Miguel, Born in the 40s on Terceira
Interviewed on São Miguel
I was painting an image of our ship, the “R Heritage Too”, on the sidewalk on the port in Ponta Delgado. It was a great way to meet people. I spoke with a number of Germans and a young couple from Poland. They all agreed that climate change was occurring and they could see this in rapidly changing weather from one day to the next. Most all of them declined the chance to publicly comment on climate change. The exception was Miguel. His thoughts are below. I will do my best to capture the essence of his words. I had anticipated that interviewing people in other languages would be a challenge. Miguel’s english was a bit broken easy to understand but he had his own sense of style and spoke about what he felt most comfortable. My interpretation of his words follows.
What is your favorite part of living in where you live?
My favorite part of the Azores are the summers and all the green.
What is your least favorite part of living in where you live?
Miguel chose not to answer this question, but he did discuss the time he spent in Canada working. I sensed the lack of opportunity to make a living on the Azores was a driving force for him to move elsewhere. This was a common theme of people I talked to here. Many leave when they are young only to return in their later years,
Do you have a favorite place to eat?
Miguel was not a big fan of the restaurants in Ponta Delgada. He stated they were too expensive and geared towards tourists. He encouraged me to try places in the smaller towns. Buy the meal of the day, whatever it is. It will have more than one course and be around 4-5 euros.
Is there a place you like to visit, a secret spot you would be willing to share that people should visit to get the feel of where you live?
Miguel spoke fondly of Terceira, the island where he was born. He offered to drive us around the island when er got there in his diesel powered Rav 4.
Do you feel Climate change has impacted your area?
When he was a kid, the waters this time of year were cold. 14-15 degrees Celsius. Now the water in October is 22. People swim all winter. He mentioned the hurricane that recently hit the area and he thinks they will see one each year from now on.
Is there anything else you would like to as or tell me?
Miguel did not answer this question but was eager to educate me about the history of the Azores. He suggested we visit the “general’s house” on Terceira. He could not recall the name the tourists give the place. He spoke with pride about his island and how for a time, after the Spanish conquered the rest of Portuguese territory. The island of Terceira was the only remaining Portuguese territory in the world. In the 1800s Spain invaded and 3 Portuguese kings fled to Terceria to remain on Portuguese soil. He let me know Terceira never fell to the Spanish and in honor of their resistance the city of Angra was renamed from Angra to Angra de Heroismo.
He also said we should visit Praia in Salga and look for the statue which honors the woman who told all the men on the island to gather all the semi wild bulls. These bulls were driven at the invading forces to prevent them from landing successfully.
“Miguel did not talk a lot about climate change but he beemed Portuguese pride. He loved his Island and culture. I look forward to learning about the island of Terceira from and perhaps filling in a few more details for this interview. Then again, may I will just relax to the slow pace the locals seem to enjoy and tour the island with a new friend. I was again surprised at how many people, especially the numerous Germans I talked with, did not want to be interviewed about climate change. Germany is one of the countries leading the world in renewable energy, waste reduction and recycling programs. This may be some aspect of their culture that I do not understand, or perhaps there is a negative connotation of believing in climate in Germany as well.” – Matt Ryle