Day Three | Today We Go South
We checked out very early. We left the Lobata District (5), and passed through the Água Grande (1), Mé-Zóchi (6), Cantagalo (2) Districts, to finally reach the Cauê District (3). That is, we have to go back on our journey and through São Tomé again. Once we crossed the city, we drive along the coast towards the south. The first kilometers were faster and easier. Although the journey was not that long, its layout and road conditions made travel slow, which gave us time to appreciate the details of the landscape, the stares of the people we met and the laughter of the children.
We passed through the towns of Água Arroz and Bombom and reached the District of Cantagalo. Santana is the largest city in the district, with 10,290 inhabitants. Do not miss its church by the sea. We continued and passed through the Roça Água- Izé, which was the first community to introduce cocoa.
We took a short rest at the Barão de Água-Izé restaurant, then continued along the road, heading south. From then on, the road was fun because of the curves and later on, the road became unpaved and bumpy. This is why, the road to the south is less busy.
We drove through Praia das Sete Ondas and the towns of Ribeira Afonso, Santa Cecilia. We saw the Ruins of the cocoa dryhouses next to the road, the Praia Micondo and in the background, the María Fernandes mountain. We also went by the Agratoldo farm where palm oil is extracted and fruits ready to be processed can be seen. We arrived in the Cauê District where São João dos Angolares is the most representative and important town.
Going on along the road, there is a place from where the Pico Cão Grande, a representative peak of the island with a phallic shape, can be seen very well.
We crossed the Rio iô Grande, the town of Dona Augusta, entered the Ribeira Peixe. We passed by Praia Grande, the town of Monte Mario and crossed the Malanza River arriving at Vila Malanza. Next to the road we saw Bar Restaurante N´Guembú (beach resort). Although we did not stop there, I wrote it down to visit another time.
We arrived at Praia Cabana. There we had a swim and drank coconut water offered by a 9-year-old boy who wielded a large machete with ease, and also offered us shells from the beach. I have learned that one should not “take” shells or stones, from the natural environment even if it is wild because shells are necessary both to create those beaches, and for many animals. We are on the side of respect for nature because we are part of it, and we need each other. Here in Praia Cabana, there was a modest restaurant with typical and very tasty food.
After lunch, we were surprised by the noise of a powerful engine on wooden boat reaching the shore in our direction while waiving a few life jackets for us. Once on board, the waves and the boat-pilot (…he sailed so fast over the waves…) became the real protagonists. That man had absolute control of the area with its reefs, riding waves at high speed. He made a very funny trip heading to Ilhéu das Rolas. (Honestly, an islet I didn’t even know existed until then). But as I said before, the simplest thing contains a surprising treasure. A treasure in an islet…? we have already watched the film…haven’t you?
(As usual, as if in a treasure hunt, we followed the instructions…) we landed on the beach, went through a village full of life: children playing, domestic animals in the streets, women carrying baskets, men playing cards. I concentrated on looking for the “hidden clues”. Not found, we went on walking up the slope, which became harder and harder. On the top of the hill we happily found a path, at the end of which, opening to an esplanade, there was a sort of large terrace overlooking the ocean. Many people playing the same game, but we had no more clues, not even a map. Oh, yes, it was there! We were walking on a very large mosaic map. Now it would be easier.
Disappointed, because I could not find on the map the location of the treasure with the typical “x mark”. Just a moment later, we realized that the treasure was already is in the middle of that esplanade, beneath us and could not be marked with a single “x”, but with a line: the Equator Landmark (latitude 0°).