I completely fell in love with the Cape Verde islands (pronounced Cape Verdi I’m reliably informed)
It’s a wonderful place.
Of course I just went for the spear-fishing but that aside, Cabo Verde still kicks ass!
Strangely enough it’s quite hard to explain why. It’s more about the people, vibe and feel of the place than of anything tangible.
The island of Sal that most of the European flights land on is a flat, dusty and featureless dump. Really quite ugly. The island that we ended up on was Sao Vicente and it was much better, though still unlikely to make it onto the front cover of National Geographic.
There are beautiful islands. Namely Sao Antao and any of the uninhabited ones.
The people though were wonderful. The culture is Creole.
Perhaps the best way to describe the Cape Verde (Creole) people is to break down their origins. Take the big white smiles and colorful clothes from the sub Saharan Africans.
Throw in the sexy dance moves of the Brazilians, add a dose of Latin European (Portuguese mostly) blood to achieve that stylish dress sense that is so admired and voilà! You have the Creoles.
Young and old, they dance without shame, anywhere and at a moments notice. Music is everywhere, blaring out of every corner street café and eating house. They’re poor and happy and want for nothing.
I felt like I could learn a bit from them.
The food was largely forgettable but Manu, the only spear-fisherman on Sao Vicente, did take me on a drive through a rough neighborhood to an old dear’s house for deep fried moray eel and ice cold beer. It was good, really good.
Because this literary masterpiece is composed by a red blooded male, I feel writers license allows me to make special mention of the Cape Verde women.
The Creole women are by far the sexiest women I’ve ever seen. They range in color from milky coffee to black as a moonless night. Mostly they have dark eyes but occasionally you’ll find a blue eyed beauty, a throw back from their European roots. They are strong and slim with geometrically impeccable backsides that protrude, shift and wiggle just the right amount beneath thin, threadbare cotton dresses. They carry perfect postures with straight backs, shoulders back and chins up as they regard you with a mixture of disdain and mild interest (mostly disdain I think) almost daring you to approach them and try your luck.
I fell in love hopelessly, many times over, every day.
Unfortunately the Creole men provided stiff (excuse the pun) competition.
Strapping great lads to a man.
Lean, mean and chiseled as though from the very volcanic rock on which they were born.
Nice guys too.
I made friends every day.
Manu the only Spear-fisherman on Sao Vicente.
Ramon, the proprietor of Cafe Lisboa, where the coffee was strong and the waitress’ beautiful.
Paul, the local wise guy wheeler dealer who ‘didn’t mess around’ and ‘did what he hadda doo’.
He even spoke with that Marlon Brando Godfather voice.
Sonia, waitress at our local restaurant, spoke not a dime of English but I didn’t care. Sigh.
Cau, friend of Manu, knowledgeable guide and 24 hour taxi service.
We managed to make some enemies too. The local fishermen at San Pedro did NOT appreciate us shooting their Wahoo. We had to beat an armed and hasty retreat and never return.
Shame. The spear-fishing was really good there.
So yes the spear-fishing was really good. We lost most of our days diving to weather, angry fishermen, lost baggage on internal flights and just general logistical issues. None the less, both Jon and I shot some beautiful big Wahoo. 50 pounders!!
Put a spear into one of those beauties and all hell breaks loose I can tell you.
Cape Verde. Good times.