So you’re thinking about a holiday to Mauritius? Who can blame you, it’s a little slice of irresistible paradise.
Lets start with Grand Baie, probably one of the most talked about shopping hubs for tourists.
Grand Baie is very touristy, yes that much is true but it still feels very down to earth with plenty of locals in the area going too and fro, shopping and relaxing.
Don’t miss the turning on the corner with the big ‘Highlights’ shop sign, if you carry on up this road you’ll find lots of little side shops and eventually the indoor bazar (market), rammed full of clothes, souvenirs etc.
The sellers will encourage you to look at their wares but they’re not pushy and aggressive like some I’ve encountered in other destinations – they don’t get upset and personal if you say “no thank you”.
“Show me your shoes”
This gentleman managed to find something wrong with my flip flops – they weren’t strong enough on the thong bit he said (sorry Accessorize, it seems your flip flops are officially not up to scratch) – and he knew a way to make them better – he said he would show me for free – so I handed him a flip flop – he got to work immediately.
Then he suggested I give him the other flip flop, logically – and melodically announced he’d be charging for that one lol. Clever!! He was so charming and friendly, it didn’t bother me and I admired his creative approach to getting paid.
I also know to do this myself in future – a bit of cotton and a needle can go a long way!!
I’m usually one of the hardest types of customer to sell to. The minute you start trying to sell me something I don’t want or need, my purse goes into a metaphorical iron vault with a deadlock. The more you try, the more resistant I get, and I just want to get away. However, quite a few mauritian sellers miraculously worked their ‘mauritian charm’ on me because they actually had me wanting to buy things – this was down to their level of enthusiasm, charm, humour and unique sales tactics.
They did not seem to hear the word ‘no’, like the bazar seller who just giggled each time I shook my head and then quickly switched to new moves and tactics, whipping out different dresses, throwing in style tips, jokes and compliments……if you didn’t like the length, size, pattern, colour or style there were machinists all over the bazar and they simply say “we’ll make one for you, just how you like it”.
Note to self, if/when I ever return to Mauritius (which I would love to by the way) I’ll take a few of my favourite dresses and have them replicated in lots of lovely fabrics (I’m sure it’ll be a heck of a lot cheaper than trying to buy similar things in the UK – plus you can never find what you’re looking for half the time).
The sellers entertained me whilst trying to sell to me – they reeled me in and got me hooked. I think I met some of the best sales people I’ve ever encountered, whilst in Mauritius.
Now this guy should be delivering his own unique training courses to sales people, he deserves an oscar and a grammy for his lively sales performance – he blew me away, had me in stitches (with laughter, not wounds), his approach just oozed comedy – I don’t think this was his intention but it worked for me!!!
I was standing outside a shop minding my own business when Sanju appeared beside me making polite chit chat. “Hello, how are you, are you enjoying your holiday, first time in Mauritus?” The usual pleasantries.
Sanju quickly proceeded to tell me his shop was just around the corner, with good prices on whatever I needed, including sunglasses (which I actually needed because at this point I’d broken two pairs out of three – was he telepathic I wondered), jewellery…. come and take a look ‘in my car’ he said.
Sanju’s shop was parked round the corner.
I’ve never seen dolls like this before – three in one, they’re like transformers, but less complicated – interesting!
Along the main road you’ll find odd shops dotted around and of course the very tourist targeted ‘Sunset Boulevard’, it’s like one of those shopping villages in the UK where you get discounted designer goods.
Cashmere is a thing in Mauritius, you’ll find lots of shops selling cashmere goods – I should of grabbed a few bits to prepare myself for the sadistic sub zero temperatures that were waiting for me when I got back to the UK!
Shopaholics will not be disappointed…….
All that shopping was thirsty work before a walk back down the beach to the Veranda Grand Baie Hotel (very convenient place to stay for a quick walk to and from Grande Baie).
One more thing….
When you’re at your hotel, you’ll no doubt come across beach sellers with colourful sarongs etc. Note – they tend to charge around 200 – 250 rupees per sarong. In Grand Baie (as touristy as it is) you can get them for as little as 70 rupees. That said, I guess beach sellers are just trying to make a living and compete with the busier Grand Baie tourist traffic, so I didn’t mind paying a bit more – especially to the beach seller who marched down the scorching hot beach loaded with goods and patiently let me sift through everything – trying to make up my mind what to choose.
He showed me a photo album with pictures of all the things he sold in his caravan shop further down the beach from the Coin De Mire Attitude Hotel (a bit further north from Grand Baie), and also pictures of his daughter from ten years ago – yes his daughter, who he proudly described as ‘Miss World’, he said it was taken in Paris. I think she may have entered or even won! He had me at this point – the heart strings thing – what a nice man I thought, I really want to buy something from him. Three sarongs and a beach cover later, I felt good about the purchase, not for getting more ‘things’ but because I wanted to do it for him. Violins please….