Published: November 11th 2010November 2nd 2010
We stand in a queu in front of the customers, all Europeans, specially from France, but also from Spain and Italy. We do not see any Dutch between all those white faces. That is strange, because Dutch are always everywhere. Are they not interested in this Island called after Maurits van Nassau, in the beautiful beaches and landscapes here, the mediterranean atmosphere, the delicious French food mixed with a Creole kitchen or even the rarest stamp in the world, the blue Mauritius?
It is the Dodo which makes the Dutch so modest and ashamed. We killed this bird 400 years ago. And the problem is all world knows it. It is the best known extinction of an animal ever. And those cruel Dutchmen killed that beautiful, poor, harmless bird, which was not aware of any danger, till we came ashore here. According to the world we hunted them to death, we ate them. But old reports say they were so disgusting, that the Duth even called them "Walghvogel". Probably we did not eat them at all. So what drove the Dodo to extinction? Lack of genetic variation says David Quammen in his book "The song of the Dodo". Might be,
because also the Dodolike Rodriquez solitaire disappeared on nearby Island Rodriquez and the Mauritius Dutch pigeon, two landturtoises and many more followed. Some animals are still on the brink of extinction, like the pink pigeon, the Echo Parakeet and the Mauritius Kestrel.
Everywhere on the Island we see Dodo's. But they are from plastic, a turistic attraction, a pet like the dodo's in Alice in Wonderland. The real Dodo is in the Natural History Museum in Port Louis, the capital of Mauritius. It is the only one in all world. While looking at the skeleton of the last of the Dodo's we hear suddenly Dutch. It is a movie, where Dutch researchers from Naturalis and from the Universiteit van Leiden show how they discovered a field full of Dodo skeletons in the Mare aux Songes. The Dodo's are back again! Holland is saved. Now we can enjoy the Island without acting as if we are not Dutch.
We enjoy the people here. All races and religions are there and it looks they live in harmony with eachother. Standards are high. Everything works. Lake Bunyony in Uganda was paradise, but this is heaven. We visit Port Louis with its
beautiful architecture, its haute cuisine at the Waterfront. We have a beautiful hotel here, called the Gold Leaf Hotel. We see nice beaches at Grand Bay and the Blue Lagoon. At Blue Lagoon we have a privat beach belonging to our splendid hotel , called Oiseaux de Paradis. All Island is surrounded by lagoons, as you can see from the plane. Landinwards we see beautiful forests set in a mountaneous scenery. Here we see the Vacao trees, endemic for Rodriquez and Mauritius. They make hats out of it.
Sugarcane plantations are around for the rhum production. At night we drink rhum and during daytime the delicious sugarcane juice. We eat palmheart and the seafood is accompanied by nice French wines. It is all so overwhelming that we wonder how it would be to settle down here after our worldtrip.
We were only four days on Mauritius and we even pondered to stay here and skip the rest of our worldtrip. On the other side we are so curious for the rest, like for Madagascar, our next destination.
There are more photos below