For the past two weekends, I’ve found myself at the acclaimed club, Cockpit (pronounced Cock-e-pit). Before I ever stepped foot into the night club, I heard story after story, that always ended with, “You’ve never been to Cockpit?” Therefore, I just had to go…and go again.
I think back to college — going out around 11pm and returning around 2am. Here, you go out around 11pm and return around 6am. You leave when it’s dark and come home when it’s light. You keep telling yourself, one more song — then one more song, turns into one more good song, and one more good song quickly turns into 6am.
Dancing for six hours straight is no small feat. Something about this place, something about these people, just makes you wanna dance. There is a happiness unique to these people — a simplicity of it all that America hasn’t quite grasped.
The university students talked about going dancing all week, actually for a few weeks now. Going out is a special event, involving saving money and picking out the perfect outfit. It’s not a weekly, or biweekly outing — it’s not certain, and it’s not taken for granted. Maybe it’s because there’s not a lot to do here — we’re not spoiled with movie theaters, shopping malls, restaurants, bookstores, coffee shops, and endless entertainment. When we do venture out, it’s a big deal. Maybe it’s because we’re not overloaded with simulation, spoiled with an overabundance of amenities.
Or, maybe it’s just an appreciation for life, celebration, fellowship. Whatever the secret is, people are abnormally happy here. They have what they need — they are satisfied. There is not a constant want, a constant need to impress. It is simply about friends getting together and letting loose — not being afraid to dance.
It’s always fun waiting to hear that prized American song or if you’re lucky, maybe even a few. It’s fun learning to batuk, attempting the funana and joining in a language all it’s own — the language of expression, unique to every culture.
And we can’t forget about late night food, or in this case, early morning. No matter where you are in the world, late night food is a commonality between us all. In Portugal it’s bakeries, in America it’s fried foods, here it’s that steadfast catchupa. Catchupa, Cape Verde’s national dish, is never far, always ready to fill your belly and available wherever you may go. Saturday night, I found myself choosing between soup with fish bones, or catchupa with hairy pork, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I guess it’s all what you get used to.