sexta-feira, agosto 19, 2011

heavy traffic

Summer in Southern Portugal can be relentless. I remember one summer when I stayed a fortnight at a house in a small village in Algarve called Altura. At the time there were no motorways south of Lisbon and the only way to travel within Algarve was a local road than ran more or less parallel to the coast from one end of the region to the other. Altura consisted of a single street connecting that road to the beach, with a row of squat white houses on either side. Oddly enough, the only building on the other side of the busy regional road was the post office, which made posting a simple postcard a somewhat perilous adventure requiring adult supervision:

heavy traffic the flies drone drunkenly on salty sweat

That summer was especially hot, enough to drive everyone indoors for a couple of hours after lunch. Except us kids, of course, who could not resist going to the café across the street to buy ice-cream. There was no shade to speak of, the houses were too low, half-buried in the ground for coolness, and there were no trees. The white walls glared painfully and the smell of melting tar filled the air. It was the most perfectly delicious heat I have ever experienced:

summer noon walking down main street hugging shadows