Arrival in Mauritius

Trip Start Sep 06, 2012
Trip End Oct 09, 2012

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Flag of Mauritius  , Plaines Wilhems,
Saturday, September 8, 2012

Everything went smoothly to leave Paris. My new passport now has its first entry en exit stamps in it, place only hours apart as I formally entered then left France. I was thankful for my elite frequent flyer card which allowed me to take much shorter lines for these formalities. That probably saved half an hour each way. The code share Air France, Air Mauritius flight, operated by the latter was only half full, so I had an empty seat next to me, which was a boon since this was a 12 hour flight. There was quite a bit of turbulence all along this flight, not heavy, but enough that the pilot often had the seatbelt sign on. I passed the time by reading a fascinating book called The Wealth and Poverty of Nations by David Landes, a gifted historian and writer who explores the reasons behind the disparity of national wealth both historically and in the modern world. I slept off and on as well, in two hour increments. Since I had only slept about 4 hours on the way to Paris, I was tired, but still only managed to sleep about six hours on this second long run.

We arrived in Mauritius at 06:00 under a light rain. Winter, such as it is in this region, ends this time of year, so temperatures are less warm, and are even pleasantly cool at night. We were to have arrived later than this, and I was at the front of the coach section and knew how the formalities went here, so I was among the first out of the airport. The rental car man was amazed that I would come all the way to Mauritius for only two days. I didn't want to explain the whole thing so I just smiled and nodded my head at him. Since I was quite early, I decided to drive to my usual hotel in Quatre Bornes rather than either just killing time or trying to go to the Prodigues house so early. I drove quickly, getting back into drive-on-the-left side mode, to the hotel and tried to check in. They didn’t have a room for me at 07:15 when I arrived, so I had breakfast and waited until about 9:00 when I was able to get into my room, and shower and change, which was wonderful after the long trip.

I drove back south to the Prodigues’ house where I arrived a little after 10:00. We sang hymns and I gave Bible Study on the topic of sloth, paresse in French. The ladies had prepared a Mauritian meal which we shared after our service. A Mauritian meal is often a combination of  dishes reflecting the varied origins of the people here: there are often spicy Indian style curries, spicy Chinese style dishes with rice, and spicy Creole dishes which are a bit more difficult to describe, but they are more Africa inspired. Over this pleasant lunch we caught up on our news, how our common friends are doing, how our absent family members are doing, work and health situations and the plans for the upcoming festival as well. It was a very pleasant discussion that we are only able to have in person about twice a year, so it’s much appreciated. By mid-afternoon, I was yawning in spite of myself: the spirit was willing, but the flesh was quite tired. We shook hands all around and said goodbye, and I drove back north to Quatre Bornes, slapping myself once in a while to stay alert.

I had a welcome two-hour nap in the afternoon which took me to the end of the day. I walked out in the evening to pick up some bottled water, and rooibos tea to take home. We acquired a taste for rooibos (red bush) tea in South Africa where it was developed by Afrikaners long ago from local plants. It’s hard to find outside of South Africa, but not here in Mauritius, so I often replenish our home supply when I come through.

I then walked down the street to the Happy Rajah, a good Indian restaurant in Quatre Bornes, where, since I wasn’t too hungry, I had a biryani and a Phoenix, the most popular local beer.  I will make an early night of it and try to catch up on my sleep.
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Judy Dane on

thank you so much, I so enjoy reading about your travels and the brethren.

Fiona Meeker on

Hey Dad,
Glad to hear everything's going well, keep us posted!
Love you lots,

Beverly Lofty on

Thank you for taking the time to keep us informed regarding your travels :-) Will pray for your safety throughout this Holy Day season :-)

Bernard on

Hi Joel,

Glad you made it OK and that everyone is fine. Will be praying for you for the rest of your trip. Take care

Lenna Slaughter on

Thank you for your willingness to undergo the trials of traveling to difficult areas to be of service to the brethren. You will be in my prayers.

Tess Washington on

It's good you arrive safely in Mauritius and able to attend to matters at hand! Sleep is good for the body...Roiibos tea is good too!

Elisa Botta on

FWIW, I took one of David Landes' history classes while a student at Harvard, the type of history class where the social and economic history of the working classes is emphasized, using primary sources. He seemed, at the time, like many Harvard professors, left of center. Now, having looked up "The Wealth and Poverty of Nations," I am revising my thinking. I doubt such a book was well-received at Harvard when published 14 years ago, though he was already retired from Harvard two years before. Also, I see that Niall Ferguson, also history professor at Harvard, calls him a mentor. It's amazing to me that someone like Professor Ferguson can fluorish at Harvard, so strong is the liberal, leftist, anti-Anglo-American bias. I recall how Prof. Summers, President of Harvard, was fired for some politically incorrect statements. While I read your blog primarily for news about the membership abroad, the cultural, gastronomical, historical and geographical asides are a much appreciated bonus.

joelmeeker on

Thank you everyone for your comments and encouragement , they are much appreciated!

To Elisa, what I'm finding particularly interesting in Landes' book is the role of cultural values (hard work, personal responsibility, saving etc.) in prosperity. He quotes Max Weber's work on how the Protestant work ethic was an important origin of Germany's prosperity and seems to abound in the same direction for England in particular. I too doubt this was popular at Harvard! Thanks for sharing.

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