My new home
St. Francois beach
July 3, 2017 - My alarm was set for 5am, and I was already getting out of bed at 4:45. I hate that I can't sleep when I know I have to get up. I had some breakfast, finished packing and waited for Bernard to show up. He was only 5 minutes late. We got to the airport and I asked if we should be at a different terminal, as I had heard all flights to Rodrigues were in a different terminal. He said no, we're good. So I went in, and a guy who worked there told me to go to the left to check in and then come back to security. My airline was not to the left, so I went to the right. I found Mauritius Air, got my boarding pass from the machine, and then waited a minute to hand it my bag. When I got there, he told me I was in the wrong place and needed to go downstairs (another terminal??). I had to go outside, take an elevator and then end up in a bit of a grungier, busier situation. Eventually got checked in and sat down to start reading travel guides again, making
some more plans. It's all up in the air all the time. I'm not used to having to take a bus that stops everywhere between cities like they do within cities, so that eats a lot of my time. Cabs are expensive, and I'm cheap. It's a bad mix. Hard to plan what you can actually do it one day.
The flight boarded from the back and I was sitting in the front. I had a window seat and there was hardly any room at my feet, so I quickly moved some books to a purse and stored the backpack above. When we took off I was kicking myself that I hadn't grabbed my camera. The views were good. Damn. Hopefully I can get a window and the weather will be nice when I go back on Thursday. The flight was 90 minutes, and they served a cold breakfast - a croissant with cream cheese, sour cream and onion chips and a small piece of cake - which I did not expect.
I got my luggage quickly and found my pre-arranged taxi driver and we were off. I'm staying at a guesthouse in St. Francois, on the east
side of Rodrigues. Where, you say? So, Mauritius has another main island, but it's about 600km away. It's called Rodrigues, which seems to be pronounced Rod-reegs, instead of the Spanish way I've been doing it. It's a much more laid back, farming type of place. In fact, I never saw anything but sugarcane on Mauritius, but in the taxi I saw chickens, goats, cows...lots of domestic animals. Which reminds me why all the endemic species in all of these islands are either extinct or highly endangered. Many of the birds and all of the giant tortoises have gone the way of the dodo. The tortoises I have seen so far have all been introduced to fill the ecological role that the native tortoises had. They all come from Aldabra island in Seychelles, which has bunches of tortoises still, because almost no one can access the island. It's been very well protected. Like, it's in the middle of nowhere and the only people there are long term researchers and cargo vessels that come by every two months with food and mail.
I got to the guest house and remembered just how bad of a decision maker I am. I was
shown two rooms and could decide between them. I was paralyzed with indecision. I chose the first room, with much more space and a better bathroom but right on the main courtyard, had a lemonade with the host and then chose the second room, which was around back and had more privacy. Then I realized it had no windows and changed back. Next I got ready for a three hour beach hike, but could not decide if I should take the bus to get there, or walk there and get the bus back. Walking there seemed preferable in some ways, but the last bus left at 4:30pm and I was worried I would miss it. Taking the bus first eliminated that problem but meant not starting my hike for an hour and a half, and it looked like it might rain again (as it did when I was in the taxi from the airport). I ended up with the bus first, but man, terrible decider.
I unpacked everything that I'd worked so hard to pack this morning in order to get my daypack full of the things I'd need for the hike, and then walked over to the beach,
where I could get the bus. Snapped a couple pictures and realized that I'd forgotten the sunscreen, so came back to get it quickly. There is only one bus an hour, so I was not going to miss it.
The bus came on time and was a short ride, though we did stop for a bit so the driver could make some sort of delivery - to his house? The waiting came next. I had to wait over 30 minutes for the second bus, which was full of school kids, leaving me standing with about 15 other people in the aisle. I was able to sit two stops in, and the ride was not actually that long. I probably could have walked there while I had waited. Towards the end of my wait, it started to rain, and I thought of just taking the next bus back to the guesthouse. There was no way for me to cut my walk short, as there are no roads on that part of the island, and rain did not sound appealing. But I decided to go for it and hope the weather would get better.
When I arrived in Graviers, it
was sunny and there was blue sky coming, so I was happy with my decision. The walk from there back to Graviers is supposed to take 3 hours, and it was quite hot and I was sweaty. But everywhere I went was beautiful and required another picture. It was a really nice walk, but much shorter than I'd expected. I stopped at the one place I'd seen to buy water just before getting home and when I got back, I'd only been gone an hour and forty-five minutes. I would have liked to have stopped for a swim, but 45 minutes into the walk it started to rain, and though it didn't last that long, it stayed gray and not as warm, so the idea was less appealing.
I got back around 4pm, showered and changed to some fresh clothes. My clothes were just drenched in sweat. The sun never came back, but I had a chance to skype with my mom, which was nice. The internet is rather weak here, but no one else was here using it at that time and it worked ok. I have to sit at the dinner tables outside my room to use
the wifi. I have seen at least one gecko that lives in my room, which I love. I an hear them all around, which is adorable.
There are five other people staying here - all of which are French - and it's nice to have other people around for a change. The hosts of the guesthouse serve dinner at 7pm, so that everyone eats together as a family. It was really nice. And the food was delicious. There was rice, beans, a cabbage salad, pork, octopus salad, some other salad...it's Creole food. And it's yummy. I think I forgot to mention that Creole is the main language and culture here.
After dinner we stayed and chatted for a while, and shared some photos. One of the guys is an emeritus semi-retired professor, and he studied reproduction. He's also a great photographer. He leaves tomorrow, but he will give the rest of us a ride to the boat for the trip we're all going to take to Ile aux Cocos...a smaller, beautiful, bird-laden island. I'm excited!
Tot: 2.55s; Tpl: 0.067s; cc: 12; qc: 30; dbt: 0.0381s; 2; m:saturn w:www (18.104.22.168); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb