|Wow, well hey guys, I'm slacking on my website with Mauritius and I figure I need to get a crack on it before we get to India. If you take a look at my Itinerary you'll notice that this next part of the trip will go by VERY quickly, as if it hasn't already, but ot the point where we only have 2-3 days at sea in between each country so I will do my best to keep up then...we'll see how it goes!
Well I'm exhausted We left Mauritius three days ago already, had our Sea Olympics which I still need to write about too and now back at school until Sunday! And I feel like all I've done is write journals and more journals and more journals - all the same thing with a little different twist to each one and papers and more papers, and I have a paper due on Friday and a test on Saturday before we get to India so that's why I'm behind - just bare with me haha!
So I've come to the realization that this trip is going with the blink of an eye. No matter how long our stay in a port or how long we're forced out at sea, I have no means of time whatsoever. Today in one of my classes, our professor asked what day it was and by the time someone actually looked it up in their planner every day of the week was said. Nobody knows what day, or week, or how long we've been on the ship, or how many days we've been in port...your there and your gone. You only know if it's an A day or a B day based on what class you have that day! Today was B11 which marks the half way point of our voyage...that's right, only 11 more days of classes each over the next 8 weeks or so. Pretty crazy huh!
Well, it seems as if just about everyone on the ship except maybe 30 of us rented villas or bungalows and had their own mini spring break in Mauritius - as you might assume caused A LOT of problems as it does every year Semester at Sea goes to Mauritius...I will let you use your imagination as to all of the things that MIGHT go wrong while 700 students are spread across a small island in groups of 200-400 20-22 year olds.
I'm not trying to imply that they are wrong and I am right, but here is a list of things that I did
Walked around the market and downtown area doing my bits of shopping that I needed to get done! I bought all kinds of fun stuff for really cheap too so I was stoked! And then a group of us all went out to China Town for dinner which was very good. Not quite as good as P.F. Changs, but it was all I could work with in a foreign country! And then we tried our luck at the "2 Rupee Slots" at the Casino...I lost all my rupees while my friend won back her earnings plus 136 Rupee...(don't get too excited, it was only 4 dollars! No big winnings for us! And then we decided to head for be and see what tomorrow brought us.
Teach Leah how to surf day! We set out around 9am in search for a good surf spot for Leah, Katie and I to go surfing. We talked to Kovela (our interport student) and she directed us to a beach called Tamarin Bay. We found a cab, established a price and headed for the waves. I know in the pictures it doesn't look like the waves were big, infact they look pretty non existent, but keep in mind those were inbetween sets. The waves were actually really quite big and the current was very strong and kept pulling us further and further from shore! And just to the left of us were even bigger waves that all big guys surf inside the wave! Well, I gave Leah a quick briefing and we paddled on out. It was so cute, as soon as she got on the board, Leah was all smiles, ear to ear for the rest of the trip! Just so you all know, I added another success story to my list...Leah got up pretty quickly in fact! I was really proud of her!
Once our backs were fried to a crisp and our arms were tired from paddling, we decided to call it a day and head back in. Our plans were to eat some lunch and head back to Port Louis and see what happened from there. Little did we know that our cab driver had something else in store for us! He actually watched us surf and waited for us to get done so we wouldn't have to wait for another cab driver to come and find us. When we were about to tell him to head back to the ship, he made a proposal...for only $10 more he would give us a tour of popular sites on the west side of the island! We saw places such as the salt factory (you could see men working out in these little grid type things where they evaporate I'm assuming sea water and taking the salt from it...pretty neat if you ask me), to some giant waterfalls, 7 colored earth (its the only place in the world that the sand has 7 distinct different colors or the sand in one area. Nobody knows why its 7 different colors or why its only in Mauritius. We drove by some huge Hindu Temples and a giant statue of Shiva. On the back side of the temples there is a lake type thing and they bring down some of the water from the Ganges River - that was pretty cool too, I put my feet in it, I thought it would be a nice addition for my next Religion paper I have to write!. Umm, we went to some tea fields, coffee fields, oh to this place called The Black River Gorge and we saw wild monkeys! Someone had put bananas on the ledge so they were pretty close to us. Right after I took that picture next to one, the monkey jumps down and runs across to the next ledge. Of course I think its going to attack me and start running and screaming and all the other tourists who don't speak English are laughing at me! It was a pretty traumatic moment! And then we went to a volcano, hit up the grocery store and went back to the ship!
That night we went to out to dinner and searched for a place to go SCUBA diving the next day, but unfortunately failed!
We woke up bright and early and headed out in search of a place to SCUBA (and a place that would allow uncertified divers to go as well). So we get off the ship and who of all people is standing, waiting for people to hop in his cab...our cab driver from yesterday! So we hop in and tell him to go to one beach, but decided that the north side has better diving and takes us there instead! When we get there, takes us right to a dive place which is closed at that point, so he takes us to the beach instead! We play on the beach for about a half hour before we head back to the dive shop where I am able to dive. Unfortunately the intro dive was already filled so Leah and Katie could not dive but they insisted that I went and they were fine sitting on the boat! I put up a fight and felt really bad but they insisted so I gathered my gear and hopped on the boat. Only one of the dive masters new English well enough to do my briefing for me and I think they had their words mixed up because we did not go to the place they had described, but that's ok! And one of the people got their conversions mixed up too and gave me way too much weight which caused a very difficult dive. Well, I got all geared up, jumped in, emptied my BCD and dropped to the ocean floor like a brick. I actually had to sit and wait for the rest of the group to get down. Luckily I don't have problems equalizing my ears because there was no time to fix any problems!
At the bottom, the current was very wicked, I have never been at a stand still kicking as hard as I can! We weren't going ANYWHERE but I got a good look at the anemones and little Nemos and eels lurking around that area haha! It was a pretty good dive, it could have been a lot better, but then again it could have been a lot worse! But I'm glad I went, I've now taken care of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans, I just need to dive in the Arctic!
Once we were done diving, our cab driver was still with us, so he gave us a tour of the other side of the island! First we had lunch at a place called Pirates Pizza, it was really good and I love pizza after diving so it was just up my alley! Then we went to a beach where you could see a couple of the other volcanic islands, and to the Botanical Gardens and more Hindu Temples, to the top of a mountain where we could look down on the city and see our ship! Oh interesting fact: Every Saturday there are horse races in Mauritius...twister --> there are no horses in Mauritius, they get flown in or shipped in, so we saw their little course they do. And then just around the city a little bit before taking us back to the ship.
Our cab driver really enjoyed us and we had a lot of fun with him too, we learned a lot about Mauritius and were able to see a lot more of the island with him than we normally would have and for a very reasonable price! After the first day, he gave us a guide book and maps of the island for the next time we come back! And then while we were in the botanical gardens, he went over to the market and picked up little gifts for us...so we all got big magnets of the island of Mauritius and then he told us about some bungalows that he owns and if we ever want to come and stay just to let him know and he will hook us up! He already thinks we're coming back at Christmas time...haha he is so sadly mistaken but he was so nice and friendly and all he wanted to do was show us his country and do anything he could for us - it was so nice, I love people like that!