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Days 182 to 184: Meeting People Is Easy

Day 182: We Are Nowhere And It’s Now

1 July 2009

One thing that Café Sophia is good for, is meeting people. Possibly because there is nowhere else in Praia where you can sit out under a parasol, drink a beer and watch the world go by. Today passed like a tag team of people coming and going. I sat and chatted with Maggie from Zimbabwe and Debbie from Connecticut, whom I had met a few weeks(!) ago, together with their mate Tomic from Poland, who is studying Cape Verde Anthropology. Might I suggest he start by looking under some rocks?

They were relieved by Colin, an English guy who was working for a GPS company setting up relay stations and the like. Then we were joined by Margarita, a lady born in Britain, raised in Africa, a citizen of Spain now living on the island of Maio. She’s in her 60s, but still works as a builder. True! I’d been talking to her the week before, when she was with her younger friend Anna, who was ridiculously good looking. She had gone back to Spain. Shame.

Then I met a lovely girl from Freetown in Sierra Leone called Nazia and her mate, before settling down to a good old fashioned game of chess against Yuri. The funny thing is that everyone I spoke to today seemed to be waiting for something. I’m waiting for the p—ing Micau to leave, Maggie is waiting for her passport to return from Copenhagen, Colin is waiting for his GPS equipment to arrive, Margarita is waiting for her niece to get here from the Canary Islands (the CV airline wouldn’t let her on the plane without some purely needless bureaucracy – SURPRISE, SURPRISE!) and Yuri is waiting on his girl from Switzerland to get here – she’s currently stuck in Portugal. All of us have in some way been slowed down, hindered, disrupted or inconvenienced by the powers that be, here in Cape Verde.

I need to get out. This isn’t funny anymore.

Day 183: The Lost Month

2 July 2009

So we settle into July and I have here, a blog of my time spent sitting around in Cape Verde waiting to get the hell out as soon as possible.

I’ve kind of given up a little. I don’t believe that the Micau is EVER going to leave so I’m looking for alternatives. Today, I went with Margarita to talk to all the shipping companies in Praia, but none of them go to Dakar, the closest is the Manx Lion (the captain of which, I spoke to the other week), which will be leaving at the end of the month for Banjul in Gambia.



I met a top bloke from the Maersk Line, but the only way to Dakar would be a trip of a few thousand miles north to SPAIN, change there and head back down to Dakar. Not really an option.

Meanwhile, the crane guys turned up today to take the fishing boat to the port, only to find that there was another bit of paper (the Cape Verdeans LOVE their f***ing bits of paper) that they needed to take the Pirogue away. So Val, the rather disreputable character who had been ‘helping’ me out this week, summoned another hundred Euros out of me to pay for their time. Whether he actually gave it to the crane guys is another matter.

Day 184: Groundhog Day

3 July 2009



Yesterday, I went to speak to the Captainere Du Port and he presented me with a checklist of TWENTY things that need to be repaired on the Micau before they will let it sail.

They say next Wednesday.

I had a bit of a freak out in the port, and one of the port workers came over and poured water over my head to try to bring me out of it. Well…if I can’t have a tantrum after all that’s happened to me here, I don’t know when I can bloody well have one!


Graham Hughes

Graham Hughes is a British adventurer, presenter, filmmaker and author. He is the only person to have travelled to every country in the world without flying. From 2014 to 2017 he lived off-grid on a private island that he won in a game show, before returning to the UK to campaign for a better future for the generations to come.

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Andrew Burzo

    HE’S BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Damn right! I knew you would never quite. Go Graham Go!!!!!

  2. alex

    don’t give up mate

  3. gavinmac

    Man, he is a stubborn bastard.

    I’m quite curious about how he’s going to get to Chad. It’s rather far from either coast. I guess he’s going to cross all the way across Nigeria, and then touch Chad before turning south through Cameroon and the Central African Repulic, a jaunt which may make the 6 weeks in Cape Verde seem downright pleasant.

    Earlier this year I spent 4 hours in Nigeria going from the Benin border to Lagos airport. Not fun.

  4. Erica

    Hey, glad to see you escaped your endless cachupas in Praia. Me; I left reluctantly on 9th July.
    All the best for the rest of your trip,

  5. Graham Hughes

    “I’m quite curious about how he’s going to get to Chad. It’s rather far from either coast. I guess he’s going to cross all the way across Nigeria, and then touch Chad before turning south through Cameroon and the Central African Repulic, a jaunt which may make the 6 weeks in Cape Verde seem downright pleasant.”

    Yep! That WAS the plan, but recent fighting in Maiduguri has put the kibosh on that route. I’ll be heading up into Cameroon now from southern Nigeria and heading north up to Chad. I hear the train ride to N’Gaoundere is pretty epic.

  6. Rob

    Actually Graham, Cape Verde is a lovely place and boasts one of Africa’s highest HDI’s ahead of South Africa; it’s people one of the friendliest you’ll find in your travels. Perhaps if you didn’t behave like a knob in your Holier Than Thou attitude they would have not treated you the way you claim they did. And btw in Portuguese there is Primavera (Spring) hence I call bull on your story about the guy from Angola not knowing what Spring was; while on the subject you should try the same antics in Angola; a bullet through your lovely skull would be standard measure over there; you just don’t know how lucky you were to be on one of Africa’s least corrupt/violent countries. Carry on misbehaving the way you did in Cape Verde and you’ll be in for a nasty shock elsewhere in Africa! Good luck, and I mean it.

  7. brendan

    Rob, nobody is forcing you to be empathetic over Graham’s subjective experiences in Cape Verde, least of all him, but I find the “bullet through your lovely skull” comment to hint at thinly-veiled viciousness (regardless of what argument you were trying to raise).

    And clearly, anyone with a brain knows there is a word for Spring in Portuguese, but you missed the point: “Yuri” simply had trouble understanding the concept of Spring, having lived primarily in tropical climes.

  8. gavinmac

    Lome, Togo is a charming town, worth an overnight stop, if you continue east along the coast on the boring bus ride from Accra. Beautiful women in Lome.

    I suspect though from your post below that you are heading north through Ghana, touching Togo and Burkina Faso, and into Niamey, Niger. Then south through Benin and Nigeria, into Cameroon, then northeast to Chad, down through the dodgy Central African Republic, back to Cameroon, into Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and then 6-8 weeks stuck on Sao Tome.

  9. Rob


    Having lived on both countries I can assure you I know what I’m talking about here. Nobody would have problems with the concept of Spring because they are not as dumb as Graham wants us to believe they are; they may live on tropical climates but Primavera is a well known concept in both countries; moreover given that most Cape Verdeans either emigrate or have relations in the US/Western Europe I can guarantee they know what Spring means; did you know they have one of the highest literacy rates in Africa? You may have not liked my ‘bullet through the skull’ reference; that’s your prerogative. Again, I have lived in Angola, a country with one of the world’s highest murder rates and where not even their politicians ares safe; as recently as a week ago a member of Parliament was gunned down on her front door. Bullets are plentiful and lives are cheap over there. Hope you get the drift.

  10. Webmaster

    Rob and Brendan,

    Many thanks to you both for your inputs – it’s really important that Graham’s blogs invoke both strong opinion and awareness of the issues he raises – he wouldn’t want it any other way. However, is not an open forum within which private individuals may hold discussions on matters of opinion.

    Thanks again for your inputs.

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