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Published: July 21st 2017
July 21, 2017 - I woke up at 7am and for breakfast I had a boring cereal I bought yesterday called Bran Stars. The weather looked cloudy and I was wondering what I would be able to do today. I decided to go to Valle de Mai, an UNESCO World Heritage site and a must-see on the island. It is where a large concentration of coco de mer palms grow, and they only grow on this and one other island in the Seychelles. Their nut can weigh 30 pounds, and its shape resembles a woman's butt and thighs, of all things. These grow on the female plant. There is also a male plant that has a catkin with pollen, and it looks distinctly .... male.
As I was leaving the house, it started to rain. I sat down outside and waited for it to pass. As I waited, I read the part in my book dedicated to the Vallee, and it said it was a good place to visit in the rain, so that was encouraging. The rain did stop and I decided to walk, as it wasn't that far away. It only took twenty minutes, but it seems no
one much walks here, despite the smallness of the island. You have to walk on the main road, and though it is not so busy, it is a little scary sometimes. This is the road my house is on, and it is the one that cuts across the island, rather than running along the coast.
The entrance price is a little steep, around 20 euros, but it's one of the main reasons for coming here. There is a large circular walking trail of about 2 km, with two other paths that cut across to make it a shorter walk. I decided to take my time, walk all the paths, and spend time looking for the geckos and birds that could be found in the park. It rained when I arrived, and I waited a short time before starting on the trails. The leaves of the palms are larger than me, so I stayed quite dry as they blocked out the rain. There are six species of palm found in the forest, but all around you could see the coco de mer nuts. I hoped not to be standing under one when it fell, but I did hear a few
large leaves and one nut crash to the ground while I was there. The rain eased off quite early on, and I spent three hours wandering around in the park. A bit pricey, but well worth it.
It started to rain again when I left, so I waited a bit. I wasn't sure what to do with the rest of the day, as the weather wasn't really for the beaches. This should be the driest time of the year but it is predicted to rain most days, possibly for the rest of the time I'm here. With the sun out, it is too hot and sweaty. With the clouds, it is still too humid to stop sweating. I'm perpetually uncomfortable.
In the end, I decided to continue on the same road to the coast on the other side, and check out Grande Anse. It was dry for a bit, and then rained until I got to Grande Anse. It took about 45 minutes to walk there, which was a little dull, but as I got closer to the coast, I started to see my favorite little crabs again. These guys are fantastic, and not all of them are
so little. You have to look ahead as you walk, because by the time you reach them, they have already seen you coming and gone back into their holes. But looking a bit forward, you can watch the process happen. The slow sideways walk as they check you out, and then the fast scurry into the hole as they decide you are a threat. I could watch them all day. I feel like I came across the biggest one of on the island. It would have taken both hands to pick that guy up. I stopped, we eyed each other up for while, and then I proceeded on and he scurried into his massive hole.
When I arrived in Grande Anse, I looked for a take-away place for lunch and someone pointed me to the one across from the church. After I ate, I looked at the "beach" - it was all seaweed - and decided to catch the bus home. It wasn't raining anymore, but it was gray and there was the chance of more rain.
The bus took a while to come, and it is a short bus, that only seats about 29 people. For a
bus that is infrequent, it should hold more. I got the last seat, in the very last row, and when it was my turn to get out, everyone standing had to get out to let me pass. Then they were all standing in my way so I couldn't pass. Awkward.
Back at home I used the internet while Angelique and her friend did some meditation on the couch, at least until the tv repairmen showed up. I have a new housemate, Carlos, from Spain. We share a bathroom. I think the house if full now. I expect it will be a quiet evening.
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