Last day in Mauritius
Trip Start Jun 06, 2006
78Trip End Aug 22, 2006
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A little after noon we drove into Port Louis, parked at the Caudan waterfront, and walked through the tunnel under the motorway to the 6 story building which houses the American Embassy. It is always interesting to visit embassies, a little piece of one's home country even on the other side of the planet
We went back across the motorway to the waterfront where went to the post office to mail a small stack of postcards. The old stone building had obviously been there a while.
One employee was assigned specifically to help tourists with stamps, mostly for postcards no doubt. We were happy to note that it only cost about 25 US cents to send each card. In much of Africa and Europe it can cost as much as one dollar for a postcard stamp.
We then had a delicious, spicy lunch of Indian food at an inexpensive restaurant right on the port. We had eaten here four years before and had pleasant memories of the food and the setting. At the far side of the port we could see Mauritian coastguard ships, many commercial ships, some fishing boats, and a few rusty tramp steamers to boot. As we started eating on the terrace there was blue sky and warm sunshine, but halfway through the meal we had to move in under the parasol when in sprinkled tropical rain for a few minutes.
After lunch, we went back to the embassy, filled out request forms and dropped off our passports. Because of security concerns we didn't talk directly to the American staffer who assisted us. We looked at each other through a thick glass barrier as we spoke on a telephone system. It saddened me that the world has become such a violent place that such measures are now deemed necessary. We decided to have extra pages put in all four of our passports, since we still have a long way to go on this trip. We were informed that it would take about 2 hours to do the identity checks necessary through an information connection with Washington, so we has some time on our hands.
We had originally intended to go to the South of the island where there is an attraction called ,la Vanille, a sort of cultural and nature park where one can see patches of jungle the way the island was before people arrived, crocodiles in pens and the giant tortoises indigenous to the regions islands. They are so large that people can sit on them without harm or pain to the animals. Calculating our time, we decided we didn't have enough to make the run to la Vanille. We went instead to an Internet café on the port where we could each work on separate computers to catch up on e-mails. Marjolaine Fiona and Tatiana hadn't had so much time online as I had over the last weeks so they had many messages waiting. I scanned some of my usual news sources, to catch up with what is going on in the world.
We picked up our passports on time, and chatted for a minute with the courteous American foreign service staffer who had assisted us. She had just arrived a month previously and was enjoying the start of her two year stint on Mauritius. She was curious about our trip and asked a few questions about our itinerary, having noted all the visas already in the passports and noting the general direction of our travels.
Back in Grand Baie we repacked our suitcases, and did a little shopping for T-shirts and the like. I strolled along the sandy beaches where occasional fishmongers were selling fresh fish of all sorts as well as eels, octopus, and various crustaceans.
For dinner we met Suren one last time at the Indra restaurant at Domaine les pailles just south of Port Louis. It is a delightful Indian restaurant again where we had eaten four years previously. The stone and glass building had a vaulting grass roof, the waiters are all dressed in traditional Indian garb and the food is wonderful. We enjoyed the meal and the fellowship and were sorry when the evening came to a close. We couldn't let things go too late though as we had an early start the next morning. As we were eating a strong rainstorm had begun, so I ran through the rain to the parking lot to get the car. I picked up my ladies at the landing and we drove back north one last time to Grand Baie.