Thursday, March 15, 2012

Mauritius - Day 1 - getting there!


Greetings from Mauritius!
I've decided this time to write an actual blog, as the travel story last year took too long and I was always playing catch-up. Like today - and it's only day three! :D

The Mauritius adventure started two days ago, on the 13th March 2012, although for Laika, who is staying in her favourite kennels, it all started the day before of course. We humans got up at 5:30 am, had an early breakfast and at 7am, amazingly on time, we were all loaded in the car and ready to go to the airport! Sudhanshu, our neighbour, kindly came along with us and took the car back - thank you! :)
There was no queue at the airport that early in the morning, at least for our flight, so we quickly got the formalities out of the way and went through to look for our plane. Ana and Liam were very excited and our first flight, only 2 hours from Cape Town to Jo'burg, zoomed by. We had snack on the plane which was surprisingly yummy - even Liam ate the yoghurt! We landed at 10:40 am and our next airplane departed at 1:35pm, so we again had some time to look around the airport and watch the planes loading and unloading until it was time for our flight.
For our second flight Ana's child meal had somehow not made it to the plane. The air-host claimed it was all the agency's fault, of course, so we didn't even get an apology. Charming.
Luckily, Ana enjoyed the alternative fish adult meal I asked for, which also came with chocolate cake for dessert - and that, of course, made up for the mix-up. At least in her eyes, which are the ones that matter.
We finally landed in Mauritius at 7:40pm local time and it was already dark, to the kids' amazement - they were worried it was bath-time already but it was only 5:40pm SA time!! We were kindly allowed into the preferential queue for passport control as we had little ones with us - sometimes traveling with kids has its advantages. But then we noticed that the queues moved very slowly, and our preferential queue so much slower than the rest because our desk dealt manually with families with kids while all the other desks dealt with only one person at a time.... Hmmm... I think we were conned. People were very friendly throughout though. We approached our tour operator's desk as our name was not on display anywhere. The lady checked her own list, took our voucher and we were given in exchange a brochure to wave around once we got out of the airport. So while Stephen was taking some cash out of the ATM, I dutifully did as we were told. Despite my misgivings (and feeling rather like an idiot waiving a brochure around), we were approached by the correct porter. Phew. We delayed the proceeds somewhat because poor Ana was ever so thirsty and we had no water for her! So Stephen quickly rushed to a bar and used some of our newly obtained cash to get her a bottle of water while everybody waited... and then she took a little sip and felt soooo much better. :D
We boarded a mini-bus (with seatbelts!) and we set off. Stephen thought it would be a fast trip as he thought we'd be on motorway most of the way. But Mauritius motorways are full of roundabouts, so it wasn't as fast as anticipated, and of course we didn't get any of the views - except for the sky, which was awesome. After Port Luis, we ended up going through narrower and narrower roads at a rather fast speed (which at least amused Ana) and ended up stopping at a big hotel and people started getting off... but we didn't know what hotel we were at! Stephen got off to ask the driver - it was ours! So we all got off and we'd finally arrived. Hurrah! Our suitcases stayed outside, we were welcomed and rushed through as the buffet dinner was already ending, leaving the formalities until afterwards. The restaurant is next to a gorgeous enormous pool. We weren't all that hungry but we managed to eat a little bit and finally we made it to our room. It is air-conditioned, next to the restaurant, and our terrace gives, through some grass and trees, to the beach. Hurrah! The kids loved their double-bed but they were exhausted and Liam demanded his bottle - so I quickly bathed them and dressed them while Stephen went out 'hunting' for some milk for the bottle. It came cold and Liam refused to have it cold, so we warmed up the milk in the hot water from the kettle - we are nothing if not resourceful! They pretty much fell asleep during story-time (Winnie the Witch) and we followed right after.

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