Chapter 2:. Sal Airport  

The airport in Sal is small but rivals those of resort destinations. It’s clean and bustling when more than one major flight is in. There are several currency exchanges, two restaurants, airline offices, and automated flight screens.

I brought American Travelers checks fearing crime in the third world. In my broken Portuguese, I asked, to exchange the checks.

“Trucar? Englais?”

She instructs me to go down to her competitor. He speaks English and he will exchange my checks. The competitor is the less-established bank, Baixo. The conversation didn’t go much better, but it was in English.
“Trucar? American Express Traveler Checks”
“Nao. English?”
“Sim. Yes. I’d like to change my travelers checks to escudos.”

He scrutinizes them. They are familiar, strange currency.

“Do you have your receipts? These come with receipts.”
“No. They tell you to keep the receipts separate. They are in the U.S.”

He pauses and scrutinizes them again.

“I cannot exchange these. You can open an account and deposit them in the account.”