Dear Overseas Friend(s)
Myself and Alice are coming to the end of an idyllic fortnight on the paradise island of Mauritius. Reminiscent of Tobago, this is a place I could retire to.
The natives look Indian, sound French and drive old-fashioned British cars (Austin Cambridges, Minis, Morris Oxfords) on the left side of the road. Hindu temples rub shoulders with churches, wayside shrines to the Virgin Mary and mosques. Last Thursday, Diwali was celebrated big time with banks and shops all shut. Newspapers are in French. Films are dubbed in French. The official language is English, but everyone speaks creole. Although part of the OAU (Organisation of African Unity), Mauritius is definitely not Africa! Buses here are a throwback to England circa 1960.
The beaches are gorgeous - white sand beside a ridiculously blue sea. I'd always imagined Mauritius to be posh and pricey, but it's not - unless you have more money than sense and stay on the Mombasa-style hotel strip at Belle Mare.
The king of birds here is the Indian mynah. The red-whiskered bulbul is one of the most beautiful common birds I've ever seen. Lots of
yellow weavers and orange birds called fodies. I'm an authority on dodos after visiting the Natural History Museum. Sugar-cane plantations bristle everywhere. Interesting signs include : IRRIGATION OVERHEAD and CYCLONE REFUGEE CENTRE.
We met Geoff Hurst's cousin in a bar; he informed us that in nearby Madagascar, the women outnumber the men by 7 to 1.
After two weeks of drinking the local Phoenix beer, I'm a man reborn!
Wish you were here. Ha! Ha!
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