July 2, 2017 - Another day of adventure. Originally I had planned to do a hike of Le Morne Brabant, a mountain in the south that has a sad history. It was a place where runaway slaves lived while in hiding, and when slavery was abolished here, police came to tell them they were free. But seeing the police, the ex-slaves thought they would be caught and were determined not to live like that again. Rather than being caught, they jumped off the cliffs and killed themselves. A sad story.
So, my original goal was to go there, but my guide book said you need to go with a guide. I wrote to a guide company last week, but got no response. I decided to just let it go. But yesterday, I was chatting online with a woman that I'm renting a room from next week, and she suggested going, saying you did not need a guide. So I decided to give it a go today.
I walked to the bus at 8am, asked a woman waiting there how to get where I was going, and she told me to get the bus to Cascavelle Mall and then switch
a different bus. When I got on the first bus, the money taker told me which bus I needed. As I waited for that bus, an older man talked to me a bit, and then his friend from church. Their priest just went back to America after three years, he said. On the next bus, I saw my first woman money taker. I told her where I was going and asked if she could tell me when to get off the bus. She was impressed that I was going to hike it and hooked me up.
The bus dropped me off at an access point, from which I needed to walk 1.5km to the start of the hike. It took fifteen minutes, and I walked fast, as there was a group of about 10 being dropped off then too, and I didn't want to hike with a group. The dirt road ended up running right along the beach at some point and I had a little look and a pee, where I hoped no one else was looking. I put on some sunscreen when I got to the start, and signed in a book that I was doing the
hike. Just realized I forgot to sign out.
The hike started out fairly easy, with a wide trail. As I got higher, there were nice views of the ocean, and they got better as I climbed. At some point there was a man that had caught up to me. We alternated passing each other every once in a while, and then the path narrowed and I was not sure which way to go. I zipped off the legs of my pants, so they became shorts, as it was quite hot, and then followed him up the mountain. A this point, there was a sign saying you had to be an experienced climber to continue. I continued. And it really was narrow, and very steep, and I had to scramble and use my hands a lot. Not so easy, but very worth it for the final view. The water was beautiful and there were a lot of kitesurfers down below. I felt really good about getting to the top, and a little nervous about going down.
I often question my fitness level, sometimes thinking it is good, sometimes not so much. But today I was faster than the large
group of young people and could keep pace with some French people who are older than I am. I think my fitness level is fine.
I talked to the guy a bit at the top. His name is Hubert, he's French and teaches in Reunion. He's starting his vacation with kitesurfing lessons here and then will go to France for a month. We walked down together, and it was much easier than I thought it would be, which was a nice surprise. When we got to the end, he offered me a ride in his car. He asked if I wanted to get a drink and I said yes, so we drove to the small apartment he rented and I had some water. It started to rain while we were there and it rained much of the afternoon, on and off. We went for a drive, and ended up in Chamarel at the Seven Colored Earths, a place where aluminum and iron oxides are being leached out of the soil in the heat, causing the soil to be infertile and showing in reds and blues. In the rain it wasn't spectacular, but still nice to see. He eventually drove
me back to Flic en Flac, which was really kind. I guess it would take him about 45 minutes to get home.
I got back at 5pm and a little while later I could hear Bernard in his office. I think he must go there to use wifi. Luckily I asked what time he would pick me up for the airport tomorrow. He said 8:45. I told him my flight leaves at 8:45. So now it's 5:45am. Sucks, but so glad that was cleared up. What would I have done if I'd missed it?
I left around 5:25pm to see the last sunset from this beach. The supermarket was still open, so I grabbed a package of shredded cabbage and carrots to put in a soup with some instant noodles. I'm determined to get some more veggies to keep the digestive system flowing. Sunset was good, and as I started to walk back, an older gentleman asked me if I know he bought an Indian flag to celebrate Mauritius' Independence Day. I asked why he did, and he told me a story of how Mauritius is independent, and yet had to ask India's prime minister for their budget
every year. So he feels they are really a dependency of India. He was laughing when he said it and there was more humor involved, but that's the story.
I looked in the freezer, but the ice cream I bought and ate last night has not regenerated. Sigh. Back to packing.
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