Saturday, November 5, 2011

Rodrigues island party VIP

Willy Auguste, Managing Director of the Mourouk Ebony Hotel, is known to throw some of the best private parties on Rodrigues Island and I am lucky enough to be invited. I arrive at the same time as my kite surfing instructor who stops in his tracks to tell me how beautiful I look.

With such an abundance of respectful charm, it’s a pleasure being a single woman on Rodrigues. We sit down at the bar for a rum cocktail while we wait for the rest of the guests to arrive. I am not generally known for being super punctual, but island time puts a whole new spin on fashionably late.

All the VIPs on the island eventually arrive for the buffet style feast. My driver (and by now very entertaining island guide) Jean-Paul is very excited to tell me about the conou-conou – a shellfish salad said to have 'wink-wink' aphrodisiac properties. There is certainly a whole lot of seafood and fresh-fresh produce prepared in traditional styles. Octopus salad, salt and pepper calamari, grilled fish, pork curry, red beans, salads and pickles... it’s a great selection of all the best dishes on the island.

Besides the local buffet, the Mourouk Ebony hotel also offers a great European style a la carte menu. The food here is exceptional every day and during my time here I have especially enjoyed the aubergine millefeuille starter, a rich and wholesome vegetable dish which will remain firmly etched in my culinary memory.

Soon the sega band starts playing and we enjoy a show of traditional dancing complete with colourful colonial style island skirts. Later the dancers pick guests as partners and the party gets in full swing. I enjoy all the hip shaking involved with sega dancing and get a round of applause from the rest of the guests at my table. After a week of enjoying some incredible experiences and finding my balance again, all of this fun makes me overflow with joy.

The cocktails are flowing freely and all the who's who on the island are shaking it up on the dance floor, from Willie himself, to the diving instructors, politicians and restaurant owners. I end up dancing with a beautiful French man deep into the night and the fun conversation challenges my perception that all Parisians are rude and generally disgruntled. Perhaps his time living on Reunion has eased up all the big city stereotypes. These Indian Ocean islands have a way of bringing the best out of people indeed.

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