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.
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.