Today there’s no sunset pics

26 February 2014 · Praia, Cape Verde ·

Today there's no sunset pics,

Today was one of those intriguing days that life provides from time to time to you.

Today was the day I felt bad for being myself.

I often say that I prefer cumulate experiences rather than cumulate places, and stamps in a passport is only a small detail … this travel culture of ‘three countries in three days’ isn’t really my vibe, you know? I need more time to feel a place, taste foods, listen sounds, meet people.

People. This is always the best part of travelling. Because when you get to know people, you get to know places, foods, songs, manners, languages, beliefs. Despite of being (very, very) shy, I love meeting people.

When I travel, I usually “camouflage” myself according the place I will visit. In Porto Alegre I used to say “bah”, when in Natal, my favourite interjection was “boe.” In Paris I took countless subway rides pretending to everyone that I was 100% sure on what was the right sortie to exit. In Elche, I followed the siesta. In Slovakia, I ordered foods with strange names just for the challenge of spell it. In Dublin though, I didn’t manage to look like an Irish due for 13 times (!) people insisted on asking me if I was French…

Here in Praia, today was a “disappointing” day. That was the first time I was walking around the commercial centre of the town alone, by myself.

I felt bad because I couldn’t camouflage myself in those streets and sidewalks. What was/is a simple matter of little amount of melanin just made me feel like the weirdest person on earth, carrying a feeling that I was stared by all because of my color. I put my sunglasses on and tried to keep a mardy bum face of “yeah-I-look-strange-but-I’m-not-that-foreigner”; at other times, I wished I didn’t understand Portuguese (and hear the catcalls) of men who passed by my side saying “mmm what a hot white” and other things. They were always reminding me the color I had, and this wasn’t a good thing.

The day came was over — and no, it wasn’t a disappointing day at all! I met Kat, Sarah, the observatory, the Plateau and the Ethnographic Museum — but before I went to the beach, which for me is the place you I least felt the weight of other people’s eyes here. And I started to think about it all.

About how it’s like to be “different” in a society, for several reasons. About how it’s like to be black in a predominantly white society. About how it’s like being homosexual in a homophobic environment. On how it’s like following a religion and people judge you based on that… I though about everything, everything.

Then an hypothesis crossed my mind: “What if everyone were the same type, the same body and the same way of thinking?” Later, I just remembered when I exchanged some money into Cape Verdean escudos and at the next day I went out for lunch with Braulio — he said something like “I find it amazing how the people here dress colorfully, in vibrant shades” I agreed with him and recalled the local currency: “the bank notes as well! Sometimes is even hard to spot the ‘value’ because all sorts are like, so beautiful and nice to keep in our wallet.”

Dear friends, in case you have, please forget about your mental spreadsheet that combines color with values and/or other variants. Dear Creator, thank you for making each one very unique!

Today I could live this experience (and express what I felt) and I feel very happy about it.

Tomorrow I go back to the city centre, accepting who I am; and I’m go to the beach as well, this time not only for think about life. It’s for 'refuse' my lack of tanning and back to Dublin just for the fun of make my friends jealous due the fact it’s still freaking winter over there hahaha.

Cape Verde, thank you! You got a daughter who isn’t gone yet, but already counting the days to come back to your land.

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