All posts filed under: Africa

south africa culture, mamelodi south africa

Bittersweet Feelings in South Africa’s Mamelodi Township.

On a lazy Sunday afternoon, the whiff of gently spiced curries floats through the streets of Mamelodi Township. Men from the township chat jovially under a wooden shelter, drinking beer, taking turns to stir the large metal pots on the open fire. Cow heads, they tell me as I look curiously, reminded of open-air communal cooking in India, though you seldom find men cooking here. From a narrow street ahead, reggae music pours out, calling me towards it, towards women chilling in the outdoors over beer and gossip, dancing, playing pool! This is no party, just their only day off work. And so what if most of them are domestic workers with meagre wages, they sure know how to have a good time. I awkwardly smile at first, wondering if I am intruding. But the awkwardness melts away quickly in their jokes, and turns to hugs when they hear I’m from India. Take a picture of us, they urge me, so you can show your people how we live here; I oblige, for we can sure learn a thing or two …

Island Legends From Seychelles.

I often dream of a time when little of the world had been discovered. No maps, no connectivity; travel was only for people with a heart for real adventure. People set sail without knowing their destination. One day, a lucky bunch of them would end up at a group of pristine, uninhabited islands in the Indian Ocean and decide to stay. These are their legends. This is a glimpse of Seychelles beyond the beaches. 1. The World’s Most Expensive Coconut. A Coco De Mer costs 6000 Seychelles rupees (or 30,000 Indian rupees) and you can’t even eat it. Arabic sailors often sailed to these parts looking for goods they could sell back home. They landed on Praslin (pronounced Pra-lay), the second biggest of the Seychelles’ islands, and chanced upon Coco De Mer. The nut of this palm tree resembles the shape of a woman’s butts or lungs or other parts, depending on your imagination. The nut has no functional value, but became a sought after ornament, selling at the same price as spices in those days; …

What Seychelles’ Most Famous Musician Taught Me About Dreams.

I decide to call it a night after an indulgent Creole dinner. Why didn’t you dance? a distant voice calls out to me. I turn to face the night’s live musician. I don’t know then that I’m confessing  I have two left feet to one of Seychelles’ most famous artists! I hear him say, sometimes you should just close your eyes and let the music take you, and I know I shouldn’t call it a night just yet. Shivya NathWelcome to my blog, The Shooting Star. I’ve been called a storyteller, writer, photographer, digital nomad, instagrammer, social entrepreneur, solo traveller, vegan and environmentalist. But in my heart, I’m just a girl who travels! Check out my: First book || Travel-inspired clothing collection || Instagram

Seychelles island, Seychelles photos, Seychelles review

My First Impressions of the Seychelles.

My first memory in the Seychelles is standing on the deck of a ferry, with the wind caressing my hair and the seagulls whispering my name, as I counted the shades of blue in the vast ocean before me. I slowly realized it was a pointless task. Over the last three days, I’ve rekindled my love affair with the Indian Ocean, spent lazy afternoons on a hammock, snorkeled into the underwater world, rediscovered the goodness of Creole curries, and settled into the susagade island life. These are my first impressions of the Seychelles: 1. The ocean is as blue as it’s been in my dreams! On a clear day, you can see at least four shades of blue in the water, and when you walk closer on the soft white sand, you can see the base of the sea; I snorkeled into the water right from the beach at Kempinski, and found myself amid schools of tiny fish, black sea urchins, and big colorful fish. The blues of the Indian Ocean can cure any other kind of …

What a Fisherman Taught Me About “Paradise”.

On my first day in Mauritius, I couldn’t help but envy the lifestyle of the laidback locals lounging around in their Hawaiian shirts. I assumed that living here was paradisiacal indeed, what with constantly being surrounded by the azure waters and not having to deal with the worries of city life. Meeting a fisherman on the island would make me realize otherwise. I checked in at Le Meridien Ile Maurice, with a plan to indulge in everything that Mauritius is famous for; sunbathing on my private beach with a cocktail, swimming with the ocean in sight, riding a glass bottom boat into the sea, and whiling away time in my balcony overlooking the turquoise waters. Then one day, as I watched the sunset paint the sky red from the resort’s jetty, which protruded into the vast ocean, a young man waded ashore from the shallow waters, wearing a worn-out sweater and carrying a bucket of seashells. A small-boned man of Indian origin, Ravi was a fisherman by profession and an occasional peddler of seashells at …

A Vegetarian in Paradise: Mauritius & Rodrigues.

If there was ever a vegetarian’s version of paradise, Mauritius and Rodrigues, sister islands in the Indian Ocean, would probably come the closest. The fine blend of Indian, French and Creole cultures, mixed with the western influences of tourism, have resulted in a spectrum of vegetarian treats in the former. And the dissociation of the latter from the rest of the world has resulted in unexpectedly delicious fusion food. Here are ten not-to-miss eating places for vegetarians: Shivya NathWelcome to my blog, The Shooting Star. I’ve been called a storyteller, writer, photographer, digital nomad, instagrammer, social entrepreneur, solo traveller, vegan and environmentalist. But in my heart, I’m just a girl who travels! Check out my: First book || Travel-inspired clothing collection || Instagram

Contest Results: This Lucky Winner is Going to Mauritius!

I know it’s been a long, long time since you participated in a contest to win a dream four nights holiday for two in Mauritius. Logistics got in the way, and then I left for Bahrain, where I ended up falling head over heels in love with the country and its people, and ended up staying longer than expected. Now, it’s finally time to announce the name of the lucky winner who’ll soon be sipping cocktails on powdery white beaches, swimming in the turquoise waves of the Indian Ocean, and living the postcard life! Shivya NathWelcome to my blog, The Shooting Star. I’ve been called a storyteller, writer, photographer, digital nomad, instagrammer, social entrepreneur, solo traveller, vegan and environmentalist. But in my heart, I’m just a girl who travels! Check out my: First book || Travel-inspired clothing collection || Instagram

Rodrigues Island: A Glimpse of Paradise.

It is no secret that I was blown away by Mauritius; who wouldn’t, with its stunning blue coastlines, charming mountain hideouts, and picturesque sugarcane fields? Yet I constantly found myself craving a younger version of the island, when chunks of its coastline were not cordoned off by resorts, and maps of the island didn’t come laid out with a platter of restaurants and activities. I wanted a Mauritius that could let me be impulsive and discover its treasures serendipitously. Shivya NathWelcome to my blog, The Shooting Star. I’ve been called a storyteller, writer, photographer, digital nomad, instagrammer, social entrepreneur, solo traveller, vegan and environmentalist. But in my heart, I’m just a girl who travels! Check out my: First book || Travel-inspired clothing collection || Instagram

Pampering Myself at Le Meridien in Mauritius: A Review.

Since I announced the Dreaming of Mauritius Contest on my blog 1.5 weeks back, a lot of you have tweeted and emailed me asking what it’s like to stay at Le Meridien, and why I chose a luxury hotel over my typical preference for boutique hideouts. The answer to the latter is that I didn’t want to miss out on the paradisiacal island experience that has put Mauritius on the world map, and a large part of this experience depends on where you choose to stay. The answer to the former? Brace yourself, this might make you want to jump to their website, pack your bags and head right out that door! Shivya NathWelcome to my blog, The Shooting Star. I’ve been called a storyteller, writer, photographer, digital nomad, instagrammer, social entrepreneur, solo traveller, vegan and environmentalist. But in my heart, I’m just a girl who travels! Check out my: First book || Travel-inspired clothing collection || Instagram