Have you ever met someone once, and knew that you needed to see them again because you wanted to get to know them better? Mauritius was like having a great first date where you wanted to know more, but there just wasn’t enough time! We only had one day- a few hours, really- in Mauritius. While we arrived the night before, we could not get off the ship until the following morning.
Because many people from Mauritius are of the Indian diaspora, I had a great time connecting with the immigrations officials who were on the ship. They were just as surprised to meet me, as I was to meet them. That day was Dusshera, and we were even invited to a Dussehra pooja at one of the official’s homes, but we did not have clearance to go. The people of Indian descent from Mauritius originally come from Calcutta, Mumbai and Chennai, and are descendents of indentured laborers who were brought to work in sugar cane fields, construction, factories, and as soldiers in the mid-1800′s. Coming from the US, and being only 2nd generation Indian American, it was fascinating to see how much a culture transforms, evolves, and repurposes itself over multiple generations. The officials we met had desi names, with no attachment or necessary understanding of their names/identities, but an attachment to the heritage of those names. It felt like a trip to the future in terms of polycultural fusion.
The thing that I most wanted to do was find the University of Mauritius, which is where one of my favorite, very cheesy, movies, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, was filmed. Due to our limited time, I was not able to go there, but I did get a gazebo shot that reminded me of the movie from the botanical gardens we visited.
This country really is paradise, with the most beautiful beaches and natural environments on earth. By this point in the voyage, we were really missing good desi food, and Mauritius spoiled us with amazing desi food in the mall food court along the pier. Unfortunately, I cannot say more than this for now, but I will be back to this beautiful country some day!