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Slow Life In Cape Verde

Oct 20, 2007
Life in Cape Verde has some of the characteristics traditionally associated with life in Africa. So things that are quick and easy in Europe or the US might be expected to take a long time here and be fraught with difficulties. But anyone who has traveled beyond Europe, especially to countries like Africa, South America, India, or China, will find life in Cape Verde a comparatively smooth ride.

People who consider themselves officials behind counters, in uniforms, with name badges refuse to be hurried. The more impatient you look, the more they will seem to enjoy taking their time. Lots of apparently simple procedures are unnecessarily complicated, involving baffling bureaucracy and pointless paper. Be prepared to wait around a lot, maybe even to have to come back tomorrow. People have a lot of time on their hands. If they have to sit in a waiting room for three hours to pay their electricity bill, so be it. What is the rush?

Queuing is a fluid art form. People will go to the bank, stand in the queue for five minutes, go away, do some shopping, have lunch, come back, and expect to reclaim their place. You may have been standing there in the queue for an hour and a half, finally reach the front, only to find two or three women suddenly appear from nowhere and reclaim their places in front of you. This can be very frustrating. Women, yes, unfortunately its always women who do this, go into the supermarket and grab three empty baskets. They put those baskets on the floor in the queue. They then walk round the shop, grabbing this and that and bring it back to their baskets, then they go back for some more things, ingeniously moving forward in the queue and doing their shopping at the same time.

Cape Verdeans accept situations without feeling the need to enquire into the whys and wherefores. So if you find yourself in a crazy predicament and want to know why the post office hasn't got any stamps, or why the baker doesn't sell bread, or why you can't buy the cheese even though it's there in the fridge with a price on it, don't expect an explanation. That's just the way it is.

The same can be applied to buying property in Cape Verde which is why it is always best to go with an experienced agent rather than trying to deal directly with locals.
About the Author
Archy Ash writes for Your Cape Verde property and land investment specialists also providers of Cape Verde mortgages and villas at http://www.yourcapeverde.com
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