The first few days after arriving to a new destination are all about discovery and exploration. After our breakfast on the first full day on Sal, Cape Verde we divide our time into relaxation and walking, since walking is one of the best ways to get around. There is very little traffic around our area and what vehicles there are tend to be taxis or other tourist transport. Some are pickups in which tourists are required to sit at the back in the open air and we are not tempted by them since a] the winds are brisk and cool and b] there is nothing resembling any kind of seat belt.
I’ve woken with a sniffly, runny nose since our arrival. A child in the queue at the airport was stricken with a streaming cold, which has, presumably affected most of the passengers on the Lisbon plane.
Nevertheless we wander to Santa Maria, our nearby town and then further still, to beyond the town and along a decked walkway to a much more upmarket area of chain hotels- Radisson, Hilton etc. The beaches are vast and unsullied by sunbathers [it’s not warm enough!] but attended by windsurfers and kite surfers. There are many companies doing a roaring trade in board and sail hire, also tuition. There is an abundance of cafes and restaurants- as well as the ubiquitous ‘Irish pub’.
Along the walkway we spot horses, tattoo parlours [not too busy!], gift shops and hawkers of small items spread on sheets and we are waylaid countless times by sellers hoping to catch our attention. Many of the items for sale are made of recycled/upcycled materials and a huge amount of it is from shells. In fact I’m struck by the plethora of recycled and repurposed items around; planters from halved containers, beach shelters from tyres, bar furniture from old pallets and so on.
We’ve dined in the hotel on our first evening, which happened to be Valentines’ Day, an acceptable though not stupendous meal, accompanied by a lacklustre guitarist/singer warbling out ballads from the likes of Ed Sheeran. Now we’re up for a more adventurous evening and we opt for a busy restaurant on the way into town, Porto Antiguo, where there’s a jollier guitarist and a lively atmosphere. It is to become one of our preferred restaurants for its friendly service, good food and fun atmosphere.
Husband succumbs to the cold and has a much worse experience, streaming and sneezing for the next few days.
The hotel manager comes to the room to tell us ‘Your room is ready’, which is mystifying. Later, her colleague comes to explain that this is not our room and we must move, that the enormous room we’ve been occupying is a ‘suite’, that our booked room is a modest, balcony-free room somewhere else and that the night receptionist should have informed us upon check-in. Hm…
We move. We’re not too unhappy. We’ve a kettle and a better fridge and the shower is nicer. We still have an ocean view and can use the poolside loungers- except that the weather continues to be rampantly windy in between bouts of sun.
Husband’s cold gets better. I begin a UC flare [for more recent readers, here’s the link: https://gracelessageing.com/2014/12/07/journey-to-the-centre-of-the-colon-a-gastric-odyssey-with-apologies-to-jules-verne/] I’m well prepared with meds, although it sheds a blight over activities, dining and enjoying an occasional beer. Bleurgh!
But we’re aware we haven’t seen much of the island and will need to book a tour, which we do, with the hotel. It’s to be a ‘private’ tour in a 4X4 rather than a pickup and will also need to be an afternoon jaunt, owing to the flare [always worse in the mornings]. We settle on a day nearer to the end of our stay to allow some degree of recovery for both of us…
Grace is the alter ego of novelist and short story writer, Jane Deans. To date I have two published novels to my name: The Conways at Earthsend [https://www.amazon.co.uk/Conways-at-Earthsend-Jane-Deans-ebook/dp/B08VNQT5YC/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2ZHXO7687MYXE&keywords=the+conways+at+earthsend&qid=1673350649&sprefix=the+conways+at+earthsend%2Caps%2C79&sr=8-1 and The Year of Familiar Strangers [https://www.amazon.co.uk/Year-Familiar-Strangers-Jane-Deans-ebook/dp/B00EWNXIFA/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2EQHJGCF8DSSL&keywords=The+year+of+familiar+strangers&qid=1673350789&sprefix=the+year+of+familiar+strangers%2Caps%2C82&sr=8-1 Visit my writer Facebook page [https://www.facebook.com/search/top?q=jane%20deans%2C%20novellist%2C%20short%20fiction%20and%20blog or my website: https://www.janedeans.com/