ipad-toting intellectuals ordering cappuccino and downloading the latest Lady Gaga videos. This baby sister has finally joined the party of its older sibling, the main land.

We arrive back at midnight and proceed to do three hours of catching up, which always include Uncle Nic’s infinitesimal anecdotes that always leave you gaping or exploding with laughter. I’ve missed that. I’ve missed his story-telling, the sense of connection to my past, my grandmother, my family.

So at 3am we finally decide that we’ve got seven more days ahead to continue catching up.  And after biding each other good-night I am off to enjoy and much earned, full night’s slumber. Tomorrow will be another adventure, I am sure.

NG

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Day 150 – City Lights

September 16, 2010

Just got in from a drive north of the city. It can be so soothing to drive just after a rain when it’s dark out. It seems quieter except for the wet sound of your tires rolling through puddles.

As I was making my way back I could see the city twinkling below me. It really does make you sit back in awe. All those lights represent people out there. All twinkling away in what seems like an eternal abyss of light. I wonder what brought each of those people to the exact spot that they are twinkling in right now? Many have come from twinkling in other spots in the country and even the world. What brought their light here?

Seeing the city spread out in front of you like that – so vast – really reminds you that this life you are living is so much bigger than you. We are but a speck of light twinkling in the distance to some other stranger’s eye. Like the view from a plane when you are coming in for a landing. The twinkle of city lights smile up at you and welcome you. Whether you are coming home or are landing in that destination for the first time, you feel like they are welcoming you.

I miss travelling and seeing new twinkling lights with the possibility of meeting new people – perhaps the people behind the lights that welcomed me. Travelling would most certainly feed more of my writing inspiration. exploring new places has always been so romantic to me and I’m really looking forward to taking off this December to the UK where I plan on taking on England, Scotland and Ireland with a quick good-bye kiss to Europe in Paris. The ticket is booked, now let’s just hope this musician can scrape some dough together to keep her afloat while I’m there. It really helps that I’ll be going with a really close friend who knows Britain like the back of her hand. She spent her formative years splitting time between here and England until she moved there indefinitely in her early twenties. Now she can drink you under the table if you’re not looking so I know I’ll have a blast watching her take on the locals.

Life always has an adventure of some sort waiting for you to explore. That’s what’s so beautiful about the earthly experience. You just never know what you are going to get. And no, I did not mean to quote Forrest Gump. I just mean, you really never know what life will throw at you and wouldn’t it be boring if you did? Something to think about anyway. Perhaps another song idea will merge its way through soon. We’ll see.

As for an update on my friend Mickey, I haven’t seen hide nor hair of him since my darling brother set up the trap. So either he is gone (I hope) or he’s too smart to go anywhere near the bait. I guess, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Until tomorrow.

Nowhere Girl