I am behind with this blog and I apologize. Anyone who thought spending six months on a cruise ship would be boring after a while, with time to spare, and not knowing what to do with oneself, has no idea!! The days fly by with such speed, it’s hard to keep up with which day we are on or what we did the day before yesterday. At times there seems to not be enough hours in the day. I am not complaining though, because I am having the time of my life and would not trade this experience for anything.
So I am playing catch up.
After Benin and a well deserved sea day in the Gulf of Guinea ( where we were still on Pirate watch), we stopped in Sao Tome & Principe. (January 31) The islands were uninhabited before the Portuguese arrived in the late 1400s and it is much like the last three stops. Poor, lots of people milling around the downtown streets and buildings that are crumbling and decaying. Portuguese is the main language, although French & English are taught in the schools. I was not able to book a tour here as they were all sold out.
However, I am such a lucky gal. I have met two great guys from the US who are my tour and late night buddies. Clyde and Will are both ex-cops from the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area in Florida. Both are well over six feet tall, Clyde, I believe, played basketball. I figure nobody is going to mess with me when I am out with them and we have so much fun together.
So we hired a taxi and had him take us about. In the market, we saw tons of used clothing and shoes just lying in piles in the streets. You know those clothing boxes at home where you take things you no longer need or use at home? Well our driver, Lau, explained this is where a lot of that stuff ends up and people were selling it.
The guys wanted a beer, so Lau took us to the home of a friend who sold a few souvenirs and carvings from his living room, then he darted out the door. The three of us looked at one another and thought “Oh Oh he probably just ditched us.” That was because we got him to knock his price down for our tour from $60 to $30. But no, a few minutes later, back he came with three cold bottles of beer. No labels on the bottles mind you, but we drank it anyway, and I am still here to continue my blog.
We asked him to take us to the seaside and he hesitated. Again we thought it was because we got him to agree to less fare, but then said he had to pick his son up from school and deliver him to his Mom first. Did we mind? We said no and at the school, the cutest little 4 year old with his colourful little backpack climbed in the backseat between Will and I. I am sorry I did not get a photo. We dropped him at his Mom’s and continued our tour. Lau also took us to what he considered the best bar in town – Pico Mocambo. There we had a drink made especially for us with Passion fruit, ginger & cocao. Sweet but tasty. The proprietor was very friendly and asked if I would give him a good review on Trip Advisor. I promised I would and did.
Back at the ship, we ended up giving Lau the $60 he had asked for in the first place. He did a good job, gave us a great tour and was a nice young man. By the way that price was a fraction of what the ship is charging for organized tours from the ship, and I would wager we had a much more interesting day.