Mauritius: A Day Through My Eyes Living on Paradise Island

“Mauritius was made first and then heaven; and heaven was copied after Mauritius.” – Mark Twain.

After his visit to the island of Mauritius in 1896, famed American writer Mark Twain, like many others, was completely swept off his feet by this “paradise island.” Mauritius gained its independence from French and British rule in 1968. Since then, it has quickly gained popularity as one of the most mesmerizing  places on earth.

I know that this is a bold statement; when our lonely planet boasts spectacular creations, such as the intricate beauty of South America’s Amazon jungle, the vast and varied forms of life within the Sahara in Africa, or the mind-boggling but awe-inspiring sight of the Egyptian Pyramids—each captivating and enchanting in its own delightful way. But the lush and fertile presence of Mauritius truly makes it one of the wonders of the world.

Situated close to South Africa and Madagascar in the Indian Ocean, Mauritius, Ile Maurice (French), or Moris (Creole) has been established as the jewel of the Indian Ocean.

I like to write about life: about things that I know of and on things that I have lived through. I have lived on this paradise island for most of my life, so for you to understand the magic of this place, I will have to take you on a journey back in time—a time where I was still a 17-year-old in high school.

It is 7:30 in the morning, and I wake up to find the sun in my eyes and noisy school kids around me. Ah, I am on my way to school on the bus. Like most of my school mornings, I’m barely awake for most of the bus ride. I start to fall asleep again, but just before I do, I catch a glimpse of the picturesque view outside the bus window; we’re passing through the beachside town of Grand Bay. As I nod back off to sleep, there’s a smile on my face, and the image of this white-sand beach with pristine  blue water in my head. For the next 20 minutes or so, we pass through a similar palette of colorful coastline littered with shades of blue and green hues, like a peacock.

Like many islands, Mauritius is surrounded by the ocean, and its coastlines are the main attractions. The south-west coastlines consist of a continuous stretch of white-sand beaches against a picture-perfect backdrop of emerald-green jagged mountain peaks. The northern coastline is another stretch of palm-fringed beaches in a palette of translucent lagoons.

Mauritius beach

An ad on the excessively loud bus radio wakes me up for a few seconds; I instantly recognize the ad, it is the most popular local beer in Mauritius: Phoenix. Their slogan is “Nou pays, nou la bière,” which translates to “my country, my beer,” a fine example of the passionate and colorful language of Creole. The dialect of Creole is a type of slang that is derived from the French Language. It is a highly expressive, authentic dialect that fills the lives of Mauritians with pride and joy.

The kids around me are now getting restless, keeping me up. My eyes gaze out of the bus window again, and I’m immediately greeted with quite the scenic view: lush green tropical flora and fauna all around us on the road through the mountains leading into my school. This is a view I feel privileged to have, one that will no doubt put a smile on anyone’s face, even ones that are about to start a long day at school! For us, the high school seniors, this is going to be a glorious  day; we’re going to spend our last senior year school retreat at one of Mauritius’s smaller islands in the Indian Ocean archipelago.

After the preliminary proceedings and briefing at school, our class of around 40 students is back on the road. Our destination is Ile aux Cerfs or Deer Island, one of many islets that surrounds the area. This one has its own golf course, a five-star luxury hotel, and a variety of fun water activities. Ile aux Cerfs is located on the east coast of the island, about an hour’s drive from my school. The bus ride to the destination is nothing short of spectacular: another scenic route over lush mountains that turns into a journey through the tropical forests filled with rivers and pretty gorges, which in turn passes along another segment of impeccable coastline. Paradise on demand, isn’t it? We are spoiled rotten by the abundance of tropical essence in this Garden of Eden.

The coastlines of Mauritius are littered with a variety of accommodations that range from five-star hotels, which have topped honeymoon destination lists all over the world, to the little tabagies or ti boutiques, which means small shop or bodega. The cool coastline of Mauritius also consists of many small restaurants that offer you some of the most authentic Mauritian dishes, ranging from a variety of seafood to vegetarian entrees.

Our bus stops at one of these cute little food huts that serves street food. Yummy! We buy some gato pima or gateaux piments, which translates to chili cakes. They are little balls of lentils minced in together with deep-fried chilies. Absolutely delicious. Next, we buy some dal puris, which is basically a type of burrito that is filled with different types of local curries, such as dal puri ek so gro pois (burrito with butter or lima beans curry in a chutney fiery green chilies and pickled vegetables). The gato pima and dal puri combination is the best and most popular street food combo in Mauritius.

We then buy coconut juice that we can drink right out of the coconut; it’s such a great antioxidant that helps you rehydrate and refresh yourself in a tropical environment. This is a mouthwatering combination of food and beverage, but I’m not content, so I decide to go into the Chinese restaurant next door to see what they have on their menu. I end up ordering du riz frit (fried rice) and calamar croustillant (crispy calamari), which is still, to this very day, my favorite dinner combo.

Mauritius is a melting pot of many cultures, where each community has borrowed, exchanged, and mixed their traditional ingredients. If I walk a few minutes from the Chinese restaurant, I would inevitably bump into a Muslim restaurant that makes fantastic briani (a type of yellow rice with meat and spices). Opposite of that one, there’s a Creole restaurant that serves delectable homemade seafood entrees. I have traveled the world all over and I have still not found dishes that even come close to this appetizing appeal of Mauritian food. I guess home is really where the heart is.

Mauritius fried rice dish

After a delightful 30-minute boat ride, we’re able to spend the day on the island lounging on the white-sand beaches and occasionally going into the water for a marvelous snorkeling session, enjoying the breathtaking  lagoons of Mauritius that are filled with a variety of ocean treasures. The bus ride back home lasts a while longer than expected; this is because it’s Holi day, or the Festival of Colors, which is an Indian festival celebrated by millions across the Indian ocean and the subcontinent.

The streets are filled with people walking around, covered in goops of bright color; it is a tradition that involves the social exchange of colored powders and liquids that culminate in a bright and colorful mess. The Mauritian culture has incorporated several exuberant festivals that celebrate different cultures throughout the year: from the vibrant commemoration of Chinese New Year, with its fiery red dragons that pierce through the sunshine against the loud backdrop of endless drums and fireworks, to the sights and sounds of thousands of devotees walking to the sacred lake to take part in the biggest Hindu pilgrimage outside of India, to celebrate the Indian God Shiva.  

The next day, I explore the wildlife with some friends. A short boat ride from the coastal city of Mahebourg, we go to another islet off the south-east coast of Mauritius. This islet, Ile aux Aigrettes, which got its name from a colony of Egrets that inhabited the island in the 1600s. Egrets are graceful, white fishing birds with long legs.

This tiny island is a popular ecotourism destination that functions as a preserved nature reserve. This little islet will surprise you with its peculiar inhabitants, such as the Aldabra  giant tortoises, ebony trees, wild orchids, and rare bird species, including the endangered pink pigeon.

Mauritius is also famous for being the only habitat on the planet to the extinct Dodo  bird: a flightless bird that was hunted to extinction by the Dutch settlers in the 17th century. The island still boasts some of the rarest bird species, such as the Mauritian Kestrel; there were only four Kestrels left in the 1970s, but today, there are almost a thousand of them flying around the jagged peaks and calm coastlines of Mauritius.

I am privileged to have had a life that has given me opportunities to travel from the Persian landscapes of Jordan, to the lush and colorful regions of south-east Asia. But for me, Mauritius will always be my number one destination. I find that it revitalizes  my soul every time I go back there for summer holidays. I can choose island isolation, spending some quality time on one of the surrounding islets with my closest friends and family, have a picnic near one of the gorges with a pretty little waterfall, or just take a road trip around the island, indulging in the variety of authentic food and attractions along the way. Bienvenue a Maurice! Welcome to Mauritius!

“My writing is like my way down the rabbit hole, the key to my very own secret garden where I am able to breathe life into my creations.” I am an excellent writer, an idealist who thrives in the realms of creativity, originality and artistic individuality. I adore the world of writing, film & TV, travel and all forms of entertainment. As a typical Gemini, I am a social butterfly and my charisma shows in my writing; it is time for my creations to come to life.

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Mauritius: A Day Through My Eyes Living on Paradise Island

“Mauritius was made first and then heaven; and heaven was copied after Mauritius.” – Mark Twain.

After his visit to the island of Mauritius in 1896, famed American writer Mark Twain, like many others, was completely swept off his feet by this “paradise island.” Mauritius gained its independence from French and British rule in 1968. Since then, it has quickly gained popularity as one of the most mesmerizing  places on earth.

I know that this is a bold statement; when our lonely planet boasts spectacular creations, such as the intricate beauty of South America’s Amazon jungle, the vast and varied forms of life within the Sahara in Africa, or the mind-boggling but awe-inspiring sight of the Egyptian Pyramids—each captivating and enchanting in its own delightful way. But the lush and fertile presence of Mauritius truly makes it one of the wonders of the world.

Situated close to South Africa and Madagascar in the Indian Ocean, Mauritius, Ile Maurice (French), or Moris (Creole) has been established as the jewel of the Indian Ocean.

I like to write about life: about things that I know of and on things that I have lived through. I have lived on this paradise island for most of my life, so for you to understand the magic of this place, I will have to take you on a journey back in time—a time where I was still a 17-year-old in high school.

It is 7:30 in the morning, and I wake up to find the sun in my eyes and noisy school kids around me. Ah, I am on my way to school on the bus. Like most of my school mornings, I’m barely awake for most of the bus ride. I start to fall asleep again, but just before I do, I catch a glimpse of the picturesque view outside the bus window; we’re passing through the beachside town of Grand Bay. As I nod back off to sleep, there’s a smile on my face, and the image of this white-sand beach with pristine  blue water in my head. For the next 20 minutes or so, we pass through a similar palette of colorful coastline littered with shades of blue and green hues, like a peacock.

Like many islands, Mauritius is surrounded by the ocean, and its coastlines are the main attractions. The south-west coastlines consist of a continuous stretch of white-sand beaches against a picture-perfect backdrop of emerald-green jagged mountain peaks. The northern coastline is another stretch of palm-fringed beaches in a palette of translucent lagoons.

Mauritius beach

An ad on the excessively loud bus radio wakes me up for a few seconds; I instantly recognize the ad, it is the most popular local beer in Mauritius: Phoenix. Their slogan is “Nou pays, nou la bière,” which translates to “my country, my beer,” a fine example of the passionate and colorful language of Creole. The dialect of Creole is a type of slang that is derived from the French Language. It is a highly expressive, authentic dialect that fills the lives of Mauritians with pride and joy.

The kids around me are now getting restless, keeping me up. My eyes gaze out of the bus window again, and I’m immediately greeted with quite the scenic view: lush green tropical flora and fauna all around us on the road through the mountains leading into my school. This is a view I feel privileged to have, one that will no doubt put a smile on anyone’s face, even ones that are about to start a long day at school! For us, the high school seniors, this is going to be a glorious  day; we’re going to spend our last senior year school retreat at one of Mauritius’s smaller islands in the Indian Ocean archipelago.

After the preliminary proceedings and briefing at school, our class of around 40 students is back on the road. Our destination is Ile aux Cerfs or Deer Island, one of many islets that surrounds the area. This one has its own golf course, a five-star luxury hotel, and a variety of fun water activities. Ile aux Cerfs is located on the east coast of the island, about an hour’s drive from my school. The bus ride to the destination is nothing short of spectacular: another scenic route over lush mountains that turns into a journey through the tropical forests filled with rivers and pretty gorges, which in turn passes along another segment of impeccable coastline. Paradise on demand, isn’t it? We are spoiled rotten by the abundance of tropical essence in this Garden of Eden.

The coastlines of Mauritius are littered with a variety of accommodations that range from five-star hotels, which have topped honeymoon destination lists all over the world, to the little tabagies or ti boutiques, which means small shop or bodega. The cool coastline of Mauritius also consists of many small restaurants that offer you some of the most authentic Mauritian dishes, ranging from a variety of seafood to vegetarian entrees.

Our bus stops at one of these cute little food huts that serves street food. Yummy! We buy some gato pima or gateaux piments, which translates to chili cakes. They are little balls of lentils minced in together with deep-fried chilies. Absolutely delicious. Next, we buy some dal puris, which is basically a type of burrito that is filled with different types of local curries, such as dal puri ek so gro pois (burrito with butter or lima beans curry in a chutney fiery green chilies and pickled vegetables). The gato pima and dal puri combination is the best and most popular street food combo in Mauritius.

We then buy coconut juice that we can drink right out of the coconut; it’s such a great antioxidant that helps you rehydrate and refresh yourself in a tropical environment. This is a mouthwatering combination of food and beverage, but I’m not content, so I decide to go into the Chinese restaurant next door to see what they have on their menu. I end up ordering du riz frit (fried rice) and calamar croustillant (crispy calamari), which is still, to this very day, my favorite dinner combo.

Mauritius is a melting pot of many cultures, where each community has borrowed, exchanged, and mixed their traditional ingredients. If I walk a few minutes from the Chinese restaurant, I would inevitably bump into a Muslim restaurant that makes fantastic briani (a type of yellow rice with meat and spices). Opposite of that one, there’s a Creole restaurant that serves delectable homemade seafood entrees. I have traveled the world all over and I have still not found dishes that even come close to this appetizing appeal of Mauritian food. I guess home is really where the heart is.

Mauritius fried rice dish

After a delightful 30-minute boat ride, we’re able to spend the day on the island lounging on the white-sand beaches and occasionally going into the water for a marvelous snorkeling session, enjoying the breathtaking  lagoons of Mauritius that are filled with a variety of ocean treasures. The bus ride back home lasts a while longer than expected; this is because it’s Holi day, or the Festival of Colors, which is an Indian festival celebrated by millions across the Indian ocean and the subcontinent.

The streets are filled with people walking around, covered in goops of bright color; it is a tradition that involves the social exchange of colored powders and liquids that culminate in a bright and colorful mess. The Mauritian culture has incorporated several exuberant festivals that celebrate different cultures throughout the year: from the vibrant commemoration of Chinese New Year, with its fiery red dragons that pierce through the sunshine against the loud backdrop of endless drums and fireworks, to the sights and sounds of thousands of devotees walking to the sacred lake to take part in the biggest Hindu pilgrimage outside of India, to celebrate the Indian God Shiva.  

The next day, I explore the wildlife with some friends. A short boat ride from the coastal city of Mahebourg, we go to another islet off the south-east coast of Mauritius. This islet, Ile aux Aigrettes, which got its name from a colony of Egrets that inhabited the island in the 1600s. Egrets are graceful, white fishing birds with long legs.

This tiny island is a popular ecotourism destination that functions as a preserved nature reserve. This little islet will surprise you with its peculiar inhabitants, such as the Aldabra  giant tortoises, ebony trees, wild orchids, and rare bird species, including the endangered pink pigeon.

Mauritius is also famous for being the only habitat on the planet to the extinct Dodo  bird: a flightless bird that was hunted to extinction by the Dutch settlers in the 17th century. The island still boasts some of the rarest bird species, such as the Mauritian Kestrel; there were only four Kestrels left in the 1970s, but today, there are almost a thousand of them flying around the jagged peaks and calm coastlines of Mauritius.

I am privileged to have had a life that has given me opportunities to travel from the Persian landscapes of Jordan, to the lush and colorful regions of south-east Asia. But for me, Mauritius will always be my number one destination. I find that it revitalizes  my soul every time I go back there for summer holidays. I can choose island isolation, spending some quality time on one of the surrounding islets with my closest friends and family, have a picnic near one of the gorges with a pretty little waterfall, or just take a road trip around the island, indulging in the variety of authentic food and attractions along the way. Bienvenue a Maurice! Welcome to Mauritius!

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