It's Spring here in Mauritius, the cherry blossom is stunning, it's windy (the south coast especially so) and it seems to rain overnight. The temperature is supposed to be in the low 20's but during the day once the wind drops, the skies turn bright blue and it's been hitting 26.
For me that's a bit hot for doing too much, I find it really tiring however for Wednesday 3rd we had booked a James Bond underwater scooter experience up on the North West coast at Mon Choisy. Sadly when we got all the way there the visability was too poor due to the winds so we weren't able to do it. That really scuppered our plans so with nothing arranged we drove along the coast to Grand Baie.
The top bit of the island is picture postcard beautiful and full of top class hotels. This is the bit everyone I know who's been to Mauritius has stayed and based on this I can see why they think it's paradise. If you don't leave the hotel or this bit of the island you get a blinkered view but then again it's a hard earned holiday so who wants reality?
We didn't stay long in Grand Baie. It appeared to be a nice waterfront full of little boutique type shops, not MPs thing.
We drove further round the coast then decided to set off back to the house (driving aimlessly is not my thing). As we passed the signs for Rose Hill, where MPs family live he decided to pull off and eventually pulled in. A phone call to find out the plans for the service became a visit with his auntie Yolande and uncle Henry. Another uncle, Raymond was there and took us to his house nearby to meet his wife Madeline and see all the family memorabilia he has collected including a photographic family tree, furniture from the family shop in Port Louis to the family kitchen table. It was fascinating to see as MP isn't interested in his family or background.
The visit was cut short as I was still wearing my swimming costume under my clothes from earlier and it was digging in and really uncomfortable. However we did at least leave with a rough idea of the plans for Henri's service Friday.
Home via Blue Bay to feed the dog, a lovely dinner made by the cook of the villa owners, some emails to local animal rescues to find out how I can get Puppy back to the UK and a good sleep.
Thursday, 4 September 2014
So I write this from Mauritius.
MP and I arrived late afternoon on Saturday 30th August after a hard 16 hours of travelling. After collecting the hire car it was a short drive to the villa we had rented. We were met by the owner and the maid who had kindly prepared a meal for us, so after dinner and a shower it was off to bed with the mosquito net wrapped tightly around the bed.
Huge cactus tree in the garden
The house we have rented
Sunday 31st we went to find the local supermarket to stock up on provisions. I love exploring supermarkets in other countries, the unknown products, the familiar brands and fascinating vegetables. After stocking up we went to the villa for a lazy day. I needed to put my feet up as my ankles and calves were so swollen from the flights. In the evening we walked to the only local eatery where I had some oyster type thing which was very nice.
Monday 1st September we drove to the recommended Maheborg (My Burr) market. Busy, hot, smelly like most markets. Into KFC for a cool down and free wifi then a drive along the coast road south of the island. Almost home we took a detour to Blue Bay to check out the
snorkeling potential but got distracted by the most gorgeous friendly stray pup who wanted nothing but a cuddle. So awful to see all the dogs there sheltering in the shade, terrified of the people walking past. God knows what they are subjected to!
Now if like me your mental model of Mauritius is white sands and turquoise seas you wouldn't be far wrong but what the brochures don't show you is the utter poverty here, the inhabitable tin shacks that people live in, the stray emaciated dogs, the high unemployment or the drug problems.
You may say this can be seen in most countries and you'd be right but you kinda expect it in Thailand, which is improving. Mauritius is basically a third world country telling the world it isn't. So really not what I was expecting and a real shock. Consequently I am struggling with it.
I find it upsetting to see the poverty, the people and dogs with no chance or life and the hypocrossy of those with housemaids/cooks. What makes them better than others?
The capital Port Louis was our destination Tuesday 2nd. Just an hour from our base in the south at Pointe D'Ensy via the M1 (evidence of the British occupation) Port Louis is a modern developed harbour front for the docking cruise ships and tourists (doubt locals could afford to eat or shop here) with a mix of colonial and modern buildings behind forming the centre.
We headed to the market as all tourists do but didn't stay long as it was hot and the constant hassle from stall holders became a bit annoying. A walk round China town, a call in to the Mauritian institute and museum to see the (badly) stuffed bird collection and the dodo, coffee on the waterfront and we had seen all we wanted so set off back to the villa. A quick stop at another supermarket to buy some dog food for the pup and a stop at Blue Bay to feed her.
I'm tired now and it's taking ages to type this on a tablet never mind add in photos, so enough for tonight and days 4 and 5 tomorrow. Till then x