Chapter 2:. Sal Airport  

I take an unheated shower and enjoy a meal of salad, beef with egg on top, and a bean mash. Jack and I sit quietly eating. His wife is in another room, investigating the gifts I brought. The lunch moves slowly. Neither one of us can talk to each other.

The afternoon is a leisurely tip across the airport side of Sal. Jack sees me pull out my camera, and he offers to stop. From now, every time the camera comes up, the car stops. I learn to ask, “um fot.”

Jack brings me to a fishing village. Men stand inspecting their catch. Children play at the beach end. Old wood hull boats slowly bobble a few hundred feet from fiberglass sport fishers. He introduces me to a light-skinned man in his fifties. He looks like my grandfather. The man speaks English. He reveals that he is from the same Island as my grandfather, St Nicholas.

Later we meet with Jacks’ friend again. They show the salt mine. We walk the dirt path through a man-made cave for trucks. The salt mine is larger than several football fields. There are people bathing in it. On the opposite end, there are trucks and heavy machinery for extracting the salt. A little restaurant with a patio has been constructed for tourists.

Even in my sleep deprived, travel weary mind, the Cape Verdean dilemma is emblematized. There is the struggle to extract resources from a barren land. There is struggle to attract tourists. In between there are people, cape verdean people, basking in the sun of a distinctly beautiful place. There is the ugly necessity of large, heavy, clanking machinery, and the potential of plump, affluent tourists looking for overpriced coffee. In the middle, there are the people. They are buoyed in the middle of this, but not participating.