Ramon and Ann. Boston, Massachusetts
Interview conducted in Angra do Heroìsmo, Terceira, Azores
One of my favorite activities in the Azores has been swimming in the ocean. Dotted around the coast of the island a stunning natural swimming holes (Piscinas Naturais in Portuguese). On Terceira there two that are particularly noteworthy in the town of Biscoitos. They are quite near a delicious place to stop for a bite to eat called Delia Matrins. Tea with milk (chá con leite) and a ham and cheese (presunto e queijo) sandwich was 2 euros. A constant parade of local people stopping to dine in or take out seems to confirm its quality and value. Like everywhere in the Azores, there are a variety of delicious sweets. Sea water temperatures have been falling a bit as December approaches but are still near 20°C (68°F) which is warm enough for me to take a nice long swim.
The town of Biscoitos has two very nice natural pools. Based on the size of the parking lot they are likely quite busy in the summer months, but in the slow season I had the change to enjoy these on my own. The pictured pool was somewhat active but the other offer a nice calm swim. A mask allowed my to enjoy the abundance of marine life in the pool. Grouper, parrot fish, wrasse, blennys, shrimp, sponges and tube worms were among the species in these pools.
A few days before this swim I had met Ramon and Ann while hiking Alto da Memória, an obelisk with good views of the city. They were enjoying an affordable holiday they had booked for $500 US for airfare and lodging. Ramon and Ann were friendly and happy to be two of the faces of climate change. Their words follow.
What is your favorite part of living in Boston?
We have lived in Boston for 30 years and are originally from the Philippines. We like that it is a very diverse city and safe where we live. Lately we have seen increases in both Latino and Asian populations. In our opinion, the increase diversity is a very good thing.
What is your least favorite part of living in Boston?
Traffic is terrible. Boston is one of the few cities in America that did not burn down. We have narrow old streets very similar to what you see here in Angra. They are difficult to navigate. If you get lost, which is normal, you go round and round until you find a way out.
Do you see the changes in the natural world where you live?
The weather is a bit more unpredictable but we have seen nothing like the storm of 78. Boston is used to big snows. Sometime this city is hot and sometimes moderate. We do notice any trend and feel we have not been impacted by climate change. Donald Trump can use our city as an example for his non-belief.
Can you give me an example of something you are doing to reduce your impact on the planet?
We like to take the T. That is what they call the subway in Boston. We try hard to limit our driving and walk places when we can. We combine our errands or holding off for a later day. We recycle and Boston is a good city for that. Most town all have curbside services. May towns are banning plastic bags and switching to paper.
Is there anything you would like to ask or tell me?
Ramon stated the he has voted Democrat my whole life but I did not this last election. In the Philippines votes are decided on the popular vote and I do not believe in the electorate college. I think the DNC controls the votes and I have lost faith in the DNC. I vote Green party to clear my conscience. The big parties are not trustworthy.
After spending almost two months in the Azores it was interesting to talk to Americans and begin thinking more deeply again about US politics. The impeachment saga is difficult to avoid following news through you phone, but more fundamental issues like the value of diversity and the electoral college have been far from my mind. I am not political scientist but the electoral college seems to enables a level of control of the election process. I have read that our forefathers intended the election to be a state by state process but I am curious if they would feel good about how the process has evolved.