When I usually tell people I’m from Mauritius – and after explaining where and what it actually is – they imagine that all I do is lounge on the beach basking in the sun. I mean, what else would you be doing if you’re on a tropical island which has some of the best beaches in the world with sunshine most of the time? Exactly NOT that. I could usually count the number of times I went to the beach on the fingers on my hand (yup just one) during a year when I was still living there. For the most of it, I was either at school or work and by the time it was the weekend, all I ever wanted was just to stay in bed and do nothing. Going to the beach for us was a real treat, even if it was just an hour drive away (which didn’t apply to us since we had no car).
I went back this year for summer hoping for some sun and beach action. Instead I reached home to learn that one of the people I was closest to was on her death bed. We lost her two days later and I don’t think our family will ever be the same again. Sometimes I wished I hadn’t actually gone back – would it have hurt less had I been far away? I’m never going to know. But then, I’m glad I got to see her one last time. I spent the next two weeks filling myself up with food, because I didn’t really know what else to do to get rid of the emptiness I was feeling. I put on a few pounds although that feeling never really went away. By the time I actually started feeling again, it was already time for me to leave home.
During the few days that I actually made it out of the house – most of it spent catching up with friends I would be seeing in about a year now – we managed to fit it some hiking which had just been the thing that we all needed. Despite the rain, we walked up and down the gorges caring about nothing else. Whenever I go back, I do try to make a trip to the Black River National Park, where I lived for 8 months back in 2013.
We did make a few stops on the way there, to the Alexandra Falls – where we could see practically nothing because of the fog, and to Grand Bassin, a holiest place for Hindus in Mauritius, equal to the Ganges in India.
And of course, the beach. Although it might not be as sunny as you would imagine. But just standing there in the rain watching the horizon might have been the best thing that happened to me on that trip.