Saturday, 28 July 2007


the city upon the river
The rain when falling, beat on the metallic wavelike plates that were used as roof by most of the suspended houses of Coloane. It fell during hours with a lot of heat resembling a sub-tropical monsoon.

At the end of the humid and hot afternoon, the rain had stopped falling, the toads were heard in a low noise, a minimalist melodic line of three of four notes, the toads usually always came out after the rain.

They used to communicate with each others, through three or four notes, always the same, hidden under the window. Insects of all size and shape appeared, god knows where from, at the same time, and filled the air with wet earth and big leaves from tropical plants.

After the rain, the river was filled with water hyacinths which floated and drifted around aimlessly. And approaching from the Southern Seas, a city was going slowly up the river. So slowly that it did not seem to move. How can I describe a machine, gigantic in its dimensions, grotesque in its contour, dead, announcing ill augur.

That pile of cranes, gears, wheels, chains, metal plates, tones of rust, and corroded paint went frightening up the river in search of an unknown victim.

The city floated, and sailed to the sound of the engines of steel.

the bay

The suspended village of Coloane. The wooden houses stand suspended above the Pearl River, always of dubious colour and troubled. On the other side remains China.

The sky, most of the year was white, which turns the light diffuse, uniform, with no contrast and no shadow, the humidity always above the ninety percent, things at home rotten slowly. Fat people, these, suffer more, I've always felt compassion for their suffering. Psychiatrists and psychologists were fashion among the Portuguese community, numerous the depressions.

A jail of sixteen kilometres squares, and on the other side, China is infinite.


A typhoon viewed from my window, force no.8, very strong, overlooking the church of St. Francis in Coloane. The bridges had closed, the access to Macao were cut, the population advised to stay indoors. It was usual that roofs flew out in the poorer neighbourhoods, and caution with vases. It was convenient to keep food for three or four days at home, we could not work, and the waiting was long.

vakei café

Every newday, I become a bit more stateless than the previous. Of a curious tan.

nga tim café


After the typhoon, the water hyacinths drifting towards the estuary,
After having infiltrated the floating city,
Are now taken by the stream to the deep sea.

The charismatic Mister Lei. Once I got angry early in the morning, and went to the four faces Buddha to take a bow, then he sat by my side and we stood silent looking at the golden Thai figure.

chan restaurant


the minibuses

illegal pop road block

Tracking down for illegal workers coming from China, the cheap working force of the territory, imported illegally to work for derisory prices. We used to call them pops, a reference to the Popular Republic.

The Nobre de Carvalho Bridge and the "helmet", the 98 percent of humidity that most of the time covers Macao, a real sauna.

chinese opera's backstage

dragon boat

The trainings of the team of dragon boat of Coloane, in the Pearl River. We won the Macao regatta, but Myanmar won the international race. There was a Portuguese in the middle of the clan, maybe the only true present sportsman. The others drank and smoked too much.

These photos forged me a good reputation in the eye of the local mafia, which like in any civilised country, supported, one way or another, local sports. Before publicising them, I had been politely warned to be careful with what I would wrote, by a local mandarin. My Chinese was not that bad.

Speaking of warnings, my downstairs neighbour who was Portuguese, had found, one beautiful day, her house flooded with water. It is usual to let the taps open in home of people whom you don't like, she did not had the blessings of the mandarins, I guess.

I remember being there cleaning, me and a friend, the damages caused on the Chinese carpets, the antiquities an other decoration object. Nobody ever knew what really happened, I've remembered that "fait-divers" of peaceful Coloane, I could tell others that had involved Portuguese, acid, Thai girls, shaving blades, a whole list.

I offered a few enlargements to the local café, also connected with the sports association of Coloane, who were hung for a while, during some short moments of glory.

Locals that at the time of the transition, the period of the deliver of the territory of Macao to China, discovered a new affinity with Beijing. Given that the disastrous administration of the government, were pushing them in that direction, more preoccupied in maintaining a false propaganda about the good understanding between the Portuguese and the Chinese community and the several centuries of cohabitation.

What would turn into a speech of scratched disk with no big practical applications, while in truth, that administration was found with a rising criminality, and a series of scandals that has shaken Macao's services.

school parade

The schools come out during the festivities of Coloane. Around 1997, a reconnection happens with mother-China, even being communist, that has never been seen a few years before. Chinese flags, the red colour is in fashion, the TV presenters from Hong Kong do huge shows using a variant of the Mao uniform, more modern, maybe Yves St Laurent.

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