So, with my trusty Lonely Planet book in hand I boarded a bus and found out the bus system here is quite remarkable, and a trip that takes about 1 hour cost only 75 cents! There is a conductor on each bus who issues tickets and ushers people on and off the bus in a very orderly manner. His role also includes being a “co-pilot” for the wanna be Indy 500 race car/bus driver who challenges all other buses, cars and motorbikes to play the favored game of “chicken” on the narrow roads.
Port Louis is a bustling city of about 180,000 people. My main destination was the Air Madagascar office at the Caudan Waterfront as I wanted to book my ticket back to Tana (more about that in a minute…). The book said to get off at the last stop which would be Victoria Station, and since there were no signs to suggest otherwise, and it was the last stop – I got off. With a confident stride in my step, I tried to appear as tall as I think I am and never give the impression I might be lost. However, in a matter of minutes I could recite our family creed of, “I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m making good time”. I was all set to chicken out and hail a cab, but stopped, looked at the map again, and realized I must have been let off at Immigration Station and so changed direction and thankfully came across the Waterfront. Giving the Lonely Planet the benefit of the doubt, I assume things changed since the book was printed….
The Caudan Waterfront is a beautiful development that reminded me a lot of Granville Island with wonderful shops, lots of restaurants, ships in the harbour and a vibrant atmosphere. I got my ticket booked, and spent a few hours enjoying the change of scenery; so much so, that I returned later in the week for another visit. If Roger and I return, there is much more of the city that I’d like to explore, but didn’t think it was a good idea to do it on my own as the modern buildings you see here are not reflective of the rest of the city. In fact, a Mauritian I talked to lamented that the Waterfront could be in any city and didn’t emulate the island’s architecture.
Returning on the bus the first time was a challenge too, as the station is like a Rubik’s cube of buses, with no signs to tell you where your bus will be. So, after a few minutes of darting through a maze of buses belching diesel fumes, a conductor pointed me to the right spot and I was all set.
As I mentioned, I’m heading to Tana as Roger will be driving there on August 14th, and will pick me up and take me back to camp (hooray - I'm sure I was just a day away from snapping my crayons!!).
Not sure what will happen next – but as with everything else that we do – we’ll see what happens and then go from there! Stay tuned!