Sao Tome, Day One

Cormac and I were in need of a break from Bioko island a few weeks back, so we decided to hop down south to Sao Tome for a long weekend.  It was a fantastic trip that we would highly recommend to anyone residing in the near vicinity with easy flights to the country.  Although Sao Tome is also a tropical island like Bioko, it has a much different feel to it and a lot of varying landscapes.

The neighborhood (Bioko Island is the one in the top right of they bay)

We flew on Ceiba Airlines (national airline of Equatorial Guinea) through Libreville.  The flight time was about two hours, plus an hour on the ground in Gabon.  We landed with enough day light left to find our way to the guest house a friend had recommended.

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A long, loud ride. But it got the job done!

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Two of the maybe 15 workers at the airport in Sao Tome

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The only other planes at the airport

Our taxi driver gave us a quick tour of downtown on our way through the city and made some recommendations about what to do and see.  We ended up running into the same guy three or four more times during our stay, and he stopped each time to ask us how our trip was going.  Small town hospitality at its finest!  He spoke Portuguese and French, which was a bit too large of a language obstacle for us to overcome, otherwise we would have hired him as our guide for the whole trip.

We found the guest house in the exact place and condition our friend had described it.  A small place, set back from the road, with very basic rooms including just a bed, sheet, towels, and clean bathrooms.  We dropped off our stuff and then headed to Papa Figo’s for a bite to eat.

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The entrance to the guest house– with the Kodak sign we were promised to find

I sampled the local beer, which was comparable to any other unlabeled light beer you may come across, and we each had a veggie pizza.  We probably ate six veggie pizzas from Papa Figo’s during our trip.  Papa Figo’s was a great people watching spot.  There were always a few tables of locals playing an animated card game, international news programs on the TV inciting lively conversation, and kids wandering around trying to sell stuff over the cafe wall.  The waitstaff were kind and patient with our lack of Portuguese language ability, offering up French and German as alternatives, before working through our elementary Spanish ordering.

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Great outdoor seating

The first night was far from restful, thanks to a neighborhood watch dog, eager rooster, and the saw mill next door.  I don’t think I slept more than one consecutive hour the whole night.  Since we wanted to return to Malabo somewhat rested from our vacation, we decided to check out of the guest house and move over to the Miramar Hotel after breakfast.

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The Miramar was full, so they upgraded us to a suite for free!

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The beautiful garden and ocean view outside our suite doors

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A bit more comfortable, a lot more fancy

 

More on the Sao Tome trip in the next post…

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