In February, one of my best friends, Kate, got married. Kate and Avi had a multi-day traditional Hindu wedding in Mauritius, a little tropical island in the Indian Ocean. There are not many people for whom I would fly 12 hours. Kate is definitely one of them.
I stayed in Mauritius for a week. They were strange days, weather-wise. Just days before I was due to fly out, Britain suffered terrible snow storms and most flights were cancelled. I rushed home from work to buy travel insurance online. Even a flight delay of three days would render my trip to Mauritius pointless, as the wedding would be over.
The evening I was to leave, my departure time was pushed back two hours (Air Mauritius was kind enough to call and message me). Problems with refuelling and the closure of one of Heathrow’s two runways meant that we were stuck on the tarmac for another hour.
I was pretty anxious because as we were waiting, the snow starting swirling around the plane.
‘Oh no!’ I exclaimed to the girl sitting next to me. ‘Snow! It’s getting pretty white out there. I hope we get out in time.’
‘Hmph,’ the girl agreed and sadly curled up into a ball as she suffered through airplane allergies. (I get this too, when my eyes water and throat itches in the recirculated plane environment.)
Luckily, we finally took off. Later I was told that we flew out of a snow storm that shut down Britain’s transport systems for another two days.
It was not the end of eventful weather. The flight was the most turbulent I’ve ever experienced. We flew into a cyclone just north of Mauritius. For my first day on the island, the cyclone and choppy seas prevented us from going to the beach.
When tropical calm returned, I waded into the ocean. The water was beautifully warm. There was virtually no change in temperature going from the beach to the water.
I got a rather nasty sunburn. Carrying my backpack home (I managed with carry on luggage only!) sure did hurt my shoulders. It took me almost two months to recover fully from red skin.
It was only when I was flying home that I found out about the scorching bushfires in Victoria. The lady sitting across the airplane aisle had a newspaper with the headline, ‘Australian bushfire death toll its worst ever‘. I waved at her.
‘Excuse me, can I borrow your paper when you’re done with it?’ I pointed to the bushfire article. ‘That’s my home, Victoria.’
‘Yes,’ she said. ‘The paper is a couple of day old already and I hear that there are more deaths now.’
I only got the full story about on the Tube back home from Heathrow. Imagine that, finding out about this tragedy from a rehashed press release in the free London Paper!
Anyway, the reason I am revisiting the events of February is that I’ve finally sorted out photos from Mauritius. A selection of the are here at my gallery. Here are some highlights.
I stayed with three of Kate’s friends in a massive holiday house. It was fairly swish and not expensive at all. I got the penthouse room. It had a walk in wardrobe, full size ensuite and, most importantly, air conditioning. At night time, the house also had cockroaches. They’re everywhere.
The Trou aux Cerfs crater high up near the shopping town of Curepipe. This crater is in the shape of a love heart!
Statues of Hindu gods at the Grand Bassin Hindu Temple, which is one of the most sacred Hindu places outside of India. Every year, half a million people make the pilgramage to the lake during the Maha Shivaratri festival in February or March.
I’m a sucker for waterfalls. This one is in Charamel, better known for its coloured sands.
The coloured sands of Charamel! So pretty, eh. I understand the colours are something to do with volcanoes. Not very specific, I know. I guess it’s to do with heating sands to different temperatures.
Giant tortoises! This one was very unusually active. It was eating leaves that tourists waved at it, it wandered around before settling down with its motionless friends in a puddle.
Finally, some beach photos.
Legs above belong to Kate’s family. Thank you for looking after me for the week!