Thursday, October 16, 2008

Depois – Reflections on Afrikan Adventures which in hindsight didn’t need to be made nervously by PCV Parents

They came and went in less time then it normally takes to get a hiace to go to Tarrafal on a Sunday afternoon. The visit of the Parents was a whirlwind affair of multiple island adventures, slight, SLIGHT, deviations from the proposed plan, and overall a quality introduction to a so called Afrikan nation.

Below, in a style reminiscent of the pre-Jewish populations in the land of Canaan, I have listed several highlighted aspects of the visit:

  • Day 1 – Parents arrived exactly on time, as planned. This might have been the first and last thing that went according to plan. After a few photos in the hotel room, the Parents take their first stroll in Cape Verde, and eat pizza. Power went out at night.
  • Day 2 – Not spent in Sao Nicolau. A few fun filled hours in the airport however. Man, I really love spending endless hours in the Sal airport. Anywho, we decided against going to Sao Nicolau right away and instead opted to see more of Sal. The Father wanted to buy a new watch and sunglasses so we went to Santa Maria. He ended up not getting anything…except for some t-shirts. Dinner in the dark.
  • Day 3 – After tiring of Sal, we head to Sao Nicolau. Calmly and without effort make our way to Tarrafal. Take some hotel photos, and take a walk during the absolute hottest part of the day. Actually thought the Parents were going to melt. Quality time on the terrace. Since we weren’t very hungry after not eating anything, had a nice late dinner. The Mother had a very good soup. I could live on soup. Not sure if the power went out.
  • Day 4 – While not officially Tuesday, still called Wild and Wacky Tuesday. Our hired car arrived not only on time, but early. And in our hotel room. What service! Made our way to the farthest reaches of the island to R. Prata, where the little known Nile of the West was still raging after heavy rainfalls. Several dead hippos still lay along the shores due to the voracious appetite of this river. Before I knew it, the Parents were forging their way across, playing with piranhas, and helping old women carry water across on their heads. I think the Father even wrestled a crocodile if I am not mistaken. Still full of energy, made our way to Carberinho to witness the beauty of nature. Did some more terrace-ing. Power went out. The Mother joyfully discovered some of the local fauna on the bathroom towel.

  • Day 5 – And back across the island to R. Brava, otherwise known as Vila, otherwise known as Stanxa. A strenuous hike through the European like streets of this old town, we ended up taking in the pleasures of the terrace at our Pensão. Enjoyed conversation with various travelers, all with secret stories that nobody seemed to know. Decided it would be best if everyone wear a card that told their stories. Dinner on the terrace. Went a bit heavy on the malagetta. Think the power went out for a short while.

  • Day 6 – This is it; the reason the Parents came to Cape Verde, to see Cachaço. Got an early start as the Father wanted to hike to the peak of Monte Gordo before it got too hot. After peaking in record time, made our way back to my house and conversed for a while with neighbors. Seemed all agreed that the Parents were younger than they had been led to believe. Not sure how old I had made them out to be. After having a salt free lunch, seriously, completely salt free, amazing, the Parents made y neighbor cry a few times and we ended our day in Cachaço and returned to our terrace in Vila. Introduced the Parents to catchupa, grog, and oro (an Afrikan game using stone and a wooden board with six houses on each side). Power went out at some point during the day.

  • Day 7 – We arrived at the airport a tad early, a tad earlier than the actual airport staff in fact. Again surprised by TACV, the plane actually arrived early, but TACV redeemed it self by not taking off till it had left late. Ahhh TACV. Anywho, made farewells to the Parents, knowing they had a short trip ahead of them back to the USA. For me, went back to Cachaço and immediately asked if I missed the Parents and if I cried. When I answered negative to both (it had been less then an hour since I said goodbye) I was labeled a bad person. Ahhh, Cachaço.

So that’s it. You can compare the intended plan and the actual plan to judge for yourself how the trip went. A raging river crossed, the hated Mayor, meetings with Senegalese and various family members of Toi, cabbages thrown out hiace windows, bags of rice left behind, and many other things that at first glance may appear chaotic to the intrepid American trampist, but even after a week seems normal and commonplace.

BUY A SHIRT!!!!! à ß Look for the recycled version. And after buying a shirt, donate a little bit more. Its tax deductible….I think. And then, since you are already on a roll, take a walk, ride a bike, put yourself back into the cradle of nature that we have left behind when we built our little empire. Pick up one piece of trash; make the world we all share a better place. If we don’t love one another, who will?

Friday, October 3, 2008

Antes – Afrikan Adventures made nervously by PCV Parents

It has been requested perhpas at the highest eschaleons of whateverhood that a blog entry be drafted that records the before and after of the visit of my parents. So, I figured what I would do would be to catalog the intended plans, and then to remark later on what actually occured. So, below you will find a little something I like to call, “The Intended Plans for the Visit of the Parents”

Day 1 (Domingo, Oct 5th)

¨ Parents arrive as expected at 4pm at Sal International Airport after a lovely and short trip from Lisboa, Portugal. I greet them in the local fashion and we head off into the litter free town of Espargos, Sal where we dine in the basking light of the sunset and sleep in the mosquito-free hotel room

Day 2 (Sequnda, Oct 6th)

¨ After a wonderful night sleep, we make our way to São Nicolau onboard our TACV aircraft. The plane naturally takes off on time and there are absolutly no problems.

¨ Upon arrival, we make our way to the other end of the island where we will begin our week long island adventure, in Tarrafal and the Pensão Alice.

¨ Lunch at one of the fine eateries along the waterfront

¨ Bask in the warm, but not excessivly hot, sun at the beach

¨ Take dinner which is prepared all salt free

Day 3 (Terca, Oct 7th)

¨ The adventure really beings as we take our charted excerusion vehicle to the outter reaches of the island to the secluded town of Ribeira Prata. With vibrant greens and flowing waters, explore the town while the locals go about thier humble lives barely lifting an eye to the three white people walking amongst them. Maybe we have a light snack.

¨ Next stop, Carbirinho, the site where a Peace Corps Volunteer (ahem) is working on having the area proected and included into the Protected Areas Network. We will wander around along the coastal area where millions of years of erosion has created an artistic pallet in the rocks.

¨ Return to Tarrafal for lunch and some light relaxation.

¨ Go for a local grogue testing at one of the fine grogue establishemnts.

¨ Pizza night?

Day 4 (Quarta, Oct 8th)

¨ Goodbye Tarrafal!!! We leave our humble abode of Alice, which has been cool and mosquito free the entire time and make our way into the heart of the island, where the clouds collect, the mists roll in and out, the jungle meets the farms, and this PCV calls home. Thats right, we make our way to Cachaço and Parque Natural Monte Gordo.

¨ A day of exploration in the park, in the town, meeting and greeting.

¨ We lunch at Bia’s house, my neighbor. Again, all food is salt free

¨ After lively conversation in which all people speak fluent crioulo, we make our way to the capital of São Nicolau, Vila de Ribeira Brava and check in at Pensão Jardim

¨ Free afternoon wandering the little streets, maybe do some shopping along the famous Rua de Lojas, or watch local street artist perform their various crafts

Day 5 (Quinta, Oct 9th)

¨ Whew, after all the adventure, we spend a lazy day in Vila. Wander along the winding roads of this Portuguese-esq like villa. Walk along the gently rolling hills, taking in views of the villa as well as the ribeira leading to Cachaço.

¨ Maybe make our way to Praiainha, the white sand beach full of cows. Yes, I said cows.

¨ OR.... we make our way to Juncilinho to wade in the lagão, hike to the rim of the anceint volcano and enjoy this tranquil town

¨ Break the Yom Kippur fast with a light dinner of locally produced tuna for those of us who eat tuna.

Day 6 (Sexta, Oct 10th)

¨ Nearing the end of our adventers, we either return to Vila from Juncilnho, or wake up refreshed in Vila.

¨ Perhaps this is our lazy day, or perhaps there was something we missed along the way and we make our way there.

¨ Spend the day reflecting the first, and most likely last, Afrikan Adventure for the Parents.

¨ Last dinner, watch the Afrikan sunset with gazelles and giraffes in the distance

Day 7 (Sabado, Oct 11th)

¨ Wake up, enjoy breakfast, and head on to the São Nicolau Airport, recently awarded the 2007 Award for Excellence and On Timeness

¨ Say goodbyes as the TACV flight takes off perfeclty on time and all the luggage gets on the plane.

¨ Wave as the Parents head off towards Sal, whence this all begin and they go to thier connecting (a short while later) flight back to the good old US of A

So, there you basically have it. While adventurous, it is humble in scale and scope and easily executable. Will it pan out as planned? If not, where did the hitch come into play? Was there a lone mosquito this plan didn’t take into account? Did the unthinkable occur and TACV arrived late? All these quesitons and more will be answered in the next blog entry entitled, “Depois – Reflections on Afrikan Adventures which in hindsight didn’t need to be made nervously by PCV Parents”