Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Viagens Extraordinárias

The ash cloud has arrived overhead the Azores. No flights to or between the islands (or Madeira) yesterday (Monday) and none predicted until late afternoon today (Tuesday).

By the way - and those of you living in the UK and other parts of Northern Europe will already know this - there's absolutely nothing to see when an ash cloud is overhead buggering up air transport: the sky was as blue yesterday as it ever is (which is quite a lot bluer than it has been of late, the weather here having pretty dire so far this spring - there have not yet been two consecutive nice days. Today the sky has reverted to traditional rain cloud grey.)

Of course, on Flores we're used to flights being cancelled by the weather. There's an expression out here - and I've probably got this all wrong, Marisa can correct me - o avião cancelou meaning "the plane cancelled" implying it was the plane itself which took the decision to cancel the flight, the correct expression being o avião foi cancelado meaning it was cancelled. I suspect it's a joke you have to be a native Portuguese speaker to appreciate fully. And I've probably cocked it up anyway - o avião cancelou is probably the perfectly acceptable Porto equivalent of saying things like "the kettle boiled" (I can never remember - is that a homonym or an oxymoron?) Let's move on, shall we?

Anyway, the situation has become so dire that SATA-Air Açores have chartered the inter-island summer car ferry, the inappropriately named (for reasons too lengthy to mention here) MV Express Santorini, to do some extra sailings to pick up the slack and apparently it spent last night shuttling back and forth between Horta, Terceira and São Miguel on what Atlânticoline described as a viagem extraordinária. Not as much fun as being rescued off the beaches of Santander by a Royal Navy frigate crewed entirely by tabloid journalists but more fun than going on the plane, for sure.

The BBC did a thing about how you pronounce Eyjafjallajökull and they got along an Icelander to say it - it sounds like Bjork doing a cover of "Hey Jude" to the accompanyment of the Brighouse & Rastrick brass band except it lasts a bit longer than "Hey Jude". There's also some smashing pics of Eyja-whatsname at this link to the Boston Globe. In particular, this picture caught my eye:-

The lava flow reminded me a lot of the coast line of Flores ...

Which is no coincidence, of course, because Iceland and Flores are both volcanic islands and this explains why the surface of Flores is pockmarked with these:-

I believe the last eruption here was about 20,000 years ago. Which means the next one's due ... any day now. What's that rumbling sound? And that sulphrous smell ...? Flores is pronounced "FLOW-rish" (with a real roll to the "r" and you hardly pronounce the "i" at all.)  


Anonymous said...

kettle boiling is a metonym

Anonymous said...

" a word to the wise is sufficient", meaning para bom entendedor meia palavra basta. O avião cancelou, it's not the correct way, as you say, but everybody understands, right? what got cancelled was the flight: o vôo foi cancelado, wich really happens a lot to Flores, ashes or no ashes. As for the volcano we better don't think about those things.

Marisa said...

The anonymous is me Marisa