Friday, April 29, 2011

Mauritius - The End

There was one special thing that I wanted to see - Nymphaeaceae or the great water lilies with humongous leaves. The Botanical Garden of Pamplemousses has a variety of them among others as palm trees, spices etc. Its amazing to see how this tropical garden has been preserved for centuries. Everything here seems over sized.

The last day was spent in visiting the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Garden at Pamplemousse. Before this was the visit to Mauritian Glass factory. cum museum at Phoenix where skilled craftsmen make exquisite varieties of glass wares from recycled glass. Used bottles and glasses are brought back to life with a decorative edge. The museum houses glass footprints and hands of fame of famous personalities from around the world. It also has a nice gallery where objects like table, chairs are all made out of glass, mirrors which manipulate your image and a souvenir shop to pick hand made glasses.

Among other things, handcrafted models of famous ships with patience, made by hand to revive the memories of these sailing ships long ago which was part of histories being made are most beautiful. Each model is an exact replica of the original one - with the sails, masts, canons and all that exquisitely handcrafted. The blueprints are acquired from maritime museums all around the world and then faithfully reproduced on a miniature scale accurate to the last scale from the hull to the deck, railings, lifeboats, ropes, figure-heads....
Be it the Marie-Rose, the Bounty, the Santa Maria or the Sao Raphael or the Titanic...nothing is missing. They are exact replica of the original.

The Mauritian Glass Factory - display as to How to say glass around the world. Check if your native tongue is in here.

Many objects - single component- Glass

Chairs and center table

Man at work. Molding and designing artifacts.

The workshop

It has a souvenir shop to pick up glass artifacts. not to miss the offset glass and glass Dodos. I got them as souvenirs :)


Bus Stop. Can you imagine boarding a bus each day to your work with such a gorgeous background for your view? 

I used a public restroom, this is how the view is next to it :)

At the Pamplemousses Botanical Garden. Nymphae of all colors.

The leaves of Victoria Amazonica. They have large leaves which can be upto 3 m in diameter.

I was waiting to see this massive leaves for a long time; after seeing them on TV. What I saw disappointed me; the leaves were withered and were not as massive as they should be. Then I saw this notice put beside the pond.

A baby leaf

I could not get enough of it. Even though they were not as huge as they were supposed to me, they were still huge.

Gleaming under the sun....

Few others

I just loved the way the water drop was resting on the leaf.

A lavender one.

There were lot of trees and palms

Administrative office.

A model ship making workshop cum store. Each piece takes 2-3 months to finish. They cost anywhere between 300-1000$. The lady was showing me many ship models. When I mentioned I wanted Santa Maria, she was amazed and said "You do know about ships. You are choosing a special one too. Not many tourists have a least idea about ships, they fail to appreciate it."

I bought a Santa Maria as a souvenir. Santa Maria de la Inmaculada ConcepciĆ³n was one of the three ships used by Christopher Columbus on his maiden voyage to the New world in the 15th century. 

This one here is Royal Caroline 1749.

Wasa 1628 Spanish warship. The ship sank after sailing less than a nautical mile into her maiden voyage.

Soleil Royal - French 104-gun ship.

I forgot which one is this :( There were so many replicas that it was overhwelming.

A artwork at the Caudon water front area.

Posta Museum. It was past 5 and so was shut :(

the Mauritius General Post Office. Old French colonial building.

Market where I bought some fruits to munch on. 

This blue glass facade building houses British Airway office.

Restaurants by the sea. It was here that I had my "glasse" experience.

My husband enjoying the ambiance.  

Mauritius lacks historical significant monuments, spectacular view points, natural wonders or anything of that sort. One can see few colonial buildings in French style. Its a place for lazing around and relaxing.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Mauritius Continued

Continuing from my previous post, some more of Mauritius. I indulged in two adventures there. The first one is under-sea walking. You have a solar-powered oxygen kit that you wear like an helmet and tie heavy belts accentuated with heavy stones and get under the sea. The heavy belt is to help you stay put under water and the oxygen kit helmet is to help you breathe. The water was chill in the beginning but then you get one with the sea. The instructors get good care and monitor your comfort-ability regularly. Its quite an experience to have your feet buried deep in the sad while water overhead tries to push you away. Those colorful and beautiful fishes around you swim effortlessly and you marvel at their agility. As we held out our hands to feed them, they nibble tiny bits of food and swim away. An instructor grabbed a tiny sea snail and handed it over to me. I held that tiny thing for sometime and later don't know when I dropped it.

If this was once-in-a-lifetime experience, para sailing was another level of fun. Though I wouldn't call it adventurous; my husband did scream and shout. He was chiding me for being calm and laughing; and was wondering why I was not scared! Looking at the turquoise water and the deep blue sea forming a natural boundary and those pearly white sands was ecstatic. Para sailing did not give me an adrenaline rush! I am waiting for sky diving to happen! Hopefully soon!!

Another queer but amusing thing I noticed was how Indian names were Mauritian-ized. "Manju" spelt as "Manjoo", "Gokul" as "Gocool" and so on. We could go up to the door of the Prime Minister's office and take a snap! How cool is that. The landscape is volcanic; the hills surrounding have a spiky edges to them and not having seen such hills and mountains earlier; they did look a bit artificial.

One thing I marveled about the place was public toilets - well maintained and clean. Whenever I used public toilets I was scared of being nagged for money as it happens here. But none of that kind happened. 

Few pictures.

A lady at work helping keep the place clean at Grand Bay.

The oily noodles I mentioned in my last post. Could not eat 1 spoon of it. I felt bad when I had to leave the food when the lady who prepared it asked if I didnt like it. I lied that I was feeling sick. she believed me and told me to take care :-(

This one gave us company and I was glad that I didnt have to throw away the noodles. She ate it all.

A lovely dog. Was loitering around in this park.

Streets of Port Louis - the capital. 

This is what I was talking about. :)

A traffic policeman manning the traffic in front of the PM's office. The roads are narrow.

Again here is the Mauritian version of "Ranganathan Srinivasan"

Corridor of Prime Minister's office. He was out of town; else maybe I would have had an audience with him :-P

A church on the hill top. I forgot its name. French is difficult than Spanish. But I heard that this church has been pictured in lotta Bollywood movies. It was past 5 PM and the church was shut! I came to know that people dont work/loiter beyond 5 and everything shuts down!!

Port Louis as seen from the church

The next day, it was 9:30 AM and we did not have beach wear. So forced this chap to open his shop so that we could buy some beach wears. Got some awesome stuff  - sarongs with fishes printed on them. 

Catamaran! Do you remember the song "Churake Dil Mera" - Akshay Kumar and Shilpa Shetty? Yeah the song was filmed in this island on some catamaran. Not this one; but the island is Ile Aux Cerfs

People live here. The island is so gorgeous and heaven. Our guide for the day Kishan told he stays here. 



I dont know its name. It had a long tail and was cute.

Waterfall adjacent to the sea. 

The stage for Para sailing. At Ile Aux Cerf, after visiting the waterfall,  came back for Para sailing.

These guys have to try hard to control the parachute and that the guests are not hurt and land safely. They do this every 5 minutes. 


Thats me!!

After para sailing, a leisurely drink, playing in the sand and the turquoise water . People were relaxed, sun bathing in nude forgetting all the worries of the world :)

Rest area. 

The sea, translucent and transparent, so clean and tidy.

 Paradise? Probably...maybe...sure! I had not seen earlier such a clear blue sky, sun shine just right, clear blue water and white sands. I do not remember how long I played, but I did play in the waters for a long long time.

Lot of star fishes hit the shore. As big as one's palm, pinkish.

And some sea urchin's shell - in colors of black and purple.

After playing, a BBQ buffet. As I do not eat meat, my options were limited but I did not mind it. This view was more than sufficient.

Can you see them? Now thats romantic!

Secluded, calm and pristine. 

All for yourself....