I just came back from spending a few days at Playa del Carmen in the caribbean sea of the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. The once small fishing town is now full of resorts. In spite of this, it is still a beautiful beach and at this time it is not overcrowded.
We, Portuguese have always had a special relationship with the sea. In the 15th and 16th centuries when we started the epic adventure of the discoveries, our horizons expanded in unexpected wonderful ways. A world of new cultures, peoples and places was exposed. Our maritime explorers were at the forefront of the European overseas discoveries and of detailed mapping of the coasts of Africa, Asia and Brasil. We were for example the first to establish a maritime route to India and the first to arrive in Japan. I can only imagine how these explorers felt, the feeling of excitement to see what was beyond the horizon mixed with fear of the unknown.
At present you can find Portuguese in almost every corner of the world and you can be sure they will be completely adapted and integrated in the local culture.
Many of us are happier always on the move, feeling the need to explore new cultures and new destinations. I happen to be one of those people and I confess that when I don’t travel for a while, I get restless.
The sea also takes me back to my childhood, to those summers my family and I spent by the sea, in S. Pedro do Estoril. My parents always rented a cabana in the beach for a whole month, usually in August. I loved it! We would leave the house very early in the morning after my mother had packed a wonderful picnic enough to keep six children plus the parents happy for the day. She spent the previous day cooking all our favourite dishes and sandwiches, I still remember how tasty everything was and how we would sit in the shade of the cabana, sharing the meal together while admiring the sea.
The best part for me though was the long walks I had with my father. We would do the whole beach by foot and talked about everything. The talks evolved and changed as I grew older.I will always cherish those moments and I’m sad those ended too soon, when I turned 17 and my father died of cancer.
Now I look at my sweet daughter who at 3, already loves the sea and the beach as much as me. While we build sand castles, bury each other’s feet and walk along the sea shore laughing when the waves catch up to us, I realize life is really composed of circles that you will gradually complete. How lucky to be alive and be able to go through each circle, sometimes it is hard, many rough bumps on the way but you learn a lot about yourself and are grateful for all the good things in your life.
You are most welcome to share your special memories of the sea here if you feel like it …