Day 2 – First full day
After breakfast during which I ate lots of papaya, I’m not sure why because I don’t really like papaya I think it’s quite soapy but it’s not something you see a lot in England so my train of thought was ‘I MUST HAVE ALL THE PAPAYA IT’S SUCH A DELICACY’.
Anyway, we then walked to the bus stop bus stop to go the le Jardin de Pamplemousse in the region of Pamplemousse which is in the north of Mauritius. The buses are very circa 1950s/60s America in that they are very loud, very rickety, yet quite fun because the drivers are so speedy yet so skilled! There is a driver and a conductor on every bus which I liked because Mauritian drivers are pretty unnerving in the way in which they drive, so whilst the driver is weaving in and out of cyclists, motorcyclists, lane changers and road hogs, the conductor gets you your ticket (a single ticket each for us didn’t even amount to 80p, nice), and tells you where you need to get off and never forgets to remind you when it’s time.
We arrived at the gardens which were covered in palm trees in their various forms, Baobabs, and the Giant Water lilies which I’d seen in pictures but were huuuuge in reality.
The little roads throughout the gardens were mainly after scientists, or people who had visited the island and donated to it’s upkeep so the walkway next to the lily lake was call ‘Rue de Charles Darwin’ and others called ‘Rue de Princess Margaret’ which I found quite sweet. We also found the spice garden and a mini zoo, in which giant tortoises and deer were kept, after there were lines and lines of bamboo which made such a calming clunky sound when the wind blew. We also seemed to have come on a day where many different schools had brought classes of children on Science trips which filled the place with noises of playing and laughing. We think that the makers of Far Cry 3 lived in Mauritius for some time because, the landscape in general but mostly the species of trees which are on island in the game and Mauritius are almost exact.
After we left the park, we headed to a restaurant which a woman we’d met while waiting for the bus had recommended to us called ‘La Poule D’Or’, (or ‘The Golden Chicken’). She had reason to because the food was delicious, I had my first proper samousa with green chilli paste, my first Pheonix beer (the national beer), and also my first crab, which I did not know how to tackle when given an toothpick-like utensil and a nutcracker to deal with which to break it to pieces, so I gave up and used my hands. After finishing and talking over our beers, we left to head back to Trou Aux Biches, as it was getting close to 4 by which time the sun starts setting.
When we returned we got our beach bag together, and found a really lovely spot along the beach where there was no coral in the water at all, the tide was high so we didn’t have to walk far for it to start getting deep. We swam quite a lot until the sun was fully set, and then we made our way back, in time to see a cloud which looked like the Enterprise from Star Trek.
We ate light, I had a black bean thing which was so so good, it said it had yams in it but I’m unsure. We then watched Sega dancing! Sega dancing is the traditional Mauritian dance where women dance in groups of four or five, and wear brightly coloured skirts of red, orange, blue with white which fan out when the hem is picked up.
The music they dance to is quite simple and created mainly with percussion instruments and chanting rather than singing and the women move their hips and arms whilst holding the hem and glide around the room or in various formations like water, or bats, watery bats with a twist of flamenco added in, but with less stomping (I’d just ‘youtube’ it), it’s so hypnotising! I would’ve liked it more if more people were dancing with them, as it seemed to be only a few of us who were really clapping and trying to mimic their movements, but never mind, it was a beautiful way of dancing I hadn’t seen before which is pretty rare nowadays!
We then retired for the evening, but not before a Ti Punch (‘little Punch’, ‘Ti’ being the abbreviation of ‘petit’) because we were sleepy but then made the mistake of started watching ‘The Lego Movie’ which is HILARIOUS so we didn’t actually sleep until about half 12, oops.