A while back (more like 5 months ago), I visited the island of Mauritius for a family vacation. After a last minute booking we found ourselves boarding a 4 hour flight on Air Mauritius – which was a lovely flight, but rather average – and after landing, an hour and half drive to our resort on the coast of Balaclava Bay, on which I saw nothing as I was fast asleep. Arriving at our hotel, the thick hot air greeted us with welcome drinks of warm ice tea by a very pleasant gentleman. Our hotel room cool and fresh, with our bed laced with white and yellow lilies. (I’m sure there’s a more technical name, but google was no help.)
Mauritius is bursting with lush greenery, clear blue seas and hot sunny days. The people are incredibly friendly, pleasant and work so hard to perfect their English for you. Mauritius is filled with people from all over world, but my favourite interactions happened with real Mauritian people who were always so excited about their country and wanting to show it off.
Although Mauritius is gloriously beautiful and fulfills all the tourist pinterest-perfect photos of the islands, resorts and tropical sea life, it also has a harsh contrasting reality as you take a drive into the city or in among the crop fields. A reality of poverty and unfinished houses painted with graffiti. A reality of crowded streets and hustling shopkeepers trying to sell you exotic-looking fish they caught with a homemade cage while fishing in one of the public beaches in front of an expensive resort. A reality of hardened hands and ashy knees of hard laborers at work.
But also a reality of vibrant faces and pleasant exchanges. A reality of bustling laughter and loud music played from a pimped out taxi, while stuck in traffic as our taxi driver weaves in and out of the lanes to get us there faster in the hopes of a good tip. A reality of hand picked fresh vegetables excitedly sold by competing sellers who try to get your attention by shouting over one another and offering you a sample.
Mauritius is full of colour and vibrancy, and was such a delightful break from the hustle and bustle of my home in Johannesburg. I enjoyed that none of my days had a to-do list, or an itinerary. The goal was to soak up every thing around me – mostly the sun and sand – but also the food, the people, the cool breeze on the late setting sun. It was such a great time and place to recharge my battery and refuel my soul. Nothing (to me) beats the sound of the crashing waves first thing in the morning while the birds awaken and play the soundtrack to the start of the day.