Sunday, May 22, 2011

São Domingos

In the northwestern part of Guinea Bissau on the estuary of river Cacheu lies a small town of São Domingos, with the estimated population of 3.000. Its economy, like the rest of the country's is based on agriculture; rice predominates in the nearby western coastal areas, palm, cashew and mango culture farther inland, and mixed forest to the east.

Annual carnival organized all over the country in March, concerts and theater performances as well as a local discotheque with a bare foot friendly sandy dancing floor are just a few aspect of the city's vibrant side. If you are more of a calm tempered person you can enjoy a peaceful view of river Cacheu and wooden canoes passing by, or take a walk around the town, visiting surrounding villages. Besides longlegged birds scoping the mud for their potential snack, occasional fish acrobat performing a salto above the water surface, river bank also hosts local women collecting and cooking delicious oysters.

If you feel like having some fancy food served there are a few restaurants and many improvised stalls that serve local specialities. Shops are scatered all over, but concentrated around the main road and local market. There is also a bus station, where you can catch a daily bus to Bissau or Ziginchor, if you don't feel like jumping on some other form of frequent public transport.

Even though there is no electricity, nights are far from quiet or boring. Shops enlightened by battery powered lamps would turn the streets into magical, firefly-like avenues, old and young would gather on the streets or around the fire to perform the inevitable djumbai (chat). If not a live performed drumming, there would always be some music from radios in the air.