Monday, 26 November 2018

Hurrah for the Prince of Love!

I'm now settled back at home in rainy old London, and quite glad to be, although I did love Mauritius.  We had two special birthday parties this week, both a lot of fun.   And we've been babysitting, because Littlest A was sick. Not very sick, but very proud of his snotty nose and other symptoms, pleased to be lolling in our house watching CBeebies and eating snacks, and having the drawing program all to himself.  T and I are always glad to spend time with our grandkids, but now we both wonder if we've picked up something from Littlest A.  I'm not as proud of my drippy nose as he was! 

I've been working hard transcribing some of the interviews from Mauritius. This is many hours of work and I'm not halfway through yet, but also preparing for another trip to Jersey sometimes after Christmas, to interview more people. 

And looking at the weather (above) I think I'll post some nice tropical island photos too, just to prove Mauritius and Rodrigues weren't just a delightful dream.   These pictures are all of Rodrigues.  

So, down at the beach at Pointe Cotton, someone is about to go fishing ...

There were only about a dozen people on the beach when I took the photo in late morning, and here are seven of them swimming. 

 This is the view from our first guesthouse which was on the hill outside Port Mathurin, the capital of Rodrigues.  You can see the waves breaking on the coral reef beyond the lagoon. 

And here's the extremely steep road down to Port Mathurin.

People are not wealthy, but it is a very close community, and religious (Catholic). It feels very safe in Rodrigues, which is perhaps not that common in an area where so many people are hard up. So it is nice to feel here that the people you meet will be friendly and honest.  You can see one of the typical brightly coloured small houses peeping from the trees on the right, and usually there are chickens and goats roaming about. 

Below is our second guesthouse which was near Point Cotton, on the east coast. 

The beach was round the corner from here, hidden in a forest of the casuarina trees that have been planted around many parts of the coast and provide welcome shade. Perhaps today native trees would have been planted, but I must admit I love the feathery, elegant casuarinas.  

There were a couple of tin shacks, one sold drinks and snacks, the other was a little restaurant which cooked whatever fish had been caught that day, at lunchtime. 

 Rodrigues has an excellent, frequent and cheap bus service, and I like the way the buses here (and in some parts of Mauritius) are elaborately painted up with motifs, ideas and mottoes of their owners' choice. The bus drivers are very confident - they have to be to get their vehicles around the narrow roads, many of which have hairpin bends. 

This was our favourite bus, "Prince of Love," painted and polished.  Who wouldn't want to give it a try?

 Inside, there were butterflies and flowers where most buses would have adverts. 

And just to make the point that it isn't always sunny in Rodrigues, here is another bus in the pouring tropical rain. 

There were many small family run restaurants serving home cooked food.  All that we visited were good. They usually had only one or two choices, but all were served with an extra helping of red beans which is a staple food in Rodrigues.  "Chez Madame Larose" was over the road from our guesthouse. You ate on the verandah.    


The garden was shaded by a breadfruit tree. 

People in Rodrigues and Mauritius mostly speak French Creole, which I'm told you can just about understand if you are a native French speaker. Fortunately they mostly spoke some English, and most of them could understand my rubbish attempts at French.  This advert for Phoenix Beer is written in Creole, and if I understand that it says: "Our country, our beer"

As I suggested in my last post, Rodrigues is almost a cliche dream desert island - it really is beautiful, peaceful and friendly, it has no poisonous snakes, reptiles or insects, and just the occasional stonefish or sea urchin in the sea (although we saw none). 

  As I said in my last post, the local people seem conscious that over-development could kill what makes their island so nice. Yet it's only fair to say that it is not that simple - it never is.   There is a lot of poverty and many of those colourful tin shacks are not much fun to live in and not remotely proof against the cyclones which sometimes wreak havoc. Nor indeed can they be much protection from that heavy tropical rain or baking sun. If I lived there I'd be pretty fed up with the dreadful quality of some of the local shops, too - I went to a supermarket in Port Mathurin that was a real hell hole - dark, dirty, cramped, disorganised, and smelling of mice. I can't imagine shopping there every day is much fun.   

Like everyone else, the people of Rodrigues want a better life for themselves and their children, and it's good that so many of the young also want to stay on the island. I do feel its prospects are more hopeful than in many other places, so I will be keeping my fingers crossed for them.   

We went for several evening walks along the coast and in the forest, but dusk comes quickly (at about 6.30 PM) in the tropics. So if you linger too long, you might be walking back by the light of the stars, and not even the Prince of Love will come to your aid, because the bus service stops at six p.m! 


  1. What a beautiful place. Hard to up the standard of living without destroying what makes it so special. Hope you feel better soon.

  2. It is sad that such a beautiful place is so short of finances, though money could ruin everything. Thanks for sharing your photographs.

  3. Absolutely enchanting! Yes, it does look picture-perfect but I'm sure that there are indeed problems. Being picturesque is not one of them.
    We call the casuarinas Australian Pines and I grew up with them where we lived further south in Florida. I always loved them and when we went to the Bahamas I was told they are sometimes called "Mother-in-Law Tongues" because of the way the wind and breezes make them gossip and whisper. But oh yes, they are SO invasive and suck up much-needed water and there is a lot of effort being made here to get rid of them.
    Here's something I have often wondered- why is that wherever you go where the water is that color of blues and greens that the houses and buildings are always painted so brilliantly? I have no idea but I always love it so much.

    1. I've wondered that too. Conversely, you go to Scandinavia, look out of the window, everything's black and white or black white and brown, and lo, the decorations are the same. I have come to the conclusion that people do what they are used to. I am a big fan of bright colours myself. I can't begin to think how much water all those casuarinas must soak up - Rodrigues has quite a water problem. What a lovely name for them!

  4. Such simplicity and beauty. Hope the sniffles end soon.

  5. Many thanks for lovely sunny pictures - we need them on these grey days!

  6. These pictures look especially nice since it is another rainy day here. What a wonderful opportunity you had to visit this paradise.

  7. Hello Jenny, Perhaps Mauritius is the ideal example of "benign neglect." I am glad that you still found so much to enjoy and to photograph.

  8. Looks beautiful, colorful, and peaceful. It would be a shame to see it change too much.

    Sorry you caught A's snotty cold. :(

  9. G'day, Jenny...This post and your previous post are both very interesting. Beautiful islands to visit, in my opinion. I would love to wander around soaking in the ambience. The naturalness...and obvious naturalness of the people...would suit me just fine.

    Thanks for your descriptive posts and accompanying photos...I love them! :)

  10. Fabulous streaks of blue across my screen! What wonderful pictures the sky alongside such a sea can make.
    Rather sad about the poverty but tourism is probably the only way to bring cash and that will destroy everything and possibly the people with it.
    You may have been there at the right time.
    However you will catch lots more pictures of rain in the coming days, at least you will get the interviews done!

  11. Such a pretty place, i know it will take a tight balancing act to up their standard of living without killing the goose that lays the golden eggs. Good luck with your transcribing.

  12. You've given us a nice, guided photo tour.

  13. Well, your wonderful tropical photos helped warm me up. It's freezing here tonight in Tennessee and I'm already yearning for spring! I hope you didn't catch a cold from your grandson, but if you did the best place to be is at home (watching the rain from a window). Take care, Jenny, and good luck with transcribing the interviews.
    By the way, I wouldn't mind taking a ride on the Prince of Love.

  14. As you say, it is never that simple, but Rodrigues seems to be just a little better at keeping the good without sacrificing it all to the "better". I hope they succeed for the next generation.

  15. Wow it does look like a beautiful place, but I suppose like anywhere there are negatives too. The supermarket doesn't doesn't sound too appealing.

    I hope you feel 100% again soon!

  16. you are so lucky to live in the such paradise island.
    have a great day

  17. What a stunning and beautiful place to visit Jenny. I don't think I have ever seen pictures of Mauritius before, as Australians don't seem to travel there. I hope it remains unspoiled and special.

  18. An exotic trip is always a great oppurtunity to recharge batteries and discover another aspect of life, perhaps more valuable than ours. Happy countdown to Christmas.

  19. What stunning photos! I love your bus pics.

    Tropical islands are incredible -- I've been to some in the Caribbean that were also somewhat underdeveloped, but beautiful. Living there does look hard for the local people.

    best... mae at

  20. I'm glad you mentioned some of the downsides of living in Rodrigues. I had a mental picture of this island paradise where everyone was blissfully happy. Sadly, as always, not quite so! The gaily-decorated buses are lovely - better than our local buses with their bland colours and logos. And yes, I like the feathery casuarinas too.

  21. Dear Jenny - You seem to have nicely countered the grey sky of London with your report from Mauritius.; The beautiful aqua green thanks to the coral reef which merges with the azure sky is breath-taking. Prince of Love is inviting with its bright colored lovely painting. Casuarina trees look like sentinels warding off the wind from the sea. I hope this gem of the Indian Sea won’t be damaged by lots of tourism, though so many people won’t rush to because of its location.


  22. The Prince of Love. That's perfect. I'd love to ride on such a cheery bus (not so keen on the walk home!) It looks like a bit of a haven, so I'm glad you shared some of the reality with it, too. It makes us all think. That will be the challenge; preserving what makes it unique while being able to make it a bit better for those who live there. It dawned on me that I've never vacationed on a tropical island. Or even a highly populated island like that. Maybe someday.

    Ah yes, the old drippy nose experience. So far, so good here but Rick and I are baby sitting this weekend and of course it is bound to be the weekend the BGs brought home something from daycare! I hope it doesn't stick with you and T too long.

  23. Well after my comment on your last post I think I am rather better informed and less certain about things. However, as some have already commented, perhaps some of the good can be maintained whilst still allowing for some diminution in the poverty.

  24. Mauritius is one of those places on my wish list, Jenny. It must be hard to see the poverty and know that tourism would help the islanders despite the risk of spoiling it. What a lovely place it looks to be.

  25. So beautiful, colorful, and peaceful place,Jenny.
    I feel my heart is warm when I read that people in the close community are friendly and honest.
    I like that pretty bus!
    I hope you and your family have a good weekend.

  26. There's something extra wonderful about going through vacation photos once you are home again.

  27. It is great fun to see photos in a tropical area in the room far away in winter.

  28. It sound like a paradise island, Jenny. Your pictures show deep sea and blue sky all that there is no in December here. How wonderful that you have been there, under the tropical sun. I liked the photo of the woods and sea #8, and I also like 'Prince of love', so cosy and clean bus that finishes its traffic at 6 pm :-)
    Thanks for sharing and take care of yourself.

  29. That is a fabulous new header Jenny showing the Albert Hall and Monument - is it taken at sunset?
    I look at your first photo taken whilst raining - our weather really must define us to quite a large extent as a nation just like the golden sands and sunshine defines the peoples of Rodrigues. They may want a better life, but in time it could be something that they might live to regret. I find myself, so often these days, hankering for the more simple life of my childhood.

  30. Hello, Mauritius looks like a tropical paradise. I love the views of the coast and water. The trees are gorgeous too. The buses are colorful and fun looking. I am sure there is a love/hate relationship for tourist there. The tourist money does bring in money. But, how much of it goes to the locals?

  31. You are quite right about pineapple. Whenever I eat local grown pineapple I enjoy it very much. We hardly ever buy it at home but the odd time that we do or we are somewhere it is served to us, we learn to appreciate the fine taste of fibrous wood and pick shreds from our teeth for a day!

  32. I think I must be rather odd in that I'm more excited by the first rainy photo in London than of all the tropical pics. Don't get me wrong, I do love a beach and a splash in a warm sea is heaven. I live 10 minutes from a beautiful beach, I walk there often, but rarely put a toe into the North Sea. And I do love nature - a walk in a forest does wonders for my soul. But the thing that grabs me most is history and architecture, a great library, those are the places that set my imagination free. I suppose that is a major reason why I love living in Britain. I enjoy visiting warm places when summer doesn't come here, but I'm also relieved to come home and enjoy the temperate climate and the small wonders in walking distances.


Blog Archive