Madeira / approaching one month here

Sunday 27th June, 2021

It’s been another week here in Ponta do Sol, and this one has flown by. The start of the week, Monday, tends to be a slower, stay-at-home day to re-charge the batteries after the weekend.

On Tuesday & Wednesday I worked from the co-working space and made use of the tennis rackets and balls here in the house. I played with Kristyna, a fellow digital nomad, and Wellington, who is Portuguese & currently living here in Madeira. I shared on the Slack group that I wanted to play tennis, and each of them had reached out. I had seen Kristyna around and hadn’t soend much time with her as yet, and I had met Wellington at a couple of evening socials. It was nice to spend 1:1 time with both. I also got a handy recommendation from Kristyna; I had noticed hers and asked about it - it was made by Ethnotek, beautifully-crafted, with changeable covers, and an ethical company that “gives back”, too. They’re a great size for a weekend bag, or as a day-bag for the laptop, to take on the plane, or to take on a hike. I think I’ll be buying one.

Wednesday evening was spent with a few of us watching Portugal’s final group game with France. It ended 2-2 and with both teams satisfied, successfully qualifying for the next round. This time, we chose the bar with a smaller TV screen but a few seconds ahead; for the last match we had sat at our more regular bar-restaurant, but had experienced a delayed game interrupted with premature cheers which had taken the fun out of the “live” experience.

On Thursday, we spent a half day working from home, before leaving around 4pm for a half-day sunset boat trip. We had been invited by Bert & Laura, with a small group of others including the 3 French girls & Italian guy (Gala, Constance, Apolline & Matteu) staying in Funchal who had attended the newcomers’ meet I co-hosted last Sunday. I felt pretty spent that day, and tired even getting on the boat, but I soon perked up - being on the water and with a nice, chilled group of people helped.

Speaking of the people, I continue to realise how fortunate I have been with my housemates this first month. Having fellow introverts and intuitives in the house (all 6 of us are N-types in Myers-Briggs, and 4 of us are INFPs) has helped immensely. We’ve gotten on so well, it’s felt like we’ve known one another for much longer, and thought we just have the one car and two drivers between us, we’ve been lucky to have all shared the car - and Sonia & Tadeu (our two Portuguese drivers) have been very accommodating, carting us about as a group and offering lifts and pick-ups generously.

And then there’s the house itself. We have just a couple more days in the Indigo Star House, a place with bedrooms named after the 4 elements (aptly, I am in the Air room), with a spacious layout including the lounge area with the big co-working table, a U-shaped balcony with two more tables, a couple of patches of grass, a hammock, & a small pool next to a big garage area, which we’ve used to host a couple of small pre-social gathering the last couple of Fridays before the Sunset Social @ Estelagem the last couple of Fridays.

There’ve been movie nights & card tricks in the living room, and Blake’s memorable evening of takeaway, Burke’s Gambit (an interesting game), spa & movie. There are also interesting books in the living room, from Lonely Planet travel to Toltec wisdom & more.

It really has been a wonderful, settling experience for my arrival here. Having our own micro-community in the house has also meant the option to work from home, with plenty of space to take calls, for solo working (still in the vicinity of beating hearts) or for general downtime.

On Thursday, after our sunset boat trip, I briefly bumped into Zdenek and his girlfriend who had arrived earlier in the day, sat on the next table along from us at the Italian restaurant. The next day, Zdenek & Marketa picked up myself and Maya from our respective places, just a couple of minutes apart, and we went on the 25 Fountains hike. It was one which Zdenek had done already, and we benefitted from his prior experience in choosing the paths to take, shortcuts, and the drive there and back - uphill and then downhill, testing the car’s brakes as the Madeiran roads often do.

It was a lovely time, helped by our going at a leisurely pace, a refreshing dip in the cold water, and a delicious late lunch and dessert (beef skewers with rice, followed by passionate fruit cheesecake).

I got home around 6pm, Isy, Felix & Andrej were there for some pre-Estelagem hanging out. I enjoyed a short chat with Andrej before I took a shower and caught a breather before the evening’s socialising. Thankfully, this Friday wasn’t quite as late as the last one, and there were plenty of people there I now knew, compared to last time.

Still, we arrived home late, had late night (well, early morning) pizza and nuggets, and had what felt like an early start the next morning in the garage, with housemate Cat leading us through some breathwork. We then had to get ready for the ‘Meditation & Journalling’ session I was hosting at Estelagem; it was a nice, small group & I was glad to host one of these in-person for the first time, having previously hosted these online on the INF Club YouTube channel.

After, we hit the road & had brunch in Ribeira Brava before a scenic drive to the beautiful Fanal in the northwest of the island. It was the perfect setting for a chilled Saturday afternoon, with expansive, savannah-esque fields, with stunning hill-top views of the valley, clouds and ocean below. We walked amongst the cows, took pictures amongst the trees, visited the small pond buzzing with the croaking of frogs (and - we were told - small alligators), before heading up the hill and just resting for a while. Adriana & Shane were there with the 6 of us, so we took 2 cars, and there was this moment on the hill where we were all resting, together but in silence. It felt poignant, it was a beautiful moment.

We then headed together to dinner at Maktub, a well-known bar-restaurant on the island.

Tadeu was organising the jam sessions this week so he headed off early and - after a long day for us and a long couple of days for myself - we decided to head back home. This was Cat’s last day with us, and after finishing her packing we took a dip in the pool followed by one of her favourite movies, and another comedy/romcom that seems to be the theme in the house: 🍿 My Best Friend’s Wedding.

Cat left with Sonia for the airport early this morning, before we walked to the village; Sonia left a little before Tadeu & I, and we eventually caught up and arrived together on the village strip for brunch. After eating with a couple of others, I spent some time just sat on the rocks on the beach, before heading to the co-working space to do some writing.

I am co-hosting the newcomers’ meet later this afternoon, and I may watch the Portugal match here in the village or instead head back to the house as I still feel a little tired… I’ll see how I’m feeling later.

In a couple of days’ time, Sonia, Blake & I move to another house here in the village - closer to the co-working and the heart of the village - with Marie & Tadeu moving into another house.

I feel lucky to have settled in nicely and made friends here, and I’m looking forward to experiencing my second month here in Ponta do Sol.

Jas Hothi @jasraj