All posts tagged “Africa

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The Holy Bird Lady of Mauritius

bird house from road“It’s easy to find the place” the directions said, “you’ll see it right across from the bird house.”  I was imagining a largish traditional wooden shelter for the many exotic Mauritian birds.  Maybe something on the fence or perched on a decorative post.  But no, it’s an actual house that looks like an enormous white pigeon landed on the roof and never left.  Or perhaps a dove.  The symbol of peace.   That would make sense. 

No one seemed to know exactly why the woman had built her house in the shape of a bird. I asked around.  It was a church.  I checked with Ms. Google.  There was nothing about the origin of the church or it’s feathered followers. Even our landlords who had lived across the street for years couldn’t provide a definitive answer.  Some say the woman who lives there saw a vision or received a sacred message from on high that inspired her.   The construction was complicated and is definitely not up to code.  Apparently the long necked house of worship was very popular a few years ago.  Hundreds of followers would flock to her house to pray, chant and dance.  Each Sunday the normally quiet street would be crammed with busses and cars.  But, just like disco and leg warmers the popularity eventually wained and the faithful found other places to direct their prayers and their cash.  Maybe the bird lady didn’t make enough wishes come true?  Perhaps her doctrines laid an egg? Continue Reading →

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Mauritius – By Land and Sea

mountains

One of many volcanic mountains

The African country of Mauritius deals up a wonderful recipe of cultures and landscapes.  Like a complicated dish, it’s hard to put your finger exactly on the specific ingredient that makes it so special.  Call it  alchemy.  The result is delicious.  Because of several changes in (let’s call it) ’ownership’ and some fairly huge cultural shifts, like the abolition of slavery for example, this gorgeous island has a bad case of multiple personality disorder.  In a very good way.  You can see and feel the colourful mingling of French, Dutch (who brought sugar and killed the Dodo), African, Creole and Indian influences in the people  along with their Hinduism, Christianity and Muslim faiths. The remarkable thing is that everyone seems to get along peacefully like it’s no big deal.  Take note world!  This ethnic margarita makes for some very interesting food, history and people.  The varied terrain makes for some outstanding outdoor exploration.  After the storm we were itching to get out and have a look around this ruggedly beautiful tropical island.

*note: Speaking of itching, mosquitos chase us inside each evening at dusk in a cloud of bug spray but the itchiness never lasts longer than an hour or so.  For this reason, I like Mauritian mosquitos way better than Canadian ones. Continue Reading →

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Cyclone (almost) in Mauritius

Being on a  island in the middle of the South Indian Ocean when a powerful Cyclone approaches is what I imagine playing right field in pro baseball must be like.  Long stretches of low grade boredom interrupted by short intense periods of terror.

I’ll admit to being a little cavalier about ‘cyclone season’ when we planned to come to Mauritius in January.  After all it had been the ‘rainy season’ while we were in Seychelles and it only rained at night.  Not really a spoiler. We were never in and danger.  We just got wet. Continue Reading →

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Hot Sticky Paradise in The Seychelles

Grand Anse

Steps from our door. Grande Anse.

The North Island Lodge, in the Seychelles, is the most expensive hotel in the world.  The private island boutique sanctuary which flits you in by helicopter from the main island of Mahé will tickle your wallet for a skimpy $6,695USD … a night.  The world’s second most expensive, according to Travel Mag  is here too.   Fregate Island Private can make your pirate fantasies come true for just less than $6K a night.   For these astounding rates you will have a butler at your beck and call 24/7, gourmet food, free flowing organic fruity cocktails and should you so desire, your own private beach.  This is NOT where we stayed.  But the stunning natural beauty they offer is also achievable for the more budget minded traveller.  The rainbow of birds still sing you awake and the tropical flowers still bloom and scent the breeze even when you’re paying far less.  The Seychelles are truly a tropical wonder of drool inducing beauty. Continue Reading →