Walking on the tarmac towards the airport, I feel the dry wind brushing my skin. It's warm, but not too warm. 22 degrees, the pilot said. A faint smell of burned wood lingers in the air. I think I'll like this place. Yes, I'll like it. It reminds me of where I grew up.
The airport, like the land, is minimalistic. A shade structure built over the immigration counter and the boarding area, open to the blowing wind. I wait in line with the other tourists for the immigration checks and think about the future. For the first time, I have absolutely no plans. No hotel reservation, no one to meet, no next step, no nothing. A taste of pure, absolute freedom. And it tastes like excitement, laced with fear. Or maybe the other way round.
Welcome to BVC - Boa Vista International Airport
I catch a cab - actually, a pick-up truck - to the city. I ask the driver about his life. He's from another island but came to Boa Vista four years ago because there's more work here. Tourism is booming. On the dirt road that snakes its way across the barren land, we pass several construction projects. They're building housing everywhere, on every single piece of land, and those houses seem as out of place as if they were being built on Mars. Islands of grey concrete in an ocean of dry rocks.
We arrive at the city center, and my driver drops me off in front of a real estate agency. Would they have something to rent to a poor, hotel-avoiding Brazilian writer like me? After some chatting and a couple of incomprehensible phone calls in Creole, I'm brought to a place that's exactly what I need: A one-bedroom appartment, all furnished. The whole building is brand new, and mostly empty. Another by-product of the recent tourism boom, like those unfinished buildings I saw on my way from the airport. I'll later learn that my appartment is owned by an Italian guy who comes once a year.
I'm happy that things went so easily, so smoothly. Speaking Portuguese makes everything easier, of course, but the Cape-Verdians I met were all exceptionnally nice and helpful. An hour ago I was homeless, wondering where the hell I was going to sleep, and now I have a nice and relatively affordable place to stay. I take a shower and a quick nap to wash away the weariness of the travel, put my shorts and my flip-flops on, and take off to check the beach nearby.
My new appartment