Mauritian Beats; Baring Souls On The Other Side Of The World–Quickflight

by hermes7 on December 31, 2012

FacebookLinkedInSina WeiboEmailShare

Actually this is a long flight. I was attracted to Mauritius because it’s on the other side of the world from California, where I live. And it’s known for eclectic and tolerant blends of cultures, like my home turf. So I felt both kinship and mystery about the most distant inhabited place in the world.

Mauritians value intimacy. A tourists’ guidebook said that the people will bare their souls to anyone who wants to talk to them. The soul baring began as soon as my plane took off on the flight from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to the small island off of Madagascar’s east coast.

The man sitting next to me was about 60, tall, thin and ethnically Indian. The aircraft had sat at the gate for 30 minutes after the scheduled departure time. He fumed about recognizing a governmental official boarding just before we left, and figured that the pilot had waited for her. He asked the stewardess, and she confirmed his suspicion. He turned to me and said, “You see! This happens too much in Mauritius!”

He sloshed back several glasses of wine and whiskey after take-off and talked nonstop. He warned me about the divisiveness between Mauritius’ groups of Hindus, Africans, Muslims and whites. “We are always walking on eggshells!” This was the opposite of the tolerance I had read about. I wondered if he was just indulging in an alcohol-fueled rant, but he was a business professor at the University of Mauritius, so I had to give his opinion weight.

Mauritian friendliness continued when we landed. A customs official asked me to open my bags. “Why do you have so many books?”

“I’ve been traveling in Thailand and Cambodia, and I bought them there.”

“Why don’t you buy electronic books?”

We discussed the merits of printed and ebooks, and agreed that physical books have unique value. I never had a philosophic chat with a customs official before.

While waiting for my luggage, I noticed a young man lift a guitar from the carousel. I asked him what music he plays and he invited me to his house for a jam.

Welcome to Mauritius! My stay was a magical blend of cultures, natural beauty and friendly people. Between Africa and India, and within the pale of European colonialism in the 17th-20th centuries, Mauritius has a loads of cultural wealth which most people don’t know about. So I’ll share some of it over the next few posts on Mauritius.

 

For more of the world's best cultural wealth,

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: