Mauritius: The Day No One Remembers
We were very lucky to be able to go to Mauritius at all. After South Africa, a cyclone formed in the Indian Ocean and the Explorer had to reroute in order to avoid it, so we lost time. Originally they told us that we had to skip our day in Mauritius, but then, due to the master navigational skills of our crew, we salvaged four hours out of the day, only a day later. It was a bonus because they gave us the original Mauritius Day off, planned a BBQ for us for dinner and gave us a dance party on the pool deck at night in order to make up for missing Mauritius, but we were able to go there anyway.
We were ready to get off the ship at 7:45AM as to not waste any of our four hours there. We took a boat taxi to the other side of the port, where the shops and things started. None of the places were open yet, except a stand that sold fresh-squeezed fruit juice with rum in it. They were charging $10 a drink and there was a long line of Semester at Sea kids there, a precursor to how the rest of the day was going to go. Our first mission was to find an ATM. We did and headed straight to the market. Lots of kids went to the beaches, which I hear are beautiful, but we decided not to spend a chunk of our time traveling to and from. We went to the market, which smelled terrible. I thought Perri was going to throw up at one point. I think it was the mixture of spices and sewage that really did it. We ended up buying lots of things anyway, surprisingly a lot of things with Indian influence.
We walked around some more and Perri and I picked up some street food. I’m still not exactly sure what I ate, but I think it was some kind of mashed up chick peas baked in some dough. It was good though, and I’m still alive so I guess it was a good decision. We then decided to follow some signs that pointed the way to a world heritage site called Aapravasi Ghat. A ghat is a series of steps that lead down to a body of water, usually a holy river, where religious rites are held. The ghat we saw was crumbling and led down to a body of water that no longer exists, and it seemed sort of sad to me that such a holy site, a site which was supposedly a “world heritage” could be left in such massive disrepair.
Next we ended up in a mall, with lots of fancy-schmancy stores. I was distraught at the thought of spending much time there, so I walked around pouting as Alyssa and Bailee wandered into store after store. I told them that I would split off from them if they wanted to shop at the mall. After we got some ice cream (I got sorbet of course), we decided to do just that. Perri and I headed back in the direction of the market, and the others stayed back to find whatever it was they wanted to buy. We climbed to the second story of the market because the word on the street was that that was good, but it ended up just being rows upon rows of souvenirs. I came across a henna tattoo stall and I tripped over myself trying to get there. I got a massive henna on my foot and leg, which looked pretty badass when it was finished. With time running short, we made our way back to the ship.
Apparently most of the people from the ship had spent their limited time in Mauritius drinking themselves silly, because there were many people getting carried onto the ship and thrown into the drunk tank. They spent the precious hours we had handed to us getting completely wasted and missing the quick experience that was Mauritius. I do not pretend to understand why drinking so much before noon in a port where we only have four hours was a priority for some, but I am trying not to judge. I just know that I personally did not have enough time in Mauritius to see the splendors it had to offer, and I plan on one day going back (soberly). On to India…