Day 15-17 Cape Verde.
In lack of alternatives, I had chosen to fly with TACV Cabo Verde airlines between Dakar and Cape Verde.
Cape Verde is a former Portuguese colony situated off the coast of Senegal roughly 650 kilometers from Dakar. It is the wealthiest country in West Africa and during a period of just 40 years the average expected lifetime has gone up from 46 to 74 years(!). The country consists of a total of 10 islands. As opposed to all the charter tourists I went to the main island of Santiago where the capital Praia is situated.
In Dakar the day before my flight I tried to check my booking at TACV Cabo Air website only to be met by the message that this booking did not exist. Sweet. I then tried to check if the flight was on Momondo just to check that there actual was a flight at this time. It wasn’t there. I had a paid and confirmed ticket and everything looked ok in CheckMyTrip (Amadeus). But unfortunately I stumbled across a TACV airline review where some guy wrote that he had flown the same route with a paid for and confirmed ticket but when he showed up in Dakar airport he was informed that his ticket was not valid since he had bought It more than 6 months ago and hadn’t reconfirmed it (?!). I then decided to call the airline call center in Cape Verde just to make sure. You have now waited one minute – a taped voice informed me in Portuguese. You have now waited for two minutes, the lady voice now told me. Great functionality in the TACV messaging system. When the lady informed me that I had waited for 24 minutes I finally hung up.
In the airport of course no flight to Praia figured on the departure screen. How very wonderful. Nothing is supposed to be too easy in West Africa. It is only because it is a TACV flight the check in supervisor informed me. “No problem – just check in over there” he said. The plane was an ATR72. “How many seats does it have” I asked. The supervisor looked at me like I was the least intelligent person he had met all day. “72,” he then replied.
In the airport I met funny David and lovely Nuria from Spain. Like me they thought it was a bit strange that our departure was kept such a secret. The old turbo-prop plane however smoothly made its way to the holiday island in despite of a few whining sounds from the back of the plane.
Arriving in Praia was like returning to Europe after West Africas poverty and chaos. There were sidewalks. And cafes. It was clean and civilized.
David and Nuria had the great idea of renting a car and cruising around the island. They invited me along – but unfortunately rental cars were all booked out. Instead we took the local bus (for about 1 USD) from the capital to “Cidade Velho” – the old city. I walked around photographing people like I always do and then I had a nice seafood stew for lunch with David and Nuria at a seafront restaurant.
My family had gone back home a few days later and I was wildly behind with my trip reports. So I started writing trying to catch up. After a few days I flew back to Dakar and in a small apartment with erratic internet I am continuing trying to get up to speed. Fortunately, with this trip report I am now only one trip report behind.
Sorry for this being a bit of a plain report – next one up are Senegal and Guinea from where I have good stories to tell.