It is funny how when you make the least effort, and want it the least, attention comes flowing your way. I stayed in Santo Antao for 5 days and met 3 different men who each promised me a piece of their world. Lets call them: Dee, Eee and Pee.
Dee was the first guy I met in Santo Antao and out of the three, the most romantic and most beautiful. He is handsome young local who lived in the mountains of Santo Antao. He would often jump into trees to pick me papayas and guava fruits. We walked for hours into the high mountains surrounded by banana trees and sugar cane to arrive at his village. I met his family, friends and community. They all thought I was his love.
After seeing the mountain village I decided that I wanted to experience one full night with the mountain people. Dee’s 90 year old mother offered me her bed. So I slept the night in the stone hut with a leaf roof, it sounds exotic… but it was shack-like. During the night mice and lizards would crawl the walls and into the bed which very was damp (perhaps due to the leaf roof and occasion mountain humidity). I lay wide awake throughout the night because I was very conscious of the noise of mice and other creepy crawlies which were extremely close to me. People would come into the shack at random times of the night and lay down to sleep. At one point of the night there were 5 of us sharing this small sleeping space and I was wondering how many more would join. In the morning I asked Dee who all these extra people were and he told me they were family members. Shame on me, I would like to admit that I am guilty of having bad thoughts about my surroundings. I was worried that somebody would open the door (a curtain) and violate me/my space somehow. Of course, nobody did. Of course not.
Dee and his family have a good simple life, surrounded by fresh agriculture, chickens, pigs and the magnificent Santo Antao mountain. There are always people around the mountain village so you always have good jokes and conversations. If you need solitude then you simply have to walk 30 seconds away into the mountain oasis of large trees, waterfalls and plants. I stayed the night (free of course) but I really wanted to show my gratitude, the bad things was I only had 1000Esc in my pocket which I needed so I gave the community my camera, skipping rope, sun glasses and popcorn. I feel so embarrassed by my random gifts
Earlier that day I met Eee with Dee after a 6 hour hike to the middle of the Island. Dee and I rested and drank grogue at a hotel bar which was home to acres of land bearing fruits, veg and grapes for wine. The owner of the hotel was a scruffy white man, who seemed to greet us very drunk. When he saw me he asked me to not stay with Dee, but stay with him instead. It was a bit embarrassing as Dee understands English too.. very awkward. Eee offered me some punch which I accepted and after an hour or so of resting, I left the bar with Dee to go back to my cosy guesthouse.
Eee showed himself as a hopeless romantic which came across slightly sleazy. I thought I’d never see him again. Surpirse surprise, I did. – but more on that later.
It was Sunday and I wanted to leave Santo Antao so I said my goodbyes to Dee and his family and took a private taxi (free, compliments of Dee) to Ribera Grande. I arrived there early around 10am and no taxi was leaving to the ferry Port until noon so I decided to hitchhike my way there.
Guess who picked me up? Pee. It turns out that Pee owns 10% of the agriculture business in Cape Verde, Mozambique and Brazil. Sugar Daddy material indeed. We stopped half way in the middle of the Island at a rustic hotel/bar for a drink and some food. Ohh yeah, you guessed it. This was Eee’s spot – they were friends.
Time started to pass by and eventually I missed my boat, the only boat on Sunday I could take. Eee couldn’t have been happier. He offered me to stay and eat, drink and sleep free at his hotel. I hadn’t prepared for this, though I accepted. We passed the night with a small crowd who were at the hotel eating, talking and drinking wine and grogue which in truth, was fun but I was also uncomfortable with these grand freebies
Now here is the part I don’t understand
It seems funny to me that Pee and Eee knew eachother and that Pee drove me directly to Eee, knowing that I would miss the ferry so that I’d have to spend the night at Eee’s hotel. Granted, this wasnt for money. I had everything I needed in abundance, drinks, food, comfort.. but it all seemed to fit just perfectly. A little too perfectly
Who got to be my Papi?
Nobody. Dee, Pee and Eee all got the same thing out of me. Friendly smiles and conversation. I wonder if all three of them were being genuinely friendly, or just wanted to get into my panties.
What I got out of this?
The only thing I really paid for in Santo Antao was my the ferry ticket there and the first few nights at my guesthouse (which was prebooked). I had an abundance of freshly picked fruit, veg, homemade bread, smoothies, wine, grogue and I had free accommodation.
I literally went from rags to riches in one day.
Rags: staying in Dee’s village and sleeping with mice and 5 people in 1 room
Riches: Meeting Pee, having at least a months worth of fruit and veg, wine and liquor then meeting Eee
From experiencing 1 night at a shack to staying in a luxury mountaintop hotel.
I was happy to leave
The Island itself is beautiful, actually the best in Cape Verde but being treated so much took its toll on me. At first it was nice, I mean – free food and accommodation is a travellers dream, but eventually it got sickening. It is most embarrassing when other people are around. The other people probably think that I am having sex with these men, which is something that will only happen in their dreams. But still – it isn’t cool knowing that I look like a gold digger. In fact, I’ve now learned to have sympathy for golddiggers because they have to sit through those awkward moments – when they only want the goodies.