Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Mauritius

I was supposed to write a travelogue of my Mauritius trip 6 months ago. But then too many travelogues - Costa Rica, ARR's concert and a lot of pictures were suffocating I thought. I kept procrastinating and its long now. Time to share my views and some snaps from Mauritius.

The experience was sure extremely different than Costa Rica. If it were rain forests and wild and adventure; here it was more leisurely and sun and sands. The places to visit, the stay and everything was planned and organized by my friend unlike Costa Rica again which gave us thrills each moment :) Visiting Mauritius right after Costa Rica apart from my stay in US was overwhelming. I observed few things in Mauritius.

After fiddling with Spanish, it was time for Creole/French. It was way too difficult to communicate and I thought I managed in Costa Rica better. Ordered a juice in a restaurant; it was all pointing and gestures. The lady came back and asked "Glasse?" I said "yes, please serve me in glass". She did not understand and this drama went on for few minutes. I was wondering how else would they serve juice? Then tada......I recalled our Mauritian friend mentioning "glasse" couple of days ago. "Glasse" is ice in French. The lady was asking if I wanted the juice served with ice or not :-S

Next was the people. Most Mauritians have descended from Indian settlers who migrated there during 1800s. It was fascinating to find women traditionally dressed in Saree with sindoor and all that. But when they talke; what came out was a language you cannot identify with - Creole. It is then you realize that you are in Mauritius. It was evident in food as well. The cuisine is a mix of Indian, Chinese, African and European. Most of the time, we ate at roadside pushcart restaurants. Street food commonly is roti chaud and poori. Roti chaud is a loose version of our chapathi with a green/yellow paste of chilli, somewhat like our chutney which is smeared in the center and served.  We could get only vanilla flavored tea and not regular tea; even super markets didnt sell regular tea. At the end of our 7 day trip to Mauritius; I hated Vanilla. Maybe posh restaurants/resorts had them but we did what the locals do :)

Its a neat and tiny country; the officials are very particular about having Indians screened for malaria. We had our screening as well; donated few drops of blood in the process. The length and breadth of the country has sugarcane farms. Mauritius is the largest exporter of sugar; the sugar quality was fine. Wherever we went, barring the highway and main roads, it seemed the entire stretch was sugarcane.

Here are few snaps.

As soon as we reached the central district, it was food! A weekly market I guess. A cart selling food. Seen here in the picture is roti chaud. 


Caudon water front. Serves as port and entertainment/shopping center with restaurants overseeing the waterfront.


Rows of restaurants.


A typical home. The doors are made of plain and transparent glass; veiled by a screen.


Curepipe market.


Food again!. This long thin loaf of French bread or Baguette is Mauritiuan staple diet. People coming back from work walk into a bakery; buy a couple of baguettes for dinner. What do they compliment this with? Meat dishes and such


Fried food  bhajjis and bondas? I didnt ask. The lady was very interested to talk to me once she knew we were from India. Every Indian origin seem to be interested in visiting India. Few of the fortunate ones as this lady have been to few cities. 


In the foregorund is the ice cream cart. These vehicles are colorful and have this bell-ish kind of  music which keeps repeating and ends up annoying everyone around


Municipal office. The buildings are French style. 


An old colonial church. could not go in :( Time factor. This is one disadvantage when you travel around with unlike-minded people. It was just me who was excited and wanted to see/experience everything and anything. Did I miss Gautam? Yes! if he were there with me; I am sure we would not have missed going inside the church.


Hoardings of a Durga temple at Bambous


 A sign board at the Casela Park. The tortoises were that huge; that huge never seen anything like them - so many at one places. They were all like rocks!


One of them :)


A peacock was trying to seduce a peahen. It was difficult to get a straight shot as this peacock wanted to display its beauty only to the peahen. The display was extravagant, we could hear the feathers ruffle and the vibration was noisy. Males always have tough job in seducing a lady isnt it? :) A couple of guys too tried to capture this; I think my frame was the best.


Against the cacti; this reptile was sparkling in the sun


An ostrich. I was seeing an ostrich for the first time. Very strong legs this one had.


A tiger taking a nap. It was Sunday so we could not "Walk with the Lions". Sunday is rest day for them.


A food menu  - Frite is Fried. Riz is Rice, Farata is Paratha, Briani is Biryani, Poulet is Chicken, Poisson is Fish :)


The warning is quite scary and grabs attention. This is one of the effects of smoking; others like mouth cancer, lung cancer are pictured without any editing effects. Wish we had that in India as well.


Flic and Flac beach.


Grand Bay. We did under-sea walking. Its getting to the floor of the sea and walking with oxygen kit attached. It was quite an experience to walk among colorful fishes and grabbing corals.


Thats the boat from where we drop into the sea for under-sea walking.


A Shiv Mandir


Sparrow - they are bigger and colorful. This one is bluish; also saw yellow ones. Abundant and free. I felt sad about the situation of  Indian sparrows


View from our road-side eatery. We ordered for noodles. But I could not eat one spoon of it. The oil was peculiar and the taste was unbearable. But the view was worth :)


More in the next post.

21 comments:

  1. Insignia, I have to hand it to you. As always, super travelogue. Mauritius is a great place and lot of Indian origin people there. They are the ones who still follow Indian culture and traditions. I am glad you were able to visit there. The white sand beaches and clear turquoise waters are heavan.

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  2. Continuation:

    Thanks for sharing these beautiful pictures.

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  3. A wow travelogue!! Varied pics cover the beauty, flora, fauna, common life, food, art, architecture of Mauritius!! Liked all pics but the favorite is "Climbing on tortoises' back is prohibited!!" :)

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  4. great pictures..glasse - i will remember that now! will you be writing about your under water trip too? just curious!

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  5. Great pics and easy reading, B! Hope your next post will have photos of people in it. I was eagerly looking out for some mouth-watering details of eats, but disappointed. Your final note on the oil of the noodle - yuk! How about the 'Briani'?

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  6. @Neha
    Please ask Insignia to write about her parasailing adventure. I saw those pictures and videos. They are awesome.

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  7. As always, nice travelogue!

    "Climbing on tortoises' back is prohibited" - Lol! I wonder if people actually think of having a tortoise ride! :P

    I wonder what will be next!;)

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  8. After your each travelogue i feel like going to that place.I loved the tortoise, me too haven't seen such a big tortoise ever ;)

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  9. One of my dream places , after being seduced by a video footage I saw long ago of Mauritius.And I guess it is far less expensive than Male. In comparison I remember the archipelago in the Bay of Bengal ( Andaman Nicobar) which the British colonial rulers bequeathed India.A wonderful place , going into shreds by encroachment and mad deforestations. How would you feel seeing dumps of plastic ( coke/pepsi/ aqua bottles and trash) in remote pristine island beaches and in the jungles that reach up to the ocean?

    Perhaps next time when you click outdoor pics , try doing it before the sun is up high or towards sun down- you may get far greater pics.

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  10. WOWWO

    One day when i have enough money I will visit this place tooo .. its looks so beautiful ..

    wehn will i win that lottery .. or should i start planning to rob a bank :)

    Bikram's

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  11. Very nice picture and description. It is in my list of places to visit but do I have to now..probably not. Your post virtually took me there.

    Do not ask for 'ice' ops 'glass'

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  12. Very nice photographs of Mauritius. Hope, you enjoyed the trip very well. The "Glasse" joke is too good.

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  13. The blog is very good!
    Congratulations!
    http://nelsonsouzza.blogspot.com

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  14. SG,

    Thanks a lot. Yeah the white sand and the turquoise waters were heaven.

    Shilpa,

    Thank you. There are some more :) Haha yeah the warning sign gave me a chuckle. It was obvious that people were climbing on their backs. Why else would they mention it? My friend climbed on it as well

    Neha,

    Thanks. Yes remember "glasse". I think I will briefly mention about the underwater trip as a separate post :)

    Balan,

    Thank you. I am not sure if I have pics with people in it but I sure have snap of a Mauritian dog. You know what? I got reminded of you as soon as I saw the dog and clicked the picture so that I can share it with you. In my next post :)

    No no! Mauritius is wrong place for food. I did not get to experience any mouth-watering food. Noodles was yuck; so was fried rice and Briani. The roti chaud and poori were hardly passable. Ate to survive! My friends told the same - food sucks!

    Enigma,

    thank you. Yes people did take ride on them, my friend did! No wonder they put that sign up.

    Wait for next :)

    neha,

    You should go :)

    anil,

    Yeah thankfully no trash and other things in Mauritius. People do maintain cleanliness. Sad that we Indians cant do that.

    Anil, as I mentioned in my Badami, Aihole posts, I do not have the freedom to take photos at times I prefer. I go out with company and its impossible to venture out alone; I have to be in sync with them. Yes, when the sun is bright and overhead it gets difficult to photograph.

    Bik,

    Dont wait for lottery. Dont wait for enough money. You will keep waiting for ever.
    Save, plan a budget trip and take off!!

    A,

    Thank you. You should see experience it with your eyes :)

    Naidu sir,

    Thank you. Yes had fun :)

    Nel,

    Welcome here. Thanks so much. Glad you liked the blog.

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  15. Super travelogue..I enjoyed Mauritius thru you eyes and it was a fabulous trip

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  16. Sounds fun. I wanna go too. :D Never been on a holiday until now. :(

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  17. Nice pictures!You took us on a free trip!

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  18. Thanks for that trip!
    Great pictures..and that tortoise, it really is HUGE! I found the menu pretty amusing. :)

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  19. You did click some beautiful pictures.Mauritius is a very nice place.
    I went there years back but still remember the beach hotel Traubees(perhaps spelling is wrong).
    The one incident I will never forget is the turbulent Flt to Bombay. I had never been through such turbulences ever before.But I got back,safe.

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  20. Renu,

    Thank you. Im glad :)

    Nethra,

    Aww...Pack your bags and go!!

    sm,

    thanks

    dr.antony,

    Thanks, glad you liked it

    Destiny's child,

    Thanks girl. Those tortoises were huge ones. The menu? :)

    Chowla sir,

    Thank you. Yes, its a nice place. Oh turbulent? Hmm the flight was smooth for us.

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I'd love to know what you thought :-) Please shoot!