Picnic and hotel hopping

Trip Start Mar 26, 2012
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Trip End Apr 29, 2012


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Flag of Mauritius  ,
Sunday, April 8, 2012

Though it was Easter Sunday, commerce was going full tilt today. The market in Quatre Bornes was full and bustling first thing in the morning. Laval called form the lobby to let me know the group had arrived. I went down to get my car and follow them. In the end, because of traffic, it would have been too difficult to try to find each other in town, so we agreed to meet at a grocery store we all knew in Flic en Flac.

As I drove out of Quatre Bornes, I saw that there was road work ongoing so that the main road to Flic en Flac was closed and we needed to follow a detour. It was rather slow going, on narrow back streets where traffic going one direction often had to pull over and stop to let vehicles coming the other direction swing around parked cars or pedestrians.

We met at the grocery store and drove on to the beach at Flic en Flac, where we easily found parking places. Most Mauritians don't own cars, and use public transportation instead, so there are almost always parking spots open even in the small lots that are customary here. We first had a look at a hotel, right across the street from the beach, which has been used several times in the past as a site for our fall festival. It has just been refurbished and the rooms looked very nice. The conference rooms had also been redone and would be quite suitable. We spoke briefly with the manager; he gave us the information we needed with which we could ask for a proposition if needed.

After that visit it was lunch time, so we found a grassy spot just beyond the sand and my hosts spread out mats and started laying out a picnic. As we started eating, a very light rain began to fall. Passing showers are common in tropical islands and this one looked as if it would quickly blow by and it did. The first thing served was a rhum arrangé, literally and "arranged" (or “improved”) rum, a sort of rum and fruit juice punch. Then we had rice and chicken with a vegetable sauce, which was very nice. Among other things we talked about what people like to do at the beach in Mauritius. Flic en Flac was full of people, families, teens and young people in groups swimming, picnicking and drinking beer. Many people were walking around in swim suits carrying a liter bottle of what the labels identified essentially as cheap beer. Several were walking rather unsteadily, but most weren’t noticeably under the influence.

After lunch, several of us drove up the hill behind Flic en Flac to look at a house we might rent to use as a meeting hall for services this fall. The house, brand new, in fact not fully finished, has a very large and nicely done main room which would be suitable for up to 30 people, more than we usually have in Mauritius. We talked briefly with the owner; he said the dates would be open, so we’ll reserve this house with its beautiful view as our meeting hall. The church members here on Mauritius hope they will have some visitors for the festival; that really helps make the time special for them.

We headed back to the beach where the rain had started again and heavier. We gathered up the picnic supplies and headed the cars. Then we drove farther down the beach strip to two hotels that could be offered as lodging to visitors from abroad. These two are a little more expensive that the first one we saw, but are located right on the beach “les pieds dans l’eau” as the French like to say; “your feet in the water.” One of them also had several conference rooms, which we visited. As a manager prepared to take us around, Jocelyn whispered to me in French, “speak English with him – that always impresses Mauritians.” English-speakers in Mauritius usually have more money to spend than French-speakers, so they attract more attention.

The beach hotels made me dream a little. They would be magnificent places to spend a few days: quick easy access to the beach, lovely views of the ocean and the waves visibly breaking on the protective reefs 500 meters off shore; nicely appointed rooms, delicious buffets. I thought how nice it would be for my family to come here some time, though due to various needs, we’ve never kept the Feast in Mauritius to this point. As we gazed out to sea we could see a heavy rainstorm complete with flashes of lightning heading our way.

By the time we finished our visits it was late afternoon, and time for people to start toward home. I shook hands all around and thanked everyone for the kind and warm welcome they had extended. They asked me to pass their greetings on to church members in other parts of the world, especially those I had yet to visit in Africa. Hopefully I’ll be able to visit Mauritius again in the autumn (northern hemisphere).

I started driving back to Quatre Bornes when the terrific downpour finally hit the island. Visibility became difficult, road traffic slowed to a crawl. Water ran in streams across the roads. As I finally reached the detour area in town, standing or running water was up to six inches or more deep in places. I drove as carefully as I could, avoiding the deeper places to try to keep the car from drowning out. Finally back in town, near the hotel, traffic was totally snarled around the market. I had to park temporarily on the street, and come back later to put the car in the lot.

This was my last full day in Mauritius. If all goes as planned tomorrow I will fly on the Madagascar where I’ll have an overnight layover.
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Comments

Judy Dane on

I can't thank you enough for the glimpse into other parts of the world where I will never go and the brethren that I will meet when Christ returns.

Margaret Villaescusa on

Hello again,
So glad you were able to spend a pleasant afternoon with the brethren in Mauritius. A picnic by the beach sounds delightful. Praying for the rest of your trip to go smoothly.
Best wishes,

maryhendren
maryhendren on

Hi Joel,

Thanks for including the photo of our brethren, "the hotel hunters." What a nice day with the picnic, beautiful beach, and finding a home and rooms for the fall festival--a refreshing visit.

Regards,
Mary

carolyn raines on

Thanks so much for the news of your travels and of our brethren in other areas. It helps us feel more "connected" as a worldwide body. May God continue to bless and protect you.

Jan Zimmerman on

Thank you so much for your blogs, Mr. Meeker. I feel as though you are helping me to "personally" know my brethren in far off places. Please let them know we pray for them and appreciate their dedication to this Good Way. Many prayers come your way and many of appreciation of your sacrifice to serve our brethren and for your safety and protection.

Tess Washington on

Another pleasant day with the brethrens! And it is good to know that you are accomplishing what you purposed to do in the area! May you have a wonderful layover in Madagascar Mr. Meeker! Our prayers are for your safety and that God's work will be done through you on all your trips at this time!

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