I caught my first glimpse of the mesmerizing blue shades of the Indian Ocean from the window seat of a turbulent flight. As we geared for landing, the clouds parted to reveal a turquoise water body surrounding a tiny island; I’m not quite sure if the island was indeed Mauritius or one of its many neighbors in the ocean, but that first glimpse was everything I had dreamt about on my first trip to this paradisiacal island (and indeed my first time in the continent of Africa).
Over the last 5 days, I have fallen in love, over and over again, with the enchanting landscapes in the interior of the island; endless plantations of sugarcane swaying in the wind, rocky hills and mountains keeping me company on my two wheels, patches of green farm land being lovingly tilled by men & women in colorful clothes holding colorful umbrellas, and glimpses of the deep blue sea teasing me from beyond the mountains.
I have spent my mornings being greeted by the Indian Ocean, which changes shades from deep blue in the early morning, to turquoise in the mid afternoon, to a light sky blue in the evening, and gets colored by the hues of the sunset at dusk. The coastal breeze keeps the waters choppy, and I have gotten used to waking up to the endearing sounds of its waves.
Subconsciously, I did expect Mauritius to sweep me off my feet, what with so many magazine covers and travel publications carrying dreamy, postcard-like pictures of its coastline and beaches. But the island has really found its way to my heart through the things I didn’t know before I got here, the things that no one mentions about the island; the sugarcane fields, the Creole cuisine, the Mauritian rum, and most of all, the laid-back attitude and the exceptional friendliness of its people, who come from so many different backgrounds, communities and cultures, and yet have a way about them that is uniquely Mauritian.
Over the next 10 days, I will continue to explore the island’s best-kept secrets, experiment with the local cuisine, try my hand (and feet) at maneuvering the blues of the Indian Ocean, shake a leg in the S’ega dance, and adopt the chilled out way of life that characterizes the people from the island. On an impulse, I have also booked myself on a flight to Mauritius’ lesser known (and sleepier) sibling, the island of Rodrigues, who’s shores I can’t wait to land upon.