If you’ve traveled the twenty-odd hours on an airplane from New York City to make it all the way to Mauritius, odds are you’re going to stay for more than 24 hours. Then again, odds are you are not me, so you’ve got that going for you as well. I made the long trip across the Atlantic, across Africa and then across the Indian Ocean and eventually found myself on the ground in Mauritius for a scheduled 24 hour stay. It wasn’t a ton of time, but we absolutely made the most of it and had a blast doing so.
The inbound flight from Johannesburg was uneventful and rather empty. I even managed to squeeze in a nap between the meal and the drinks. This was useful as the jetlag was starting to kick in. On arrival we cleared immigration reasonably quickly and I learned that I had booked the rental car for the wrong day. Whoopsie. Fortunately they had cars available so that was quickly resolved and we headed out of the airport and across the island towards the hotel. It was time for a beer and a dip in the ocean at the Le Meridien Ile Maurice as we watched the sun set.
The hotel was fine, I suppose, if you’re into the isolated beach resort sort of thing. The upgraded room was nice and we were in the section of the resort that was kid-free so that helped a bit, but there was also not really much going on, particularly if you weren’t a couple. When faced with the prospect of a $60 buffet dinner we quickly realized that it was time to get out of there and to see a bit of the island.
Easier said than done as it was now dark out and the roads are not particularly well marked nor do any of the maps have any detail to them. This would prove even more troubling in the morning as we got more notably lost. Still, we managed to find our way into the nearby town and to find a great (and very affordable) dinner, complete with some live music and a sing-along with others in the restaurant when the guy playing didn’t know the song requested. The trip back to the hotel was equally confusing as we took at least one wrong turn and missed another one. I resorted to basic navigational skills – if we’re on the west side of the island and heading south then the ocean should be on our right; it wasn’t – and memory of an irrigation system from the drive in to make our way back to the hotel. Ultimately successful but definitely with some confusion on the way.
A 24-hour stay in Mauritius, condensed into 5 minutes.
As noted above, the hotel (most of the ones we saw, actually) appeared to be focused on the package tourist/resort experience sort of crowd. I had a similar experience in Egypt not too long ago and my feelings here were pretty much the same: I am not a fan. I don’t see the value in traveling somewhere just to remain isolated from the actual local culture. Well, except for when the isolation means not getting mugged in Togo.
Check out part two of my day in Mauritius here.
- South African Airways extorts additional fare at departure
- Spending a day in Mauritius (Part 2)
- Collecting a different sort of stamp in Mauritius
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