I have tons of beach photos in my digital albums, but I’m always able to tell which combination of sand + waves + blue sky is from which place.
This one is from Cape Verde, and to be more precise, from the island of Sal.
I was lucky enough to spend a few days lounging about on this windy, but pretty, beach. Besides the beach, an assortment of desserts being served throughout the day acted as my only distraction, really… the only reason to sometimes stroll back to the all-inclusive hotel where I’d left my belongings in a room with a hairy spider in the closet safe.
Not only did I get to travel to Cape Verde for free, I was actually paid to go there! This was, obviously, back in my flight attendant days.
At the time, I’d been listening to a lot of Cesária Évora, so I was thrilled to find out I was visiting her home country. Cape Verde also used to have a pirate history. And that’s about all I knew of the place when I landed there.
I barely had any cash on me when traveling to Sal (which was, after all, in Africa!) because my employer was paying for everything – and I hadn’t had time to pick up any euros or US dollars with my hectic flight schedule preceding the trip. 24 hours before Cape Verde, I had spent the day in Copenhagen, Denmark, visiting the Tivoli amusement park with my colleague while we waited for our services to be needed. Just before that, I’d been to Thailand. Before that, I don’t even remember. It was a bizarre thought to not have any money on me, but luckily I didn’t really need any.
Many years later (i.e. quite recently), I read from Indah’s blog about all the amazing underwater life I could have seen while visiting Cape Verde. But it’s just as well that I didn’t know about it, because flight attendants aren’t allowed to dive on their layovers anyway: the pressure changes could be dangerous when you’re about to fly again. And during the layover you’re technically on standby. It was too wavy for snorkeling.
If I’d been there privately, and not for work, I would have done a short trip to Senegal. Travel agencies arranged them and it would have been interesting. As it was, I stayed on Sal for several days, close to a week if my memory serves me, and just hung around. Sal was basically an island of sand, with dunes stacked up high by the wind.
Every trip is different. Even if you don’t see everything imaginable that the place has to offer, you always pick up something to treasure afterwards. I remember standing on that beach, snapping away with my camera to get an interesting picture of the waves. I didn’t quite get the photo I was looking for, but what I did get was my photo. My memories.
Besides, how many people can say they traveled to another continent without bringing any cash?