English tourists ranged from the walkers (khaki shorts, socks with sandals, and walking poles) to the perfectly-coiffed, high-heeled, just-off-the-cruise-ships women. I'm not sure where I fitted in along this scale. A year 5 told me recently that I was 'a bit sort of... well, you know... ummm, weird. No, no, not weird, exactly, but kind of... errrr...yeah.' I prefer 'unique', myself. I know I wouldn't fit in with the classy people. I trip over too much, and walk into things. I can never eat a tomato without sharing it with those around me. I'm also aware I have what is known these days as a 'resting bitch face'. (The Urban Dictionary defines this as: a person, usually a girl, who naturally looks mean when her face is expressionless, without meaning to: "Nah, she's just got a resting bitch face, she's actually really sweet." Related words: resting murder face. In other words, I've spent my whole life putting up with people telling me to cheer up.)
Anyway, when I wasn't unintentionally glaring at people, we took a cable car up to some rather lovely gardens, and watched in horrified fascination as people hurtled back down the hill in wicker baskets.
We didn't have a go. My Dad said he'd seen the drivers (??) in the bar getting pretty drunk during slack times, and we only had basic health insurance.
Not sure who the lunatics in the picture are. And, yes, cars did use the road at the same time.
Saturday was good. We booked an excursion, exploring the eastern side of the island. As we left Funchal and headed, via hair-pin bends, into the mountains, it dawned on us that this must be the Death Tour, run by the 'Your Life in Our Hands' bus company. The driver was Spiros, who spoke perfect English, with an intriguing tinge of Yorkshire. We were accompanied by a handful of other English tourists, and one who we thought was Italian, until she opened her mouth and we realised she was from Manchester. We stopped at a little market, where we bought lots of weird fruit, including a philodendron, which I had thought was like a rhododendron, and had to be put right by Spiros. More manic driving along sheer cliffs followed. These roads were all edged by concrete walls that were a foot tall. How this would have stopped us tipping down the mountain, I don't know. We discussed, over several bottles of wine that evening, how it gave you a sense of doom to have the drop your side of the minibus. Obviously, you never see on the news how half a bus ends up at the foot of a mountain, but I felt much safer when the 500 foot drop was on the other side.
Safely back in our apartment, we had a tea that consisted of wine and odd fruit. During quieter moments, we heard the lift doors at the end of the corridor continually opening and shutting, for about an hour. Not having the energy or steadiness to go and investigate, we imagined a dead body lying half in, half out of the lift (we'd had a lot of wine. It was only two Euros a bottle from the supermarket round the corner.). We tried to think of Agatha Christie-style titles for the book of the murder, and devised alibis. We thought that the after-effects of too much Custard Apple would probably do it.