Cycling and thinking

On one of my cycling trips I visited the Ria Formosa National Park at Olhao.
It was a bit of a disappointment. I had hoped to see a chameleon, a rare species in Europe, believed to have come from Africa. Well, I didn’t see it. Either, it was very well camouflaged, or it had gone back to Africa. Another species I was hoping to see, was the fiddler crab, but unfortunately, it was still in hibernation.

Otherwise, I have now made several cycling trips and it’s beautiful, the swamps, the ocean and the dazzling sunshine. Often, I now spend the mornings reading on the rooftop terrace and the afternoons cycling. On my way to São Lourenço I passed a swamp field where I counted no less than 30 white storks.

Sea urchin next to my footstep

Sea urchin next to my footstep

When I walk along the beach I have made it a habit to pick up some plastic. I wonder if I am the only one doing this kind of thing. Most of the time it is a water bottle because it’s the kind of rubbish I hate the most. I hate it, because it’s so redundant, so unnecessary. If you have to take water (and you don’t, believe me, you are not going to die from dehydration in just a couple of hours), bring it in a reusable container. Or better don’t bring water at all. Bring whisky. That comes in a glass bottle. Glass is not harmfull, it’s after all made of sand. It could be harmful to surfers, though: broken glass on the beach, drunks hurling  bottles into the sea and other kind of mischief.

Often when I ride my bicycle I think about these things and so I thought it a good idea to write about it,  so the reader can have an idea of my train of thought…

One of the reasons I didn’t pick up plastic before is that I thought I’d look foolish. But then I thought, look at it this way: what would you think of another  person picking up that piece of plastic? He / she is a hero! A brave person that protects the environment, regardless of what other people think. You will love this person, you might even consider having a relationship with this person. Have children with this person!
Another resason why you wouldn’t pick up plastic is, that you don’t want to clean up the mess of someone else, Especially, not from someone as careless and brainless as to pollute the environment! This is not reasonable though. This person will be typically unaware of the fact that the plastic he or she so carelessly discarded, has  been taken care of. So, if this person doesn’t know about the fact what you are doing, moreover, is even unaware of your very existence, than how could this be of influence on your behaviour?
And the last reason: What difference does it make? Well, think of a dolphin suffocating in that bottle of plastic that you didn’t pick up…

Anyway, I have to go because I have an appointment with an orthopedist.
His name is Fernando Pessoa, which is also the name of one of the greatest poets of Portugal..

Hopefully good news in my next blogpost…



4 thoughts on “Cycling and thinking

  1. Ellen Hoogenboom

    He grote broer, alsnog van harte gefeliciteerd met je verjaardag!
    Aangezien je niet wist wat een tijdlijn is op facebook, ga ik er van uit dat je mijn berichtje daar gemist hebt….
    Ik ben benieuwd wat de orthopeed te zeggen heeft over je knieën, gaat het beter met de nieuwe medicatie? Gelukkig ben je lekker bezig met het opruimen van plastic afval, ik vraag me wel af hoeveel kinderen je inmiddels verwekt hebt daar…..!!!

    Kus van je zusje.

  2. Gerjan

    Hi Peter,
    There’s no harm in bringing plastic bottles on a hike, cycle tour, etc. They are lighter than glass and easy to carry. What is baffling me is the fact that people are able to carry a bottle with them when it’s full, but think it’s to heavy to take back when empty. By my calculations it should bé lighter on the return trip. Also it should still fit in the bag, it was carried in before. Maybe the idiots that trow awy the bottle have the following mindset: “wow this is really a nice and beautiful piece of nature! All it misses are a few bottles lying around in random order.”
    Anyway, you now my point of view where whisky is concerned. Beats water anytime, but make it hard to walk home in a straight line.


  3. Becky B

    Hi I despair of the plastic too, especially around Olhão’s saltpans if I picked up every bottle I would need at least 5 skips! However despite the rubbish these saltpans (opposite side of Olhão to the Ria Formosa park – see my post ) are a great place to see Fiddler Crabs at low tide in late April/early May. They are wonderful to watch. And the other day we spotted what I think were Moorish Geckos.


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