Having not heard from the airline, but knowing that we were booked on the 5:55 flight to Lisbon, Tim, Marion and I decided to head to the airport at 3. At 2:30, I encountered the agitated Senhor Cavalho in the hotel lobby trying to get through to the airline on the phone. He had been sitting in the lobby for most of the day waiting, not knowing as we had - via checking our ticket status online - that we were confirmed for the Lisbon flight. When he finally got through to a human, we was told to get to the airport immediately. The four of us gathered quickly and got on the 2:40 shuttle to the airport........retrieved and re-checked our luggage and made it through a long long wait to pass through security, or to do the striptease as Senhor Cavalho liked to say.
Senhor Cavalho knows just a little English, a little Spanish, and as it turns out, a little French. My attempts at conversing with him was an ugly mashup of linguistic DNA - the conversational equivalent of that unfortunate baboon that gets transported in The Fly. Mangled, half remembered Spanish with tufts of Italian clinging to the tongue and can't quite be picked off. But we got there though, conversationally - pretty much - and we were true traveling companions for the two hour journey through the airport and onto the plane, keeping one another company, and keeping an eye on each other's luggage when needed. It's that warm sociable feeling of comraderie that forms in short order in such situations.
Senhor Cavalho is from Madeira, and he's very proud of his home. While waiting to check our luggage, he presented us with lapel pins with the flag of home.
I have heard about Madeira, but never knew anything about it. Here are just a few facts:
Madeira is an autonomous region of Portugal; an archipelago in the Atlantic that sits about 450 miles east of Morocco. A favorite holiday destination among tourists - particularly older Americans. Senhor Cavalho says there are many, many old Americans there. There has been an outbreak of Dengue fever reported in Madeira this fall, with upwards of 1600 cases of infection. Madeira's annual fireworks display is rated among the best in the world.
Despite leaving late, the plane landed in Lisbon pretty much on time, which was good as I had short time to make my connection. On the flight from Lisbon to Geneva, I sat next to a very friendly and chatty Portuguese man. He's an older man and speaks English well. I don't think I got his name. This man is a passionate ecologist, he's a farmer, I know, but I don't know if running a farm is his vocation. I asked him what was taking him to Geneva, and he said business. Later he asked me if I knew where the Central Bank in Geneva was. I told him I didn't. It seems he was going to Geneva to see if he is on a list to claim a key to a safe deposit box that may hold some sort of treasure. This box, he thinks exists belonged to a man in the employ of his grand, or great grandfather. My row mate had never been go Geneva, and seeing that I have been there - 20 years ago, thought I could provide him with ample information on where the bank might be, or the cost of hotel rooms in Geneva. I'm not sure that he was certain that the bank he sought exists. He felt there should be some such central location with keys to orphaned safe boxes. I asked him if he new for sure this bank was in Geneva and not Bern or Zurich. He wasn't sure. I was able to tell him he could get a free train ride from the airport to the central train station and he'd be in the general neighborhood. We parted ways at the baggage claim.
Our flight arrived at about 10:30 in the morning (Wednesday, Nov 28). The time, from collecting my suitcase, hitting an ATM, hopping a train to Gare Cornavin, hopping on the 8 bus, getting off at my stop - Louis Aubert, was only about 30 or 40 minutes. The longest part of getting to the apartment where I'm staying was finding the building. That took 5 to 10 minutes alone. Of course, I was standing right in front of it for most of this confounding time.
The place is on Rue Corbusier. It's a little one bedroom apartment I rented through airbnb, and it fits my needs perfectly. It's about a 20 min walk to the center of town, and the bus stop in just downstairs. The view from the window looks onto the Fondation Louis-Jeantet.
|the view from the living room window.|
|the first meal.|
I did have the thought of jamming the bar of butter onto a stick and dipping it into the jam, like a strawberry butter popsicle. I've thus far refrained from taking this step.
I had a headache since landing, so after eating, I took a nap. A long nap. The headache lingered, but it disappeared somewhere along the rain splattered walk I took down near the river and the vieille ville. There's a scene in the film Prometheus (one of the three I watched on the plane) where the protagonists exploring a cavern are overtaken, and passed through, by hologram images of beings running through that very space in a distant time. That's an uncanny representation of the sensation I had treading over the cobblestones beside the torrent of the Rhone. It was a very sub-lingual, vibe of recognition I felt. A deep one. That hologram scene from the film gave image to my sense of walking parallel with a former self. Dissolving images of moments remembered popped up and dissolved as I walked. I didn't live in Geneva. The time I spent here was relatively short. But the time I did spend here was spent largely walking alone on the pavement and cobblestone. That may be the most profound aspect of my time here. That, along with the folks I met then, I think.
|These illuminated acrylic cobblestones etched with salutations and well wishes in different languages look like conspicuous pieces of litter from a distance. That's what I like about them the most.|
|The Henry Moore in front of the Musee d'art et d'histoire. This photo has a lurid Seurat-ishness about it. I'm digging it.|