South We Go

Highlights of Week 4 Mauritus

This post in Francais

A week spent adventuring around the island of Mauritius. We started in the south west, with baby pineapples with spices on the beach. We petted Zebras at the Casela wildlife park. We bet and watched the races on Saturday at Champs du Mars, ate lobster, watched a Saga show and drank lots of rum.

Day 21 (22/09/10) Casela Nature Park

Today we headed of visit one of nature reserves, Casela, it originally opened a few years back as a sanctuary for birds but since then has grown to include many other animals and activities. When you arrive you have to choose what you want to do, so much is on offer, visit of the park, walk with lions, touch the lions, and visit the park in segway, safari, and the adventure park, which is a walk through the tree tops. We choose to visit the birds, see the lions and to do a mini safari. The first thing we did was to see the lions, which was a bit disappointing, as you taken to see them from a viewing platform. I am glad we did not choose to touch the lions, I feel so sorry for the lions, all day long lots of tourists get taken into the pen with the lions stroke them and have their picture taken with the lions.

The Safari was really cool, we were loaded into a bus, just like the ones you can find in Africa, we head off and see lots of emus and, a lot a lot of other birds, including gini foul. Then the best part of the day happens, we see Zebras, many Zebras, and they are very curious, they come up to the bus and start poking theirs noises inside and we stroke them, they love it, they are like black and white horses, I love them! After the safari we visit the bird sanctuary there are so many birds from all corners of the park, they are simply amazing.

In the afternoon it is time for us to move from Flic en Flac to 4 bournes, the centre of Mauritius, this proves to be very challenging as we take the bus with our backpacks and then walk for at least 2KM in the tropical rain to find the new hotel.

Day 22 (23/09/10) Textile Market in Quatre Bournes

This morning following the advice of receptionist we go to the textile market in Quatre Bounrnes, it is held every Thursday. The market looks like a souqe that you can find in Arabic countries. Rows and rows of stands filled will all different kind of fabrics, tissues and clothes. I am here mostly to look and buy some clothes for my dad, as I can not buy anything for myself as we have too many kilos already and each time we go to the airport we need to hide things to pass without having to pay for extra kilos. So after looking around for about an hour I come out with 2 short shelves shirts for my dad that cost less then 4 euros each and a pair of shorts. I got myself a t shirt, only one, at less then 1.5euro I could not resist. Many of the clothes that are on sale here were destined for the high street shops found all over Europe, such as Camieau & Decathlon just to mention a few. These are the excess that had been made for the international brands and is sold in bulk here at factory shops, to vendors that then sell it on the market, you can find the exact same shirt here as you would in France; the only difference is it costs 1/5 of the price. The down side is that you often don’t find your side in what you like, as they do not have 15 size 36s they have one or two of each size and the colours change, so you find your size in colours or styles that you don’t like, mainly that’s why I did not buy so many things.

Day 23 (24/09/10) Attempting to hiking

Today we set out with one idea in mind to hike, that’s one of the reasons we moved off the coast and came to stay inland. The thing is that people don’t seem to hike here, there are many mountains, but no one was able to tell us where to go and hike. Finally we took a bus to the closest point to one of the mountains and started to walk. The beginning of the hike was quite good and steep, but once we had climbed for about 15minuites we came to a plateau, we walked along the plateau for a while trying to get closer to the mountains but it was not possible, there was no access point to climb higher up, so we walked along a path we found in between fields of sugar cane that were taller then us, and listen to the sound of animals we could not see moving around. It was a nice walk, which lasted 2 hours before we reached another town from which we took a bus to come back to our hotel. Tonight we are moving again, this time back to the coast, in the north where we have rented an apartment with my dad for the week.

Day 24 (25/09/10) Horse Racing and Saga show

In Mauritius the games are important. There are many small casinos, "Ti Vegas" as they are often called, the state lottery and horse racing. We're not big fans of horse racing but you have to try everything in the countries that visit. We head off in early afternoon to the Champs de Mars race course in that have been open since 1812. Here the racing happens from April to December. The atmosphere is very festive, as everywhere in this country, happily messy, no worries man. We quickly eat some dali pouri before entering into the stands. We decided to bet a few rupees to spice up the day. I won a bet by placing some money on the underdog, I didn’t win much but it covered the cost of what I played.

In the evening we went to eat in a Spanish restaurant, but we were disappointed. We then went to the Intercontinental hotel for a drink and to watch the Saga show. It is a splendid hotel where we were warmly welcomed by the staff that used to work with my dad.

Day 25 (26/09/2010) - Mauritius Crocs

After a lazy morning we go to visit the rum distillery in Chamarel. We pass by Curepipe to get Rebecca. Unfortunately like big fat tourists we are, we have not checked to see if it was open and, of course the rum distillery is closed on Sunday, probably due to the low season. A little disappointed, our stomach start to talk: "I'm hungry" feed me! We stop at a small restaurant in Chamarel Mauritius: the palace of Barbizon. Excellent restaurant!

After we had enough to eat we move to the south of the island to the crocodile park Vanilla. The visit is very friendly, many crocodiles, caimans, alligators give us their best smiles.

The evening ended with the Rebecca’s family where we drank a lot of beer and had a big gadgac.

Day 26 (27/09/10) The Capital and Pamplemousse

Today’s program; a visit of the capital Port Louis. We want to see the market, the port, china town, and 2 or 3 other historical sites. The market is good but not great, there are many things to see and buy. The market looks a bit like that of Quatre Bornes but sellers are very aggressive, they must think that we are typical tourists. We recommend the Quatre Bornes market as their the sellers give you the fair prices for things and do not treat you like just another tourist..

We also came across a monument that is classified by UNESCO ’Aapravasi Chat’. This is the place where all the labours that came to the Mauritius to work in the sugar cane fields arrived. Mauritius has a mix of many different cultures and that is due to the labours that came here to work. Today all the cultures live side by side in peace.

After lunch at the food court in the most famous mall of the country the ‘Caudon,’ we take the bus to Pamplemousse and its botanical garden. Here with the help of a guide we visit the garden, he shows us the different species of plants , we saw and smelled the cinnamon, nuts, mango, resin incense, grapefruit trees, and lots of other very interesting trees that we could of never imagined.

Day 27 (28/09/10) Day at the beach and Lobster dinner

Today we spent the morning at home, I helped my dad work on this CV, and we had a French breakfast with Croissants and coffee. For lunch we headed to one of the hotels my dad use to work in, Caloydne sur mer, which is at the northern tip of the island. Here the water is clear like in Rodriguez, unfortunately the hotel has not been looked after and now stands almost empty and forgotten in its little corner of paradise. After lunch we visited the aquarium, and saw all the different fishes that live off the coast of Mauritius, there is a pretty scare one called the stone fish, which looks exactly like a stone, if you don’t look really closely, this fish can sting you and is poisonous and lives in the rocks near the shore. In the evening we went to a very nice seafood restaurant and had a great seafood platter with lobster and a bottle of South African white wine. Yes, life as a traveller is hard some things, but you have to do what you have to do.

Day 28 (29/09/10) Raining day

Today was on of the first rainy days we had on our trip so far, and it is pretty sad because we planned to go scuba diving but because of the weather for the rest of the week I am not sure we will be able to. We spent we morning planning for the next stage of our trip, our arrival in Australia, we need to find a place to stay for the first few days while we find our van. Once we have our van we can head off on our travels. In the afternoon we went for lunch at a hotel and enjoyed a half an hour break in the rain before being forced back inside. It was also a bit cold today so we were not really motivated to do much and spent the evening at a bar watching the rain fall.

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