South We Go

Highlights of week 3

This post in Francais

This week we discovered all the wildlife of the Rodriguez Island, including the local Spiders that are as big as my hand. We met some locals and a few French people that have been living here for a long time. We hiked along the beautiful untouched natural trails of the country, finding sheep on the beach and looking for the great tasking baby octopus.

Day 14 (15/09/10) Kite surfing and Dinner

I woke up to the sound of wind howling, yesterday, there was no wind at all and today, its so windy, all the palm trees look like they are going to fly away, this is good news for anyone that wants to practice wind water sports, but not good news for anyone wanting to do fishing or diving as the conditions are very dangerous. We head to the Mourouk hotel, to have a kite surfing lesson, once there, I understand that it may not be a good idea for me to try the sport as the winds are super strong, Fred tries, as I watch and film him falling, and trying again. To get back to where we stay on the other side of the island, we had to take the bus, up into now we always went around by car, so it was a very unique experience to catch the bus, and wind our way through the small cliff side roads back to the hotel, it was the end of the day which meant that it was home time for children and the bus was full of kids that for us seems to get off the bus in the middle of nowhere.

We had dinner with a French family that have been living here for the last 5 years and own a Deep sea fishing company. Their son is the skipper of the boat and takes people that come from all over the world to go fishing with Yann, in the Indian ocean of the coast of Rodriguez. Here it is common to catch Marlins and other spices which have become rare off other coast lines.

Day 15 (16/09/10) Lazy day followed by a BBQ

Today I woke up with no energy what so ever, after dragging myself out of bed I felt dizzy and as if my energy had been stolen. Apart from going down to the supermarket to buy the goodies that were needed for tonight’s BBQ, I spent the day in bed, reading, watching movies and sleeping, I think the change in diet and weather finally caught up with me.

Around 5pm we started preparing for the BBQ, we prepared many different kinds of ‘gadjacks’ which are like appetizers, but are small and bite size, most evenings people eat these when then have drinks around 6pm before going out for dinner at 8pm.

Day 16 (17/09/10) Hiking trails by the beach

Today having got our energy back we woke up early and headed out, first to Air Mauritius to yet again to change our tickets, we have decided to stay here over the weekend.  We then headed off to some of the islands best know hiking trails; the first one took us along a white sand beach and inland for a while. On the beach we came across a heard of sheep that were walking down the beach. We then tried to hunt for octopus, the way that the Rodrigunes do, buy looking for them in low tide near the rocks and corals close to shore, we didn’t find any, but it was very fun, to try look for them. We had lunch in a small snack bar, which was just at the start of the hiking trail, the lady cooked just for us, a fresh octopus curry with rice and papaya salad.  After lunch we headed to the second trail that took us over some very shape rocks over looking the ocean, a very nice but very tiring walk.

Day 17 (18/09/10) playing with kids on beach

Today we spent the morning in the hotel, mostly planning the next part of our trip which will be in, the Mauritius, the ‘big sister’ of Rodriguez. In the afternoon we went to the beach at point cotton, near the cotton bay hotel and grabbed a few beers and snacks and sat on the beach enjoying the late afternoon weather. After a while a young boy came over to talk to us, his name was Ashley aged 12; he introduced us to his friend nicknamed carrot and his younger sister of a year old. We spoke with them for a while and then started playing wresting games with them. We promised to send them the photos we took, the kids here are all very nice and are happy if you just wave at them, people here have a magical innocence about them, that you don’t find in many places of the world any more.

Day 18 (19/09/10) Last day in Rodriguez

We just finished packing, a very challenging thing, its always hard to put everything back in the backpackers, it always seems like you have a lot more things then you left with. That aside today was a very nice day, in the morning we went for a walk with my dad along a hiking trails that winds around the breath taking coast. Time for our last lunch in Rodriguez and what better to have then a baby octopus, with yes another beer, since we got here we have been eating and drinking a lot, it’s the culture.   We tried the local sausages with are not very nice, they are very sweet and must contain a lot of sugar. Tamerina  is a local fruit that grows on trees here, they us it to make compote, like we do in France, the only difference is that is spicy, the kids eat it after school, I like the taste and will be sure eating some more in the days to come.

Day 19 (20/09/10) Welcome to the Mauritius

After spending the last 16 days the wonderful island of Rodriguez its time to say good bye, we are leaving the little sister Island that is 16KM long by 8KM wide, and head the main island of Mauritius. After saying goodbye to everyone we have made friends with and hiding the extra kilos from the staff at the airport we got on the plane. I am sad to leave; it was so disconnected from the world here. Arriving in Mauritius, you would not say we arrived in the same country here; everything is the very different. More to come on how different things are over the following days, as we experience it.  Today we checked into our hotel in the south of the Island, in Flic en flac and reserved a tour for tomorrow to visit the world heritage site of  Chamarel.

Day 20 (21/09/10) Visiting the South East of Mauritius

Today we woke up early, time to start exploring; as we have spent the last 2 weeks by the sea we wanted a change of scenery so we headed to the centre of the island. We booked a private tour as we did not want to be on a bus full of tourists, and even though, it was more expensive than a group tour, it is still very cheap by European standards.

We get picked up from our accommodation at 9am, we head of inland, and the first stop is Trou aux cerfs, which is a dormant volcano that has been dormant for over 800 years now, I hope it never wakes up as there are towns build very close to the volcano.

There is not much to see there, it’s a hole in the ground which is now covered in trees.

From there we head to the ‘Sacred Basain’ which is a holy site for the Hindus. There we see the different statues of the different Gods and watch a religious ceremony. It is said that twice a year people make a pilgrimage here from all around the country.

We then head to the Black River Gorges Natural Reserve; one of the few nature reserves on the island, unlike Rodriquez, conservation of the Island is not the main priority. We start walking in the forest for a while with no map or information as we could not find any. We saw the rare Mauricain cardinal and a mongoose, very funny animal’s mongooses are.

We had a lunch break which consisted of local fruit, baby pineapples, and small bananas. I tried the baby pineapple we local way, the way they eat it here is by cutting the pineapple in half, adding spices, slat and the juice of another fruit called ‘tamerian’, which is bit like plum.

We then went to the world heritage site of Chameral which is a spot of land that has 7 different colours, theses colours were formed by the volcanic eruptions and the salty wind that blows across the island. Also at this site there was a pit with 2 giant tortoises, the d’aldabra that come Seychelles, it was really sad to see that tourists we poking them and feeding them despite the signs saying please do not touch.

Mass tourism should not take tourists to see natural sites and protected animals if they do not educate them about the fragility of what they are seeing, because it damages the very things we are trying to protect.

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