I had never heard of the country of Mauritius before the Semester at Sea trip, but for those of you who don’t know, it is a beautiful island in the Indian Ocean (a couple hundred miles northwest of Madagascar). It is an island of 1.5 million people and where much of the world’s sugar cane is grown. Geographically, it is a tiny island though. It has a large Indian population and because of this the dominant religion is Hinduism. Being we were only staying for the night we didn’t pre-book any hotels or activities, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t have a blast. We arrived in Port Louis which is on the northwest corner of the island on Thursday October 14th, and 5 of us (no Tony, add Adam’s new love Cameron) took a cab straight to the part of the island with the highest recommendations: Grand Baie – pronounced ‘bay’. Grand Baie is the tourism capital of Mauritius with restaurants, beautiful beaches, and also some shopping. When I put my pictures up you will see that the water is just as blue as Grand Cayman, if not even bluer. Naturally, we went straight to the public beach and laid out for a few hours. After working up an appetite, we went to a nice restaurant called CocoLoco where I got a nummy pita, nothing exotic though. After lunch take a wild guess where we went – YUP – back to the beach. While Mauritius was a very unique cultural experience, it was not a place to see museums or national monuments. Grand Baie was about a half hour taxi cab from Port Louis so because we were sleeping on the ship, we decided to go back, shower, and eat on the waterfront. The food on the waterfront, however, was subpar and overpriced.
The second day, Adam and Cameron had pre-booked a Semester at Sea catamaran, and we had not so we decided to go back to Grand Baie. We decided to be a little more adventurous the second day and booked snorkeling for 10:30. None of us had underwater cameras so I won’t be able to show you the beautiful fish we saw, but we took some pretty funny ones wearing our snorkel gear. The most beautiful fish I saw was the one you sometimes see in pictures that is, for the most part, yellow but also with white and black stripes on its sides. I love that fish! After snorkeling, we grabbed lunch at Café de La Pancha where Nick was bold enough to order a Dorada/o Couscous: Dorada/o being the dolphin fish (I forgot how it was spelled). I didn’t have the guts to try it, but he said it was pretty good. For the rest of the afternoon we dreaded getting back on the ship and help Nick try to find his camera which he left in the taxi the day before. It was one of the DSLR cameras that are around $500 so I told him the taxi driver won’t be at work today because he retired last night. He didn’t think it was as funny as Stacy and I did, but he laughed about it later. In a couple more days we will be arriving in India which I have been told will change my life in ways I may not want it to be changed in. I will see things that make me extremely uncomfortable, but I will leave a different person. I promise you that blog will be longer, but for now I hope everyone is well, the Vikings clearly need more encouragement, and pull those winter boots out :)
P.S. we booked a “ChinaGuide” yesterday which will consist of a night in Hong Kong, a flight to Beijing where we will visit Tiananmen Square, the Olympic Stadiums of the Bird’s Nest and the Swimming Cube, the Lost City, and last but not least we will be hiking and sleeping on The Great Wall. Then we will be taking an overnight train to Shanghai (the most populous and richest city in The East) for 2 days of touring there!