- 'Mauritius, 2 weeks
Despite the fact that I was born and spent half of my childhood years in Mauritius, I remember very little of it. When I heard I'd be going back after over 10 years, I was elated, who wouldn't be excited about travelling to the paradise island and bathing in the crystal clear waters in one of the most luxurious tourist destinations? However my adventure was slightly different to what I had pictured it to be, but it was a great experience nonetheless!
The first couple of days of my holiday began with trekking through an immensely large number of households to visit the seemingly infinite number of extended family whom I was apparently related to all around the island. Every other person in the street would recognise my parents despite having been absent from the country in a decade, and would invite us in for a chat and tea. There was a considerable amount of tea. At first I was overwhelmed by the community spirit but 12 cheek pinching aunties later, I was desperate to sight see.
I visited what had been described as the shopping hotspot of Mauritius-the Caudan Waterfront. I had fond memories of visiting it every Saturday night with my family and there were often exciting events happening. Although it pretty deserted when I went. Aside from a few tourists lurking around, there weren't many locals and I soon realised why. The designer shops and extortionate prices which even by the UK's standard would be excessively high just showed how commercialism had taken over and alienated the locals.
But the hustle and bustle of the local markets in Port Louis were really something else. Sipping on fresh coconut water and trying the local streetfood which my mum has attempted recreating to no avail made me feel as if I was seeing a different side of the country. Travelling on the excruciatingly loud buses which snaked half way up the mountains made me slightly more grateful for London Public transport, which was a phrase I thought I'd never say- but again, it was an adventure nonetheless.
I also had the chance to speedboat across to the smaller islands dotted about Mauritius where the water was warm and crystal clear. There was also a fish barbecue on one of the beaches followed by what I identified with as a mini rave, to some traditional sega music. I also stroked a 100 year old tortoise, which dribbled profusely on my hand as well as seeing rare species of birds such as the Pink Pigeon in the nature parks. Whale watching from the cliffs was also an amazing experience. Mauritius' health and safety standards are considerably less regulated which was to my liking since I could sit right on the edge of the cliffs and gaze out at the sea and pretend I was in a film.
Waking up to the sound of an actual cockrel almost every morning was a highlight too! I was staying with my aunt up one of the mountains, and the view was staggering. The area below was dotted with traditional houses and further above, there was much greenery and it was teeming with wildlife. I was shocked when my aunt told me that construction work to build a motorway was due to begin shortly in that same area and on my last day, that view was replaced with a handful of large trucks and the general atmospheric sound of the animals was replaced with a loud drilling.
Despite the fact that my adventure didn't necessarily consist of lounging in a luxurious hotel and paragliding I felt as if I had actually SEEN the country. The culture, the people and the landscapes. It was sad to see so much of it being compromised to make way for modern infrastructure and tourist hotspots but it was a great trip! If you're planning on visiting Mauritius any time soon, make sure to bring lots of sunscreen and stock up on mosquito repellent!