Arrival in the Seychelles
Trip Start Jan 20, 2008
25Trip End Feb 10, 2008
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The flight from Nairobi was delayed three hours. I had noticed that when I got my boarding pass, I was seated in row three. I assumed it would be a small plane since on the large Kenya Airways planes the first four rows are business class, and I had only purchased a coach ticket. To my pleasure, I found it was a 737, and I was seated in business class. I suppose they gave me an upgrade for having flown so many segments with them on this trip. This perk made the three-and-a-half hour flight much more enjoyable. Service included: a three course meal accompanied by French wines, and served on white linen.
On arrival I had to show my ongoing ticket at the immigration desk. They don't want visitors staying on indefinitely. I changed some money at the airport then took a taxi about six miles (10km) south of the airport to the Fairyland Hotel on Fairyland Beach. (The beach was given its name before the word took on any behavioral connotations...) It was one of the least expensive hotels I found after quite a bit of Internet research.
The taxi ride took about 15 minutes. I chatted with the driver in French as we drove, and learned a little about the country. Its population is of mixed origins very much like Mauritius: Malagasy, African, Indian, Chinese, French, with some Spanish and Portuguese thrown in as well. He said they do not have cyclones (hurricanes) here, but they did have tidal waves after the big Indonesian tsunami of a few years ago. Several big waves came ashore here, 2-3 meters (6-9 feet) high and flooded some roads as well as heavily damaging some hotels and restaurants on the water.
Since it was Sunday, the beaches were full of families enjoying the dominical day off. Tomorrow, the driver told me, everyone would be back at work.
The hotel is a budget oriented inn, no air conditioning, phone, or television, but it has easy access, via a main bus line, to the capital, Victoria, which is about 6 miles (10km) north of the airport. I had arranged for the visits to take place at the hotel both yesterday afternoon and today. As I checked in I had to pay for the room in advance and in a major foreign currency. Currency restrictions seem tight. All hotels can only be paid for in hard currency - like dollars or euros (or by credit card) and one is only allowed to exchange money at official institutions. No open currency market here, the government controls the exchange rate.
Since I had arrived later than what I indicated in my letter to the subscribers here, no one came for a visit yesterday. I did have confirmation from two people that they would come, so I'll stay at the hotel today and prepare the initial page layout for a booklet, while I wait for the visitors.
During the night the tide came all the way in allowing waves to cross the reef and come right up to the hotel. I woke during the night to hear the surf crashing right outside my room (at least it sounded that way). There was also a heavy rain during the night. I left the Venetian blind windows and the balcony doors open during the night, so the tropical breezes came through the room and I wasn't bothered by mosquitoes, which I appreciated. They have a hook in the ceiling for a mosquito net, but I won't use one unless I have to. There is not supposed to be any risk of malaria here.
As I came back up to the room from breakfast I saw something quite amusing. One of the hotel dogs, a pup, was out in the water hunting crabs. He finally cornered one in a few inches of water, and really wanted to grab it with his teeth, but every time he made a move up came the crab's claws, pointed at his nose. The dog pawed the water and the sand, ran around the crab and barked, but couldn't find a way around the crab's defenses. This went on for ten minutes while the crab made for deeper water. An older dog watched the whole business with aplomb, either he didn't like crab, or he knew how to catch one if he wanted to, or he had learned long ago, not even to try. The crab finally made it water deep enough that the pup finally had to give up.
It becomes warm quickly if the air is still. Now it is barely 10 o'clock in the morning and already my shirt is all wet from the tropical humidity. It's snowing in Cincinnati.
The views of the ocean are delightful. Today I will work; tomorrow I hope to take off if there is no follow-up needed after today's visits. Perhaps I will make a scuba dive, the water is supposed to be especially good in the Seychelles.
Where I stayed