I was woken up by my cat ‘Indie’ at 5.40a.m.Sunday morning. She was playing with the plastic top of a water bottle which was sliding and rolling across the tiled floor of my lounge, but I was glad she’d woken me early as I wanted to go for a walk. 

I have been back on Sal for 5 days and had been taking early morning walks on 4 of those days, starting at 7.20a.m. on the first two days. I had found it too hot at that time and, being really unfit didn’t help. On Saturday I went out at 7a.m. but I still felt slightly uncomfortable so Sunday I wanted to make it an even earlier start.

At 6a.m. it was dark outside, so I left it till 6.20a.m. as the sun was starting to rise. What I hadn’t realised was that the darkness may have been influenced by the dark clouds that were hanging over Santa Maria. But off I set, without camera unfortunately, and took a different route heading from Tanquinho Zona (area around May O’Leary’s) and toward the Correios and CVTelecom building. It was here I turned around and saw the bright sky behind the buildings I had walked by, a light that would have allowed some good clear photos. I turned and carried on walking along past Tam Tams, keeping an eye on the clouds that were now looking even darker and, which started to release droplets of water here and there.

There seemed to be quite a few local people around on the streets, a group of men were sat outside a local bar on my right, still drinking from the night before. Both men and women were walking up the street towards me in some sort of fashion, I soon found out they were just heading home after a night out and that they had just left the Pirata night club which had closed at 6a.m. I recognised a young girl who I stopped to chat too, she had also been to Pirata after finishing work at the Calema Bar earlier that morning. The smell of beef burgers and onions was getting stronger; I noticed a group of people around the little caravan, next to the BCA bank, that was the source of this lovely aroma.

I carried on past the shoe shop (Hotel Pontao) and watched young girls flag down taxis outside Pirata, asking for a free lift home. I then turned and headed on road that would take me past the Belorizonte Hotel. I waved at Jacquie Cozens from SOS Tartarugas as she drove by on her quad, probably returning from turtle and nest watch on the beaches as part of her shift. 

The rain had started to fall a bit heavier but it was refreshing none the less. As I walked past the Morabeza and its empty archery range, I looked to my right to see the familiar sight of the mini lake which was a mixture of sea and rain water, some which had been deliberately pumped into it from a nearby development. In the distance I noticed a rainbow, one end of the rainbow landing on Vila Verde, the other end not quite visible at that time, but a short distance on it was seen off the west coast, visible to all early risers from the Riu. 

I walked past the Djadsal (which I am told has been closed) and turned off just before the Hotel Crioula to head down to the beach. I was really glad I had put my sports (running) shoes on as I had been wearing flip flop type footwear on previous walks. My familiar and comfortable ‘crocs’ had broken so I had worn other flip flops and sandals (which I hadn’t worn since last year) and these had produced blisters. I was also glad because if I had been wearing flip flops in the rain my feet would have been sliding around in them and I would have had more mucky wet sand splats up the back of my bare legs.

As I came onto the beach the rain had eased slightly, the sun was shining but the edge of the dark cloud was clipping it as it continued moving over the ocean and possibly to Boavista. The cobble stones on the walkway didn’t look greasy after the rain, unlike the cobbles on the road I had walked on earlier. It was now starting to get hotter and I was glad I was heading back. I wished I’d had my camera as some of the clouds and panoramic views would have been nice to capture in photos, but maybe next time when it rains.

I reached the pier; some of the fishing trip operators were busy getting ready to take their boats and customers out on trips. I headed past the ice cream parlour and the Blu Bar which were obviously closed at that time of the morning, then up past the rear of the Square up the road that heads out past the Mayors house. The sun was rising ahead, above The Surf and Snack Shack and out towards Grijinhia. I turned off just after the Mayors house and headed back to the apartment. This had been a nice 50 min stroll at a steady pace and one which I can say I thoroughly enjoyed.


Mixture of photos taken at various times in Santa Maria: