Phew! After an anxious weekend spent wondering what has happened to m'blog-buddy, I received a letter this morning. Things had indeed got a bit hairy for him while travelling from Fuerteventura by boat, but his common sense and chutzpah carried him through:
I took a slow boat from the Canaries, planning to sail around the Cape of Good Hope to reach Madagascar, but after only a few days on a barely seaworthy vessel (never make your travelling decisions at 3.00am after a large amount of tapas and Napoleon Brandy, that's all I have to say) it became obvious that the captain did not have my best interests at heart. I was locked in a small cabin and fresh drinking water was only provided if I agreed to perform the Macarena every evening for the amusement of the crew. It was humiliating, and in no way helpful on my tour to find out about the top secret usages of vegetables around the planet.
At least this shameful episode did not last long. On the fourth evening the crew interrupted me mid-hip-sway; they rushed to the side of the boat and pointed at the sail in the distance. The Jolly Roger! As they grew closer I felt hope and despair in equal measure; I had to hope they were a nicer bunch with less predilection for modern dance. I stood utterly still, my hands in the air, as they boarded the boat. They were a fearsome sight - none of them over 3 feet high, and armed with fake beards, pointy hats and cutlasses, they were the dread dwarf pirates of Cape Verde. They killed every single member of the crew, including the odious captain, and I sank to my knees, which brought me level with the eyes of their leader, Grumpy.
I didn't beg. I slowly reached into my bag and took out a radish I had been saving for the journey. I offered it to him - he took it, sniffed it, licked it, bit in, devoured it - yes! He was a vegetable lover, just like me! He unrolled a map on the deck and pointed to where the best vegetables grew around here, then offered me a slice of thick white fibrous vegetable with a sweet taste, which he called Manioc. It was delicious.
Having found something in common, he was delighted to help me out; he instructed his second-in-command, Bashful, to take me to their homeland, the beautiful Cape Verde, and it is from there that I send this letter. Awesome vegetables here, particularly the Manioc. There are two types - one can be eaten raw, and the other must be pulped and cooked to remove the natural toxins. The pirates grate them and sprinkle them over every meal, just as Italians would use parmesan. What an experience!
For now, au revoir, and keep munching,
That was a lucky escape, huh?