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Foto: Maarten Zeehandelaar

There’s a navy base or school on Enxada island, behind it a bustling bridge of extraordinary length, all busy, busy, busy. Yet in this picture so serene, so serene, that I cannot escape a feeling of pending surprise. Not doom, don’t get me wrong, but sudden shock, yes. While I stare at the blue water, the blue mountains and the blue sky, I am constantly ready for something to plummet from the top of the picture into the water right before this island. An angel, a plane, rocket man, an asteroid, a space shuttle capsule, or maybe a just seagull, a pelican, a cormorant or a shag (do they even have those in Rio de Janeiro? They do in tropical Central America where they are humorously referred to as pato chancho or ‘pig duck’). WHAM! A splash. Something disturbing this peace, but only for an instant. Immediately the water settles, eases back into its currents and everything is as before, as right now, as if nothing ever happened. So maybe the crash has already passed. Maybe this picture was taken after the surprise. Maybe it was there just a minute or so ago. I look again and see it could be so. This looks just as much a place where something just happened as a place where something is about to happen. What it looks like is a place where that thing, that moment, is missing.

PS Fun fact: In 1922 the first aerial crossing of the South Atlantic was made by the Portuguese naval aviators Gago Coutinho and Sacadura Cabral. They flew from Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro. When they arrived there on June 17, 1922, they ditched into the Baía de Guanabara, as legend would have it, right next to this Ilha das Enxadas.

Texto por: Peter-Jan Vermeij

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Copyright © 2010-2017 Maarten Zeehandelaar.