I’m not going to bore you with all the predictable information that you get in the guide books – nope. I’ll bore you with some of my random holiday chatter instead – over a cuppa’ of course, so lets get the kettle on.
Yep, that’s how I felt when I finally landed in Mauritius twelve hours in the air plus an additonal 6 hours between connecting flights. When I finally got to my hotel, the member of staff showing me to my room excitedly asked if I was ready to get into my bikini!! With a weak laugh I replied ‘all I wanna do right now is sleep’ which was true. Of course I didn’t sleep though, the hot sun helped wake me up, along with the birds tweeting and calling all over the place like there was a lively bird party in full swing amongst the palm trees.
When landing, I was struck by how green and lush the island looked from above – more than I expected it to, with some of the landscape looking very similar to the UK countryside scenes we see when taking off and landing (lol, could I have got on the wrong plane and ended up back in the UK – thankfully not).
By all accounts, tea is the beverage of choice on the island, and one islander told me very firmly – in a very matter of fact tone, that tea is better than coffee.
Whenever I go on holiday I alway like to try a local tea – and Mauritius was no exception, lets have a honey and caramel tea – lovely and sweet (coming from me who doesn’t take sugar), very aromatic, you can smell the sweet caramel and it tasted a bit like red bush tea if you’ve ever tried that.
Whilst out and about, one of our guides pointed out a rare find – a pink pineapple. I didn’t know they came in any other colours than what we’re used to. Apparently these taste bitter/acidic, the guide said he wasn’t keen on them, and I guess the man from Del Monte would probably say no. It’s a rare pineapple, and it actually looks like it’s blushing and hiding in this picture, not wanting to be seen lol.
Generally, I saw masses and masses of pineapples and coconuts around the island – nothing unusual about that really, but I soon clocked that lychees are also a ‘thing’ on the island. On road sides, markets and street corners I saw countless sellers with baskets brimming with lychees for sale. I love lychees but confess I don’t buy them very often back home, that might be about to change since I think I’ve caught on to them now.
Train to catch?
At the moment, Mauritius is railway and train free….. Why would such a tiny tropical island need a rail system anyway? Well actually, a new overground ‘metro system’ is due to be up and running from 2019 onwards. Locals I spoke to said they were not keen on the idea, didn’t think it was necessary and were also dubious about it being ready/up and running by 2019.
I saw bugs I’d never seen before – nothing too scary though. There was one creature I found in my bathroom that looked like a diamond shaped leaf, it moved sideways. Interesting.
Outdoors, I saw something that looked like a butterfly, it’s wings looked like two leaves – the same colour as the real leaves it was surrounded by – except these leaves were alive and fluttering through the air lol.
According to another guide, the island has very little crime to speak of – the biggest problem is probably drugs.
Looking after working mirgants
I’m not sure whether we have anything like this in the UK but the picture below shows some purpose built accommodation specifically for foreign textile workers that come to Mauritius for around a year to work, and then they return back to their native homes – yet more Mauritian hospitality.
Other random chat
Football is the the most followed sport – in fact there was a game one night (Chelsea and some other team – sorry, I can’t remember which, I don’t follow any sport), and half the hotel staff kept sneaking over to the giant TV in the lounge area to sneak a peak – I think that confirmed the point.
Dogs are the pet of choice, so I was told.
There is no death penalty in Mauritius – but the government is currently reconsidering this stance. The death penalty might be on the cards.
Generally, there is no social welfare for people who do not work – bar a few exceptions (like genuine sickness or inability to work).
Diabetes is the island’s number one health concern – due to too much sugar. Did I mention that sugar cane plantations are the #1 crop on the island, you’ll see them non stop when you’re out and about on the road. We also spotted some tea plantations.
Traditionally speaking, when a son gets married, he builds an extension (up or outward) on his parents house for himself, his wife and children to live in – the next son to get married does the same…..and so on and so forth.
You have to be 18 to drive.
A good local source confirmed the island’s GDP comes largely from the following:
3rd Sugar cane
A guide also told us that in our hotel we get water running from the taps – on tap, 24 hours per day; however, the islands locals usually get running water for a limited number of hours per day.
So I’m in my room getting ready for dinner and I hear something like loud crackling noises, the noises grew louder to the point where I could have sworn I felt the room shake. “Is the hotel putting on a fireworks display, let me have a quick look outside…”
When I draw back the curtains I see and hear the heaviest rain ever – the sounds I heard earlier was the rain hitting the leaves like bricks, constant and heavy. The hotel happened to be in thick gardens with lots of huge trees everywhere so it was pretty noisy to say the least.
Boy did we have one super rainy night that night, a proper torrential downpour, the type I like to see at least once holiday in the tropics because it’s the type that calms and relaxes you in an instant – just sit out on your veranda and enjoy.
You could literally smell the strong ‘greenness’ of the plants and soil.
The rain came down for what seemed like hours, it had been moody and cloudy all day but I didn’t take the hint. The lightening was non stop and the dimmer light by the bed kept flickering.
While we’re talking about the weather, Mauritius doesn’t get hurricanes but they do get cyclones – the worst one was around 25 years ago. While I was on holiday, a local lady told me that the local weather forecast had suggested between 7-10 cyclones could occur during my time there. At this point I’m thinking, maybe she got that wrong. OK – just pray.
Thankfully there were no cyclones.
Motorbikes are popular on the island, there are a lot of them on the roads and they outsmart car drivers every single time – though did hold my breath a few times when some of the motorcyclists swerved and dipped deeply at top speed, worming their way through traffic within touching distance of other vehicles.