Flic en Flac - Paradise Lost?

Trip Start Jan 12, 2008
Trip End Oct 01, 2008

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Ce matin, je pense en francais pour le premier fois depuis peut-etre dix ans!  (This  morning, I thought in French for the first time in maybe 10 years!)  Between Madagascar and Mauritius, so far, I've been doing a great job of not speaking any English.   It has made some conversations interesting, if not difficult or amusing for other people, but the language has begun to come back to me a bit.  I'd like to relearn French as well as pick up a few other languages before my time is done.  Oh, and by the way, my French thought was, "Ce petit dejeuner est MERD!"  (This breakfast is sh*t!)  Yeah, the free breakfast was horrible.  To the hostel's credit, they did put me in touch with a sort of underground car rental "company" from which I rented a decent car for less than half the price that Avis and Hertz were asking. 

I take my small but clean red whip and drive northwest to a beach town called Flic en Flac. Yeah, Flic en Flac... not sure what it means yet but I'll ask tomorrow maybe.  The drive takes me clear across the entire island and about half way up it, and takes me a total of just over an hour (including missing my turns twice due to various roundabouts with insufficient signage).  The time flies by as the country is breathtaking, except for when it rains, which happened to be every ten minutes for about two minutes.

Arriving in Flic en Flac, I have the number of a few hotels and villas, but I decide to drive around and find a place based on looks.  This would have been a great idea if any place had rooms available, but I was turned away at no fewer than 6 hotels and decided not to spring for the $600 a night room that the four star Sofitel Imperial was asking for!  Apparently, its high season here... who knew?  Finally, I'm about to resort to going to the "casa" that the hostel owner referred me to when I come across a hotel on the other side of the road from the beach, Sea Villa Resort & Spa (www.seavillasmauritius.com).  They have a room and the owner escorts me to the room she has available.  It's beautiful, as is the hotel, although not commercial like the Hilton, Sands, or other mega resorts.  Turns out that it's a five star hotel hidden behind a somewhat modest façade and it has literally JUST opened.  She asks for $300, at which point I tell her I was actually contemplating camping on the beach because I didn't want to pay that much money... worth a shot, and 100% true because I had stopped at a store to find a tent, and she didn't know that they only had a five person tent that was like $250...  Anyways, we settled on my first and final offer: $100 per day including breakfast which I presume is much better than the one I had this morning!

I put my stuff in my room, which is more like a sweet studio condo across the street from the beach than a hotel room, and head immediately for the beach. Walking down to the mega resort hotels I grab a snack and order a pina colada for after I get out of the water.  Everything is perfect!  The water is calm, and clear as the now cloudless sky... I settle down under a picturesque palm tree and open my first book of the trip.  It may be cliché but I've decided to reread Jack Kerouac's, On the Road.  One of the things I'm contemplating doing during/after this trip is writing a book and On the Road seems like a great way to jump start my ideas.  I read a chapter, hop in the ocean, read another chapter, take a dip in the pool, read a chapter, order another drink, talk to some French people, etc... for a good four hours. Life is good!  I could keep talking/bragging about how amazing my time on the beach was, but I don't want to bore or annoy anyone, so I'll say it was retarded and you can see the pics!

Back at my hotel in the late afternoon, I am puzzled as to why mine is the only car on the premises of a hotel with at least 60 rooms while all the other hotels are completely full.  I know it's new but I ask if there are other people staying at the hotel and the guard says "Oui, oui!" (yes, yes).  Before I can make it up to my room, my presence is requested in the courtyard pool area... I'm just in time for a Saint Valentine's Day fete with all the staff and security guards.  I get the feeling that the party is in my honor as I'm the only person there who isn't working.  They cut a huge cake and give me a big slice.  They pop a bottle of champagne and give me a huge glass.  They light sparklers and hand me one.  Everyone stops talking and looks at me when I say something or even just say "merci beaucoup".
I'm absolutely perplexed as to what is going on here... maybe I've won something?  I know I'm extremely lucky, but at this point I hope that I haven't agreed to marry someone's daughter mistakenly in my broken French!  I tell everyone that I want to go take a nap and they let me go on my way, and I'm oddly relieved by this. 

Waking up just before sunset I realize that I had either spent too much time in the sun, or the sun was stronger than any I've ever experienced before because I'm burnt despite my numerous applications of excessive amounts of sunscreen!  I take some aspirin and walk to the village to find a restaurant for my Valentine's Day dinner.  After three or four restaurants turn me away saying they are completely booked, I settle on a quiet and cheap Mauricienne restaurant near the water, Patijoy.  I make sure they have fresh local fish as we feel like seafood for our special night, and by "our" I'm referring to Jorge and I of course!  We have the marlin fruit salad for starters and it is orgasmic... My apologies to my Mother, but it's the best fruit salad I've ever had!  We have Le poisson du Jour which turned out to be the fish of the day and it was very good, but that fruit salad c'est magnifique!  For dessert we share un jus de fruit mélanges (mixed fruit juice) which I hear them making in the blender and is also better than any I've ever had.

I decide to take a stroll through the village before retiring as it has cooled down enough and I'm not quite ready for bed just yet.  Mom and Dad - earmuffs!  (in other words: don't read this as I don't want you to get the wrong idea!)  What do ya know?  I happen upon a casino... naturally I can't help myself as I simply want to find out what type of strange rules they play here.  Anyways, I sit down with 2,500 rupees (approx $100) and lose almost everything because the darn Italian guy before me keeps playing like a dumb*ss.  I have 250 rupees left when he gets up.  An hour later I have enough rupees in front of me that the owner of the casino comes over to relieve the dealer of his duties and deals me a few decks himself.  I guess he figures that he can do a better job and he gets his medicine before finally "letting" me leave.  I take another aspirin and am in bed contemplating what I will do tomorrow.  Stay in this area and enjoy the fact that these people think I'm a king, or drive to another locale to explore the island?  Maybe I'll drive and then return tomorrow night if my reputation doesn't precede me up north... either way, I need to stay out of the sun!

Happy Valentine's Day to everyone!
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