Chapter 2:. Sal Airport  

It’s 6:00 am. Most people rush to the baggage claim. They are eager to meet family. Others will be shuttled to the hotels at the other end of Sal. This was an American flight. Americans don’t fly to Cape Verde for Vacation. Outside, there are only a few taxis waiting. The flight from Italy and the flight from Portugal won’t arrive for another few hours.

I am alone. I walk slowly. I have no one to meet. I have a few phone numbers of cousins in Sal and Sao Vicente. In Cape Verdean culture, cousins are loosely defined. My Bradt guide quotes the current population as 440,000 people. The probability of being cousins is high. My cousins are a couple with one very young daughter. I’ve never met them. I know that they like Crystal Lite and Spam, because that’s what I’ve been asked to bring them. The husband owns a car and will show me the island for a few dollars. I must call them when I arrive.

My Creole is wretched. I have one page of hand written notes. Un creer . . . I’d like a. Ajud . . . help. Um telefon ... a telephone. I studied Portuguese for 6 months before I arrived. Three days ago I tried to converse with my grandmother. Portuguese and Creole are not the same thing. Either way, I must make this phone call. I’m alone in a foreign country. I don’t speak the language and it’s 11 hours before my connecting flight departs.

I waited for my baggage even though I knew it shouldn’t come. It will be packed on my connecting flight. I wanted to stay with the Americans. I wanted to hear a language I wouldn’t hear for this two-week trip. When they all claimed their baggage, met their families, and left the airport, I too moved. At least I knew my baggage was fine. >>>