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Chris & Chris, Vila Maris #21, June 2009 (page 2)

Friday 5th June 2009

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After getting our cases off the carousel we went into battle with the taxi drivers and their suitcase touts, but were lucky enough to find a mild-mannered Cape Verdean taxi driver at the front of the rank named Menez. Not only was he the cheapest driver we had met so far, he was friendly and helpful and coped really well with our pigeon Portuguese. We had already pre-booked a hotel room at a hotel we have stayed in before named 'Santa Maria' and Menez took us straight there for a cost of 12 euros. We told him that we were catching the Maio flight tomorrow, to which he said that he would pick us up at 13.00. True to his word, he was there at 12.45 and took us straight to the airport. A word of advice, be quick to take your suitcases out of the taxi or the unofficial baggage handlers will get them for you and will expect payment.

maio cape verde photos #2
The café area in Praia airport.

Although our flight to Maio is at 16.30, our own personal view is that it is a good move to be at the airport earlier rather than later. To pass the time, we read or people watch, this is one of our hobbies that we have refined through spending an extortionate amount of time in airports, bus stations and train stations around the world.

I am writing this part of the journal in the café area which for all of you who haven't yet been here, is a canopy covered area which can get very humid but today it is quite pleasant with a slight breeze. Every table at the café has a variety of different race people all chatting and laughing and totally ignoring the health announcement regarding swine flu.

We were emailed by lastminute.com on Wednesday that TACV had changed our 17:25 flight to 16:30. The departures board at Praia airport says 17:25. We asked the staff 3 times what time check-in would open and they all said 16:25 for 17:25 flight. Then we saw the Maio check-in desk open and people checking in their luggage. It was only 15:15. Sure enough check-in had opened for the 16:30 flight. The moral of this is never trust the departures board and keep watching the desks.

Phew! Our cases were both 22kg, but TAP and TACV did not bat an eyelid, nor check the weight of our hand luggage. We do not for one minute suggest anyone risks exceeding their baggage weight restrictions, but it's a relief that we are on the last leg of our flights to Maio with no queries on the weight. Christine says it's the 10% rule on measuring equipment accuracy. That explains the Sat Nav detour.

maio cape verde photos #3
All of the Island hopping aircraft are like this.

Now I am sitting in the air-conditioned, relatively peaceful departure lounge with café and toilets and a view over the tarmac. It's definitely more relaxing than the rest of the airport.

Once on the 50-seater plane, we had our flight safety demonstration whilst we were taxiing to the runway, which is a very short distance. We were airborne at 16.33 and the wheels of the plane landed on Maio at 16.41.

We were greeted at the airport by Livio and his colleague Marco who speaks very good English and came along in order to translate for us and Livio, as our Italian is non existent. Since our last visit, which was October 2008, the airport is undergoing some is undergoing a few improvements to the departure lounge and arrival area. Unfortunately the efficiency of the staff still needs some improvement.

The temperature outside the airport was 36oC and we had to wait 50 minutes for our luggage to be transported off the plane and claimed individually by who ever got there first. Once you had your luggage in your hand, you have to show proof of ownership to the airport assistant waiting at the French doors. This proof is usually on your boarding pass stub, so keep hold of it.

Livio and Marco took us to collect some gas so that we could connect our oven. We had to take out a contract in order to get the gas. The cost of the bottle, flexible hose and fittings came to 3290CVE. They then took us to the 'Casa Blanca' supermarket so that we could pick up a few necessities.

Then came the moment we had been waiting for, entering our property knowing that we will be staying there for the first time. Livio carried the gas bottle into the bungalow and promptly started to connect us up. Both he and Marco made sure the oven and fridge were both working before leaving us.

I looked around and saw that although we hadn't yet got the wardrobes we ordered, we did have the two single beds and the queen size bed. I was silly enough to sit at the end of the queen size and heard a loud 'crack'. Now I know what you are all thinking, but no I am not over weight, the support beam running down the centre of the bed, which stops the slats from bowing, was defying gravity by the means of very small pieces of wood screwed to the headboard and footboard. The crack was the footboard splitting. Livio was at work straight away; he took the footboard off and made off with it, explaining that he would return tomorrow.

Marco said that they would both be back tomorrow and that they hoped that we would enjoy our stay. We got to work straight away and made up the two single beds and turned on the air conditioning.

Unfortunately it took us all night and half the next day to decide that the air conditioner was just blowing air. We finally decided to scour the instruction manual for the correct settings, but soon decided that only a qualified nuclear physicist would be able to discover why.

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