Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Stopping over at the Le Palmiste in Mauritius

It feels as though the tropical weather gives me a warm hug as I get out of the taxi in front of the Le Palmiste hotel in Mauritius. I love that humidity on my skin; it helps me to wind down to a slower, island pace.

The big wooden gates open to let me in and reveal the dim lit palm trees, pools and wood carved cabins of the Le Palmiste resort. My flight from Johannesburg arrived early evening and after an hour’s drive to Le Palmiste in the north it is already dark.

The live band is playing Waka Waka as if on cue and that typical Mauritian island hospitality makes me exhale. Glass of fruit cocktail in hand I am ready to ease into this Mauritian overnight before continuing my journey.

First up: some fairly large helpings of the Chinese food buffet on offer at the Le Palmiste this evening. Wonton soup and prawn crackers, spring rolls, sweet and sour pork with sticky rice, chicken noodle stir fry – all washed down with some fresh lime juice and a bit of dry white South African wine.

My suitcase is safely delivered to my suite when I arrive. I sit quietly on the romantic wooden balcony for a few moments, overlooking the lights on the pool and the palm trees and listening to the music and the lovers dancing in the background. The scent of Frangipani and a feeling of melancholy overwhelms me.

Grand Baie is only 15 minutes’ drive away and I am contemplating meeting some Mauritian friends for a bit of sega dancing there tonight. Sega is the local rhythm and any African woman worth her salt should be able to get into it fairly easily. It’s all hip-shaking and lots of laughing.

Before I know it though, I have my head on a pillow and sink into a restless sleep. Luckily there is always Bois Cheri, the local vanilla flavoured black tea, to wake me up for my flight connection to Rodrigues island in the morning.

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