Travel Diary/Cape Verde. Nov.15 (Part 4. Saō Vicente)

Mindelo

Monday 16/11/2015

Finally, we had enough time to discover and get a feel of what a Cape Verdean city could be like.
Cape Verde is an archipelago consisting of ten islands but only nine are inhabited. It was clear from the start that we weren’t going to be able to visit all nine islands in  two weeks. With only three islands to visit on our tour plan, we already felt like this was going to be a push and we would have to rush through some places.
But at last, we had 3 nights/2 days in Mindelo, on the Island of Saō Vicente.

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Mindelo is a port city with a lovely harbour and despite being rather modern it still has a lovely fishermen’s town feel to it and the architecture and colourful old buildings have this colonial feel that resembles Cuba
(Well I’ve never been to Cuba so I’m basing my comparison solely on postcard pictures)IMG_2329.JPGIMG_2325.JPG

The night before we spotted a little café which had WIFI, not that we are social media addicts, but we needed to check our emails every now and then to stay informed and to inform our host of any changes and updates concerning accommodation/transportation and planning for the rest of our trip. So it was easy for Tom and me to have breakfast, check our emails and make the light planning of our day at this particular café, turns out it became an easy spot to go to when we felt like a coffee and cake.

One of the activities we were hoping to do while in Cape Verde was to go Scuba Diving. I have to say this was one of Tom’s call and he had already made arrangement to possibly do it when we’ll be in Tarrafal de Monte Trigo, on the island of Santo Antão.
I am always open to new experiences and challenges but I have a fear of drowning so this is not an activity I would look into spontaneously. Luckily it’s not a paralysing fear, not like a phobia and I was open to giving it a go and try it out.

Because we were due to leave for Santo Antão on Wednesday, we decided to go buy our ferry tickets in advance. And so we headed to the harbour.

On the way back Tom noticed a dive centre. We went in to make enquiries and both time we were told the same price, once by an employee the second time by the manager itself. With that information and details, we went off to wonder and ponder it over lunch before committing.

We strolled back into town and went to visit the fish market. The fish is caught and brought right out of the sea, straight into the market.20151116_12463220151116_123109

It wasn’t extremely busy  nor noisy, but the feeling of the place, the colours, the smell and the people were enough to give you an idea of what this place could feel like at it’s busiest moments.

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Homemade salsa spice sauce

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Moray eels.

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20151116_123745The tuna were super impressive!

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Garoupa was one of the most common fish. We ate a lot of it.
(And  a pretty fish I don’t remember the name of ^_^ oops!)

Walking into the market I was nervous that Tom and I will stand out again and I would end up feeling paralysed by the stares and be so shy about it that I could only stare at my feet.

IMG_2296But everyone was super friendly and most of them, when asked if we could take a picture, would say yes. This guy even offered me a little kitten 🙂

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The man that sold the tuna.

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The lady that sold the eels.

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IMG_2303And the stray buddies we encountered.

After our little ramble down the market, our appetite had picked up. We also had made up our mind about the diving course and thought why not do our DSD in Mindelo (Discovering Scuba Diving) and, later on, do more dives in Tarrafal. Once we got back at the dive centre the prices had changed. Well not really, we were still being asked the same amount of money but for a very short introduction to DSD. So absolutely not worth the money and time for something that is meant to be your first experience.
Plus the manager was rather defensive and borderline rude when Tom questioned him about the sudden change and the confusion.
So in the end, we decided not to do it with them and take our chance with David, the certified PADI instructor we were hoping to dive within Tarrafal.

I could sense Tom was pretty annoyed and frustrated that morning but he knew this was the right decision to make and he is pretty good at not dwelling over stuff so I knew his frown will only  last a moment.

We ate at a little restaurant which was quite catered to French tourist in particular. The menu was in English and French and the customers that were inside when we came in all looked French.
We actually strike a conversation with a lady and her husband, who were well…French and who had just returned from Tarrafal. She was glowing with joy and was extremely delighted to share her pictures with us. I looked at most of them but Tom looked away at his phone. He didn’t want to spoil the surprise for himself. I wish I had done the same, but I’m too polite to appear to be rude. :/

As I’ve mentioned before the food had been great thus far and was one of our highlights during our stay. Although it was good it wasn’t spectacular in the sense that it felt very much adapted to western taste. The cachupa Tom had is a perfect example of it.

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This was their version of Cachupa and fish.

Cachupa (pronounced Kat-chupa) is one of, if not THE most traditional Cape Verdean dish. The traditional way resemble a type of stew. It is made with a blend of beans (red kidney beans, dry stone beans, dry lima beans and dry corn_also known as white/yellow corn groats) and pork meat, chorizo and cabbage.
For the fish version, it is the same ingredients with the fish minced inside the stew.

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This is what the traditional version tend to look like.

Now I have to make sure Tom tries a Cachupa made by ma Maman so he can truly claim to have eaten a real Kat-chupa! 😀

After lunch, we wandered in town and stopped by the street market to get some papaya. It was a comic scene as two vendors argued and teased each others fruits in hope we would buy from them; the woman won!

Ensued a quick stop at the flat. We packed our swimming suits and headed to the beach just before sunset.
It was great to relax and be silly together in the water. No worries, no care. The stress of travelling and being in a new place trying to take our marks quickly was beginning to wear off as if washed away with sea water. Just for a moment, there was nowhere to rush to, no place we needed to be before this or that. It felt nice. I felt content with just this.With him.

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The evening was sealed with a meal at yet another restaurant in town where we bought more food than we could eat. Thank God for doggy bags!

Then we finished the night back at the flat, wrapped up in love and lust in each other’s arms.

-C.

(Thanks to Tom for most of these beautiful pictures. )

 

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