What do you do with a drunken sailor?
What do you do with a drunken sailor?
What do you do with a drunken sailor late in the evening?

You go to find him in the local supermarket where he is buying groceries and toothbrushes for the local kids who sleep out in the local playground.

I won’t bang on about the background as to why I was looking for him, but his wife thought it prudent to accompany him back to the marina.

The trouble is, when you are also a drunken sailor – the byproduct of the arrival dinner – the supermarket is hard to find. But there is always help at hand. And this emerged in the form of another local trying to sell jewellery to earn money to buy food for his kids. We didn’t have much of a conversation on the way to the shop, partly because my Portuguese is very limited and so is his English. And I was in a state of vigilance to make sure I wasn’t taken on a one-way trip down a dark alley.

Arriving at the supermarket, I found my fellow sailor at the checkout with three bags of supplies. All for the kids. My contribution of a bag of infant milk to my guide seemed an embarrassment by comparison. My drunken sailor friend is probably the most generous man I have met. And I am not basing this judgement on one incident, this is a common theme. This man likes to share. I confess to being a tad more guarded.

On the way back to the marina, we stopped to hand the bags to the kids in the playground, who were clearly very grateful. Then we came across a Senegalise guy, who didn’t want money for himself, but instead pointed out a guy ahead who needed some food. This fella, he explained, is both deaf and mute. The deaf and muteness act was blown when I shouted OY! and he turned round.

Clearly there is poverty here, and I guess social cohesion isn’t as strong as you might find in some other societies. But this is hassle-light. There isn’t much in the way of edginess about the place. The people are friendly and for some people, quite understandably, we are seen as rich people with the means to make life a little better for them.