Sunday, 16 September 2012

If Madeira is paradise, what on earth do I call this place?

Last Saturday night at around 01:30 am I arrived at the FX Club to meet up with friends who were performing there.Shortly after arriving Sonia suggested I  and a few friends, should drive to the north coast and attend the village fete of Fajã do Penedo, where her folks live.

I agreed and our group of seven people and two cars arrived at our destination around 3 am. A couple of hours and a few beers later I was introduced to Marlene, a local girl and friend of Sonia. Marlene is a beautiful young woman who had spent two years in London and was eager to practice her English with me; I promptly agreed.

The fete was well under way when we arrived


We chatted and danced until 7 am. Marlene suggested we all went back to her place with a crate of beer. We all agreed.

We walked through her garden under a suspended vineyard and reached her house, a  two storey country home perched on the side of a hill.

We all talked and drank beer for the next 2 hours. By then some of us were feeling the worse for wear and the sofa and bed were quickly claimed by Isabel Juan Suzanna and Ayrton.

Marlene appeared with a giant foam mattress, placed it in the middle of the living room, collapsed onto it and signalled to Sonia and I to join her and try to get some sleep. I lay next to Marlene, face to face, and continued with our conversation as all others drifted into their drunken slumber.

I was tired by then but hoped Marlene would stay awake and we could continue chatting. I looked at my watch and it was 09:30 am. Then I fell asleep.

An hour later I woke up, not sure of where I was. I looked around and saw that all were fast asleep. I got up and decided to go to the nearest cafe for my morning fix.

I walked through the suspended vineyard and was struck by the beauty of the whole place.

I had to squint as daylight hit me.Seconds later, this is what I saw. What a
beautiful way to start the day!

And this....

...and this


I strolled around the village, admiring the stunning views and also the way all the local people who were going about their business managed a smile - at a stranger in their midst.

Fajã do Penedo village


Back at the house the rest were stirring awake as I returned. Sonia insisted on us all going to her parents for lunch while Marlene got ready to go to her kiosk at the fete. We exchanged phone numbers.

After a hearty lunch of barbecued beef and jacket potatoes we all headed back to Church Square, the fete and Marlene's kiosk. Marlene and I chatted and drank beer for a couple more hours. I kept referring to this beautiful and serene village as "her world".

The others decided it was time to head back to Funchal - it was 5:30 pm by then. We had been at the village since 3:00am.

On the drive back to Funchal Juan and Isabel kept teasing me about my new found paradise and whether it had something to do with a particular local girl called Marlene. I smiled.

On the way home I couldn't get the last 14 hours events out of my mind.

Back in my apartment, exhausted from the lack of sleep and copious drinking I collapsed into my own bed and slept soundly for four hours. I woke up to the vibrating sound of my mobile and wondered if it was Marlene. It wasn't.  It was Lisandra asking me if I was going to see her play her gig at Moynihan's.

I showered and went off for another session of endless socialising and drinking.

Marlene and the beautiful village remained in my thoughts through the night. Strange how I thought I knew all of Madeira but had never visited that particular village. It is as if I had left the best till last.

I managed to send off an SMS to Marlene, thanking her for her hospitality and company. I also mentioned how impressed I was with her world... and how I'd love to be part of it.

:)

6 comments:

  1. Sounds lovely. Great the way you described waking up and not being sure where you were. Oh dear though, late nights and lack of sleep- it doesn't get any easier as you get older does it? :)

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    1. Not sure Dicky - actually, I think I need less sleep now than ever - woohoo :)

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  2. You are such a romantic at heart!
    Fingers crossed for you!

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  3. oh my...to have the constitution of a 20 year old and the wisdom of someone in their 40's...pure bliss...
    what a great piece...i swear i wanna go to some of the places yer describing...sounds like i would fit right in :)

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    1. Dan, I know it's a bit of a distance but if you ever get to this neighbourhood just let me know :) I'm sure you'd have a great time

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