David Fernandes
Producer, Director, Writer

Archive for June, 2007

Well, that’s all folks

Wed ,06/06/2007

Yep, last day. I’m sitting by the Marina again, having a beer and waiting on a Tuna salad (it’s an actual salad here).

Dad went home yesterday, I went to the airport with Chico, a cousin who has a cab here. Nice guy – he’s quite young, like 25 or something and speaks English quite well. His girlfriend Regina, Chico and I got to hang out a tiny bit while I was here, though we didn’t end up going out dancing. I seem to have forgotten to give them my cell number. Doh.

So, the trip is almost over. I spent most of today running around with a video camera, capturing little slices of life here, my aunt’s house, the long, steep walk down to the street, the thruway, scenes from downtown, the fish and fruit markets, the marina and about 20 minutes of ocean and waves – mostly for the audio. I ended up getting all the shots i wanted to get – 7 hours of video to wade through now. My family here all think I’m crazy and take way too many pictures and video. Everyone with the exception of Ana and Hernando, who I spent my last night here with.

Hernando, who I’ve spoken of before in this blog, is also a musician, in addition to a sculptor, painter, graphic designer and interior designer (man I am humbled). He showed me this crazy drum pad he has called the Handsonic – it’s sort of a drum machine meets electronic drum kit, but the sounds it produces are simply stunning. It has an infared sensor in one area to recognize the waving of a hand over it – this, depending on what kit is active, will produce something like brushing your hands across a row of bells or chimes or wood blocks, etc.. Watching and listening to him play it was amazing. I want one. haha. I’ve wanted a drum kit for a long, long time, so this would be the extremely compact version with like 600 drum sounds, sampled from a truly global variety of drums. Blown away.

Dad and I had a great trip. His wife Jeanette was a bit sick and, I think, was eagre to get home. I feel like I know him a little better than i did and I’ve also recognized some bad habits I still have with him, namely frustration and impatience. It stems from my disappointment with him over my life, and particularly as a child, but yeah, I’m committed to changing my behaviour. I got to see his familial homes and meet his side of the Madeira families. Can’t put a price tag on this trip. It was really once-in-a-lifetime.

I am looking very forward to meeting up with Nrinder at the airport Tomorrow and getting a good nights sleep in my own dry, warm, snuggly bed.

See you all soonish!



Shiternet, more cousins, the mountain walk, dad and calmness.

Sun ,03/06/2007

It’s been a great few days, minus the annoying and ongoing problem of finding reliable, free hotspots here – they are supposedly everywhere, but there are only two places i can find where it actually works reliably.

I had a great visit with my cousins here, they have two young boys who are just hilarious, creative and frighteningly well mannered. I always think of young boys as insane little monsters (based mostly on the teasing and harassment I endured as a young boy), so I’m always happy to meet fun and creative ones – it makes me feel better about the world to know all boys won’t grow up to be jerks.

My cousins Hernando and Ana, having lived most of their lives in Venezuela, have a really different outlook on Madeira than most – and one that I increasingly tend to share. Mostly that culturally, it’s very conservative and gossipy, reserved and insular. As an outsider – even ones that DO speak Portuguese well – they find people are very friendly and welcoming on the surface, but don’t really seem to care much about you in the long run. I kinda get that. I’ve felt that the last few times that people are really happy to throw down a wicked meal, but there’s little follow-up and frankly, little interest in what I’m about or what I’m interested in past the normal formalities. I do try to dig a bit but I find people sort of not interested in talking more deeply about themselves or what’s really going on in their lives. It’s more than a language thing. One can go deeper with intention, even if the language isn’t fully there to support it. So, hanging out with these cousins is a huge breath of fresh air for me here. I feel like I can almost be myself around them. Almost. Give it some more time I guess.

The walk in the mountains yesterday was incredible. Perfect day for a mountain walk as there were no clouds at all. You could see for ever. Stupidly though, I didn’t wear sunscreen and then of course found out when i got back to town that the whole island is on red alert for abnormally high UV rays. If I come back glowing in the dark, you’ll know why.

The walk was fairly long 13km of extreme ups and downs – but it was totally doable. I must be in much better shape than i was last year cuz I remember being way more fatigued. It’s very energy intensive, but not really that hard. And my god, the views. Cameras just can’t do it justice. It’s like being on Mars in some places – red, volcanic earth with huge boulders and lines of minerals and rock kris-crossing the landscape, and then other parts are lush with small flowers and cacti and yet other parts that are like some old horror movie with gnarly heather trees, clinging to the hillsides. The whole walk took about 4.5 hours or so. I would do it again and again. Last year when I went with Nrinder, it was cloudy, which has it’s own kind of beauty too.

Aside from taking a couple of days to do more of my own thing, I have been spending quite a bit of time with my father as well. It’s been a process for me to just totally relax around him and accept him fully for who he is. I think I must have some lingering resentment somewhere and it comes out in being a bit impatient with him. And it’s funny, because the thing that might annoy me the most about him is his impatience. So, figure that one out.

Even though I really can’t afford to be taking this trip right now, and the whole thing came together so last minute, I am so glad that I am here, being present, trying to understand my father, my family, this place called Madeira and myself. I think that for the last couple of years I have really been mean to myself – internalized a lot of hatred and self-doubt, having had an almost absolutely horrible time at work and the whole process of cutting off the chains of such an enormously well-paying job. It’s really good for me to take this time to just relax a bit and come to terms with a few things that have been nagging me. I do my best reflecting and growing on my own and I’m happy I’ve taken this time to do that. I feel like the last few months have been about that for me – I haven’t been aggressively pursuing contracts or work – I’ve been lounging a bit and (burning through my savings) and trying to build a peaceful space in my soul that will last. In the last year or so, my heart rate has actually dropped almost 20 beats per minute at resting. Crazy. Quitting smoking was obviously a huge factor, but it’s more than that.

I’m a much calmer person now. And I really, really like me that way.