Monday, April 14, 2014

Bits and Pieces

Kids here in Cabo Verde have discovered that education is a soft spot for tourists. The young man in Mindelo who approached us for notebooks--very specifically notebooks and not money--is on his way to medical school in Toulouse next year, on a government loan. He pays back his loan with five years of service in Cabo Verde once he completes his degree. He took us to a stationer's and we bought him three notebooks, plus a small sketch pad for Ian.

Today's grade schooler in Ponta do Sol just asked for cash, but he had a sheet of notebook paper with a statement that he was collecting money for his school, and a list of donors, amounts given, and homelands. There were maybe eight donors so far; French, German, Dutch, and us. This seems to be pretty common; we gave schoolchildren money last time we were here, in 2010, in the exact same way (although out on the footpath that runs from Fontainhas west to even smaller cliffside settlements).

We have discovered, for sure now, that we have no interest in becoming mountain climbers. Our hike today took us up the hill behind Fontainhas, along a well-established, switching path, that began by climbing steeply up an almost sheer cliff face, and continued on up a narrow ridge, into the clouds that gather around the peaks here on Santo Antão, the first place, for perhaps thousands of miles, to sidetrack Atlantic weather. We reached 1250 feet in elevation, having started at sea level, and decided not to climb the last few meters to the ridge. We were breathless and dizzy from the sheer drops as much as the exertion. Nevertheless, we kept coming across signs of farming. A goat pen here, a narrow patch of legumes there, even a scraggly cherry tomato plant sheltered under a rock at a curve in the trail.

I wish I could take a helicopter ride around here, to really be able to explore the endless valleys and peaks and cliffs and farms and villages and improbable architecture. I'm really glad I can't.

We have hot water in our shower-- scalding hot--so hot they seem to be trying to make up for years' and continents' worth of only cold.

Tuna shows up everywhere. Our Sunday Breakfast omelette yesterday, our mixed salad last night, some pastries we picked up at a local bakery for lunch.

Yesterday when we had just arrived at Ribeira Grande for our hike up Ribeira de Torre, and were paying our aluguer (shared taxi) driver, a group of three young mothers and three little girls passed us on the narrow sidewalk. One adorable little cutie about three years old, wearing a bright pink shirt and her hair in cornrows and clattering braids with pink beads at the ends, squealed and hugged my leg as they passed. Her mother looked as surprised as I did, and we both laughed.

I want to come back here, again and again and again.

one-fingered on my phone

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