‘Banané!’

Happy New Year in Creole
Happy New Year in Creole

Warm Greetings, no, Very Hot Greetings to you all and thank you for the Christmas cards sent by friends and family. They truly had so much more meaning to me this year for many reasons.

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Christmas was very different as you can imagine this being my first in the beautiful tropical island of Mauritius. My son and his girlfriend came to visit for two weeks and it was extra special to spend it with them and explore some more of the beaches, scenery and restaurants on the island.

My festive decorations were minimal but effective and were taken down on 12th night. Christmas was not the major event it is in the UK for example, much more fuss was made of New Year.

Nice to have Santa Claus, purchased in Strasbourg, France, for 34 Francs many years ago, up on the balcony!
Nice to have Santa Claus, purchased in Strasbourg, France, for 34 Francs many years ago, up on the balcony!

Lots of places still have their Christmas decorations up, perhaps until Chinese New Year on 8 February when there will no doubt be more fireworks.

Anyway, who needs decorations when beach looks like this?

Sun, sea and sand at Le Morne
Sun, sea and sand at Le Morne
A lot of time was spent wondering if a coconut was going to fall
The decorations on this tree were just hanging there. A lot of time was spent wondering if one of them was going to fall … and how heavy it might be.

We enjoyed excellent lunches at the Lux hotel in Le Morne, La Pirogue in Flic en Flac (‘free and flat land’ in Dutch), Le Captaine in Grande Baie and Ile Des Deux Cocos near Blue Bay just to mention a few!

When you see the sea and it is this colour you can only gasp
Grand Baie. When you first catch sight of the sea and it is this colour you can only gasp. It is amazing.
The blue marlin weighed
Blue marlin caught on a day’s fishing trip with one of the excellent Sport Fisher boats from Grand Baie. The one on the left weighed in at 144lbs. Their noses weren’t stuck in the floorboards although it looks like it!

We had a long, lazy brunch one morning at Lacaz at Cap Tamarin and Le Moustache, Cozy, Medium Rare, Lazy Lizard and La Bonne Chute all served memorable dinners for us in Tamarin – five totally different places to eat, all recommended.

Curry
Seafood curry with pickle, tomato, sweet cucumber, rice, lentils and accompanied by the essential mouth-awakening chilli paste, a sort of ‘alight bouche’
Delicious fresh fruit platter
Delicious fresh fruit platter to cool the flames from the chilli paste

One night, we had a long drive for dinner at Savinia in the Bagatelle shopping mall on one of the busiest shopping nights of the year. Not only did it take us ages just to get into the full and overflowing car park at the start of the evening and 15 minutes to get a space but the restaurant were adamant they did not have our reservation. Fortunately they squeezed us on to a table outside which was kind; most Mauritians are very kind. Imagine our surprise half an hour later when the restaurant we should have been at telephoned to ask if we were still coming. The 90 minute drive could have been avoided with a five minute walk. It also took us twenty minutes to find the car as I could not remember where I had parked it.

With temperatures regularly above 35 degrees and humidity between 75 – 90%, regular trips to the sea or dips in the pool were essential. The beach at Le Morne was particularly spectacular but most of the beaches here are… especially when you see the colour of the turquoise lagoons and blue sea.

Spectacular backdrop to the beach
Spectacular backdrop to the beach at LUX Le Morne

The holiday season is now over, most people are back at work and the schools have started again. This means the traffic is jammed and journeys are taking much longer! It gives you time to listen to a podcast, reflect on the holidays or contemplate the beauty of the Mauritian mountains; such iconic views of the island.

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There is no road rage here, much to the surprise of many a visitor, despite overtaking on the left (rather than the right) and pulling into gaps at high speed, with or without indicating, that a small mouse would struggle into. Give way is the only way!

New Year was celebrated feverishly by the local population who have more than a mild obsession with letting off fireworks, in particular firecrackers.

it does
It does not need to be dark to let these off nor does it need to be New Year’s Eve
A flamboyant tree in full bloom at Pamplemousse
‘Royal Poinciana’, a flamboyant tree in full bloom at Pamplemousses

There are many wild dogs on the island whose main activity is either to bark for hours on end when an ant walks past or if a leaf falls off a tree up to a mile away. Strangely, the fireworks don’t seem to bother them.

Even the wild dogs like to relax on the beach and take a swim after a long night barking
Even the wild dogs like to relax on the beach late afternoon and take a swim before a long night barking

Conclusion. All the dogs here are deaf….from fireworks.

 

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