Posted by: Gary Guertin | March 8, 2010

Port Louis, Mauritius

Hi All,

Our second island in the Indian Ocean is Mauritius. If Reunion was a volcanic island, Mauritius is a volcanic island with life (and I don’t mean an active volcano). Mauritius is located 135 miles northeast of Reunion (our first Indian Ocean island stop) and is a part of the same mountain/volcanic chain. It is a little smaller than Reunion, but has twice the population (about one million inhabitants). The two islands are like night and day. Reunion is French, Mauritius is Asian, with the dollar accepted everywhere and English spoken by most islanders. La Possession, as you saw, is two story buildings and a quiet village, while Port Louis (our port in Mauritius) is tall building and bustles with big-city commercial activity and snarling traffic. Mauritius was first settled by the Dutch, then the French for awhile, and finally the British before it gained its independence. They say that French influence predominates, but to us it could only be in some of the architecture because the people were definitely Asian (Indian and Chinese).

OK, let’s take a look at the photos (see photo album titled Port Louis, Mauritius above). As usual the first photo shows you a panoramic view of Port Louis located about a mile and a half from the ship’s dock. Susy and I again decided on a walking tour of the city because most of the sites to see where near the waterfront. We had a short day and trips into the country side can sometimes cause you problems unless you are on a ship sponsored tour, then they will wait for you if your late. Since I didn’t get a shot of the ships port sign, the second sign (in place of a port sign) is the sign for the Natural History Museum. Mauritius was the home of that abnormal member of the pigeon family, the "dodo" bird. Dodo birds have been extinct since the late 17th century, but this museum has a stuffed replica. The fun begins in the morning when we had to take a local water taxi from the ship to the waterfront. The taxis charged two dollars a person and naturally tried to stuff as many people as possible on these little open-air boats. In the third photo you see Susy enjoying the experience, and in the fourth photo you see yours truly with the Amsterdam in the background, joining in. In the fifth photo you see the waterfront pier and customs area, which is nothing but a front for a shopping gallery (6th photo). To the left of the shopping gallery was the replica (or who knows, maybe the original) of a Dutch windmill (7th photo). If you look again at the sixth photo, those shops you see, open on the other side (or going through them) to a large indoor shopping mall. The eighth photo shows a fruit juice stand in that mall and the ninth photo shows a shot inside. After stopping at every shop in the mall (Susy had to check them all), we exited onto a beautiful, wide boardwalk (10th photo). What did we find on the other side but (you guessed it) another shopping mall (11th photo). Well we made it through that one (I’m dead already) and got out into the port. The twelfth photo shows you the local casino (I’ll swear we didn’t go in and play cards). We made for the "Dodo" exhibit and in the thirteenth photo you see the front of the Mauritius Institute which houses the Natural History Museum, but guess what, it closes on Wednesdays and today was Wednesday, so much for "Dodo" birds. Onward to the next block and what do we find but another market (14th photo). As you can see I’m trailing behind Susy with my tongue hanging out but she is going full guns. In between the museum and the market was a beautiful park (15th photo) which I was able to walk Susy through because of its possibility for a painting some day (and my possibility to sit down and rest for a few minutes). Both Susy and I stopped immediately when we saw the cutest Mauritius boy (16th photo). By that time we had walked ourselves out, so we started back along the wide central boulevard (17th photo) to the waterfront. Back at the boardwalk I wanted to take two last photos of Susy with one shopping gallery looking to the left (18th photo) and one open air restaurant/shopping gallery to the right (19th photo). By the way this is called the "Le Caudan Waterfront" area and swings day and night. Susy and I made it back to the ship in the over-crowded water taxi and were ready to drop after the long walk.

Onward to our third and last Indian Ocean island "Male, Maldives". I’ll try to post it in a few days, before we get to Mumbai, our last stop.

Love you all,

Gary (Gagu)


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