27 April 2012, Gail’s trip log

There are no dodos left on Mauritius! I didn’t know until today that here is where they lived and, of course, died, because they just stood there to be killed – hence their name. [they were flightless, fat, and had no enemies except man – extinct by 1681] Of course Dan had to buy a hat and tshirt with a dodo on it. We were a little late in arriving at this beautiful island. After some confusion getting through their immigration process, we were off on our tour. We were the first bus out, which was very nice, since we were ahead of the crowds at all of the stops all day. And the bus was nice – smaller, just about 18 people – which made it quicker to get everyone on and off. After driving through the pretty, but congested, capital city of Port Louis, we headed for the hills. Our first stop was a shop where they make fantastic scale model sailing ships entirely by hand. We even went upstairs to see the craftsmen at work (actually half were women) and then looked at several dozen models in the shop showroom. [they had them from a few inches long to over 6 feet long, all famous sailing ships]. This is a volcanic island (now dormant) so there were beautiful jagged hills and valleys to be seen all day. Several people, including us, compared it to Maui or Bora Bora. Anyway, second stop was to look out over the huge volcanic caldera. It is grown over with vegetation and is fenced off – the ground is not stable enough to walk on. Here we also had beautiful views of the surrounding countryside. Our guide spoke excellent English and gave us interesting background information all day. Mauritius is an independent country – but still part of the British Commonwealth. It is surrounded by a coral reef and had beautiful beaches and turquoise water We saw this from some of our viewpoints, but did not actually get onto any of the beaches. We had to more photo stops before lunch – one at a beautiful waterfall. Dan climbed up to the top area – I stayed down below. Next was a vista over a deep canyon, complete with local legends about its history. We stopped for a creole lunch (many creoles on Mauritius from the days when it was French, before 1815). Restaurant was overlooking yet another beautiful scenic vista in the mountains. It was open air like you find in Hawai’I or other tropical areas. The food was very good and the service was impeccable. The last part of the day was a 1 ½ hour drive back to the ship along the west coast of the island. Very pretty. Everyone really enjoyed this tour – some day long tours are really tiring, but this one was very nice. We had an early supper at buffet – sailed away at 800. Dan is back upstairs with his computer. Reunion early tomorrow.

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