As we entered the eerily quiet terminal building at Rabil airport, we were reminded of how we will never experience the joys of travel like this again. Once again, we were amongst just a handful of Cabo Verdeans flying from Boa Vista to the capital Praia, from whence we would take the super-short 12 minute flight onto Maio in an empty ATR-72 – or our own ‘private twin-prop’ as Zeb calls it.
Our expectations of Maio had perhaps been informed by an overly romantic presentation in guidebooks. We know few people, even Cabo Verdeans who have travelled to the easternmost outpost of Cabo Verde – often referred to as the ‘lost island’. It may be the familiar terrain (the island feels like an extension of both Sal and Boa Vista with its miles of sandy white, but more treacherous beaches) and our yearning for difference – but we found it hard to discover the charm and vibrancy we had so hoped for. The main town of Villa do Maio, now renamed Porto de Ingles (a nod to a merry band of Sir Francis Drake’s sailors who established the small fort here during the Napoleonic wars), is a pleasant enough backdrop from which to while away a few hours – but for us something just did not chime.