A Taste of Three Continents - November 2005 travel blog

Belem Tower

Presidential Palace

fish vendor

fish vendor

bowl of fresh fish

baby on back

headful of bananas

fishermen

selling veggies

market from above

arid coastline


Cape Verde Islands both profit and suffer from their location. We sailed mostly north and a bit west all day yesterday to reach this spot. These nine volcanic blips are so far from anything that people kept discovering, forgetting, and rediscovering them since 1455 when the Portuguese first stumbled upon them. And yet, they are visited by a steady stream of ships and aircraft since their location is a stepping stone for those traveling from Africa to the New World. Cape Verde belonged to the Portuguese until the 1980's. Residents are a mixture of African and Portuguese with an enriched gene pool from all the sailors who stopped by over the years.

Cape Verde means green cape, but the climate has changed since this name was chosen, At first colonists tried to grow sugar, but the weather was too dry. The slave trade brought greater prosperity, but this lucrative trade also brought pirates. Cotton plantations flourished for a while, but now it is too dry for these as well.

We heard that it only rains here twice a year and the arid hills make this credible, but the market sold quantities of produce. Later we heard that it is brought over from a neighboring island an hour's sail away. All water here is produced by a desalination plant. Very $$$. We saw our chef stop by the veggie market to augment his larder with twenty kilos of green stuff. We won't be taking on anything fresh for the next three days as we sail toward Rio. Great quantities and large assortments of fish were also for sale.

Even though another cruise ship almost the same size as ours was in port, the fact that the ship did not offer any shore excursions for this spot was telling. Town was within easy walking distance, but the stores only sold items of interest to local residents. Not a T-shirt to be had! Even though I had hardly heard of this place before we selected this cruise, we are looking forward to coming here again next spring when we refuel on our flight to South Africa.

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