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June 28th 2017
Published: June 30th 2017
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June 28, 2017 - I'm in Mauritius - how did that happen? Before, during and after my Alaska adventures this spring I was kept quite busy with my job and PolarTREC work as well. It did not leave me with much time to think about where to go this summer, and I was tired and kept putting off a decision. Having already been to so many places also made it more difficult to choose a place, as I am running out of affordable or no visa required locations to jaunt off to. I was back and forth between several ideas, spending random hours in the book store researching destinations, finding it difficult to make a decision. I usually start months before, and know how long I will want in each place and what is possible, with most plans made before June. Finally, it was down to the Caribbean or Mauritius, Reunion and Seychelles. As you know, the latter choice won out mostly due to how shockingly expensive it is to move around in the Caribbean. To be fair, it is here as well, but I just expected it here more.

I only booked the tickets two weeks ago today, some in German, just as I was five minutes from meeting my Duke of Edinburgh students to leave for their adventurous journey in France. Insanity at its best. I've spent the last couple of days driving myself crazy trying to find accommodation that was not too expensive and would work without renting a car. Reunion proved the most difficult, and I already know there will be a lot I will miss seeing there, but I'm trying to just go a little slower and see what I can see. I've actually double booked some locations and need to make some final choices soon about which to cancel and which to keep.

I usually love planning my trips and then end up dragging my heels in the days before leaving, feeling like I should just stay home for a change and relax. This time was the same, except I never got that fun planning part, since it's all been so last minute. I was even tempted to just cancel the whole thing and stay home yesterday with my cats. The flight left in the evening, so I had all day to continue packing and not run around insane. This was great, but it was also almost too much time to contemplate staying.

At 4pm I did make it out of the house and eventually to the Basel airport, where I checked in, with no one in front of me, with Air France, as always. But the machine I checked in on did not print my boarding passes, so the woman still had to print them out for me. And I had the woman at the baggage drop attach the tags, as I am crap at that. Then it was a quick one hour flight to Paris, a few hours sitting around in the Paris airport after figuring out which bus to get on to go to the right terminal, and finally an 11 hour flight to Mauritius. Eleven hours and only a 2 hour time difference. As I boarded the flight, I noticed that the seat I had chosen last night was not the one I was assigned to. Or rather, I had chosen 10L but then changed to 35A, so I could be in a windown seat on the left side of the plane instead of the right. I was happy to be close to the front of the plane, in the end, but still think it strange that my final seat choice was changed. Sometimes long flights are better than shorter flights and this holds true here. The flight left a bit before midnight, and by the time they served us dinner, it was 1am, or 3am Mauritian time. It was 4am by the time I was done watching Beauty and the Beast and ready to sleep, and not landing until after noon gave me enough time to actually get some sleep. I never sleep great on planes, but this was pretty good.

I sat next to a Mauritian woman who invited me to her house next week, so I'm hoping that will work out. It would be easier to arrange things like this if I had a phone, it turns out. Who knew? Never having a phone was never such the hassle that it is today.

I passed through immigration quite quickly, after producing the address and phone of the guy who rented me this place, and then had to stop at the health desk. They let me through and then I waited an eternity for my luggage. There were 417 passengers and I think I waited for about 400 of their suitcases to show up before mine did. On the way out I was chosen for them to scan my things again and then I was out looking for my ride home. I finally found my pre-booked driver Bernard and it took about 45 minutes to reach Flic en Flac, the beach town where I'm staying. Initally I thought I would get the bus, but it would have been multiple buses over several hours, so I decided to pay up for convenience. Not my strong suit.

He showed me around the studio apartment I rented, the top floor of a villa, which had no working water for some reason. So he called the plumber and fixed it, but when he was gone it was off again. Annoying. Without a phone it's hard to call to get things done. I sent an email and hoped for the best.

After getting a little set up here, I wandered over to the supermarket and picked up a few things, like breakfast and drinking water. After dropping it off, I then walked down to the beach for sunset. It's winter here, and although it's warm, the sun sets before 6pm, which I am not at all used to anymore. I walked along the beach while the sun was setting and then stopped for a kebab for dinner. I finished eating it when I got back towards the supermarket, so I went in and bought an ice cream to eat on the way back.

There's a girl renting the apartment below me. She came up to introduce herself and I recognized her as one of the people who was in line for a kebab in front of me. Small world. She came to see if the apartment had water. I do now, but not hot water for the shower. I only booked this place yesterday, and I guess I should have booked one of the other places. Always. She said she would contact Bernard, as she was having the same problem.

I started to read a new book, and stayed up longer than I'd meant to reading it. But I'm on vacation with only beach plans tomorrow, so why not?

June 29 - Today was more of a lazy day. I didn't get up until 10am, so I slept for about 11 hours. The same amount of time as my flight here. After messing about with poor internet and no water yesterday, the host for my airbnb offered to move me to the apartment downstairs. Bernard came back and showed me the place, and I agreed to move. It's a much bigger space overall, but feels less private, being on the ground floor. Also, Bernard has an office in one of the rooms, and even though he doesn't access the apartment itself, I've still heard him in there. As soon as I moved in, the tv didn't work and then he set up a techinician to come to fix it later. I'm not going to watch it anyway, but I guess they want to make sure it works. The internet is better, but only in the bedroom and only sometimes. Facebook is the worst, and it's where I spend the most time. In the end, I should have just stayed upstairs, of course.

Once I moved my things, I headed out for the beach. It was already 1pm, so a late start to the day. Of course, once I got there I had no idea what to do. I didn't want to lay in the sun, so I found a spot under some trees, and then read some more about things I could do over the next few days. So, just more planning, no relaxing. I thought about swimming, but then who would watch my things? It's a skill I have yet to master. Of course some guys came over to try to get me to use their taxi service for touring around a couple times, and it was a little annoying, but they left soon after they realized I was not interested.

I came back to the apartment around 4pm and headed back out around 5:15 or so. I wanted to see the sunset again, and grab something to cook for dinner. I struggled over this decision for a while. The apartment has no oil, butter, salt, etc, so I'll have to buy anything I need. I will only be here a few days and don't want to waste anything, but can't really take much with me either. In the end I chose pasta with tuna and mayo and proceeded to make too large a portion while Bernard and the tech guy were here. No luck fixing the tv yet, but dinner was good and reminded me of growing up, as it always does.

I worked on accommodation plans for a few hours, as there are still choices that need to be made and places to cancel that are double booked. Made some cuts, but not all. Had a nice chat with Jeroen, showered, and finally it was time for bed. I don't know how midnight came so quickly, but not a great plan since I have to get up early tomorrow for my next outing.

Additional photos below
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30th June 2017

I always enjoy reading your annual vacation blogs...
have a great time in the Indian Ocean islands.
3rd July 2017

Glad to know you're still reading. :)
3rd July 2017
Sunset at Flic en Flac

Perfect beach vacation
Loved hearing your process. Looks like a great trip.

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