In all seriousness, 13 other passengers joined and left us at various stages of the tour. That's free public transport for you! And that is how the island works. The locals all help each other out, whenever they can. The minibus driver, Benvindo, deserved a medal. He took us down routes that I would not have attempted, to show us beaches and towns off the main road. Sometimes he needed to reverse to take a second run at steep hill or make his way round a seemingly impassable pothole, but he never gave up his intended route. The tour took approximately 5 hours and completed all the major roads on the island as well as the off-road track to see the sand dunes in the far north.
The beaches have to be seen, the sand is similar to our local beaches in Devon but the turquoise sea is so clean, clear and very warm.
When we arrived back at Vila do Maio, Dunia invited us to lunch at a local restaurant. There we had freshly caught fish (tuna).
Tomorrow we are being taken to Vila Maris to see our bungalow for the first time.
Dunia is very helpful and friendly
Sunday 5th October 2008
Before going to Villa Maris, we went for an early morning swim in the warm waters of Vila do Maio beach and thought we'd be the first there, but were beaten by the fishermen, who start at 5am, and the local football team, aged between 5 and 10 years old. Everyone seems very friendly and willing to say cheery 'bom dia' (hello).
Livio and Gianni then picked us up at 11am to show us our new bungalow on Vila Maris. This was just a 5 minute drive, but a 50 minute walk, which we found out when we decided to walk there in the pitch dark last night. We took a torch and worked out where our bungalow was to be found. Although we could see our bungalow in the shadows, which was very exciting, we were greeted suspiciously by some builders who live on site. I think it may have been the black clothing, torch and balaclavas, which gave it away.
Today, in broad daylight, the site was explained to us by Livio and Gianni, and amazingly, the bungalow we had guessed was ours in the dark, was indeed the right one.
It was a good feeling when the key was placed in the lock and the front door opened. I thought I should carry Christine over the threshold, but decided against it as it was too hot.
Because we had been anticipating this moment for quite some time, and we had been mulling over the plans to get an idea of the room sizes, it was a pleasant surprise to finally see the finished bungalow. The white internal walls and terracotta floor tiles gave a bright continental effect.