Heading back to the main island
14.05.2018 - 14.05.2018
After having enjoyed a relaxing couple of days here on Rolas Island, it is time to move on, travelling back to São Tomé Town for our last night in this small African island nation.
All the luggage travels first, again on the smaller, open boat. We are a little concerned that once they reach the other end, our bags are going to be mixed up with those of the big party travelling with the Pestana bus (which is basically all the other passengers). Pestana owns three hotels on the islands and a shuttle bus ferries tourists between them.
The luggage boat goes off and the passenger vessel arrives.
We are grateful that it is not raining for our boat trip across to the main island.
This time we sit near the front of the boat to avoid getting soaked from the spray like we did on the way over. It may not be raining, but it is quite windy and the water is rather choppy.
Once we approach the bigger island, we see lots of fishermen, with their nets out trying to catch today's lunch and dinner. Most people in São Tomé live from day to day, just catching enough fish to feed their family.
Spotting Nino (our driver) on the jetty with a firm grip on our bags, we relax and realise our concerns were unfounded. It is comforting - and rather impressive - to know he remembered what our cases look like.
The Pestana bus is picking up all the other guests coming across from Rolas island, as well as bringing more tourists from the main island to take across to the resort. This, of course, means the entertainers are here again, singing their hearts out.
Having reunited with Nino and our bags, we offer a couple of the workers a lift to the next village. The extra manpower comes in handy when we get stuck on an uphill section of the gravel road with the wheels just spinning and spinning.
Pico Cão Grande
Translated from Portuguese as 'Great Dog Peak', this finger-shaped pinnacle is a volcanic plug. Created as magma hardened within a vent on an active volcano (now extinct), over the years erosion has worn away the surrounding rock, leaving this distinctive shape behind.
The peak rises dramatically over 370 m (1,000 ft) above the surrounding terrain and the summit is 668 m (2,175 ft) above sea level. It is well-known within the rock climbing community, its near-vertical walls having first been conquered in 1975. It is quite a landmark and can be seen for miles around.
Palm Oil Plantations
Like many other places, these palm oil plantations have ruined the local agriculture: while other trees have a symbiotic relationship with fruits and vegetables growing amongst them, nothing will grow underneath these palms. The result is that local people, who were previously more or less self-sufficient, are now unable to grow their own produce and have to pay for a taxi to travel to the market in town to buy (much more expensive) vegetables.
Another Laundry day
Every day is laundry day somewhere in São Tomé, and we stop to photograph people doing their washing and absolutions in a small inlet along the coast.
Hotel Miramar, São Tomé Town
Back in the same town, the same hotel and the same room – it's a bit like coming home after a holiday. We take lunch on the outside terrace, ordering from the bar menu . For someone (me) who is trying to cut out simple carbs, the choice of burgers, pasta and pizza doesn't really offer a lot of options.
I soon find out that the burgers were not a good choice in more ways than one, and spend the rest of the day in the room to be near a toilet.
I do make it for dinner, but don't eat a lot. In fact, the highlight of my evening is this amazing model car that our waiter has made, complete with a steering column, moving wheels and opening doors. All created from wood. He is obviously a very talented man.
Thank you yet again to Undiscovered Destinations for arranging this trip to São Tomé for us.