Souvenirs from Cabo Verde

IMG_20170215_133601.jpgAs I’m waiting to get on board on the flight that takes me back from Cabo Verde, I look back on my first impressions upon arriving here. Even if I arrived in the evening, as I stepped down the plane, I could feel the warmth, which was not overwhelming due to the breeze that came at the right time.

 First impressions 

I could  feel the “taking it easy” attitude. When I went out with my luggage, I almost didn’t notice that one of the agents wanted to see my documents. He mumbled something in such a soft voice that I barely heard him. His whole attitude seemed to say “Can you show me your passport? I mean, if you wanna, it’s totally up to you, lol, jk.”

When I went to exchange some money, I asked for directions to the taxis and, based on previous experiences, I felt like I should ask ” Is it safe?” Her smile disappeared and said surprised “Yes!” I could also see the disappointment on her face for the fact that I felt like I needed to ask that. I wanted to say “I get you, it happens to me all the time.”

After I arrived at the hotel, I went out to have dinner. As I usually do when I go out at night, I didn’t take any bag with me, nor my phone, credit card, passport or a large sum of money. Sometimes I even leave the key at the reception. This makes it easy to not be afraid of being robbed. After I finished eating, I went to pay, only to find out that they don’t accept payment in coins if I want to pay in euro. I tried to explain that my consumption was of only 2,5 euro and there are only coins of that value. The server couldn’t speak good English, so she looked for help from a local that had just entered the restaurant. Upon hearing the issue, he offered to pay without hesitation. I wanted to pay him back, but he said “Consider it as a souvenir from us.” No ulterior motive, he didn’t use this as a pretext to flirt with me. Just genuine kindness.

Total bliss

Throughout my trip there had not been one moment when I didn’t feel safe. And it was clear for everyone around me that I’m not a local. In fact, I felt like I was getting the “royal treatment”. And I know it wasn’t only because of my smile.  I carry that with me all the time, yet sometimes I get the opposite reaction when I don’t look like a local.

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What money can´t buy

Every day I would be met by friendly faces. People were curious about where I came from. They would give me symbolic gifts to remember them by. I got carefully selected seashells from an ecologyst that went every day to clean the beach. “Is this your job?” I asked. “No, I do this for my peace of mind”he answered. I got handmade bracelets from a very talented craftsman, homemade samosas from a very skilled lady, cake from the owners of the appartment I was renting. No money was involved, they refused to take it, no expectations, just sharing their craft with me.

There is hope

Someone shared with me what seemed to be one of his last candies. Throughout several interactions, I could tell that he was doing daily odd jobs to make ends meet. On my last day I saw him across the street, washing a car. He waved and shouted “Nicoleta!”; his face lit when he saw me. He had never asked me for anything, not even hinted it, but I knew he liked milk and cookies, so I went to the shop and bought them for him. My gesture involved so little effort, yet he appreciated it so much. I should have said “Consider it a souvenir from Romania.”

Two Traveling Texans

37 thoughts on “Souvenirs from Cabo Verde

    1. You have a point there. It reminds me of my travel to Iceland. I was so pleasantly surprised by how kind and welcoming people were with me there, considerably more than in any of the other scandinavian countries I had been in. When asking a local why he thinks this happens, he said: “It’s a small island, at one point you will surely see the same person again.”

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      1. On the other hand, Malta, also a small island where everybody is everybody’s cousin, is the most dangerous country in Europe. It’s the only country where people shot at me, detonated car bombs outside my house (ok, that also happened in Italy) and I received telephonic threats to leave the island or else.

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  1. I never ask if it’s safe because the information provided is almost never objective. There are people who are generally scared and they will find it scary everywhere, and there are confident people who are rarely afraid and they will tell you that the Bronx and Damascus are safe (as I would, based on personal experience). Usually, the people who say that some place is not safe, have never been there themselves or indeed rarely leave the house at all.

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  2. Pingback: The best ways to learn a foreign language – Favourite Words

  3. Anisa

    I love hearing stories about kindness especially these days. So sad that you have to leave though. Will you keep in touch with anyone that you met? Thanks for sharing your post on #TheWeeklyPostcard.

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  4. Esther

    Sounds like a lovely spot!!! Reading the comments above, I can honestly say that I have also felt very safe on islands. I had no problems on Malta whatsoever (stayed there 3 weeks). Then again, I felt exceptionally safe in Johannesburg, when no one said I would. I think safety/feeling safe is also a mindset.
    #TheWeeklyPostcard

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  5. Ruth

    You have some really nice stories about the people in this place. My goodness, they sound so sweet and caring. It is hard not to fall for a place like this. I loved the milk and cookies gesture! #TheWeeklyPostcard

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  6. That’s such a sweet story! I’ve travelled enough that I don’t automatically trust strangers, so I totally get where you’re coming from. It’s nice to know that random acts of kindness still exist in the world 🙂

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  7. Isn’t it amazing to discover there are still kind people in the world? Especially nowadays, when wherever you turn you see stinginess, greed and arrogance. I am always surprised to see simple people being actually more generous than those who have more. #THeWeeklyPostcard

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  8. It’s funny, but reading your story reminded me of a story my dad used to tell me, about finding pleasant people wherever you go because you are pleasant yourself. I know it doesn’t always work that way, but it’s nice to hear stories about when it does. 🙂 Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard!

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  9. We don’t really hear or read about the island on this side of the planet but from what you shared it sure deserves more attention right?
    Love it when you travel and the locals are genuinely happy to see you and are friendly as well as helpful!
    We meet people for a reason right?
    They’re all part of our journey 😉

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  10. Wah that’s so nice, maybe the real definition of paradise? A place where people are genuinely kind, respectful, smiling, and offer each other little gifts… I think we can say you are lucky to have seen one of the last places on the planet where people are like this!

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  11. Best souvenier of all is rememberance of generousity and kindness experienced when traveling, and then reciprocated. In my many years of traveling, what I remember most typically from places I have visited are not the buildings or mountains or ocean views, but the people. Lovely story. Thank you for sharing it.

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  12. What sweet encounters. I love that the locals were so generous and kind. Great idea about the cookies for your street friend too. A warm and loving place that I’d love to see one day. #weekend wanderlust

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