Thursday, January 3, 2013

Let me tell you about Mauritius

American stereotypes typically get under my skin (when someone tries to do an "american accent", I get this crazy feeling to smack them), but sometimes I can't help but agree. Americans not being well traveled? I hate to admit it, but it sometimes holds weight. Americans not being great with world geography? Guilty as charged. Americans wanting everyone to understand English? yep, been there.

Truth be told, if I didn't spend 4 1/2 years in Cape Town, I would probably struggle to find Mauritius on the map. Since it was my first time, I didn't know what to expect. Hopefully my simple insights will give you a little inside track on Mauritius.

1. They speak French...


and the French influence is apparent. Cheese, Nutella, bread and wine were in abundance....



2. It's Small...really small. We're talking 42 miles long and 29 miles wide.



3. Sugar, Spice and Everything Nice. The tropical climate makes for some pretty delicious agriculture.

4. Mauritian People are some of the kindest, most generous people I have ever met.

I didn't mention it before, but I had a little episode a couple days into my holiday. It was VERY embarrassing and involved me passing out at a fancy restaurant, flashing my panties to the fellow diners, and a grand finale of me throwing up on the beach in front of the restaurant. Needless to say, I was quite sick and stayed in bed for 48 hours. Our butler Sinita took it upon herself to take the BEST of me. She ordered me fresh juices, she showed me pressure points and breathing exercises to help with nausea and headaches, she brought me ice and towels when I started to fever, and she put beautiful notes and surprises in my room. I was completely taken by her care and kindness. She also made the most delicious vegetarian Indian food and spicy coconut chutney the day before we left.

I will never forget what a beautiful person she was. 

5. It has an Indian flair. I expected the French, but the Indian influence took me by surprise. Many of the native people I came in contact with had very dark skin and Indian heritage. Their currency is also called "rupee", just like India!


I have a love affair with all things Indian, so this was right up my alley. This also confirmed that I need to go to India. Who wants to come with me? 

6. Lots of Bugs, but NO SNAKES. This meant I felt confident and secure to use the 8km trail run path that went through sugar cane fields and through the "jungle". It was all fun and games until I got stung by a wasp!

This picture was about 20 minutes after it happened and you can see some slight swelling in my arm (I was actually stung twice between my Garmin and my elbow). It got MUCH worse during the next couple days and I had a chubby, swollen lower arm that was red and burning hot to the touch. I actually STILL have some slight swelling around the sting site. Those Mauritian wasps are no joke, but I would rather be stung 100 times than see a snake. 

7. The sun is more intense than I anticipated. I wore spf 50 all day, every day and still got a rocking tan.

 

I usually thrive in a hot climate, but I think the combination of travelling and sun exposure contributed to my uber-embarrassing restaurant black out. 

8. It has a special untouched beauty. 
Yes, there is a vibrant tourist scene, but it really feels like you are a world away. The simple fact that you are on a tiny island 1200 miles off the east coast of Africa puts it in perspective. There is something magical about being so far away and isolated.

9. The dodo bird may be extinct, but there is still some spectacular animal life on the island, like this Mauritian tortoise that is 105 years old.


The bird life was equally impressive. I have never seen such brightly colored birds!

10. It's hard to find on the map, and hard to get to...but it's worth it.



Biggest surprise when traveling abroad? 

American stereotypes that get under your skin? Anything you agree with? 

29 comments:

Amy B @ Second City Randomness said...

I would like the opportunity to travel more... something I'm currently working on!

And I cannot wait to be jealous of this tan you speak of... hopefully it lasts until book club? ;)

thecookingrunner said...

American stereotypes....ahhh!!!! Sometimes I am embarrassed because Americans are so rude and not well traveled, and very arrogant!!! My husband and I were on holiday in Sorrento, Italy. We were sitting near another american couple that complained about everything and expected the waiter to understand English, which he did not (or so we thought). We ordered in Italian and spoke what little Italian we knew to the waiter. Well, when the embarrassing couple left, our waiter came over to our table with sippers of Lemoncello, pulled up a chair and spoke perfect English to us. We apologized for the other Americans and he told us there is no need, he experiences it a lot and is grateful for the few people that have respect. He told us about little "non touristy" shops and restaurants and invited us to his family's Sunday meal. which is a HUGE deal!!! It pays to be well traveled!

kilax said...

So happy you were only sick for a little while and still able to enjoy your vacation! Are you 100% better now?

Hmm. I lived in Rome for awhile, so I should be able to think of some American stereotypes that bother me... but cannot, because they were mostly true. Ha ha ha.

the hoppe pad said...

It sounds like an amazing place! And as far as visiting India...it is one of my top 5 places I would love to visit one day...I hope you get to travel there!

Emily said...

So informative! I was also amused (and at time frustrated) when I studied abroad in Sweden about the image the world has of Americans. Students from other countries asked me strange questions like did I take a lot of road trips (because of the movie Road Trip), if girls in high school are especially mean (because of the movie Mean Girls) if I own a gun, how many cars my family has...

kelsey said...

gr8 post love! Beautiful-take me with next time.

sounds like you were super sick..glad you are better!

xoxo

meghan said...

Sounds like you had a great holiday, but good grief you had some bad luck, huh? I hope you're feeling better and your wasp sting isn't hurting anymore!

Christina said...

I love this post! I love that little lady that took such great care of you! So sweet. The food looks glorious. And holy crap what a tan!

Kelly Janowski said...

Love this post.

When we first moved to the Dominican Republic, the airport was a total shock. Granted, this was years ago, but it was a mob scene complete with goats. Goats!

Also, the bathroom situation in China was a little surprising to me. Even in the airport, there were squatting toilets.

Lindsay said...

Everything is so beautiful! I'm glad you had a wonderful trip and are feeling better!

I went to Nepal and was pretty close to the border of India and it's quite an experience. I have to say though that the people there are some of the nicest and most caring people I've ever met.

Avery aka Southern Belle Livin said...

I just found your blog, love it! This post was really interesting to read. I've never heard of Mauritius before, but it sounds like a beautiful place to visit.

The stereotype that bothers me the most, is that Americans are lazy. Now, there are PLENTY of lazy Americans out there, however, I feel like where ever you go, you will find lazy people. I know families and people that yes, are successful, but have worked EXTREMELY hard and sacrificed so much to get to where they are today.

Sprint2theTable said...

What a beautiful island!!

It really bothers me when people associate Americans with political leadership. I was in Scandinavia while Bush was in office and we told everyone we were Canadian to avoid harassment.

Nicole said...

Lovely photos!

Raychel said...

Thanks for this fabulous and informative post! I'm sorry that episode happened but it's a good thing the islanders were kind and wonderful people :) I am fascinated with India, let's go!

jen said...

looks fabulous! i had definitely never heard of the island. i so wish i could travel more. sigh...one day.

runwiki said...

I am so sorry you were not feeling well. What an amazing and kind person your care taker was! It looks like heaven there. It would be so great to travel there some day.

Jordan P said...

a) the GALL of creepy Italian guys trying to pick up ladies.
b) the hilarious "southern accents" that people give to any/all Americans. Doesn't really get under my skin, just silly.
c) take me to India. I'll do the henna.

Sierra said...

Bush didn't do any favors for American stereotypes...

Sierra said...

Glad you found me and thanks for reading!

Americans are anything but lazy...merit is the name of the game in this country!

Sierra said...

I always come back from vacation wanting to be a better person. Seeing people with so little living such happy enriched lives can teach you a thing or two...

Anonymous said...

Lived in Sweden for 7 years. Most families have 1 car or none. Nobody owns guns or takes road trips so no wonder they ask

Anonymous said...

And they SHOULD associate Americans with the political leadership! Isn't it what democracy is about? People are represented by the polititians they elected

Anonymous said...

Sad but so true

Anonymous said...

Sad but so true

Anonymous said...

And they SHOULD associate Americans with the political leadership! Isn't it what democracy is about? People are represented by the polititians they elected

Anonymous said...

Lived in Sweden for 7 years. Most families have 1 car or none. Nobody owns guns or takes road trips so no wonder they ask

Anonymous said...

Lived in Sweden for 7 years. Most families have 1 car or none. Nobody owns guns or takes road trips so no wonder they ask

mike_M said...

just before this beautiful island got their own old Mauritia continent. If one island deserve it, Mauritius is on top of that list ;-) great report and keep up the great work!

Dave Parker said...

Thanks Sierra ! Very cool info about a very cool place. You should become a travel writer cuz ya convinced me that Mauritius would be an awesome place to visit !!

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