At the Barbers; The third cut

A haircut always makes a person feel fresher, cleaner and more awake. Heat, sun and humidity does the opposite. What happens when you combine them? Read on!

IMG_2019

The same person has cut my hair for many years whilst running his award winning salon with maximum effect, so it was with some trepidation that I visited my first hairdresser (or barber as I am told, ladies go to hairdressers). In the heart of Port Louis, my ears throbbed to loud club music as my head was firmly pushed backwards into a black basin. I was asked what colour I wanted in my hair.

‘Pardon?’ I replied. He repeated the question several times as I was not only being deafened but unprepared for the question.

‘Nothing!’ I said. Apparently many men ask for black hair dye, which explains the colour of the sink. After the wash a peppermint smelling, scalp tingling rub was massaged into my wet (undyed) locks and I was led to the chair to be cut, Mauritian style!

‘Is that short enough?’ he enquired having run something borrowed from an Australian sheep shearing farm up the side of my head.

‘Well it is a bit late to ask me now!’ I replied, my right ear looking like a giant dried apricot stuck beside of my now shorn head.

‘No shorter, please‘, I stated firmly, a slight tremble in my voice.

Within seconds and array of different electric razors, chain saws and scissors attacked my hair from all sides. Minutes later there was more hair on the floor than in a Hollywood actors’ wig factory. Walking out later, feeling lighter and like my head had been squeezed between two lift doors it looked so narrow, I resolved to invest my £8 somewhere else next time.

The second, third and all subsequent haircuts were very good. I went to The Gentleman’s Emporium Barber Shop in Black River.No thumping music, good humour, no industrial shearing equipment and excellent two guys who really knew what they were doing.

Haircut 2
A throne to have your hair washed in, interesting things on the walls with an Irish theme and a wall for first timers to sign their name on.
img_8818
Walls have ears but in Barbers’ they have mirrors
Haircut
Feeling clean and tidy again … but where has my other ear gone? On the wall perhaps?

They have also opened a new shop in Caudan Waterfront next to the Labourdonnais Hotel.

https://web.facebook.com/damosgentlemansemporium/?_rdr

Walls of wisdom

There is always something interesting to see as you drive around the island, who knows what is around the corner. A rather weather beaten local school had let the pupils brighten the boundary walls with some colourful and educational illustrations.

IMG_4031

IMG_4024

IMG_4025

Not just with the name of their school, but with messages for all, young and old.

IMG_4028

Here are selection of some of the best.

IMG_4033

IMG_4032

IMG_4029

IMG_4027

IMG_4023

IMG_4022

IMG_4021

Maybe the students should be allowed to paint the school as well?

P.S. This must be catching on, at St Benoit’s School in Tamarin they have even painted the container permanently sited in the yard.

IMG_2618

It has stopped raining!

It has been raining hard for over five days. It turned into a torrential downpour on Wednesday morning when over 100mm of rain fell in 12 hours on the island, nearly 200mm in some areas like Pointe aux Canonniers in the North of the island. This caused flooding and landslides; houses, roads and crops were damaged. Over 300 people had to be evacuated from their homes and the Government wisely announced that all businesses and offices were to be closed after 11:00am. It was chaotic but now the weather has returned to normal.

sodas

sfsdf
Phew! What a scorcher! It is hot again! 34 degrees.

Oh yes, diesel is 29.50 rupees per litre, equivalent to £0.57, €0.74 or $0.83.

The sun is highlighting the freshly watered vegetation on Mont Calme as well.

IMG_4077

 

 

Leaving home … and coming back

It will be three months on Friday since I left my family and friends in the UK for a new home in Mauritius. I needed an occupation permit to live and work on the island which I was soon granted with clear instructions on what I needed to do at Immigration and passport control if I wanted return as a resident rather than a tourist.

IMG_2535

 

It was a strange feeling as the plane took off from Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam airport at Plaisance. ‘I’m leaving home’ I thought then fell into a deep sleep, well, it was 11:00pm.

Arriving in Dubai at breakfast time I was looking forward to spending some time off the island where there was space, skyscrapers, shopping and sand. It soon wore off; I felt unsettled and uneasy there in the concrete and glass jungle. I came back early from this multi-billion legoland dream in the desert and felt immediately comforted as I boarded the plane less than 48 hours later to return to Mauritius.

Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport is designed to remind visitors of palm trees

‘Have a nice holiday,’ one of the Mauritian officials wished me as I approached the immigration desk in Plaisance airport.

‘I live here,’ I replied proudly with a little indignation in my voice.

The heat and humidity hugged me as I stepped out into the airport car park, I grinned as the unique sugar cane sweet aroma of Mauritius hit me.

image

I smiled the sunniest of smiles as I later drove past the amazing mountains on my way back to the apartment for a shower and a change of clothes.

IMG_1580

I was home.

https://youtu.be/QlXiGj85rOA

Mo pe aprann koz Kreol Morisien

Well that was for my Mauritian readers!

So what do you do in Mauritius when it rains? Stay indoors is probably the ‘korek’ answer and you can do that at a shopping mall and on the way back from ‘laplaz’, the beach …

dasd
Brief respite from the rain but not the wind

There was a big ‘Super U’ supermarket at Flacq on the East coast with some 50 or so smaller shops around it and dry inside.

On the mezzanine floor there were some small independent shops and, surprisingly, the simplest of museums.

sdks
Early rulers did not have a hair problem with humidity it seems

It highlighted the early colonisation of the island and how it developed.

IMG_2410
Specialist shops on the island sell model ships like this, some much bigger, which get exported all over the world.

http://www.bobatoshipmodels.com/en/home.php

Dutch, French and English ships would have dropped anchor off the island  .. but their ships would have been a bit larger.

IMG_2407

Early settlers had well ventilated homes, essential due to the primitive cooking utensils.

IMG_2408

A farmer might have used an ox like this, hopefully not as thin, or sought an alternative job as a model for Abercrombie and Fitch.

sdks
Well illustrated and written boards were educational, thoughtful and revealing
IMG_2412
Willian lookalike demonstrates that family life was pretty simple too

Un-leased shop space has been put to excellent use in the shopping centre, the Mauritius Museums Council should be congratulated for putting this exhibition in the heart of the community with free and east access so visitors can imagine what life was like for the early inhabitants of the island.

http://www.mauritiusmuseums.mu

Now back to my Creole lesson,

Mo Angle, mo sort Langleter’

Kung Shee Fat Choy

That is, Happy New Year to those who follow the Chinese celebrations. On 8 February, a public holiday let many islanders celebrate this with family, friends, food and fireworks!

ffff
The year of the monkey

A monkey symbolises unpredictability so that is what the Chinese predict for this year; who can predict what a monkey will do?

x
Even the supermarkets had tasteful displays
image
Many shops had decorated their windows accordingly

This restaurant had some interesting bottle decorations.

IMG_1142 (1)

IMG_1139
Actor Leslie Phillips’ favourite Chinese restaurant

It is traditional to bring gifts for good luck. Two Chinese colleagues gave me some snacks to eat and take home.

Nian Gao in a red and gold bag (lucky colours)
Nian Gao, Prawn Crackers and something fried and crispy that tastes of doughnuts all delivered in a red and gold (lucky colours) bag

It was also a day when the Mauritius Meteorological Office issued a severe weather warning and it started to rain … heavily. Quite a relief as the temperature was in the late 20’s and 90% humidity causing serious strain on any recently applied anti-perspirant spray!

s
Michael Fish had predicted long sunny periods

A strong anti-cyclone and low pressure West-North-West of the island has intensified into a ‘tropical disturbance’. Gusts of 100km/h and serious rain left beaches empty and many sheltering indoors, watching films and eating popcorn.

The sea was warmer than it looks!
The sea was warmer than it looks!

Children don't mind swimming in the rain

Torrential rain turned into persistent showers in the early evening and then back into an electrical storm which knocked out the power in the Flic en Flac area. Driving back to Tamarin was exciting, the only light coming from the occasional other car but mainly from lightning crazily illuminating the landscape from the blackest of sky.

‘No electricity. How will I get into the apartment?’ There is an electric gate, keypad entry to the block, elevator to the apartment, air conditioning …. hmmm.’

Unsurprisingly, the security guard was awake and reluctantly pushed the gate open to let me in the apartment block car park. The keypad worked somehow, I climbed the stairs past the silent elevator and used the service door into the apartment.

I was home safe and sound.

The view from the balcony was incredible, the most amazing lightning, heaviest thunder, torrential rain.

Next time, I will be prepared to photograph it properly.

Note to self:

  1. Buy a tripod
  2. Read camera manual on photography at night
  3. Book diving lessons

Yes, it does rain sometimes in Mauritius, it is almost like being back in the UK!

The journey to work the next day had less traffic, all the schools were closed due to the weather, but there was a lot of surface water and flooding.

The wipers were struggling to keep up
fsfs
Only overtaken on the inside seven times this morning!
sdfsdf
If I heard it correctly, local radio say the bad weather will last for three more days

So there we have it, after three months for bathing in sunshine, I am now drowning in rain… and it is the summer!

Many roads were closed today due to flooding
This was the only way into the office car park after 9am, many roads and streets were closed due to flooding

P.S. The local newspaper, Le Mauricien, published the rainfall around the island in the last 24 hours.

IMG_2482
Very glad I do not live in Mon-Bois

In case you don’t know what 77.6mm represents, …

IMG_2483

Because of the weather, the Government is sending us home now!

It is expected to stop raining by Friday!

http://www.lemauricien.com