Sunday 17th January– Mindelo, Sao Vincente, Cape Verde Islands
Arriving somewhere at lunchtime is actually rather pleasant – don’t think we’ve ever done it before. None of this getting up at a silly hour, being wrenched from sleep by announcements, rushing around, blah blah. Just a leisurely morning, a barbecue lunch on deck and then a wander ashore. Very relaxing.
Watched a film yesterday. I think it is called Red 2. Very good action movie. If I’ve got the name right, I would really like to see the first film. Light-hearted and funny, but an excellent action movie at the same time, with some lovely and very original set pieces. I also glimpsed Edge of Tomorrow again, but as I saw that on Oceana, several times, I could recite the script, so I kept channel surfing. Gravity looks okay, although I have not yet managed to see the beginning. That’s the thing about cruises, you’re never in place for the beginnings of stuff, so you tend to see the end bit first, and then go back and find the beginning later. As I did with The Judge the other day. Seen the middle of that one, but not yet the beginning or the end. Likewise, thus far, Noah and how I saw Saving Mr Banks on Oceana. And 3 Days to Kill, come to think of it. I have never yet seen the beginning of About Time, although I have watched from midway to the end several times so far (and am doing so again now). In fact, the In Cabin Viewing Guide for now reads as follows:
Channel 28: An episode of The Big Bang Theory
Channel 29: Arbitrage
Channel 30: About Time
Channel 31: Noah
Channel 32: Some travel show about alcohol in Portugal.
Sorry, got distracted there for a bit. Mindelo was, as expected, pretty much shut. But much more developed than it was the last time we were here, which I reckoned, off the top of my head, was about twelve years ago.
The first thing you see when you disembark is the graffiti left by the sailors of other ships that have docked here. They seem to have either stopped people doing it or had a massive drop in trade, because I could not find a single one dated between 2012 and 2015, and only one dated 2016 (not us). Some take it very seriously and clearly have ready-made stencils made, with boats and neatly-printed lettering. Bless. Others just arrive with a brush and a message. Sort of marine tagging, I suppose. “Oriana woz here” – that type of thing. Different colours, different languages. Some have more than one date- they add another the next time they come. It shows a pattern, a consistency, although most only seem to come by once a year or once every two years, which makes me wonder where they go the rest of the time, and who is here in their absence. Even a simple thing like graffiti holds a whole world of unanswered questions, if you have little enough to do that you have the space to really overthink things.
The second thing you see, at the port gate, is a brand new dual carriageway and, opposite you, a large advertising hoarding, currently extolling the virtues of a particular broadband provider. There was no broadband here twelve years ago. Hell, even we might have been on dial-up back then – the internet was only about ten years old!
So we took the shuttle bus into town. This was not a bus, per se, or even a coach, these were minibuses of eleven seats each. We had been warned that there were not many available, but there were a dozen standing idle, so that piece of information was stonkingly wrong. In fact, the port talk and port guide were both so wrong, that we are thinking of making a formal complaint. The port talk lady slagged off the place to such an extent that some people didn’t even bother to disembark, and the printed port guide referenced the Encyclopaedia Britannica. Do they even still publish that?! But as what they described seems to have been precisely what was here twelve years ago, they were both so wide of the mark, we could almost have felt embarrassed for her and whoever wrote the guide, but for the fact that, between them, they ruined the entire day of some passengers, but also significantly reduced the money spent in town, a place that is clearly in massive need of income. Those that went on the organised excursion, touring the island, LOVED it. There was some hesitancy about the journey up to the top of the island (about which some expressed concern that their insurance policies did not cover extreme sports), but once there, they were very happy.
We stayed in town. We were directed to some wifi, but it wasn’t working, so we retired to a nearby café, which turned out to have brilliant wifi, completely free of charge, so we rested in the shade for a while, and tried to Skype people the UK, only to find that apparently the entire Skype system was down at the other end. Then mum and dad went back to the ship, and I carried on surfing for a while longer, drinking their Sprite and using their very clean loos, with motion sensors on the lights to conserve electricity (although the wind farm on the cliffs outside town looked thoroughly functional and busy to me). In fact, the motion sensors were so enthusiastic about turning the lights off, I had to wave my hands above my head twice, just to find the toilet paper! It was about 24 degrees in the shade, but the humidity was extremely high (we are now only 17 degrees from the Equator, so we are well into the Tropics), so it felt quite oppressive. On the plus side, all the doors and windows were open, so there was a lovely draught that kept me cool. We’ve had some wifi signal issues on board over the past few days, so it was nice to be able to post on Facebook without seeing my post vanish completely as soon as I hit send, as has been the case recently. I’m hoping our signal will improve over the next day or so. Otherwise, I may have to formally report it – it’s starting to annoy me a bit. And cost me money, to boot.
Anyway, when I got back on board, I had a very long, cold shower. My skin was so hot that although the water was quite cool when it hit my shoulders, it was warm by the time it got to my feet! Went to dinner and then back to the cabin to cool down again and wait for whatever sunburn I probably have to develop. Dad reckons four hours, so as I got back on board about 5, I should know the worst by about 9. We are currently at GMT -1, so I may have escaped any permanent damage, but I wouldn’t say no to another cold shower. I appreciate that, for most of you reading this, it is currently snowing, but I can only apologise for that. You knew I was heading south when you started reading. 😉
Four sea days now before Salvador. Apparently Declan Curry is now on board, but his talk on pensions is at 9am, so I don’t fancy my chances of making it, frankly, however much I would like to.