Local Heart, Global Soul

September 3, 2011

Cape Verde… Espargos ..town

Filed under: CAPE VERDE,HISTORY,PHOTOGRAPHY,Places and Sights,Travel — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This is post in my photo journalistic tour of the island of Sal in the Cape Verde group that Family Kiwidutch and Kiwi Best Friend made in 2007.

One day we talk about going to Espargos, the main town, so walk to our hotel reception area, to  find a local taxi conveniently parked outside.

Himself does some token price negotiations  in broken Portuguese (Espargos from Santa Maria costs us Euro 6,–) and the driver was very pleased even with the “knocked down” price that was agreed so probably  we were still charged  “tourist price”.

Ah heck we are  not being miserly about supporting the local economy…   We hop in and head north to Sal’s bigger and only other large population centre.

Espargos is the biggest town on Sal and is situated not too far from the airport, pretty much in the centre of the island.  We learn that the name  Espargos means “asparagus” and  the town got it’s name from the wild asparagus that apparently grew around here.

Since we don’t see asparagus of any sort on any of the menu’s, in any of the shops or at any of the roadside stalls, we ask if there is still asparagus to be found here. The people we talked to said that they didn’t know of  any,  but  there used to be in the past because rainfall was higher then  than is it now.

We walk though the town,  and  I photograph the town square and a colourful church…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

There were market stalls on the side of the road. lots of fruit being sold, we watched as an elderly man haggled for a single fish and then saw him buy the smallest bottle of olive oil I have ever seen (about the size of a mini alcohol bottle) … we later passed  him walking on the outskirts of town,  taking home his evening dinner.

You can’t have an idea of the soul of a country unless you try  some less touristic things and do a few things as local people do:  for the return journey  we decide to travel local style to Santa Maria, so we board an argulia  local minibus for public transport (Euro 1,– per person) and  make ourselves comfortable. The mini bus already looks full, but no, another half dozen people turn up with a heap of stuff and it appears that they are joining us.

That’s how we come to share cramped conditions with at least five more passengers than this minibus was ever intended for,  plus a strange  and “fragrant” assortment of  food and luggage that got piled into every available space around us.

Every window that still opens is rolled down, and heavily laden to epic proportions, the driver then proceeds to pull out of  Espargos with the car radio turned up to a deafening volume.

Little Mr, hater of loud noises at any time, spent the journey back folded into a defensive little ball  on my knee with his (and my) hands over his ears. It was stifling hot inside the minibus and very windy as the wind buffeted our faces in the rear of the vehicle,  and I was more than a little nervous at times because our driver was exactly like the other drivers we’ve seen here:  speed lunatics who apparently fancy themselves as grand prix racers.

This attitude to driving appears to be fueled in part by the existance of a brand spanking new dual carriageway  highway that runs for most of the distance between Espargos and Santa Maria.  It’s rather errie considering that this mega wide and pristine piece of road  runs though a dessert wilderness and seems to be designed  to transport thousands of cars rather than the maybe 40 cars we saw whilst we were on it.

Planning for a future population boom? Ok,  planning ahead  is always good, but with a population of only 8.000  I think  it will be decades if not centuries before you see a traffic jam on this highway.

Between the noise of the wind rushing by and eardrum assult of the radio Kiwi Best Friend and I both exit the minivan in Santa Maria with thumping headaches…

Still, we survived, they were friendly and we had asprin.  As the old adage goes.. “third class riding is better than first class walking…”


  1. What lovely buildings.

    Comment by Tilly Bud — September 3, 2011 @ 9:50 am | Reply

  2. Thank You for this post. It was interesting to me to see some photos from Ilha do Sal. I have been there twice when Finnair flew, making a technical landing from Berlin to Buenos Aires.

    Comment by Sartenada — July 13, 2017 @ 8:18 am | Reply

    • Sartenada,
      Wow, you are the first person I know who has been there too! There was a brand new multi-lane highway from the airport into town, so there is investment going on there but it there is still a heap to improve.

      Comment by kiwidutch — July 14, 2017 @ 8:17 pm | Reply

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