A toddler and her mother on a deserted beach. The little one is taking her shoes off, mom waiting.

  • 💺 Flying to the other island. Still feeling sick. A pill didn’t help. I did make it through with the extra luggage, at a cost of €40. Arrived at the airport with plenty of time to deal with it, and it was faster than expected. More time left to sit in the waiting room, while a huge C130 revved up its engines just outside the windows. Not the nicest music when your head is hurting.

  • 🏝️ Getting to the airport in Príncipe is another experience I can’t easily put into words. The airport is tiny, and we’ve been there dozens of times. We know everyone who works there. Everyone. They’re always the same. We have picked up, and dropped off, countless guests and friends. The airport plays a very important “public square” role on the island. It’s where you get the news, see who’s coming and going, pick up parcels that are sent from the big island,… Some weeks required daily visits, so we’d be there, talking with the staff, and everyone else, while we waited for airplane. If you have nothing to do, you’ll go to the airport when the plane is coming. This time, stepping out of the tiny aircraft, after almost four years, almost brought tears to my eyes. I was still going down the stairs, and “Miguel!” was already being shouted from all over. Handshakes and hugs all the way to the main building. At the end of it, tinyMovieStar waited, and ran to my arms. Not supposed to, but they opened the door for her. Everyone, obviously, knew they were there, they’d seen them on the morning flight, and they had the same enthusiastic welcome. Probably even more so, a baby is sure to impress.

  • 🍼 tinyMovieStar is having a blast! She’s meeting new people every day. Doing new things daily. Before I arrived they went to Roça Sundy, and she helped the kids there with their work, cracking nuts open. Kids here are not used to white toddlers, as not many make their way here. So they keep touching her skin, and hair, and she’s ok with it. If someone tried that back home, she’d go crazy! She’s not one to enjoy being touched or held, if it’s not someone she really knows. For a loooong time. She been in the river, washing her crocs, while the women wash their clothes. Everyone is thrilled to meet her, and she feels the same. Unless they have missing teeth. If they do, she’ll just say it’s scary, and turn away. We try to talk to her, telling her they are our friends, but it’s not working.

  • 🥘 There are a few new places in town. One would be reason to throw a party, but we’ve heard a couple opened since our last time here. We visited the bigger of those, and the food is really nice. Great venue as well. Unsurprisingly, by the time our food was ready, we had a handful of friends there already, more tables being added to accommodate everyone. This was not arranged. It just happens, when you know a lot of people, and there’s only so many places where they can be. Every time a new person would come along, tinyMovieStar would be all over it, dragging another chair to the table, telling us it was for our friend, so they could sit close to us.

  • 🤫 The quietness of Príncipe (unless it’s Friday). It’s really hard to convey how small the city is. It’s been dubbed “The Smallest Capital City in The World” for a reason, right? It’s small. Add to that the fact that light goes out every night, and it feels you’re alone in the middle of a forest. You can hear the dogs (plenty of those around), the odd motorcycle going by, but not much else. I sleep like a baby. The baby is also sleeping like a baby! Sun is up at 5:30AM, we get up an hour later, maybe, and there’s still a few hours after that with no power. No internet. I write.

  • 🥰 Friday is, also here, party day. Bars (small ones), and restaurants (few of them), catering to the local community, fill up and serve plenty of drinks. By local I also mean the expats living here. You have to be a little “local” to live here. A few have been lured by the promise of working in paradise, and left soon after, when they figure this kind of paradise doesn’t suit them. If you stay for a while, people will accept you, there’s respect going both ways. It’s not easy. And many who were born here can’t wait to get away. Those you stay, local or not, are part of similar teams. Obviously not the same, the standard of living is still very much different, but… Time goes by slowly, a day feel like a few back to back, but, for those who love it, it’s magical. I have never been to a place where I’ve felt more detached from the rest of the world. I love it. The party, though, ends at midnight.

  • 🌑 The darkness. Public illumination is not everywhere, so plenty of dark streets at night. We can hear the chanting at a church that’s not too close. You can’t see them, but they are there. Walking at night is an odd experience too, as people will call out your name, and you can’t see them yet. You hear someone playing music, sounds like a group, move towards the sound, and there’s maybe 20 people there. Musicians and others just dancing around. We stay for a while, another friend finds us, one we hadn’t seen before, but knew we had arrived.

  • 🏖️ The Beach. We also made our way to the beach. THE beach. The one where we met, the one where I proposed. This beach has a lot of memories for us, for our friends. And, now, maybe some will stick with tinyMovieStar. She loved it. At first she wanted to play in the sand but, when she dipped her feet in the water, and figured this was the warmest she had ever found, she was sold on the idea. It was hard to talk her into leaving. The weather wasn’t even that great, cloudy, we could hear a thunderstorm getting closer, but that didn’t stop us from having fun. Incredible couple of hours.

Note: I’m posting this one as 37/1, because so much has happened already, the full week would probably be too long… more later.