No trip to Brava would be complete without a visit to Faja D'agua (sounds like Fee-john-dahg). Thereare actually a number of places on the net with Faja D'agua pictures but what's one more?
We were lucky to be invited to JJ's house for a special dinner on a Sunday afternoon. His place sits right on the beachfront with a gorgeous terrace view of a mountain backdrop that doesn't look real, and the sound and crashing waves. JJ's was the first place on Brava where I was offered - and had - a drink with ice cubes in it, which normally isn't a big deal.
A local specialty of lapas was planned, which are a kind of limpet (similar to a small clam or mussel) picked off the rocks that day. Then for something unique for a beverage (to us) JJ, served some fresh coconut by cutting off the top and putting in a straw for drinking the coconut water. It had a bland taste, not like coconut milk BTW. Then JJ cracked open the coconut and served the immature pulp in the shell with a spoon. I can't say it's my favorite thing, sort of a bland, gelatinous taste and texture. It was really cool though and alot of people remembered having it as a child for a treat.
We had some time before too, so we decided to take a walk down th main thoroughfare of Faja D'agua. The wonderful thing about this place is to be so close to the water, since the capital of Brava, Nova Sintra, has water views everywhere but not waterfront. Furna has waterfront but most of it is taken up by the Port. Brava really is not a beach destination by any imagination. But beach vacations are easy to come by on other islands. It's one reason Brava isn't visited by many tourists, except for Europeans who love to hike or enjoy quiet serenity in a rugged setting.
We took a walk and it was hot and breezy, but soon cooled off late afternoon. Unique to Faja D'agua is the old island style "laundromatte" with a row of washboards on the side of the building that ladies used to do laundry. NICE!
Mimi pointed out you can buy a just caught fish from the fisherman and take it to the one bar and they will grill it for you. Then she took us to see Jose Andrade's lovely Sol Na Baia Pensao. Jose makes the finest Grogue (sugar cane alcohol) and he is an excellent chef (as I read online - check out these pics from an English lady - Grete Howard). BTW, if you can read Portuguese here's a nice blog with a good post about Brava and a feature on Jose and his grogue and pensao.
His Pensao comes highly recommended and a couple people said just the showers were worth the over night stay. Most showers on the island don't have strong pressure, but Faja D'agua is said to have good pressure because the water comes downhill from a long way.
The dinner was as usual an over abundance of food and variety. This is just one example of the food we had on Brava. Everywhere we went in Cape Verde, we were served alot of food whether we were at a home or a restaurant.
The picture below shows the spread. There was an American salad in the center, then from the middle top,
clock-wise - cooked potato, sweet potato and manioc root (we call it mandioc), two roasted fish (garoupa and another local fish) covered in onion, tomato and potatos, Lapas seasoned and cooked in sauce, cube steak with onion, steamed squash, and finally steamed zucchini.
We had several kinds of American salad dressings, and wine for the table. The wonderful tablecloth had pictures of all the cape verde islands and scenes of activities Cape Verde is known for, like windsurfing and deep sea fishing. We made a special trip from Praia Airport to Casa Felicidade market in Praia to buy one and matching oven mitts and bread bags. They were really reasonable (1200 CVE for the table cloth and about 250 CVE for oven mitts), come in yellow, blue and red background colors and make nice gifts.
PS - Check out this video of paragliding over Faja D'Agua!!