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Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Nov. 8, 2010-Impressions of Mauritius

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Port Louis Rice seller

It’s the Creole I guess which makes Mauritius feel like a Caribbean Island, the creole along with the French and African cultures here. The streets are filled with Africans speaking that French based slang dialog called Creole.

And the age of the place: In Port Louis, the capital, old buildings abound, decrepit but still in use even in their falling down state next to modern banking centers; Mauritius is big in old buildings and financial services. And street markets, but somehow different than those Thailand. Here they put a tarp or a table on the street and cover it with clothing or used hardware and hawk it to every passerby. Maybe it is all the black skin that makes it look different from Asia.

Click here to see more of Port Louis

Click here to see more of Mauritius

Then there is the sugar cane and the Indian people brought here by the French to work it. You drive in Mauritius and you find yourself on country roads surrounded by cane fields. When you reach the outlying towns they are all Indian. That part reminds us of Fiji and it should, both are sugar growing islands populated years ago by an imperial power with Indian workers. The imperial power has left but the Indian population remains, so curry and roti are ubiquitous.

But it is hard to imagine an Island in the middle of the Indian Ocean being anything else.

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Mauritian Farming

Until you see a local farm (above) or the town of Phoenix; it looks like Bellevue, or the M2 freeway, which looks like it should be somewhere in Britain, or the yacht club fleet, which looks like it belongs on the coast of France.

There is the old central market filled with locally grown produce just down the street from the modern shopping malls with the hyper-market stores, and there are the worlds’ most modern telecom services sold out of 1850’s falling down buildings by men in dreadlock hair-dos.

We found a windy beach filled with kite surfers.

We found china town, they came all the way here to work the sugar fields too, and now have the small stores and restaurants.

We went for a tour of the Indian neighborhoods on Diwali (festival of light) and saw streets filled with Indians dressed in their best sari’s carrying cakes and other sweets to the homes of their friends.

Click here to see images of Diwali lights and surfing kites.

And we’ve just started.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Mauritius

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