Madeira Island: Part 2

One of the best things about traveling, but also one of the things I'm not very good at, is meeting local people. I appreciate hearing about the city/country from an insider, but I'm not the type of person that will strike up a conversation with a stranger. Luckily, my dad is. About halfway into our trip, we happened across this little market/cafe in.the.middle.of.nowhere. Really, I don't think we could find it again if we tried. Once inside, we noticed Major League Baseball pennants lining the wall. Remember, we were in Portugal where, we assumed, MLB wasn't popular.

We found the Cleveland Indians pennant, and my dad pointed and told the store owner, "We're from here."

You would have thought that guy had won the lottery.

"Omar Vizquel," was the first thing he said.

A little bit of conversation later and we learned that he was from Venezuela and had come to Madeira to give his family a better life. But he still loved his baseball, and Omar, who was born in Venezuela, was one of his favorites.

While we ate, the store owner (we never learned his name) candidly talked to my dad about baseball ... and his eyes were lit up the whole time. We learned that he played baseball in Venezuela and rooted for the San Francisco Giants after Vizquel left the Indians.

Later, as we drove away from the cafe, we looked over to see the owner and his family waving a San Francisco Giants jersey out the door. We honked, waved and drove away knowing that we would remember that coincidental meeting for the rest of our lives. I like to think that the store owner will, too.

We took cable cars to a garden at the top of the island.

Our hotel pool.

The local drink ... Poncha. Restaurants give this stuff out like it's water.

Natural swimming pools. It was a little too chilly for swimming, but my dad wanted to try. :)

There's the cafe owned by the baseball-loving Venezuelan.

As we were driving in the countryside, a ton of goats ran across the road. Naturally, we followed them into the woods to see where they were going.

You get olives and this pita bread-like garlic bread at every meal.