It’s a random day. A random morning.
I’m walking along the cobblestone road which cuts across the entrance of Hotel Aeroflot – the place where I stay.
There are a couple pawpaw trees nearby.
Every now and then I come along and steal a couple. I think the trees are mostly for decoration, but Hey, fruits!
There don’t seem to be any pluckable pawpaws today.
I keep heading down the road.
I walk past a few coconut trees.
A few boys recruited me into their coconut plucking mission the other day.
They asked if one of them could stand on my shoulders so he could reach the coconuts up ahead.
I said Haha okay.
They got a number of coconuts that day.
There’s a mango tree up ahead.
Hm. Mangoes. Hmm.
Sounds like an interesting idea.
I’m watching the tree from a distance, thinking of how to most effectively to approach it.
I’m at the tree. I’m attempting to pluck a number of fruits.
There’s a queue of tourists not far from me. I think they’re trying to check into the lodge here. The mango tree is in front of the lodge.
Something happens somehow, and I find myself in conversation with some of the tourists. I think someone was curious and and amused, and they asked what I was doing – something like that.
So we’re talking.
I’m talking with this couple from the UK. They should be in their forties or fifties. Or maybe late fifties.
They’re both doctors.
We’re talking about a number of things.
They say they were recently on a number of other islands in the country. We talk a bit about some of their experiences there.
They were recently at Sao Vicente. Sao Vicente is one of the other islands which comprise the Cape Verdean archipelago.
I’d really like to visit Sao Vincente.
Someone said they have a lot of parties there. Someone I met at Terra Boa – the town around the centre of this island – Sal. His name was Aurelio.
He said “Sao Vincente? Festa! Every time Festa! Every time!”
Haha. Sounds like an interesting place.
I keep talking with the Doctor couple.
The woman says something about her husband – says his knuckles are dragging on the ground or something like that.
I’m not quite familiar with the expression.
She explains a bit more.
I think it alludes to being something of a luddite.
In his defence he says a lot of recent technology just doesn’t go down well with him.
He talks about how they send tax reports in the UK.
I think it’s tax reports. Something like that. Some document they prepare and submit to the government.
He said previously you had to walk down to the office and physically turn in the document. That there was a resounding feeling of finality to that process.
“Now there’s just some page on the internet where you click a button to submit, and that’s it.”
“It’s just not the same thing. It just isn’t.”
He says he prefers to still walk down to the office to turn things in.
That he’s never going to be comfortable with just doing that on a screen.
We keep talking.
A man just walked out of the hotel entrance.
He’s Cape Verdean.
He’s pointing his finger and yelling at me in Creole.
Hm. I wonder what’s going on.
I think he might be the hotel manager.
Yeah. Yeah he is. Yeah he’s the hotel manager.
“Go away! You! Go away! Go and get a job!”
“Do you have job?”
He stares at me and asks on the very top of his voice.
“Do you have job?”
“Go and get a job! Go! Go!”
I have some sort of an understanding of what is happening.
He thinks I’m trying to ingratiate myself with the tourists somehow. With the intention of somehow getting money from them.
That’s something people here generally do. Tourists and tourism are the primary source of revenue on this island, and people employ formal and informal techniques to get in on some of that tourist cash.
I don’t know what this hotel manager guy’s problem is.
I was just having a plain conversation.
There aren’t so many people on the island I can converse in English with – everyone speaks Portuguese/Creole.
Ad so it’s usually refreshing coming across people with whom I can have extended conversations in English.
I’m a bit hurt, but I don’t blame him.
He’s not entirely wrong.
I do not have a job, or any serious source of income.
That part is true.
I knew my gap-year decision was going to come with consequences. Being misunderstood was one of them.
In all though, I’m not too bothered by him.
I say goodbye to the friendly tourist couple and head on my way, a few mangoes in hand.
Image: Random plant thing somewhere on Sal island.