Published: March 2nd 2011March 2nd 2011
Today we docked in Port Louis, Mauritius. Mauritius is a small African island off the coast of Madagascar. It is also next to an island called Reunion. While I was in Cape Town, someone told me that Mauritius was one of the most beautiful islands they had ever been to….and they were right. It was absolutely gorgeous!
At pre-port they told us that Mauritius used to be home to the dodo bird before they went extinct. I was really bummed out….I wanted to see one! Anyway, we only were there for the day so were in kind of a rush to get going. Sadly we were delayed (like usual) but finally got off the ship around 9 am. A bunch of my friends and I signed up to do a catamaran to Gabriel Island. I hadn’t really ever been on a catamaran so I was excited to see what it was all about.
We (30 of us) piled onto a flat looking boat. The boat also has an inside you can go in. They served us BBQ fish and chicken and you get unlimited drinks. We all sat out on the deck and just listened to
music until we reached our island.
Once we got to the island the boat docked and we all just jumped off the side of the boat into the Indian Ocean! The water was sooooo pretty and clean. It was probably the saltiest water I have ever swam in. We attempted to go snorkeling but there wasn’t many fish. So we all just kind of hung out in the water because it was so warm and nice.
A few of us decided to swim to a nearby island with a beach. It didn’t look that far away but when you’re swimming against the currents and you’re already pretty tired from treading water so long, it became very difficult. I somehow made it there and we lied on the beach for a while and even met some locals who talked to us about the island.
We eventually all swam back and took the boat back to the ship in port. We were all really bummed because we only got 1 day to spend in Mauritius. I wanted more time especially after I found out all the other cool activities they have on the island. For instance, water tubing and
zip lining! Oh well…it was still a great day!
So now I’m back on the ship and looking at my calendar. In 4 days I will be in India!!! I can’t believe it. I’m really excited for that port but also extremely nervous. I have heard so many good and bad things….I really don’t know what to expect. People on the ship who have been there before said that the air is so bad that you might start coughing once you get off the ship and if you wear a white shirt, don’t be surprised if it’s a different color when you get back on the ship later that day. They also told me, that all the food and water will probably make you sick because we are not used to it. We have all been advised (no joke) to take at least 10 pepto tablets a day! I don’t think this is going to hold me back though. I think getting mildly sick will be worth it, so that I can try all the cool foods.
I was also warned about the poverty and begging. Someone else on the ship told me this,
“You think the begging was bad in Ghana, just wait until you get to India!” That literally scares the crap out of me. I mean I remember having nervous break downs in Ghana. I have never been more culture shocked in my entire life. You would literally find yourself 360 surrounded by taxi drivers and they are pulling on both your arms, yelling at you to get in taxis. Or how you would eat lunch and a child would sit next to you and beg so much that you just give them your food. I have never felt threatened….I don’t want anyone (mom) to worry or anything like that. It’s just overwhelming. So that is my biggest fear for India as of now.
I asked some people on the ship who have been there before to describe it to me. They said your home will feel like Disney World compared to this. That it is like a circus there. Our TVs in our rooms showed Slumdog Millionaire last night. I was told from someone that this is pretty accurate as to some of the stuff we will see or some of the stuff that has happened in India throughout
time. One of my other fears is water bottles, because I know sometimes they will use old water bottles and then re-seal them so you don’t know. I’m just hoping that I don’t run into this problem. I think I’m just going to have to be extra careful! We have an inter-port lecture on everything having to do with traveling in India and some of the students that are from India will be speaking….so I’m hoping to get some useful information from them.
On a much happier note, here are my current plans for India. The first day I’m doing this thing from SAS called a welcome reception. I met with students and they teach you how to tie saris and they paint henna on your hands and show us traditional dances and music and food. The next day I’m going to see two ancient civilization sites, Kancheepuram/Mamallapuram. After that I’m flying out to Agra to see the Taj and other stuff. Then we make our way down to Varanasi. I’m going to be in Agra/and Varanasi for 4 days and 3 nights.
Until then, I have midterms! I am definitely NOT looking forward these. I mean I
didn’t exactly have time to study today. I don’t know why some of the teachers are giving us our midterms right after Mauritius?
There are more photos below