Wednesday 31 October 2012

Halloween-free zone

So, the OH opens the envelope containing the CD version of his English year book, then looks at the postmark. "Where's Port Louis?" he asks, puzzled. And, because I've been there, I can tell him it's in Mauritius, in fact the capital. What are the odds? (I have to stop asking that - regular readers (ha!) know all about me and coincidences.)

Last year, apparently, the Year Book came from Hong Kong, so even fancy, ancient professional associations aren't above shopping around the world for the cheapest mass mailer - and this time it's little Mauritius, a drop of land in the Indian Ocean, where I went in 2010 and *cough*dentally had a story about it published just three weeks ago in the NZ Listener. (That's not my only Mauritian story, I hasten to clarify, just in case there are any potential employers reading this: it was the seventh.)

So, Port Louis: big old fort up on top of the hill, built by the British when the French populace resisted the idea of the abolition of slavery, the dark stone rooms now full of arty souvenirs; swanky new waterside development with upmarket shops and live jazz and young people preening and parading in their fashionable gear; crowded back-street markets with sacks of beans, rice and spices, vendors shouting, cars squeezing past, people everywhere; cathedral, temples, mosque, churches; quaint little Natural History Museum with some sad remains of the dodo; verandas, balconies, shutters, palm trees, boabs, banyans. Noisy, hot, busy, interesting. Worth seeing.

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