National Geographic : 1959 Mar
PERESTRELLOSPHOTOGRAPHS,LTD. Flash and Thunder over Funchal Bay Salute the New Year Madeirans celebrate holidays with massive displays of fireworks. Strings of lights underscore the pyrotechnic display; ships' horns wail a farewell to the old year. broideries, baskets, fruit, wine, wild canaries, and inlaid woodwork-clustered below the passenger promenades. The hawkers shouted their wares and argued prices in a mixture of Portuguese, French, English, and sign lan guage. After a few weeks on the island, Tony and I felt that the Madeirans had adopted us. Now we could enjoy the show staged for other visitors with a smug sense of belonging. Madeira Wants More Visitors Unfortunately for an island that needs dollars, francs, pounds, and escudos, the flow of tourists has fallen off in recent years. The fault is not with Madeira itself. It is with her inadequate facilities for the berthing and supplying of large vessels. A new deepwater port is Madeira's primary need. One of the most ardent campaigners for this cause is Portugal's former Ambassador to the United States, Dr. Joao A. de Bianchi, a native of the island. An airfield is another touristic necessity. 394 The Portuguese Government, somewhat be wildered-not to say bedeviled-by Madeira's mountainous terrain, has started to expropriate land near Santa Cruz, 10 miles from Funchal, for an airport, but both projects present seri ous financial problems. Fortunately, the very pressure of people who want to visit Madeira will almost cer tainly have its effect. If enough foreigners with pockets full of assorted currencies want to visit this lush paradise of the Atlantic, is landers will find a way to welcome them by boat or plane. For Madeira is appealing, in a way that wrenches the hearts of all who see it. It is an island of dreams-but dreams come true. I recall a peculiarly Portuguese word, sau dade, which means "memory imbued with longing." All who have visited Madeira, from Zarco the Blue-eyed, who sought undiscovered continents and seas beyond Portugal's hori zons, to travelers who toured Funchal last month, have left this green island with saudade indelibly graven on their hearts.