Cabo Verde, where people don’t have stress at all

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We have been trying to pay for our groceries with 3 different cards now and it still isn’t working. I smile at the clerk behind the counter and he smiles back at me. I’m holding a plastic bag full of eggs and some milk. I’m getting nervous because I think the whole payment thing isn’t going to work today.

On the counter there’s bread, water and a bag of crisps. My boyfriend sighs: ‘this is not going to work, is there an ATM or bank nearby?’ Ready to put all our groceries back on the shelves I hear the clerk say: ‘No stress friend! Take your stuff to your house and pay me tomorrow, welcome to Cabo Verde!’

It’s our first day on the isle of Sal in Cabo Verde and we have already made a friend. We will be visiting him and his little shop for the next ten days once, sometimes twice a day, and every time we meet him we shake hands like cool rappers do, which is very confusing sometimes and therefore pretty funny.

Awesome vibe

I’m on the island to kite surf. I’m not very good at it, but also not a beginner. So I go to a kite surf school called Cook Proof where I can book a coach instead of taking lessons. I can practice myself but there is someone on the beach to watch my back and give instructions wherever I need them. I start and land my kite every day if there is wind on kite beach. It’s a beautiful sight to see all the kites up in the air and the vibe among the people on the beach is awesome.

Normally, when my boyfriend and I are travelling we stay at the same place for a maximum of two days. This trip we are in the same apartment for 10 days. After a couple of days of early rising, kiting, having nice dinners with fresh fish and going to bed early I feel energised like never before. There is no clock, no rush. Getting some groceries from our friend in the store can take us an hour and then we come back with just two apples and some pasta.

Slow pace

At first I had to get used to the slow pace of literally everything. But after a couple of days it felt wrong to do things as quickly as we are used to. The salesmen on the boulevard all smile. They ask us to come over to see their stand, they call me lady and ask where we are from. At first we were afraid they were annoying salesman, but when we decide to talk to one of the guys we discover that they are actually interested in having a conversation. They don’t even mention the stuff they are selling and they always end the conversation with the famous words: ‘no stress.’

Touring the Island

On the day with no wind we took a tour. ‘There is not much to see today,’ our guide starts of. ‘You are here in the wrong season. The whales and dolphins aren’t here yet and the blue eye isn’t at it’s best. But we are gonna have a good time, no stress.’ We get in the back of the jeep and we’re of onto the dusty roads. There is not much to see on this Island, it’s all rocks and sand. But it’s magical. We see a fata morgana, get in the ocean with little sharks, stop at the ‘blue eye’ (a cave within a white rock causes the water inside to seem very blue if the sun shines right on it).

 

We visit a colourful fishing town and take a bath in the salt water lake which makes us float. We see some local youth covering themselves in mud and we decide to ask what they are doing and what is the best way to do it. They show us how to get the best mud (dig a hole and look for the green stuff) and we follow there lead. That night I have the cleanest skin I have ever had.

 

During our tour we drive by a poor part of Sal, where people live in a slum. Houses made of plastic and cardboard. We drive by very fast to get to a viewpoint to see the capital city from above. The tour guide doesn’t say anything about the poor village we just saw, it is like it doesn’t exist. But it’s there. It is. And it hurts to see it.

The party is lit

I heard rumours about a big party that evening. And when there is a party buzz going around, you need to listen. With no wind the next day it was the perfect night to dance and drink until sunrise. Looking for the party we walk into the centre, a bit lost because we have no clue what to look for. A local cigarette salesman walks up to us. ‘How can I help you guys?’ We tell him we heard something about a party and he starts smiling. Gives us the ‘rapper handshake’: ‘No stress’, he says and introduces himself as Eddie. He is on his way to the same party.

When we arrive the party had just started but it’s already lit. We wave at the friend from the store, who is also there, and we drink caipirinhas with Eddie. When I go to the toilet I notice the local girls are very keen on doing make-up. They all look stunning with their short dresses, gold necklaces and long eyelashes. I feel instant ugly next to them but these girls are so nice and friendly that an hour later I feel like I’m one of them. But when one of them tries to teach me how to twerk, the difference between us becomes very clear. What’s not very clear is how the night ended because those caipirinha’s are silent killers. We woke up the next day in our own bed with a very bad headache and decide to walk to our friend in the store to buy something light to eat. We do the ‘rapper handshake’ and he looks fresh as f*ck after last nights party and booze. We ask him how he does it. His answer: ‘No stress.’

 

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