Leaving Reunion

Trip Start Jan 15, 2009
Trip End Feb 15, 2009

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Flag of Reunion  ,
Wednesday, February 11, 2009

This morning I walked down the hill at 08:00. We had a light breakfast, and continued our ongoing discussions for another hour or so. Laval then drove me into Saint Denis to show me the capital city. We parked by the ocean and walked up what clearly used to be the main street in the city. All the old colonial-period government buildings are on it, as are some rich plantation-type mansions and manors. We walked all the way up to the municipal gardens which are being reworked (and need it).  
A brief stop in a small marine museum reveals a reasonably well-preserved Coelacanth. That's the fish scientists knew had existed in the Devonian period up to 400 million years ago, and dying out in the Cretaceous period about65 millions years ago - it was merely an ancient fossil - a sign of the survival of the fittest and disappearance of the least adaptable. And then one was caught off the coast of South Africa in 1938.... Then hundreds more were caught off the coast of East Africa in the years since. The Coelacanth had made a remarkable comeback from ancient extinction!

It has been found to be in exactly the same form as it was supposed to have been hundreds of millions of years ago - then living alongside various dinosaurs.  So, pay no attention to that squirming evolutionist behind the curtain - listen to the great and powerful OZ!
But I digress; back to Saint Denis. The sun came out fully and it became very hot. We had a cold dodo beer in the garden café. The local beer is actually called Bourbon. That's the brand name, taken from the royal family of France: the Bourbons - you may not have known that was Louis XIV last name! The island of Reunion was also named after the Bourbons for a while. All that may well be, but I think calling beer bourbon is really confusing things. However, to add an extra twist to the story, since the beer label has the silhouette of a dodo bird (which lived in this part of the world only) on it, local folks don't actually call the beer Bourbon even though that is its name; they call it dodo. In Creole the advertising posters read "la dodo lé la" (roughly translated "the dodo is here"). It's actually not a commentary on those who drink too much, it's meant in an endearing way.
Laval and I continued our discussion of Creole translations, local history, Coelacanths, the Bible, and church concerns among other things as we walked and sweated and sweated even more after drinking a beer! But it was a pleasant moment and worth it, even if I'd be wearing the same clothes for the next 24 hours. We started making our way back down to the water, probably two kms away. It was downhill going back, which was good. We strolled through some colorful pedestrian streets, and I bought some postcards. Laval insisted on buying a souvenir DVD for me, about Reunion, that I could show around the Home Office, and to my wife and daughters. He asked me to show it to them so they'd want to come with me next time. I told him there would be no problem enticing them to want to come, others issues - time, money and schools - were the concerns, but I'm not sure I convinced him.
We drove back to the Prodigues home where we had another delightfully tropical lunch, again outside on the porch. Then I went and repacked my bags for the upcoming flights. My flight was to leave at 7:00, so I took my leave of Patricia and Thierry, and Laval and I drove to the airport a bit before 5:00. At the airport I was told the flight wouldn't leave until 7:30 and that Air Mauritius wouldn't start checking in passengers for an hour. The delays and waiting began. I thanked Laval very warmly for their kind welcome and hospitality and told him I would come again if I could and as soon as I reasonably could. It's hard to tear one's self away in such situations.

Now I'm waiting for my flight back to Mauritius to connect to the Paris flight.
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elizabethcannon on

Great blog, Mr. Meeker!

joelmeeker on

Re: Blog
Thanks Liz,

I appreciate your feedback.

We'll see you next week.

Take care,


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