Bit about Mauritius

Mauritius is such a wonderful country and after spending a month and a half there, I feel obliged to share some of my impressions of that little piece of tropics.

Mark Twain said that Mauritius was made first and then heaven; and heaven was copied after Mauritius. Well, I wouldn’t be surprised.

Mauritius is pretty tiny for all the diversity it encompasses, measuring just 2040 square kilometres, it is 633 square kilometres smaller than Estonia’s biggest island Saaremaa.  It’s not big.

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It most likely has most diversity and multiculturalism squeezed together per square kilometre than you’d see anywhere else in the world. Christians, Hindus and Muslims all living side by side celebrating their religion and customs (seems that they also get more public holidays thanks to that).

For example, one can drive past a huge Lord Shiva statue in the middle of the island at Ganga Talao and get their new car blessed by the Hindu priest.

The landscape is mainly dominated by sugar cane fields with mountains peaking on the background. Sugar cane field is also home for strange looking hedgehogs. Mauritian hedgehogs look like they’ve had some of their spikes brushed off, so you could almost mistake them for rats. Except they’re not, they’re hedgehogs and apparently they get eaten by locals.

Another strange animal, that also gets eaten, is the bat. However, they are very difficult to clean, so they get eaten less often. Mauritian bats look like large ravens from afar and they silently yet gracefully fly across the skies at night. Nevertheless, what they also do, is eat all the fruit that you can imagine. Locals are really struggling with finding their mangos, lychees, bananas and longans eaten by the bats. This in turn rockets up the fruit prices. It all happened when the government banned the killing of bats as one of the smaller bats in Mauritius is near extinction. It didn’t consider however, that the big bats were happily breeding. I heard locals say that the government now has special stations, where people can bring the bats they shot to save the fruit and get a reward.

And then there is the beach. Blue water, soft sand, some corals and quite a few sea urchins. You know, the kind of view that just hypnotises you and you feel that you are on a proper holiday. And so, that is also where you’d find most of the tourists and I do not blame them.

 

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