My body is burning.
I am laying down with the sentences popping up in my mind, incapable of recording them, desperate.
I like their sound, I choose the right words, the rhythm is perfect, but as soon as I try to hold them, they are quickly gone. With a prescription of an hour of writing per day I hope to dig down a tunnel that takes me as close as possible to that channel of incomplete thoughts. To my nervous lullaby. To a silent speech. To a glimpse of a story. The story that collapses as soon as I try to follow, to catch, to stop, to retell.
There is no story.
There are only fragments,
and silence in between.
You can think of a bridge, to bridge the emptiness, a noisy bridge that keeps you above. But you can also fall into that hole, the dark hole of nothingness, from which only words can save you, once you reach out to find them. This downfall is where we find ourselves each time when we translate. It is also a passage of vibrations, of the words that are yet to come. The place of poetry, if you will.
Caressing smell of cooked rice.
Being at ease with people whose voice I hear when reading their lines.
When there is only one chance to arrive to a place for the first time, are you gonna watch it or film it?
Then, the words I have trouble pronouncing.
And a book of jokes.
I could say ‘this story’
but then I slip to ‘this text’
then I start thinking of pre and sub and
suddenly there is ‘conscious’.
This text can be read in different places.
It is can be read inside, at the place of a projection
it can be read at the place of a flashback
and it can be read at the place of secrets.
to see it
to see it from another angle.
That is what I do.
I go there. To see what happens.
I - go - there - to see – what - happens.
Simple present tense.
It happens. Something happens.
And I go there,
not only to see it but to watch it happen.
As soon as I pronounce that, I get into a state of being on a mission. Or preparing for a mission. I am alerted. Whatever happens is something that happens and therefore worth my attention. In this sense, the happening is not as spectacular as one would assume. It is spectacular in a subtle way, where any little occurrence becomes a sensation.
The ocean is disturbing.
It is impossible to write and read, next to it.
There is never silence.
My thoughts are even more chaotic here,
next to the ocean,
you are forced to listen.
Hello, I arrived.
would you let me see the sea?
"This book is very easy. I am rich. You are old. He is young. This book is difficult. She is very pretty. They are very rich and polite. You are very poor. She is very diligent and you are very idle. She and I. He and you are very happy."
On a flea market, I found a book and a purse. In the book I bought, I find a story about a girl who found a book and lost the purse.
I don’t have to write when everything is already written.
Downfall is not my favourite translation for ‘sunovrat’.
I inhabit this gap between languages.
From which images invade.
To access the sea is not impossible,
it is actually easier than I would imagine.
You just enter the hotel, Savoy, Carlton, Reids or Cliff Bay.
- Hello, can you tell me, what is the closest I can get to the sea? - Yes, madame, you enter the elevator, press number zero, and go to the pools.
The pool as a synonym for the sea.
There, it does feel awkward to try it. I am surrounded by people who would not consider it as an option. To touch the sea. They are settled on a safe distance, mostly quite high, to look at it from above. Still, an opportunity is given. The cliff is tamed for human use, the guards are alert, the metal ladder are there, reflecting the sun, splashed by the ocean.
not inviting at all,
– People like pools.
I get curious about the gaps between hotels.
Traces of wild nature,
suppressed by monstrous architecture.
To get there, one needs to appear as a hotel guest.
I wear a screaming pink lipstick
to feel less as my usual self.
I need to discover two things:
Is there a non-private, secret or public shortcut to these gaps. And, can just anyone enter the pools?
I’ve been on Madeira two times before.
I slept in two different houses and three different rooms.
I am trying to recall if there is anything that I had with me in all these trips. Contax t2 probably. Black backpack maybe. Dark blue wool jacket, almost for sure.
I twice came ill and got well in less than three days.
It will be the second time to celebrate my birthday here.
It is the second time to arrive alone,
but the first time while being in a relationship.
I feel more focused than any time before.
more settled, more responsible, more relaxed.
I decide to revisit a swimming pool where I learnt to properly swim breast stroke, and that I was visiting on a daily basis during my month long stay on Madeira 2013. What google approximates as a 27 minutes walk, here, can easily turn out to be longer and slower due to the steepness of the terrain and hot weather. I take a walk up the hill, sensing that at some point I would cross a familiar street, a house, a bush. I failed twice, until I recognize the wall from which we performed our little “walking on the edge performance” countless number of times, each time when passing. This time I’ll use it as a sign to follow on the way back. I notice that Funhal grew, the panorama is wider and density of buildings is higher. From here, the streets are familiar, I walked them many times, up and down, in both directions. I particularly get excited about the entry to the pool, the composition of the columns and the path underneath that turns into the stairs, and then to the entry. There, the same woman who welcomed me seven years ago, is still working, looking too same. For a tiny second, I think she recognized me, but quick after I am sure she didn’t. I don’t manage to get in, I forgot the basic rule, the swimming cap is mandatory. I leave, spending some time in front, watching people swimming. I remember having the whole pool just for the three of us. It is too crowded now, still, the splashes of water look beautiful in this light. I think of the slowness of time, detachment of any concerns left at home, the easygoingness that this island always meant. Suddenly, I am interrupted by a trainer knocking on the window to forbid me filming. I feel ashamed for short, and I leave. Two mercedeses are parked as usual. Sun is strong, I put a layer of sunscreen on my face. If you had to choose, would you obsess about wrinkles in Austria, or not age in Madeira?
(to swim in the ocean is an invention, not that old.
to swim in the pool is much older)
I make one day break.
I stay on ‘my’ side of the coast,
I take first swim of the year
I watch the pictures from yesterday.
I get angry. These hotels seized the coast, just to be the closest ones to the sea. No one wants to swim in the ocean, it is there just for the exclusive view of the guests. For them to feel one with the sea, but to never really get in touch with it.
These hotels and their pools installed on a cliff from which the ocean turns into perfect scenography are platforms from which these people demonstrate their power,
- their seven days of being in power.
This point of view reserved for them
separates them from the ordinary others.
In the sea, we are all the same,
at the hotel terraces and next to the pools that are next to the ocean,
we are certainly not.
I feel this difference just by being an intruder.
I am a fake guest of a fake paradise.
if someone realizes this, this construction will collapse.
Imagine the rich guests endangered by the poor non-guests who just went out of service, left their jobs and gone for a walk, entering hotels in masses, just to see the sea.
A happy end of a power game, that will sadly never happen.
Even I feel ashamed for my dirty shoes,
as they will uncover my origin.
My goal is Formosa beach.
I want to arrive there before the sunset, and have this Portugeese version of oysters.
After Penha Franca, Royal Savoy, Carlton, Belmon Reids and Cliff Bay that I already visited, I have Vidamar, Atlantic, Pestana Garden and few others in front of me today.
I continue in the same manner, entering the hotels with a mission to see the sea. If someone stops me I will ask the same question: What is the closest I can get to the ocean?
still, no one asks.
Usually the hotel is built so that I pass through several levels which therefore direct different angles of observation. This way, the hotel appears as tall and massive, and ironically protects us from the notion that the place where we stand and rest is actually a tall and massive cliff.
Looking from above to the areas with pools, it is not easy to say where one hotel starts and the other one ends. No obvious fences mark their borders, they all appear as one big park. Still, when I get closer, I find the walls. They are not marked as specifically forbidden to cross, but what makes it impossible is simply the height-difference prescribed by the erased cliff. I also find zones that seem to belong to no-one, rough, forgotten places that remind me of my favourite spots, the kind of rocks that I search for when I search for a beach.
I visit the places of connection between hotels, these sporadic untouched zones, dead but alive, which I decide not to call ‘nature’.
Even though none of the hotels is built for the same audience, and the level of luxus and prices is different in each of them, I feel like I am doing something terribly illegal. I am not asked questions, for the sake of convenience. It is too risky to confuse me for a hotel-less, so we all pretend I am a guest and nod politely. I still don’t know what is the final rule to break, in order to be recognized as an intruder.
I walk slowly on the pool terrace. I spend some minutes filming an old lady who is swimming in a pool that from her perspective probably appears as a very edge of the universe. She is there alone, with three shades of blue in her sight, while white heated surface helps her lose herself in this surreal scene. I continue walking slow as if slowness would cancel my presence.
(At this point of the story, I feel a strong urge to invent parts.)
I imagine that it is me, instead of that man who climbs down the metal ladder directly into the wavy ocean. I follow him and I film his steps, I even start the conversation, asking if the water is cold. He is not in the mood to talk, or he is too far to hear me. I am waiting that he is done, then I try it myself. I feel a mixture of fears. My little mess of possessions left on the ground is a clear message to the staff and the guests. I don’t belong here. The ladder counts ten steps, a bit too many down, not to think of a cliff.
The waves, the wind, the depth, and height.
Behind and beneath.
In the very corner, after the last hotel in the line of eight, where no more pools are built, at least not for now, I watch dozens of red crabs crawling, underneath a giant rock, escaping the waves. Their moves do give me goosebumps, but I watch nevertheless.
What happens with the sunset is an interesting justice, here.
The shadow is catching the luxurious area an hour before the real sunset happens. Guests of expensive hotels built on the ocean front line can see it if facing the west, but with Pestana Palms tower in the frame. This particular hotel, which is the least hotelly looking of all, also marks the beginning of the zone that is made for the public.
Local people walk differently.
Locals walk differently.
Locals - I try to avoid this word.
is it - People who live here?
People from here - or,
People - when they are at home -
People when they are at home -
they sunbathe differently.
and swim differently.
Their towels are on the ground.
ocean is their friend.
Fences are differently built here
as if danger is not the same for all.
I continue my walk
Promenade do Lido gives me the way
the one I had to fight for
by intruding the hotels
in previous days.
I am suddenly given a wide view to the ocean
and even though I am late for the sunset,
it feels right.
I wonder is this justice a mistake,
a short moment in time
before an investor stronger than cliff comes
and takes it all from me?
I have never seen before.
I was told about it.
And in fact
I am revealing
someone else’s secret.
When turning a private beach
into a place of public speech,
a secret can be shared.
I am late for the sunset.
I arrive late.
I let you settle
to watch me
intruding the place
unknown to me,
in front of you.
I let the awkwardness connect us.
from here we can walk together.