Harmony in the Indian Ocean

Trip Start Nov 10, 2010
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Trip End Nov 26, 2010


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Where I stayed
Le Meridien

Flag of Mauritius  ,
Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I left the wall of curtains open on my room overnight so that I would be greeted upon awakening with whatever view this spacious suite had to offer. I wasn't disappointed. The sky is blue, the water bluer and the traveler bright as the rising sun.

In my suite one towel is folded into the shape of an elephant and two more are sculpted to create a pair of swans coming together to form a heart. Both are sprinkled with flower blossoms. It doesn’t go with my solo traveler mountain man look but nobody, least of all me, seems to care. It’s fun.

There is a gigantic breakfast buffet and many tours offered but, for me, today is a day to rest and enjoy the beach and the pools and my balcony. I’m going to finish my book before getting back to Kansas City but, at 1166 pages, I need to get moving. The busy schedule I’ve kept up to now has kept me out of the pages and the hectic days have found me falling asleep after fifteen minutes or so of reading. Today, I’ll make up for it.

Matt and Donna Clark, my friends from Edinburgh are here and have invited me to get together. I called them after breakfast, around nine, and I’m afraid I woke them. I later find out that they were out to dinner with other friends last night and didn’t get back to their bed until around three. We agree to meet for lunch. They are a pair of young Brits and delightful conversationalists...something I value highly as a single traveler.

The tropical sun is high and hot after lunch and I am not anxious to get sunburned on my last full day so, even with the availability of 100 SPF sunscreen, I am cautious.

I’ve booked a table for one at the seafood restaurant here for eight o’clock tonight...my final night on the ground during this whirlwind tour of Africa and now the Indian Ocean. My hair is a bit too long and my beard is a bit too scruffy (there are those at home who would howl at my outlandishness) but here I’ve no one to please but myself. So, I happily allow those who would wonder about me to, well, wonder. I look a bit like mountain man Jeremiah Johnson, I’m afraid, but my smile seems to reassure skeptics.

The staff here is mostly Indian and all are friendly, offering warm greetings at every encounter. The servers have an interesting method of pouring a bottle of beer that I got to witness with Matt. Davinah, our server, placed a standard glass on the table and then she used the mouth of the beer bottle to tip the glass a few degrees and simultaneously pour the beer down the side of the glass. She’s got it down to knowing how far to tip it so that it doesn’t topple over and how slowly to gingerly right the glass so that the head of the beer is perfect once the bottle is empty and the glass is full. I’ve never seen that done. It’s fun. If you’re interested, I’ll attempt to show you how it works but, please, let’s do it at your house and not mine in case I am not as skilled at the procedure as is Davinah.

The atmosphere here is one virtually devoid of Americans. There are French, British, Indian, Spanish, South African and many others. A multitude of religions easily mix. Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims can be identified by their appearance. Christians and Jews are not so easily identified. But nobody seems to care. The French smile less than everyone else, it seems.

Dining is al fresco. The weather is superb but the staff says it is too hot. I respectfully disagree. It is in the eighties. The humidity is not high. The ocean is beautiful and the grounds are well kept. The sunset promised to be spectacular but a low cloud on the horizon spoiled that at the last minute. From my balcony, I watched ten or twelve photographers anticipate award winning shots only to be foiled at the last moment.

Le Meridien on Mauritius is a fine place. Perfect for honeymooners. Good for families. For me? I may have been the only solo traveler in the place.

I have been asked by a couple of blog readers to include a photo or two of me. I have a tripod and a timer on my Nikon so, for this installment, witness me as a subject in a couple of the photos.

Tomorrow: my final day on "holiday."
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