Kite Surfing – The 1st Lesson!

Mike booked for the two of us to have our first kite surfing lesson for my birthday. We didn’t go on my birthday as our bodies were too stiff and sore from the ziplining. So we decided Friday last week, we would go. We called Christopher our instructor and he gave us the thumbs up to come through to Le Morne. We quickly got our stuff together and off we went. 

Le Morne was pumping with kite surfers, as we drove into the main area, it just looked like a sea of colours with all the kites on the ground. We met Christopher and he explained that our lesson would consist of how to build the kite and then how to fly it. 

So we build the kite with him, step by step and then we went to suit up. Not the most fashion forward gear but hey, we’re still learning. We both were given body suits, helmets, aqua socks and helmets. I personally really felt kind of dork-ish. Not cool like the other kite surfers but as mentioned above we’re still learning.

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We were then taught all the emergency brakes, how to power and de-power the kite and how to steer. Now was time to get into the water. The sea floor in this particular lagoon is weird, I cant explain it. It’s kind of swamp like, mooshy yet crunchy at the same time with plenty of sea weed. Totally bizarre to walk on.  We walked for a while and then got the kite into the air. It’s a whole lot more technical than it looks. Each of us would have a go. Whilst one of us was flying the kite, the other was anchoring the person flying the kite and then we’d switch. Flying the kite was hard, hopefully its one of those things that gets easier the more you do it. After flying and parking the kite for 2 hours in the water. The lesson was over. Christopher was a great instructor with a great sense of humour. The one word I heard come out his mouth the most was – DE-POWER!

Cant wait to go for our next lesson! We are even analyzing our budget to be able to afford it. We gotta get it right!!! Any donations to our Kite Surfing lessons would be most welcome.

On a serious note: if you are in Mauritius or coming on holiday and want to learn how to Kite Surf, these are the guys!

Check out the website : http://www.air-switch.com

Contact No. : +230 756 2627

Email : info@air-switch.com or oliver@kitesurfing-mauritius.com

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The Beach Party!

So our new friends had invited us to a beach party for their buddies birthday. We umm-ed and arr-ed about it and whether we were going to go or not. But our new friends insisted we come and were not letting us go home. We were exhausted, our bodies were sore but our friends were so excited for us to come that how could we not. We reached the public beach between the hotels on Royal Road in Flic en Flac, we parked the car and were lead through the forest of casuarina trees, where we found people setting up DJ equipment, getting the braai ready, making a fire and the cakes and booze were placed on the table ready to go.

It really was something we had never experienced as here, in Mauritius it is allowed, you’re allowed to have a good time and a few drinks on the beach with your mates, you’re allowed to set up a camp site and go camping for a weekend with your family. Where as in South Africa it is definitely not allowed so this was all new. We met some interesting characters, a guy named Danny for invited us to stay at his home in Vacoas, a really drunk elderly-ish man named Jake who couldn’t speak much english and just kept asking us if we like Mauritius and if we like to Sega. Both these guys couldn’t be happier to share there booze, Danny would come with another glass of rum and juice and Jake with another beer (have no idea where he was getting these beers from).

Whilst we were meeting new face, others were plying traditional music, singing and dancing. Was really cool, we stood around the fire chatting to all these new faces. We chatted to a guy named James, he is a French Mauritian and because he was talking to us, everyone who didn’t know him automatically assumed he was a tourist. Really good guy.

The DJ-ing started, the food was being passed around and people were just having a great time. It was around midnight when we were physically exhausted and need to sleep. Our hosts didn’t want us to leave but we had to as we had a full day planned for the next day. But just as sad they were that we were going, they were so pleased that we came.

Was an experience to remember, so awesome! A real beach party, not by the hotels-by the locals!!!

Thank you guys! (you know who you are) It was Awesome!

Standing around the fire

Lets go for a drive…

In the last week, we’ve scoped out the shopping malls and checked out the best supermarkets. Today we decided to take a drive towards the south on the coastal road to see what there was to be seen. And mainly to go check out the crystal clear waters of Le Morne.

Sky was clear, sun was shining an off we went. Once we got past Tamarin, Black River’s vegetation has many similarities to South African Bos Veld. I can see why so many South Africans live in this region as it does kind of feel like home. A home comfort in a way.

We carried on south until we turned down to Le Morne. Some of the island best hotels are situated in Le Morne. A beautiful odd shaped mountain (looks like a massive rock) overlooks the turquoise bays of Le Morne.

We stopped at the public beach, so quiet and isolated, so untouched. Unreal. Never have I seen such clear water.

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We carried on around the corner to find what Le Morne is famous for. KITE SURFERS!!! So awesome, need to try it. I’m sure it’s a whole lot harder than it looks but why not give it a shot.

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From there, were headed back the way we came and took the turn to Chamarel to stop at the viewpoint on the mountain. We were so lucky, the day was just glorious and so was the view, we carried on further along the mountain, past the Rhumerie until we reached the Black River Gorge National Park. We pulled over and took a walk to the viewpoint, and what a view it is. Just stunning.

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We walked back to the car and across the road was a stand selling fresh sugar cane juice. After seeing it being made on Masterchef South Africa I was curious to try it. 50 Rupees later we had a cup of sugar cane juice and a piece of sugar cane each to chew on. Loved chewing on the sugar cane. The man who sold us the juice couldn’t speak English but was trying to tell us something. Possibly – “chewing sugar cane is like brushing your teeth”or “chewing sugar cane is good for your teeth”. I would think quite the opposite but hey who knows. The juice, hhhmmmm, not too sure about it. Was kind of brown in colour with a white froth, looked as if I was drinking an iced coffee. VERY sweet but that’s a given. I think I need to try it again to make up my mind.

From there we got a little lost in a forest, found our way out and back the way we came.  It’s truly a beautiful part of the island and something everyone should do.

The beauty on the island kind of makes up for the extremely scary drivers on the road! The locals like to take risks and one would think being South African you would be able to handle almost anything- not this.

Mike said, “People say we need to adapt, I’m cool to adapt but does this also mean I must drive like a crazy and not give a damn?”

 

Running around Flic en Flac

We have decided that as we are keen on starting a fresh, and getting fit and healthy, what better way than running. It is something we started getting into about 2 years ago back at home. It is a way to get out, breath deep and take in the world around you.

We have started with short jogs walk runs, we are very fortunate in our location, so we literally walk out of the apartment block, across the road and onto the beach. So we started from there, jogging for a while and walking when we got tired. The beach is relatively flat and when the tide is low the sand is nice and firm. Which makes for a good platform. However if the tide is coming in or already high we just run through the “forest”, the trees that grow just after the beach ends.

Its such a good way to start the day, the sea breeze, the smell of breakfast cooking in the hotel kitchens, and the stray dogs that decide to join. On our third day out we had a medium sized “brak” follow us for at least 3 k’s. Such a gentle temperament as well, and I am sure if we had a garden to keep him in, he would be our first pet on the island.

I decided one afternoon when my better half was not feeling to hot to go a little further. So I strapped on the shoes and basted the body with sunblock, grabbed the shades and hit the road. I decided to leave the beach out of this one, and explore a little. Running up and down the back roads to try and map them a little better in my head.

I found a nice long road leading up a hill, so I tackled it, defeated it and found a dead end. Worth the sweat though. Along the way I also found a traffic circle, but not like any at home, it is pretty much a garden, with a shrine/temple/memorial on the one side and surrounded with flowers and bushes and in the center a really epic tree.

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I sucked it up and made the decision to run to Cascavelle, the only real shopping center in the area. It’s a gentle uphill run there, and coming back was a pleasure.

Just as I entered the town I decided to stop for some water. RS20 later I was satisfied with the water, but the shop keeper and assistant really didn’t like something about me, maybe I smelled horrible, which I guess is possible, but not a word left there mouths, except for what I owed. Strange folk I tell you. Its like I stepped into a shop for locals only and was trespassing. But after I bitched about them to myself for a couple hundred meters I was over it and on the way home.

That’s what I love about running, it helps clear the mind, gives me time to think, or in some cases not think at all and just listen – and after a good long run and a shower, I feel as though I am ready to face anything. You see the distance is seldom the challenge, it’s the mind and body you need to overcome. Pushing yourself to do the best you can do. For nobody but yourself!

The first few days!

Right, lets get everyone up to speed on our first few days of the Mauritian Expedition.

Saying goodbye to everyone was very hard- we had tears in our eyes right up until the food was served on the plane (we not had something to distracts us).

While eating my chicken and veg, served with bread rolls, salad, crackers and eclairs – I watched “The Descendants”, lovely movie, sad but lovely

We came in over the west coast (our new home) where we could see the colourful bays and greenery of the mountains but then as we reached the centre of the island-straight into thick cloud, all the way up until the last few seconds before landing. Having been to Mauritius a few times, the landings are always so intense, shorts and forceful. The pilots slam the brakes as if they plan on doing a hand brake turn.

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We got to passport control and the man behind the counter wasnt too sure of us, after giving us a little bit of a hard time (story for another day) we went through to collect our suit cases and find our rental car. When we walked out the airport building, there were 2 men, one young, one old, holding a sign for us. Both were wearing jerseys and jackets, so I had to ask, “Are you cold? And the answer I got was “YES!” It was humid and roughly 20 degrees but I guess for Mauritians they are used to the heat and this is there winter. We followed them to the car, a very sweet, postman pat like, red, Hyundai i10. after signing away and manoevering the cases and ourselves into the car, we set off on our ±45 min drive to Flic en Flac.

We arrived at our new home welcomed by our land lord Mr Dove. Fabulous man! and we helped us up to the apartment. Not long after the estate agent arrived to do an inventory. Once that was done and everyone had left we unpacked and were now able to unwind. We knew there wouldnt be food so we packed some 3 in 1 coffee sachets (coffee, sugar, creamer), chocolate and ostrich biltong. We decided to go out and get a pizza from the Debonairs up the road, when we realised that our sliding door to our balcony didnt lock. Being the paranoid South Africans we are, even on the 3rd floor, we were worried so we locked our bedroom door and took the keys and off we went to buy some chow.

With our chicken and mushroom pizza and 2litre coke we were happy chappies until we got to the apartment and couldnt unlock our bedroom door!! Instant panic! There was nothing we would do. so we decided to sleep in the other room and sort it out in the morning. We woke up and had to put on our same smelly clothes from the day before so we could go and find some WD-40. We found some in this strange little hardware store on the main road and rushed back to try it. Needless to say, a can of WD-40 later, we still could not open the door. The search to find a locksmith started, went to a few different places, no such luck. Last resort-call Mr Dove! Problem was, both our phones had gone dead as the chargers were locked in the room. So we walked to the nearest pay phone which isnt really that near. We managed to get a few seconds to tell Mr Dove the problem and then the phone stole all our money. We then decided to go to the Internet cafe and ask if we could use a phone. The kind owner allowed us to use his office to make the call and didnt charge us. Really genuine guy! So Mr Dove was sending us help!!! YAY! 

 A few hours later, his nephew arrived with a bag of tools and his son. The two of them also tried and tried and eventually the only solution was to break it open! So they did! Happiness filled my heart at that point!!! And once they left we went for a relaxing walk along the beach to watch the sun set!  Phew!

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Beautiful pic taken by Mike

You’ll be happy to know now,  both doors are fixed. Mr Dove bought a very skilled young carpenter to fix the door, he did an amazing job. And his nephew came to fix our sliding door! Thank you!

We have gone for morning runs/walks along the beach and have been exploring the supermarkets to find the best deals close by. And we finally bought beach towels so we can have a swim in the sea.

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Our friend who run/walked with us for about 3 kms.

Everyday is new and exciting! 

Especially the last few!  

Check out the sunset pics on the sunrise & sunset page!

Getting our ducks in a row!

We still currently looking for a place to live in Flic en Flac.
And a reasonably priced car to rent.

We’ve looked at a number of places and just waiting to hear from a few people. Flic en Flac just seems like a great place to stay- close to a beautiful beach, a Spar Shop, the new Cascavelle is up the road and its young and Vibey.

Rental Cars are proofing to be quite difficult to find at a reasonable rate- the cost of rental for a month is like putting down a deposit on a small car-scary stuff! And then there are “private” cars that are so much cheaper. Why? Is it because they are not licensed properly? And thats the last thing I want-trying to start a life in a new place and get in trouble with police-no no no no no! Not a good Idea. So the search for both continues

Havent started looking for work as Im still trying to get my portfolio together! Feels like its taking a life time!

At least the flights are booked so we have a date to work towards

The start of something new & exciting

I’m not the best of writers – so please bare with me.

My boyfriend and I made the decision to do something we’ve always wanted to do- have the island life. The 2 of us have lived in Johannesburg for most of our lives, along with the hustle, the bustle, crime, corruption, traffic, pollution and stress. Don’t get me wrong- Jozi is a vibrant and diverse city but all these other elements seem to compromise our way of life. People have high wall, electric fencing, security guards etc and we still don’t feel safe.

Gauteng being the land locked province it is, living by the sea has always been a dream. It’s the one thing I would really look forward to when we went on a vacation-the Ocean! The smell, the view, the beach, the sand between your toes! Heaven.

So why now?
November 2011, my fellow creatives and myself were told that the account we worked on had decided not to continue the contract with the company. We had a chance to re-pitch for the business-which we did and we did well but another company did better. Around 65 of us were retrenched.
Most of us saw this as an opportunity to do something we really wanted to do. I dont know how my boyfriend (Mike) and I decided to do this but we did! Move to Mauritius and live our Island Dream!

Why Mauritius?
I have been to Mauritius a few times and each time I fall in love all over again. There is just something special about Mauritius. We could have moved to the coast of South Africa but its just not the same. Cape Town is beautiful but you cant really swim in the sea because you’ll freeze or get eaten by a shark. Durban- also beautiful but never really felt connected to it and jobs don’t come easy.

We just wanted to do something different and for us!

After much thought and research.

The date is set!

16/06/2012

Ile Maurice-Here we come!