Bienvenue á Maurice
The first thing I learned about Mauritius: the journey to get here is long – really long! My journey began three days and approximately 12,000 miles ago in Los Angeles. I travelled through London, and then to Johannesburg, where I had a brief stopover before boarding one last flight to my final destination.
My flight from Johannesburg takes me 1,491 miles off the east coast of Africa to the heart of the Indian Ocean. I pass over the island of Madagascar (large), then over Réunion Island (smaller), before descending on Mauritius (tiny!)
The island of Mauritius seems to pop out of nowhere. From the plane, I can see clear turquoise waters and white beaches. The land is covered in a thick green carpet, and sharp mountains of black volcanic rock stretch to the sky. From above, it looks like paradise, and I wonder what new people and places awaited below.
As we drive from the airport to our hotel, I get my first close-up glimpse of the island. I pass fields of sugarcane, pastel-colored houses, mosques, Hindu temples, and churches.
The first thing I notice is many of the people look like they are from India. (We’ll have more on this later.) Nearly everyone speaks French or Mauritian Creole, which is a mix of French and several African languages. While many people can understand and speak English, I think it’s important to at least try to speak whatever language is spoken wherever you are. Even though I am not very confident in my pronunciation, I try some basic French when I first arrive at the hotel.
Now it’s time for a little more French vocabulary practice and a good night’s sleep so that I can beat this jetlag. Tomorrow, the adventure begins!