One Night in Cabo…

This past weekend, we spent one night in Cabo.  No, not Cabo San Lucas, but rather Cabo Ledo – which is about as close to Cabo San Lucas as we are going to find in Angola. Cabo Ledo boasts a lovely crescent-shaped stretch of beach, and is one of the best excursions from Luanda.  It can take two to three hours to get there, depending on very unpredictable traffic.  You never know what diversions will be encountered on the way, and whether or not your driver will know where he is going.  More on that later…

Saturday morning about nine o’clock, our personal driver picked us up.  I will call him Mr. Mellow, as he drives about as fast as an eighty-year-old woman, and never seems the least bit ruffled by anything.  Just outside of town, we encountered the usual bottle-neck of street sellers, and I had a chance to snap a few photos with my phone – very cautiously, of course.  In Luanda, displaying a phone is discouraged due to the risk of someone smashing your window to steal it, especially when stuck in heavy traffic.  Risk aside, there is always so much going on along the road, that I really wanted to capture all of this chaos and commerce!  It is truly unbelievable what people are selling: hangers, home-made yogurt, brooms, portuguese/english dictionaries, and a few porno videos thrown in for good measure.

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Would-be merchants lay down a blanket to peddle their wares along the road.
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Angolan women are amazingly graceful and strong. I’ve seen them run across three lanes of traffic with babies on their backs, huge baskets on their heads, and dragging a child with each hand. Yikes!
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Running the gauntlet of street sellers. Peanuts, anyone?
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Getting ready to hoist a heavy bucket of sugar cane back onto her head, with a small round of rolled fabric as the only cushion.
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A local gossip session. The lady on the right is clearly not impressed…
A baby sleeps peacefully, while mom and big sister conduct some business.
A baby sleeps peacefully, while mom and big sister conduct some business.

Mr. Mellow drove his usual easy-going pace and we reached the resort in about three hours. Hubby was a little anxious to get there, but I was happy looking out the window along the way.  Just part of the fun for me.

Our resort, called Carpe Diem (love the name!) is made up of about fifteen small cabins, an open-air restaurant and a row of palapas on the beautiful beach.

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The cabins are very basic, but there is hot water and A/C.  What else do you need?
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Lovely beach with a mostly Portuguese crowd. There are one or two other resorts a little further down the beach.
A very nice pool, but everyone there opted for the beautiful beach instead.
A very nice pool, but everyone there opted for the beautiful beach instead.

We enjoyed walking along the beach and just relaxing for the day.  Colorful wooden fishing boats dotted the sea in front of us. From one side of the resort, we watched a few groups haul these large boats onto shore with their catch for the day.

No speed boats or oil derricks to be seen here, just local fishermen hoping for a good catch.
No speed boats or oil derricks to be seen here, just local fishermen hoping for a good catch.
These old wooden boats must be heavy as lead.  Just look at how many men it took to get this boat onto the beach!
These old wooden boats must be heavy as lead. Just look at how many men it took to get this boat onto the beach!

Evening brought a beautiful sunset followed by a delicious dinner, with very attentive service by the manager of the resort, name Mr. Dias.

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Lovely cool evening and not a bug in sight!
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One of about fifty sunset shots we took…
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Delicious meal of local lobster and fish.

All during dinner, there were music videos playing on a large screen.  We noshed to Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, Celine Dion, and others – all American and British artists.  The Portuguese crowd seemed to know all of the songs, and sang along with gusto.  This always amazes me!  We have heard American Top 40 tunes in virtually every country we have visited, even in places where very few people speak English!

After dinner, a few Spanish and Portuguese dance tunes worked their way into the mix.  This made for free entertainment, as some very energetic couples soon got up to dance.  Later (after more alcohol was consumed) a few of them wound up in the pool – involuntarily and with clothes on, of course.  For hours, we just drank in this surreal scene.  Such a strange life we are leading – sitting at a beach restaurant in West Africa, watching a Portuguese crowd gyrate to American music! The world is indeed a very small place.

It was a great night and way too much delicious Portuguese wine was consumed, thanks to an excellent recommendation by Mr. Dias.  The next morning, we were awoken by a flock of Weaver Birds, building their nests in the trees by our cabin. It was a clear, cool morning so we enjoyed our last few peaceful hours by the beach, before it was time to head back into the  maelstrom of Luanda.

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African Masked Weavers. The males weave the hanging nests and then try to entice a female to move in.
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So colorful!
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Our breakfast companions. Several peacocks wander around the grounds and restaurant.

Unfortunately, Mr. Mellow does not work on Sundays, so we had to arrange a car through Tango Delta for the ride back to Luanda. About ten forty-five, the driver called to say he had arrived (in very limited English).  After searching for him for several minutes, Hubby gave him a call.  Uh-oh. Apparently, wherever the driver had “arrived” was nowhere near us.  Unable to decipher what the driver was saying, Hubby handed the phone to the parking lot attendant, who took a full ten minutes to direct the driver to our resort.  An hour and a half and several phone calls later, the driver finally showed up.  I didn’t mind the wait so much, but the two hour, white-knuckle drive back was another story!

At first, the driver was very distracted, weaving all over the road and looking at me in the rear view mirror.  Keep your eyes on the road, buddy! Maybe I have gotten used to Mr. Mellow, but it also seemed like we were driving entirely too fast.  I’m not sure how I will readjust to Texas highway speeds on my next visit home!  At seventy miles per hour, I had a death grip on the door and could not look out of the front window.  Of course, the fact that we criss-crossed the center line repeatedly did not help me to relax!  After about an hour, the driver began to shake his head and rub his eyes in an effort to stay awake.  Aargh!  Where is Mr. Mellow when you need him!  I will never complain about his granny driving again.  Okay, I know never to say never, but this time I really mean it!

Once our hearts stopped pounding from the drive back, we realized what a nice twenty four hours it had been.  We will definitely return, but next time we will offer to pay Mr. Mellow extra to drive us both ways.  After getting Tango Delta’d like we did, it is worth whatever he asks.  And who knows, maybe a Celine Dion CD would sweeten the deal for him…

© 2014 Cheryl – All Rights Reserved

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