My last day in Rotterdam consisted of packing up the last few items in my room and moving them to storage. I was moving in a determined but relaxed manner, something I also learned from Aikido. Around midday I was completely finished packing with a suitcase, a big backpack and a small carry-on backpack all ready to go. I still had enough time to go around a friend to drop off some gardening things and my longboard which was all just a bonus. I then also still had time to go to the Vredestuin and say goodbye to the peeps working that day. It was a sunny day, and it seemed like the sun wasn’t just coming to me, but to everyone around me as well. I said my goodbyes, then left to pick up my baggage at home to make my way to the airport.
I felt like I’d come full circle… except I’d grown along the way, and made new friendships. Though I left as suddenly as I came.
The train ride to the airport was alright, except next time, I’d probably just pay the fee for the intercity direct to Schiphol from Rotterdam… I was trying to be smart and take the intercity that didn’t go directly but it turned out I had to switch trains twice which is a pain in the butt with the amount of luggage I had. Its good to sometimes just pay for what you want. I talked to a Russian lady who was also going to Schiphol so at least there were two heads looking out for the right train and stop.
I arrived at Schiphol almost 3 hours before my flight’s departure but there was already a line for check-in. Check-in went ok, except the woman behind the counter had a problem with a power cord sticking out of my bag which I had to stuff inside and she wanted me to put my ukulele in my carry-on bag as well but I told her I’d just keep it on my lap… there was stowaway space underneath the seat in front of me in the plane anyway, but I guess she received training to be a hardass with baggage. My check-in baggage was something over 40kg when I was allowed 46kg so that worked out.
Security was fine. Its pretty fancy-looking at Schiphol. I was waiting at the gate in a pretty tired/dazed mode so tried to relax before the flight.
During the flight I slept half the time, while the other half was spent playing ukulele and eating/drinking. The food was alright for what it was. Even though I was surrounded by young children, they were pretty well behaved. They tried to listen to my ukulele playing above the noise from the airplane, but I’m guessing they only saw my lips move and my hands strum.
When the plane landed for a stopover in Casa Blanca, I noticed someone sitting behind me from a picture I was sent by my neighbor in Rotterdam from someone who was also flying to Cabo Verde on the same flight. I called his name, but he didn’t hear anything because of his earphones. I then waved my hand in front of his face which resulted in a reaction and we talked for a bit.
At the airport we had some coffee and I proceeded to look for a power outlet to charge my electronics and play a game of Age of Mythology on my laptop. I found an appropriate table where a 23 year old man from Ghana studying in London was sitting and we ended up talking about business in Africa and talking about creating the right environment for oneself to achieve one’s goals. It was a good conversation. We wished each other well and I left to my gate.
The plane was slightly delayed which gave me some time to continue my Age of Mythology campaign mission, although I stopped playing when I felt the pressure of a possible gate change that I’d miss with my headphones in. I saw my friend from Rotterdam again and we hung out for a bit before we started boarding.
The second flight was good as well. I had a whole bench to myself since the plane wasn’t even half-full. I asked for an extra serving of food since I wasn’t sure about food availability when I landed. Loading up was a good idea. I slept alright on the flight although I had to reenergize for the landing.
I stood waiting in line for a while to get my visa. There weren’t even that many people but these things just take time. When I got through immigration my baggage was already waiting and I loaded up on a trolley and headed out.
At the airport reception I was looking for my pickup. It was easy enough to spot as they were holding a printed out copy of my passport. Fair enough. They helped me with my baggage and without much communication I was brought to my current place of residence.
The apartment I’m in now is quite spacious and a lot more than I could ask for. I slept pretty well for the few hours I got some shuteye. Having no food, water or means of communication in house, I decided to head out and explore. With my cracked up Portuguese I asked where I could find the nearest phone shop and got pointed in a general direction. I had no idea how far I had to walk because I had no idea where I was, so I stopped a taxi to take me to the nearest store. After 200metres I already spotted a phone store so I got out soon after I got in.
After getting a new SIM card and posting a quick Facebook update it was time to look for some food and water. Outside my house there is a small corner shop which actually has decent prices for everything so I got most my supplies there. Sitting at home with my basic needs met, I felt myself moving up the Maslow pyramid and was thus seeking social connection. I let my family know I was ok and messaged some friends. Then I remembered a contact I met last time I was in Praia and attempted a message to get back in touch… within half an hour I got a response and decided to meet up later that day.
It was great meeting with my friend. He’s an English teacher on Santyago so his English is formidable even though he never left the island. I ate lunch with him at the market, at a small shop run by his aunt. We then walked a bit around the plateau and had a couple of beers at a place where there was supposed to be live music. We came too late as they started and finished early with it. We walked around a bit more so I could get a feel for the place and I took some pictures.
My friend, translator and guide
View from the plateau
We went back to my apartment as I bought some extra things like soap, toilet paper and cookies which I dropped off before we headed out to dinner to also meet another friend.
Dinner was great. We had BBQ’d fish cooked by the roadside served with rice and vegetables, eating it on a wooden bench sitting shoulder to shoulder, whilst funana music was playing in the background.
After dinner I went back home and concluded my first day in Praia. Getting in touch with my friend was a good idea. He is an English teacher so communication is no problem. He is also a part-time tour guide so he can tell a lot about the history of places as well. Knowing bargain places to eat and joining in on neighborhood street parties are also benefits.
On the second day we visited Cidade Velha, the old city (literally) and the first one on the island. They eventually moved all capital to Praia because Cidade Velha was too prone to pirate attacks. It has some great views though, and a nice restaurant at the beach.
Having 2 professional tour guides as friends also has its perks. When the sun started to set, we went back to Praia in the fully loaded shuttle vans they drive between places. No seat is left untaken. They even create space where there seemingly is non.
Back in Praia, we left to go to a neighborhood street party where my friend’s friend was doing his business selling capirinhas and hot dogs. I brought my LED light poi along and gave the people there a little show.
This is not me but a picture to get the picture
Kids love it. I think the adults did too 😛 but ofcourse all the kids want to try afterwards so I had to give everyone a go. After a few capirinhas and beers it was time to go home as I had work the next day… at least thats what I assumed.
There had been no communication with my employer since I landed. My neighbor from Rotterdam said “get used to it” about that… waking up casually at 08.00am the next day I proceeded to get ready so I could Ieave on first notice. I assumed someone would pick me up. As I sat there replying to messages I got a call from the office staff to ask where I was. Apparently I missed the carpool. Turns out that someone left a note under my door at 11.00pm telling me to meet at the busstop at 07.30am… I was already in bed at that time and I only found the note once I got the call. But well. They made sure a taxi came and picked me up so I could get to work.
Work is in progress. The greenhouses need to be finished so production can get started. At the moment, money is just flowing out of the project with nothing coming in. My task was to basically manage it so that things can start moving forward. I spent my first day attempting to troubleshoot construction problems which came down to missing parts and unexplained pieces. I might have figured it out but we’ll see. Starting the day in an unorderly fashion didn’t help although I have a better feel for the place now. Will come more prepared for day 2.
I’m going to head out for some dinner now. Its really cheap eating out here. 200 escudos for a plate of BBQ’d fish with rice and vegetables. Thats less than 2 euros for a whole meal, and none of that fast food crap either. I think I’ll be ok here 🙂
Hope to keep you all updated. Ciao for now!