Sue’s alarm juddered us both from a deep sleep and there was a definite reluctance to vacate the bed this morning. After muted discussion, we knew that at 8.30am the dining room was relatively quiet with no queues for hot plates and we had the choice of sitting wherever we fancied (away from others) and that clinched it.
I attempted the the bacon, sausage beans etc., but I guess I have gone continental and tucked into the bread, meats and cheeses like a seasoned Francophile.
We asked the reception where we should go today and they made some suggestions that we decided to act upon. We were going to traverse the island from north east to south west. It was going to be a long day.
The day was gorgeous and luckily we have nearly become acclimatised to the heat, though the humidity is still a bit of a problem, but the car’s air-con takes care of that. We headed to the centre of the island and Curepipe. As usual we stopped whenever we saw something interesting and as there is a Hindu festival taking place there was plenty. All the little settlements we passed through sported gaily decorated bunting and posters and the inhabitants were out and about in their best colourful glad rags on their way to some deity or other.
We first stopped at a lake and paid homage (took photos) to a beautiful Shiva statue located on the bank, he/she must have been hungry as there was loads of food at his/her feet.
Next stop was at a waterfall that we found down a windy lane. There was a small Hindu temple where we parked and the keeper was our guide though the sugar cane field to the ravine where a path disappeared downwards. After a little discussion we decided that Sue’s fragile bones better not attempt the climb down, so she returned to the car and I scrambled down into the gorge with our Mauritian guide leading the way. I was happy in the knowledge that if a I fell I would land on him. The cascades themselves were not the highest or largest we have seen but the setting they were in was quite special. A lot of photos were taken. As we moved position onto the opposite bank it began to rain. This heralded our return back up the cliff, they don’t seem to understand H&S outside of Europe. Sue had been looking at the temple while we were away and seemed glad to see us return.
We carried on ever upwards through the volcanic landscape. The showers seemed to come more frequent the higher we climbed. You could see way below on the coast that they were enjoying another sunny day. Arriving at the Grand Bassin we were bemused to see that it was the home of two enormous Hindu Deities. We had thought we were heading towards the volcanoes crater. We stopped, we took pictures, we got wet.
Moving on we came across a spectacular view of the Black River Gorges. Only photos would do it just justice, but they are deep and vast and it was fascinating to see the fruit bats circle below us. A little earlier on I had taken a photo of them roosting upside down on the telegraph lines along the road. There were quite a few monkeys around and Sue attracted their attention by feeding one holding a baby with a banana. I had to laugh when one little monkey chased one large tourist down the path who was clearly 6ft 6 inches tall and terrified.
A little further on we stopped at some more waterfalls, these were easily accessible and Sue could enjoy them. Returning to our car we bought a coconut and a pineapple to consume and this we did with gusto in the car sheltering from another shower.
Having topped the mountain range on our descent we came across a restaurant that looked as if it would have some interesting views. And it did. The sun had now come out and was making a determined effort to stay put so the expected views were magnificent but that was not the interest. There was a wedding going on. The couple were Russian and had chosen well the location for their wedding album photos. The photographer was having a field day, he couldn’t possibly take a poor photo. Oooops, there was I, in frame, snapping away at the happy couple. It was politely requested that remove myself from the shot and I did so, not wanting to fall foul of the Russian Mafia. I bet my photos are better than his?
Further down the mountain we came across the Cascades. Yes, yet another waterfall. However this was a good one. Plenty of volume and a huge drop, a classic waterfall if ever I saw one! You could hear it from half a mile away. From there we went to see the phenomena called the 7 Coloured Earths. It is an area of the forest that is devoid of growth of any sort and the soil is bare, but unusually a wash of different colours rather than a plain drab brown. Interesting and well worth a visit. We had a look at the giant tortoises there and visited the tourist shop on site, that surprisingly didn’t sell coloured earth, but soaps and spices instead.
Setting the GPS for home we set off. The journey time took around 2 hours, mainly because of the Hindu Festival going on. Each village we passed through became tortuous as we had to slow down because the youths of the settlement were maniacally pushing their particular colourful and ludicrous looking deity down the main road on various home made platforms, in one we came across, the deity was in a wheeled rubbish skip. What does that tell you?
Arriving back in our room at 6.30pm we found we had an invite to the managers party at 6.30pm. So down to the arena by the beach we went and drank champagne and ate canapes until the management had finished their speeches. Returning to our room we changed for our evening meal and drove out to a restaurant and had two curries (in keeping with local festivals).
Returning to the hotel for 9pm we took our seats for the evening entertainment. Hindu dancers. They were good and the dresses were fabulously exotic. We have seen dancers like these many times over the years, and they were very professional and deserved the applause they got.