A Brief Visit to Cabo Verde

We had a long passage from Cape Town, with continuous classes. The students were exhausted, I was exhausted – and we all needed a break. We got it at the port of São Vicente, on the island of Mindelo in Cabo Verde. This is the same country where Elizabeth and I had served until 2001 – she as Deputy Chief of the US Embassy, I doing a project for Lesley University. Unfortunately, we had lived in Praia, the capital of the country, on another island over 300 miles away, so we had no close contacts in São Vicente. We had each and both visited it several times, but didn’t have any names except a few who were either gone or out of town for that day.

Local art: A Bamboo collage

Local art: A Bamboo collage

Nonetheless, we enjoyed our visit. We arrived at 8:00am and departed at 8:00pm, so it wasn’t long enough, but we wandered the town, enjoyed speaking Portuguese again, ate two delicious meals

We ate rice and beans - the national dish

We ate rice and beans - the national dish

and made some vital purchases – some Portuguese wine to share with our friends on the ship and some Cabo Verdian canned tuna to ship home – the tuna from there is the best we have ever tasted.

São Vicente is where the wind and currents carry sailing ships heading for Brazil or the Caribbean, so it gets a good share of yachts. It is also known as the cultural and artistic center of Cabo Verde. The town seemed prosperous, with a new dock in the yacht-harbor and new construction going up spottily all over town. One surprise were billboards advertising homes for sale – in Italian. It seems that since we left, this island has become a retirement/resort haven for Italians looking for an inexpensive tropical retreat. It also appeared to have a lot more restaurants than we remembered.

The place we had lunch featured a young modern band, which became a traditional band when an old man appeared and decided to sit in with them

Apparently, he is a name. For dinner, we went to a hotel I had stayed in on visits, with a patio on the top which overlooks the entire town, down to and including our ship, which put on its night lights and outshone the entire harbor. We had a fresh shrimp in garlic dish which I swear was ½ garlic, and magnificent, accompanied by a bottle of dry, rich Alentejo wine from Portugal. They say you can’t go home again, but you can have a nice visit.

View of the Ship from the restaurant

View of the Ship from the restaurant

And so back to teaching, as we head off for Gibraltar & then on to Barcelona.

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