21. DECEMBER 2014 – SAO VINCENTE ISLAND, CAPE VERDE

I went on the same tour as the last time, so my day started quite early. This time I had a different tour guide, but he was very nice and friendly and he really shared a lot of new information that I didn’t hear the last time. We had a bit different order this time and a bit different timing at every stop, but I think all that was better this time. I had enough time to get some great shots at every location. This time I took my own tripod with me, because it is much lighter and easier to use, even though it doesn’t have smooth movements and it gets a bit shaky when it’s windy. But I think I still managed to get some nice footage.
And I kind of enjoy when people ask me questions about the videos and about this job in general. And everybody is interested in when I am from. I met some people that have been to Slovenia before and they all said they loved it and that it is a beautiful country. I know it is, I love our mountains and scenery too, but I guess I am just used to it.
When I got back I quickly ate some lunch and then my roommate and I went to the beach. Ah, nice sandy beach. Last time we were in Mindelo we went to the beach at night and it seemed a bit ugly and dirty. Today we went during the day and we couldn’t be more wrong. The beach was so nice! Amazing turquoise blue water, sandy beach and not too many people! Ah, perfect, even though it was quite windy. But we didn’t care. We went into water just to have a short swim and it was so nice. The water was quite warm. And the views were amazing, even though the beach is right around the corner of the port. It’s all the mountains and the nearby islands that make it nice. The best is probably some small island that looks more like a large high rock in the middle of water. We enjoyed the warm sunny weather and we just lied on a beach for about an hour. We had sand all over us, but we didn’t care, it was worth it. Things like this really make you love this job even more. How many jobs do you know that allow you to spend some free time on a nearby beach, possibly different beach every few days? =)

11. DECEMBER 2014 – SAO VINCENTE ISLAND, CAPE VERDE

I really want to have this blog more up to date, but the internet on the ship often doesn’t work and even if it does, it is usually too slow to upload any photos. So there is no other way than to wait for some good Wi-Fi spot when we will be at some harbour, but that is if I will have time to use it of course.
So anyway, this day our ship was at the harbour at the town Mindelo on the island of Sao Vincente. This time I was assigned as an escort to one of the buses that went on the short trip around the island. It was about four hours long trip and we visited some locations around Mindelo, African market, fruit market, handicraft museum and cultural centre. Very interesting to see, though I wasn’t really able to pay much attention, because I had to work – that means I was running around with my camera and clumsy tripod. =)
From the city we went up to the closest mountains to get some nice views, although the visibility wasn’t the best and the wind up there was really blowing like crazy. While I was filming the wind was actually shaking the heavy tripod, but I noticed that later when I was editing the footage. We went to some sand dunes at the coast. The sand gets to the island from the Sahara desert and they say that when the wind is blowing from that direction the visibility can be even worse. So yeah, we got the chance to walk on the desert sand.
After that we went to a small town that is quite popular spot for tourists and locals with a bit more money. You noticed that right away because the houses looked much nicer and finished. They said that a lot of the houses are owned by the people that live abroad, so they are mostly used just as summer houses. But it’s nice, right at the sea side with nice beach and great waves and winds for surfing, kiting or windsurfing. Well at that town we stopped at some local restaurant where we had a snack and got the chance to see a traditional local dance. Seems like people of Cape Verde enjoy some sort of mating dance, or at least it seemed that way. And oh my, after the main dance was over they pulled people out of the crowd to dance with them… and guess what, that guy decided to pick me… My resistance didn’t really work, he just pulled me out on a dance floor… Haha! But hey, I admit, it was quite fun, even though I looked very dumb and I had no idea what I was doing. =)
We returned back to the ship quite early, so I just ate some lunch and went for a short walk to the town of Mindelo. I decided to buy some souvenirs, because I would like to have something small from every location we visit if there will be a chance. This time I bought a nice pair of earrings that are actually made out of sea shell.
I must admit, all these trips are quite tiring, especially because when I get back I must still edit all the footage from the day. But when you think about it, this is why I get to see all the interesting places! So yeah, totally worth it!

10. DECEMBER 2014 – SAN ANTAO ISLAND, CAPE VERDE

We started our day at the Porto Novo on San Antao island, still part of Cape Verde. There were no docks big enough for our ship, so we were anchored nearby and we were tendering to the coast. I knew what tendering was, but I have never done it with one of the large tender boats.
Again, many small buses waited there for us. This day it first the first time I did all the video, so I was carrying around the tripod, which can be quite annoying sometimes. We drove through the mountains, first they were quite dry, later very green and full of different plants. Well mostly there were palm trees and sugar canes. Well this supposed to be the most beautiful of the Cape Verde islands, so our expectations were quite high. It was beautiful and again the views were amazing, but I still think I liked the one yesterday a bit more. I can’t decide. This one has really tall mountains, very deep valleys and more or less just black rocky beaches and cliffs. But it is funny how you see people and lonely houses in the middle of nowhere. You have no idea how to get to those houses and they are so far from any other house, village or town, that you really don’t know how they get anywhere. I know these people are used to it and they don’t need much, also they mostly grow all the food they need, but still, it is very unusual to us.
We stopped many times to take photos and all the views reminded me of parts of Asia from time to time, especially because there were terraces everywhere. The terrain is most of the time so steep that they really don’t have a choice, but to build terraces, where they grow different fruits and vegetables.
Once again our lunch was very good and even I was able to find something for myself. I ate some fruit that I have no idea what is was. It was peeled, so I couldn’t see how it originally looked like and I forgot to ask. It was small, like a size of a kiwi fruit, but it was red and tasted totally different, but very good.
So to put it in short, it was another amazing day full of beautiful views. Hopefully my videos will look great when I check them out and edit them all together. Once again, I feel tired, but blessed to be part of this amazing opportunity, or adventure if you will… =)

9. DECEMBER 2014 – SANTIAGO ISLAND, CAPE VERDE

Yay, my first day on a real trip off the ship! We arrived at the port in Praia on the Santiago island in the morning. I accompanied the group that went on a discovery tour around the Santiago island. There were more mini buses and I was on one of them with a smaller group of people. As soon as we left the port we passed some stands that immediately let us know that we were in Africa. Cape Verde were actually part of Portugal, because they were colonized, but they are really close to Africa, so they still have a lot of original culture. Well we passed these stands that were more or less just few sticks and plastic roof or something like that and they sold different goods. And another thing I didn’t expect – women carrying the buckets on their heads. I had no idea that is typical on these islands as well.
Our first stop was at some distillery in the middle of some valley. Then we drove up and down the hills and mountains and you could see that we were in or on the crater of an old volcano. It is not active anymore, but you can see the shape. And the vistas, the scenery, the views – oh, simply amazing! I fell in love with it right away! And the palm trees everywhere! Oh, I love palm trees. When we drove along these mountains and greenery I couldn’t believe how blessed I am to experience something like this. All these beautiful sights made me even forget there is a lot of litter everywhere. Yes, it is quite dirty, but mostly because people are not yet educated very well about this problem. Our guide said things are better now, but they still need some more time and better education.
Well the problem with this island is that it didn’t get much rain, especially this year, so the grounds are quite dry. There is still a lot of poverty, so the houses are very simple and most of them unfinished. But it is amazing how all the people we saw looked so happy. Everybody was smiling, waving at us, talking or laughing. Our guide, a local, told us that they are peaceful nation and even though they don’t have much, they appreciate what they have. Even when life is hard they don’t just sit and wait for better times, like many people in more civilized world do. He said they know you must do something and changes will come sooner or later. I love their way of thinking and it seems it is working very well for them.
We visited some botanical gardens that didn’t really impress me. They looked more like just bunch of paths through some forest or something like that. Nothing special to be honest. What shocked me there, was a photo one of the tourists showed me after he went on a toilet. There was a huge black spider, so I was really happy I didn’t go to the toilet at that location.
And right after I just realized that there are obviously large spiders on the island, we drove in our minibus and we passed some spider web with large spiders. At first I thought that must be some decoration or something, because it was right in front of some house and it almost looked like a fence made of net. Well I wasn’t so lucky, those were real spiders and they were everywhere! They were really large, probably about 7 or 8cm (with their legs of course), but luckily we didn’t see any of them moving. They were just sitting there on their nets. I still didn’t wanted to approach them, but I was brave enough to take a photo.
Our last stop was on the other side of the island, at the most beautiful beach they have. It is beautiful, it is sandy and it has palm trees… Exotic, as you would expect. It is just sad that all the unfinished, ruined and poor buildings kind of destroy the whole image. But it is very nice that is right next to town, so you can see the local fishing boats and people working at the beach. Really great experience to see the locals, not just tourists. We had lunch there and I usually have some problems with food, because I am vegan (if there is no other choice I eat something vegetarian as well, these days I ate few pieces of meat after about three or four years, but it just didn’t feel right and my stomach didn’t like it, so I guess that proves I really should stay vegan). Well this time there were a lot of local vegetables and fruits available, so I had no problem finding something for my taste. And I ate one of those cute little local bananas and they are really so much better than the ones we buy in supermarkets in Europe. Much sweeter and full of taste! I wanted to try one of these for such a long time…
We were returning along the coast, so this time we could only see the mountains more in the distance. But it was amazing and we passed some interesting bays and valleys. What made it so much funnier were the cows, donkeys, goats and chicken that crossed the road more or less on every corner. We almost hit few of them, but luckily we didn’t (though I heard one of the bussed did ran over the chicken). I mean, you don’t get to see this kind of a simple life everywhere and all that made the whole experience even more unique.
Well to put it together, I loved the day and I am starting to love this job more and more. It can be quite tough and busy, but in the end all the travelling, seeing new places and meeting new interesting people really make it all worth it. I think I still don’t really get that all this is actually real and I am the one that is able to experience it. That’s probably what happens when your dreams come true. Dare to dream big no matter what others say!