Being on an island is somewhat of a unique experience. Most of the places I've traveled have all had a cultural impact that slowly spiraled out from its epicenter. On an island, however, it always seems like the aftershocks go in the opposite direction -- from the outside, in. The ways and influence of the ocean affecting nearly every aspect of life inland. Everything from decor to clothing, from music to art, from sport to food. Nothing goes untouched. Everything smells of seawater.
You also feel like you are in a place like no where else on earth. Birds, insects, and plant life - whether they truly are or not - all feel endemic. And some actually are. The realization that you may be looking at a species of finch that, while being one of the most pleasant displays of tan and orange you've ever seen in your life, do not exist anywhere else on our planet is, in a word, sobering.
Weather, too, has its own idiosyncrasies. It seems like islands are a microcosm of the weather you get on a large continent. Rain, wind, sunshine, snow (!), volcanic ash as fog (better known as vog), gloom, cloudy - seem like they are all happening at the same time, within the same span of only a few hundred square miles. Standing on the seashore with your feet dug in a few inches into the sand while you're watching a thunderstorm beat down the rainforest on the tops of a mountain range is, in and of itself, a unique experience.
This week on No Reservations Anthony Bourdain visits The Azores, a Portugese archipelago in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. Whatever Tony experiences - I'll bet it will be unique.
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