Friday, July 27, 2007

Marvelous Mauritius!

I first heard of this small island in the Indian Ocean when I visited their pavilion at Expo 67. It was one of my mother’s favorite places to bring visitors because the displays beautifully transported us to an island rich in cultures from India, France, China and Africa; beaches that stretch for miles, and abundant sugar plantations. 40 years later, it is still captivating.
However, getting through customs was both nerve racking and fabulous. Before arriving, the travel agent in Tana said I could get a 6 month tourist visa so when the customs officer asked how long I would be staying, I said around 2 months. He didn’t seem pleased with that answer (despite Roger explaining he was working in Madagascar and would be coming on his time off), and asked to see all my on-going tickets (which no one in Paris or Tana had asked me for). I showed him my open return to Tana ticket, and then had to fumble through dirty laundry, toiletries and books trying to find my tickets back to Canada. Somewhere along the line, the conversation got friendly again, and before we knew it, he had given Roger and I both 2 month visas, plus the name of his brother in the town we were going to as he was sure he could help us find accommodation! Believe me – I thought I was heading to a little room for interrogation!

We stayed at a great hotel on the beach in Flic en Flac on the SW part of the island, which gave us time to get our bearings and find a longer term option for me. Finding an apartment proved to be another chance to experience the generosity of spirit that has been everywhere….

With my Lonely Planet Guide to Mauritius clutched to my hand we ventured into the town and checked out a few places. We asked a storekeeper if he knew the custom’s officer’s brother, and sure enough he did. Everyone knew someone who could help us and by noon, we had settled on a little studio apartment a block off the main road, with 24 hour security. It is close to the grocery store, internet, beach, and a multitude of restaurants. We are moving in on Saturday before Roger returns to Madagascar and then hopefully he will return in about 3-4 weeks and at that time we’ll rent a car and really get to explore the island. In the meantime, I guess you would call me a temporary Flic en Flac-ian!

Stay tuned for more updates!

1 comment:

Brad and Anette said...

When dad turns sideways, he dissapears! Looking great, the both of you!

Love Brad and Anette