Street wise

 

Unwelcome sellers: You will be approached by people selling pictures, beads; watches on the beach or on the streets, these sellers are not Cape Verdean. However these sellers will try and engage you by asking if you are German, Dutch, Italian or English, its best not to engage in conversation, it’s sometimes hard to get rid of them if you do. A firm ‘No’ and a hand wave to show you aren’t interested almost always works, keep on walking and ignore them, don't engage in more conversation, otherwise you may have a friend for the rest of your stay if you promise them you will come back another day. The same goes when they try to attract your attention and try to get you to come into their shops. Cape Verdean people do not use this tactic.......Things have improved since 2005, there are less sellers on the streets as the Police are more active on the streets.

Walking around:
I needed plasters for my over worked apartment hunting feet! Take a few pairs of comfy shoes/sandals, as you may find the same ones rub in the same place after a while. You can buy cheap flip flops in the Chinese Loja.

Do not carry large amounts of valuables in your bag. As with any place in the world, you can get robbed.


There is a lot of uneven ground, ground that has been dug up to lay pipes, missing cobble stones and other obstacles to avoid. The ground is also slippery underfoot after the few odd accasions it has rained. There is no drainage system in place as at Aug 07, so puddles can lay around for days.


Excess heat can cause swollen ankles especially in the hot summer months, all the apartment hunting and walking doesn’t help; take some time out to chill!


Kids and youths may approach you for dinheiro (money). If you give money to them it only encourages them and others to think its an easy way to make money, it also makes it worse for those visiting the islands for the first time or returning to the islands, its not what the islanders want their kids to learn from you!


If going out for the first time at night you will probably find it quite daunting, the dark streets, people standing on street corners or approaching you. Once you have got over the culture shock, its not that bad, you will become more confident. Just remember to stick to the main streets that are lit. If you do feel uncomfortable you can always flag down a taxi cab, just remember where you are staying, it does help!


I used Aloe moisturizer on my face before I went out. This attracted loads of flies (must have thought I smelt nice) so had to wash it off quickly.


Bring a Bite Pen for mosquito bites, they won't work once the bite has inflamed the area. Always read the instructions first.


Use insect repellent suntan lotion, it helps. Also take the insect repellent plugs for your room. There are also other flying bugs that bite. I had about four bites, a friend had over 30.


Bring wet wipes, they are very useful, also the medicated types.


There are some cockroaches here, not in great abundance I may add.


Dogs and Cats:
There are lots of dogs that roam around freely (not owned). I have been led to believe that dogs are poisoned on the island about twice a year, this is organized and carried out officially. Pets sometimes may eat the poison put out for the strays. There are also a lot of stray kittens and cats.

If you feel sorry for the stray kitten or puppy you find and feed when you visit Sal, please don't expect the ex-pats to take it in when you leave, we have had requests and it really isn't fair to expect any of us to be left with it! There is one Vet on the island.


Rubbish:
There are some large bins situated around the town, which you can put your rubbish in, some street bins are gradually being introduced.

There isn't a recycling plant so just keep it in mind when leaving products that can’t be recycled like plastic bags. Although Council cleaners clean up the streets there is still a problem of rubbish been blown about in the winds.


When walking on the beach be careful, as there may be broken glass underfoot. There isn't a beach cleaning service along the coastline, some hotel staff clear the beach in front of their facilities. You will see plenty of broken bottles on the streets.


Cattle can be found feeding at the rubbish tip in the early evening; they freely stand amongst the burning rubbish, chewing all sorts.


Driving:
Dogs, cats, cows, donkeys freely walk up and across the main road. Without any street lights at night you may not be able to spot them before its too late. Be careful driving on the main carriageway at night.

Market:
If you go into the outdoor market just up from the Catholic Church be prepared to get some hassle. There are some clothes for sale on a street market, most clothes lay in a pile on the floor.

Beer Bottles:
Wipe the tops of bottled beers and cans before you drink from them.

Valuables:
There are still opportunists about. People have been robbed of belongings that they have left in the car, occasionally thieves have been brave enough to reach into car open windows and snatch belongings even when people are sat in the car. Be careful when carrying other larger items such as a laptop, more so at night on back streets where there may not be many other people about.

As with any place in the world, just be aware of your surroundings, do not take valuables to the beach or leave them unattended. Or go to areas where you are isolated and on your own.


I have been shown a counterfeit bank note. Apparently this is happening with Euro and Escudo notes.


English:
The Cape Verdean people don't speak much English on Sal, some of the hotel staff speak a little, but generally you will need to learn some Portuguese, it does help especially if it looks like you are trying to communicate using their language when ordering food, a beer, getting a taxi and trying to give directions.

Some of the schools on other islands deliver English lessons, so many of those that have been brought in to work in the hotels from other islands will speak some English. Sept 07- English lessons are now being delivered to locals through Evening Classes.


Roads
: January 2011 - Roadworks commence in Santa Maria. August 2011- A number of new roads have been laid using local stone for cobbles.There is still a lot of work to be done, but they make walking a bit easier.