The Cabo Verde Journey Episode 1: Landing in Praia

Going to Cabo Verde has been what I’ve been working on as I was nearing the end of my schooling. With a Bachelor of Science in International Business Administration in the pocket, I found it time to step into the real world to get a taste of enterprise and survival without study finance as a fall net. Cabo Verde was the journey I’d been working on to make something happen outside the structure of a full-time job. I was going there to spot potential for a business concept we had; I was going there as a fire starter.

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If it wasn’t for my Cabo Verde team, none of this would’ve happened however. Getting into contact with my neighbors Judith and Aristides was the key to making things happen in Cabo. The 3 of us made the journey as pioneers to see if we could create something that doesn’t exist on the island group. Not only are they my neighbors but I have come to see them as family, being able to confide my story with them and sharing a common goal of doing business in Cape Verde.

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Landing in Praia, I already felt African vibes from the structures around me. Even though it was dark, I could see the half finished buildings people were living in and the Funana playing from the taxi driver’s radio further solidified my feeling that I was in another country. Actually, the whole road leading up to me going to Cabo was an acclimatization process where every time I’d visit my neighbors I’d return with a piece of Cabo Verde. Our taxi driver from our house to Schiphol was also Cape Verdian and he was playing the same music whilst I was jamming to it with my ukulele (eventually he turned the radio off to just hear me jam 🙂 ). Being finally engulfed by the country, I truly got to see where my neighbors got some of their vibes from. I saw them letting go of the energy that Holland gave them and threw themselves in with the Cape Verdian culture the minute we hit the ground.

The next morning was an errands running day as we had to fix the fact that we had no running water and electricity in the place we were staying. When we were in Praia, we stayed at the house of Aristides’ parents, a pretty fancy place which just needs a bit of a fix up on the inside to make it more habitable. There is also a small apartment building behind the house, separated by a little courtyard, suitable to be rented out for B&B guests. Every room there is already complete with room numbers and a private bathroom. The only thing that’s needed now is furniture, electricity and water.

We decided to live in the main house however, and we lived just fine with the little furniture we had.

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The beach was also quite close with a few minutes walk on the promenade. The area was quite developed with Hotel VIP Praia being situated next to Praia Shopping as well, a 4* hotel where people with money would stay. Not just that, but the vehicle and pedestrian infrastructure was quite good, and Praia Shopping being the only mall on the island made it a popular destination for locals as well as outsiders.

Whilst in Praia, I also got my first taste of Cape Verdian music as performed by the local artists. I filmed our friend Dulce who was also staying with us… or more accurately, we were staying with her as she was living in the apartments at the back to keep the house occupied. Here’s a clip:

Later I also got a chance to jam with her and some other musicians at a place called Hotel Rotterdão or Hotel Rotterdam since the owner had affiliations with the city.

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We were just sitting outside making some music. I didn’t speak the language but found my way to connect through music… which is how its been a lot of the time in Cape Verde. Bringing my ukulele along was a good idea as it allowed for spontaneous jam sessions and chillings on the beach with  Hawaiian vibes.  After my first time in Praia would be my first time in Tarrafal (Santyago) where we also had good times… but I’ll leave that for another blog. Until then, boa viagem!

 

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