We landed exactly on time at this small but not quite primitive airport on the barren island of Sal (being Portuguese for salt). There were several gasps of concern from a group of seemingly ‘flight virgins’ behind us as we suffered a fairly noisy albeit comfortable landing.
The steps were efficiently brought to the rear and front of the plane and disembarkation was quick. It was around 3pm and we’d travelled form a cold and miserable Britain to a pleasantly warm Cape Verde island. Indeed the heat hit is as we got off the plans and I was soon unzipping the bottom half of my trousers to convert them to serviceable shorts. (I’d had these made during a holiday in India and they have proved to be of great benefit), socks were removed and I was now almost a ‘Brit abroad’ – sandals, shorts but a long sleeve shirt.
The queen for customs checkout seemed to take an age and it turned out that several people did not have an entrance visa (ours had been sorted by our holiday company) and so those without a visa were being re-routed to another queue to make the necessary payment, still it unsettled everyone. We didn’t need to have bothered as we passed quickly through customs with a new stamp having been added to out passport (that happens less and less as the EU expands).
A short conversation with the awaiting tour guide and we are directed to the small minibus that will take us off on our short journey from the airport to the resort and hotel.
Overall the journey along the modern tarmac road was uneventful but as soon as we hit the cobbled roads of Santa Maria the passage was less smooth. This road has been recently constructed (according to some on the bus) within the past year but they must have built into the design the potholes. We were jarred consistently on the thankfully short run down to our hotel.
After a little time to relax on the hotel balcony we decided to orientate ourselves and walk back down the cobbled street to Santa Maria whilst it was still light. So we returned down the road the bus had taken and confirmed that this was no more than an access route form Santa Maria to the hotels that are already built on either side, there are large plots identified for further hotels and concrete confirmation that Cape Verde is the holiday destination of the future. It certainly won’t be for lack of trying as its clear that there’s serious money being pumped into this island and hoteliers, tour operators and private investors will be sadly disappointed if their speculation is un-rewarded.
In all honesty what little personality that is latent in Santa Maria (See separate entry) will soon be erased clear as the big all-inclusive hotels take over. We noticed that there are numerous restaurants around but as it’s getting dark and my wife became more and more spooked by the shadows in the unlit streets as we headed up to the garage (which has a small supermarket attached to it) to get water.