A couple of days ago we’d met a guy named Vijay who ran trips to Ile Aux Cerfs which is widely known as the cherry on top of the rich exotic cake that is Mauritius, so immediately after breakfast (I’d got myself into a nice routine by this stage which consisted of a granola-ry type thing with pineapple, pomegranate and melon with orange juice and jasmine tea, mainly because it was fresh, and secondly because all other food was annoyingly British/Continental, and you don’t fly to a different hemisphere and culture to eat croissants), I left Loums and went down to the beach to find Vijay and negotiate our trip to Ile Aux Cerfs which was incredibly simple and also to arrange a three course meal at the ‘Tree Tops Restaurant’, as after the meal we’d had at Eureka the day before, we needed another delicious Mauritian meal under our belts.
We then headed to the bus stop to go to the capital of Mauritius, Port Louis. I know I keep saying this but driving through the island is one of my favourite memories from the trip, and I always love, no matter which country it is, the journey from outside of a capital city into it, it’s like you’re going into the heart of the place which is always pretty exciting.
When we arrived in the maHOOsive bus station, we started walking around the stalls and then towards the central fruit and vegetable market which is a lot like Borough Market in London, in that the building which encompasses seems to be an old train station. Honestly my first impression of the capital wasn’t great, not due to the street sellers as that would be like complaining about insects whilst being outside, it was just that I felt very vulnerable. Being part of a minority in the capital led to stares, the fact that I was walking (not holding hands, underlined) next to a man who is Mauritian meant that I was not a-another tourist led to more stares, Loums noticed the stares as well, so we left the market to walk around the outside of it and explore a bit more, when a group of young men stopped and started to follow us, Loums whispered to me and asked if I could do up the flannel shirt over my vest top (a bit of victim blaming yes, he knew this and was aware of what he’d said, I did do up the shirt and he knew that it wasn’t my fault what was happening, but not speaking Créole we were the only people we could reason with).
I then asked if we could go in a different direction and quickly, so headed to the more touristy (and therefore unfortunately, safer) part of the capital which was nearer the waterfront, around which were many containers shipping goods to and from the island, an enormous post office and many eateries. We then stopped for lunch and I ate my first mines frites (the closest equivalent would be chow mein) which Loums had wanted me to eat from the moment we arrived so I finally gave in and they were sooo good, and for desert we ate banana flambéed in rum. From this restaurant you could look in at the city and see the capital surrounded by mountains, with more houses creeping up the side of the mountains, cable cars going between buildings, many of which has pegoda roofs and in the centre of them was the Mauritian National Bank building which was huge!
We then found a shop where I bought my housemate some coffee which she had requested before I left, and then we carried on exploring. We decided to go to Chinatown which took up well over a quarter of the city, and found many many little schools and silk shops and took our time to look around each one, and at around about half 4 we decided to head back to the bus station as it was about an hour’s journey back to Triolet.
When we got back we got ready for dinner, ate light as the lunch we had was very heavy, and after a walk along the beach we decided to watch ‘Game of Thrones’, Epidode 1 Season 1, uh-oh…
I loved the way the city looked and the way it worked, it really is the hub of the country and like any capital city, the best place to get goods sold. Yes, I didn’t feel incredibly safe there, but most capital cities aren’t incredibly safe and really it was nothing worse encountered at the place where I work now, the only main annoyance was that I didn’t and still don’t, know enough Créole to say anything in order to make it stop. I’m glad we went, I loved watching the ships come and go from the docks as it was great to glimpse into seeing how the country worked.