Tres jolies Rodrigues!
31 July 2008 | Mauritius
31 July 2008
It is so lovely here. Port Mathurin is really a charming little town. Being tied up here next to the jetty and the only yacht here at the moment we are the town's curiosity. We have been visited by a couple of residents who traditionally welcome yachts. Birgit a German lady who has been living here for 11 years with her partner Dirk own a fishing boat and are very involved in the community and promoting Rodrigues. Birgit gave us some handy hints on what interested us eg car hire, art galleries etc. She took pictures of us for her website. This morning we welcomed James Waterstone on board. He is a Rodriguan of Irish descent (hence the name) and said his wife Fifi is Italian. James wants us to go to his place to meet his family. He introduces himself to all yachts who enter here and we are invited to write and put photos in his book. The book is very interesting as it documents all the yachts that have come here. We are the 7th Yacht this year and last year 12 yachts visited Rodrigues. Most seem to originate from Europe. There are few Aussies, Kiwis and Americans but mostly British and European boats have visited Rodrigues. The wonderful thing about cruising is that we go to these lovely out of the way places that we normally wouldn't come to by plane.
Yesterday we ate at two restaurants - Paille en Queu and Du Quai which were both just lovely. The atmosphere is casual, friendly and distinctly Rodriguan with artificial flowers, faded maps, painted murals and both had a bar in the corner surrounded by wood and mirrors - a bit 60s retro look. We enjoyed the local dishes of octopus and fish in spicy sauces accompanied by South African or French wine. At Paille en Queu we observed one of the staff greet her boyfriend and sat with him for a while whilst he enjoyed a cigar. (see photo at bar with Bill) Du Quai restaurant is only a few metres from the boat so is very convenient. The friendly handsome waiter originally from the main island of Mauritius is of Indian descent. He insisted we try the local rum mixture which had peach and spices mixed with it. Quite nice. We met 2 attractive young women university students from North Wales who are doing their marine biology masters degree. What a great way to travel the world to do research snorkeling in exotic tropical places! Very smart! They have told us where the best snorkeling is.
Today we will investigate hiring a car to have a look around. Birgit said we can go to the Jenna store and arrange one for 1000Rp a day ($40). It is 10.15 and we are still lingering over our 2nd cup of coffee. One mustn't rush these things! Jim (Alli Kai Too) should arrive tomorrow so we may have to give him the tie up space next to the tug boat so all the officials can board his yacht.
Bientot - au revoir!
30 July 2008
Fresh baguettes and milky coffee every morning is the way we start the day here. Bill found the boulangerie (sorry sp no French dictionary) and came back with 2 crisp baguettes for less than 6 rupees each. (Less than 25c). Its cool here and the captain loves it. He is energetically putting the sails away and is very cheerful. It's around 25degrees during the day and 18 degrees at night. It was absolutely heaven to sleep in clean sheets in our normal bed with a light doona. We still feel a bit 'ocean lagged' and I'm sure it will be a few days before we feel normal.
Yesterday we found a little local restaurant with an outdoor tropical feel - thatched verandah, gaily painted woodwork and again a very handsome waiter. The men seem to have a gentle nature here and we don't feel threatened at all. Wandering past a dark hole in the wall full of noisy men (local pub) a man came staggering out zigzagging in front of us down a small lane with a cheery 'Bonzour!'
Bill found another dark hole in a wall with a sign 'Coiffeur' and went in to have a haircut. Across the road upstairs was a much nicer place - coiffeur for ladies. The petite attractive shy hairdresser greeted me with 'Bonjour Madame' but was worried about her total lack of English. Linda managed to communicate that she would like her hair washed and dried and was told it would be 150 Rupees ($6). It was so nice to lean back and have someone wash the nasty salty hair! It was relaxing not having to speak due to the language barrier and it was nice listening to the French Creole prattle around me. Nearly falling asleep whilst the hair was expertly blow dried it was pampering at its best. Linda emerged looking a lot more glamourous to find a distinguished gentleman sitting on a seat outside. Bill's barber had carefully trimmed everything - hair, eyebrows, beard and moustache. (See photo)
Port Mathurin is a small village with everything we need within walking distance to the boat. Alas we can only have a bucket and flannel wash on the boat. But Valiam is stationary and level which is lovely and we are all enjoying a good rest. Valiam is even dearer to our hearts since she got us safely through the Indian Ocean. We were dry and comfortable inside at all times. We are going to investigate hiring a car for a day to look around and perhaps stay a night in a hotel on the beach somewhere. Bill wants to climb the local mountain - a baby by Kinabalu standards but should be a nice walk for him. Linda will browse amongst the little shops full of curios and perhaps do some sketching.
The people here are the friendliest we've met and so far we haven't been charged a cent.
To appreciate the conditions we sailed under to get here the following emails were received 2 days ago:
From fellow yachties on the way to Chagos, Indian Ocean:
We are very sorry to hear about problems with your gear, and the loss of your bimini. Especially hope the autopilot does not give up the ghost in those difficult conditions. Last night Rob hailed a large bulk carrier on its way from So Africa to China, he was astounded to hear a small sailboat way out here and spoke about how bad the weather had been as he came south of and outside of Madagascar three days ago - so even the big guys have found it rough going where you are sailing. Wed. 30. Rob & Nat. sv Wilhelm
Linda and Bill,
Glad to hear you are almost there. It is painful to watch some of these conditions in the S Indian Ocean. We'll wait to hear from you on your next legs.
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