Thursday, January 27, 2011

Day 17 - Vacation Over

Today I went back to work while Jared enjoyed one more day at the beach with some of the friends that we met there. I was glad he had some people to be around to help pass the time. Later that night, he caught the plane back to Kuwait and then Afghanistan.
GOOD BYE MAURITIUS!! You will FOREVER be in our hearts!!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Day 16 - Goodbye Jared and Mauritius

Today was a rough day. My wake-up call was for 4:20 a.m. so I could be ready and picked up by the shuttle bus to take me back to the airport at 5 a.m. I quickly got ready, cuddled and cried next to Jared for a few minutes, and then had Jared walk me to the shuttle bus for a final good-bye hug and kiss (geez just writing about this a month later still brings me to tears).
I will spare you the tears and share a happy kiss with you instead!
I got in the van and waved out the window until he was out of sight. From then on, it was a very long day. I had a 12 hour direct flight to the Munich airport ending with several train stops to Vilseck. On the final stretch, I had literally 3 minutes to run (with a backpack, and two suitcases) from platform 20 down the stairs, through the corridor, and back up different stairs to platform 2. Just as I walked onto the train, they closed the doors and left. Whew!! That was too close for comfort. But I got home safe and sound.
Today was one the worst days ever. Vacation in Mauritius was spectacular and I will never forget it. Today I had to send Tammy off to the Airport and deployment leave is soon coming to an end. I will very shortly be on route back to Afghanistan. This was tougher than leaving for deployment in the beginning.

After reading this posting from Jared on Facebook, I just cried because I left so bad for leaving him heartbroken. He is usually the strong one in the family. At the same time, I noticed a connection. For me, it was harder letting Jared initially leave for deployment in June. For him, it was harder during R&R. It has made me wonder if the one being left behind always struggles more. In June, I dropped him off and came home empty handed. This time, Jared dropped me off and went back to the hotel room empty handed. Interesting???

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Day 15 - Parasailing

I always hate the day before your vacation ends. In my mind, I’m always thinking, “This is my last breakfast, lunch, dinner, swim in the ocean, etc. As much as I tried to push that out of my mind, it always came back. Anyways, after having to cancel our parasailing trip yesterday due to the rain storm, we decided to give it another try. This time it worked out fabulous.
We were even able to bring Klass along for the ride. He thought it was pretty cool but didn’t understand why he wasn’t big enough to do it too.

The remainder of the day was spent basking in the sun, lounging around, packing my suitcases, exchanging photos with each other, and saying good-bye to our German peeps.
Tammy, Jared, Klouss, Eulla, Mickey, and Klass
While I tried so hard to be happy, our friends kept asking Jared if I was okay. I guess I didn’t do a very good job??

P.S. The two kites were found this morning at breakfast!! Klass was one happy boy again.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Day 14 - Let it Rain, Let it Rain, Let it Rain!

Today was a wonderful, relaxing non beach day. Originally, we had scheduled to go parasailing at 11:30 a.m. But by 10 a.m., we were experiencing one of the worst rain storms of my life. It literally poured buckets, all while the wind blew and the lightning and thunder made its made its appearance. That afternoon, we lost power and there was even some concern about a cyclone hitting! The storm lasted early into the morning hours of the next day.  Depending on where you were at on the island, they received anwhere from 9-12 inches of rain!  This island really needed moisture; however, this storm didn't help the farm lands as the ground was so dry and the rain came so hard and fast, that it didn't get much of an opportunity to soak into the ground.

That being said, we ran to the SPA to see if we could schedule something there. Lucky for us, we got the last open appointment of the day. It consisted of a 25 minute milky bath in a humongous tub and an hour long couple’s massage. Who could ask for anything more??

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Day 13 - The Flac Market

We couldn’t decide what to do today…part of us wanted to go to church again and see the friends that we had made. But it was expensive to get there and back, so we opted to visit a market in Flac so we could finish up our souvenir shopping. Jared was promised that the people would not attack him like before, which was true. However, I was a little disappointed because the people did not barter nearly as much as they did in Port Louis. However, it was a nice afternoon.
One more day playing in the water!
We came back from the market and were excited to share the gifts that we had purchased for our German friends, Eulla and Klass. Eulla got toys to play in the sand with while Klass got his first kite. He was so excited to try it out. However it lasted about 5 minutes because he wanted to let the string all the way out and it got away from him as he was unrolling it. So we gave him Jared’s kite. It lasted a lot longer until the wind threw it into a tree, which we couldn’t get it out of.
Ready for the nightly entertainment!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Day 12 - The West Coat Tour

I had been looking forward to the West tour all week because we may get the opportunity to swim with the dolphins. Thankfully, we were picked up in a shuttle bus so we didn’t have to deal with the crazy taxi cab. Once we got to the West coast and decided I didn’t like it. Not only was there not toilet paper in the restrooms, but the ocean water was dirty and smelled like oil. Not something I wanted to play in.
The tour soon got underway, and the excitement started to build as we met up with the other 8 boats that were searching for the dolphins too.
The dolphins have been spotted!
On the third sighting of the dolphins, Jared was ready to jump out and swim. He had a great time. However, his camera broke as he was under water swimming with the dolphins. Luckily, he did get two good pictures. I was bummed because I didn’t get to swim with them as they turned around and took some people back to the shoreline after that swim.

The pictures the broke Jared's camera!
Our next activity was off to a deserted island where our guides grilled lunch for us while the locals tried to sell us their creations. All Jared could think about was pulling up the guy’s pants so his plumbing didn’t show.
"Pull up your pants," says Jared!
For lunch, we were served lobster, hot dogs, chicken, garlic bread, salad, and grilled bananas for dessert. Once again, I was ready to leave that part of the island as the water was very dirty.
The day ended with one last opportunity to go snorkeling. Jared enjoyed it, but I didn’t stay in the water for very long because it was kind of cold and I could see them from the boat!
The way home was quite entertaining. One of the couples that were on the tour with us was from Germany. Once the lady found out that we were currently living there, she starting teaching us German words. My brain was numb by the time we got home. I had learned so many new words that I could hardly keep them straight. But the funniest thing was listening to Jared use the words he used to call me “Crazy old lady” and phrases like that. Good times.
Are you seeing a pattern? They seems to be no better way to end a day than running home to the beach and surfing the web before dinner and entertainment!
Our daily ritual before dinner!
Dolphins—it was a great experience to snorkel and follow these dolphins for about a minute before they disappeared. This might have been the last picture my camera took as it got flooded with water and stopped working.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Day 11 - Hangin' Out at the Beach

I love waking up each morning and seeing this view on my way to breakfast! 
Today was a day of pure relaxation on the beach. Jared enjoyed a good game of beach volleyball, and a good dinner—Mauritian food.
Tonight’s entertainment started out with the Maurician dancers. After a few songs, they pulled me and another girl out of the audience to dress up in their costumes. I started getting worried that they were going to make me dance (I’m not a dancer for those of you that may have forgotten). Luckily, they just dressed us up and had us go sit back in the audience.
For the second portion of the entertainment, we had some guy come and sing. He had a friend in the crowd that was trying to get everyone out of the dance floor. They had us shakin’ our booties and swinging our arms. Need I say more???
At the end of the night, this guy that thought Jared was so great because of his size, wanted to fight him. We weren’t sure if he wanted to box or wrestle. But Jared just made light of it and put his hand in the air and told him that he won. Then we hurried off to our room to avoid any more confrontations.
Jared and the guy that wanted to fight him!  Where's the brotherly love?  lol

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Day 10 - The South Coast Tour

This morning we got up and ready to tour the South part of Mauritius. I was disappointed right away when I discovered that our cab driver for the day was the same guy that we had two days ago. Within 15 minutes, we were in a road block because many people were crossing the road. Today is a religious holiday for these people. Those people that are bringing a sacrifice to their temple are dressed up, carrying something across their shoulders, and had many pins in their bodies, even some through their mouth. Painful if you ask me.
Religious holiday celebrations
 Well, our cab driver could not be bothered by this. While Jared and I got out of the car to take a couple of pictures, he was turning his car around and ready to take off and leave us. A half hour later, he runs into another celebration, and he gets very irate with the police officer who won’t let him go down the street he needs to turn onto or tell him where the detour goes. The next thing we know, he is driving us down one lane of the road as the parade is going down the other side. Needless to say, we were very embarrassed. We told him we weren’t in a rush to get back home to anything, but it didn’t settle him down at all.
Volcanic Crater
The first stop was at Trou aux Cerfs—a huge natural volcanic crater. From the top of the mountain, could see the inactive volcanic crater and enjoy the beautiful view overlooking the area.
The Colonial House and Mini Eifel
After getting back into the car, I asked if there was a bathroom in the vicinity that we could stop at and he said yes. So I drives through all these neighborhoods and drops us off from a distance to the Colonial House. So we got out and took pictures of the building (not knowing it’s importance), the mini Eifel tower, and then waited for the cab to circle back around the parking area to pick us up. Instead, the driver parks the car and tells us to go look inside. As soon as we get into the entrance, these two gentleman try to start selling us homemade carpets for 300-500 Euros! They ensure us that we will LOVE our carpet just as much as Jared loves me! Lol After they decided they wouldn’t be able to convince us of the sell, they took us into another room to sell me a cashmere shawl!
Buy a rug or shawl!  You know you want it!
A few minutes later, we left with the owners upset with us just to find out that I had to go back into that same building to use the bathroom (and I didn’t receive a very warm welcome)! Geez!
The next two stops of our “scenic” tour were name brand clothing stores. Whoopty Doo! We came to see the island, not to buy name brand clothing that we can buy anywhere else for the same cost (the taxi cab did this to us last time too). Apparently, our driver gets points or commission when he takes us to these places, but we weren’t interested. I think he finally got the point and didn’t take us to anymore for the remainder of the day (or he ran out of stores that he gets commission at).
Before leaving that area, we did get to visit a ship factory, which was quite interesting.
Lord Shiva
The rest of the day shaped up to be pretty enjoyeable (except for his driving). The next stop was to Grand Bassin. Here we saw the statue of Lord Shiva (Mangal Mahadev). It is the highest statue in Mauritius and one of the 50 highest in the world.
Sacred Lake
Then we walked around the lake, which is a holy lake for Mauritiauns of the Hindu faith as they believe that the water inside the lake communicates with the waters of the holy Ganges of India.
Blessing the offerings inside the Hindu Temple
We concluded the visit by walking through the Hindu temple and watching the “priest” bless the food for the people to give to the creatures in the lake or set beside the God statues Hanuman, Lakshmi, and others.
Giving offereings
The next couple of stops were to waterfalls. First, we stopped at a viewpoint to take a few snapshots of the Chamarel waterfall, which is considered to be the most beautfil waterfall in Mauritius.
Chamarel Waterfall
Then we stopped at the Alexandra waterfall. They were both pretty, but much smaller than I would have expected for it to be a tourist attraction.
Alexandra Falls
Before going to our last place, we asked him to stop so we could get something to eat. He drops us off on the side of the road in front of a restaurant, which was expensive but good.
Feed me I'm hungry!
The last stop of the day was the most spectacular. We visited The Seven Colored earth. The “seven-colored earth” is an area of strikingly bare landscape located within a large, dense forest. It is created by volcanic rocks that cooled at different temperatures. The rocks were pulverized into sands with various shades of red, brown, grey, and purple. Since the earth was first exposed, rains had carved beautiful patterns of many colors into the hillside.
The ride home ended with one more viewpoint!  Then hold on tight, the taxi cab is in a hurry to get us home!

I LOVE my man!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Day 9 - The Water Amusement Park

We originally had planned to stick around the resort today. But our Austrialian friends (Rebecca and Andrew) that we met last night at the pool invited us to go check out a water amusement park with them this afternoon. So off we went.
I don’t know what we were all thinking it was going to be, but it is nothing to write home about. This place had a couple of kiddie rides, 3 different pools, a couple of water slides, a couple of tubes to slide down, and a lazy river that didn’t move you. We had to do all the work ourselves! We were all expecting something much more—like Seven Peaks.
We should have known better—Mauritius is known for their beaches not their amusement parks! Oh well, we enjoyed each other’s company and came back to the resort to soak in some more sun and beach before dinner.

A little side note—Jared had a few blond moments today. While we were at the amusement park waiting for our food to finish cooking, Jared put his arm around Rebecca thinking it was me. Rebecca kindly said, “Um, I think you have the wrong woman!” Then on our way home from the amusement park, we asked the taxi to take us to an ATM so we could withdraw money. On Jared’s way back to the car, he sit back down in the passenger seat—only to be reminded by the driver that he was on the wrong side of the car!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Day 8 - Catamaran East Coast Tour

This morning we put on our “swimming costumes” as they are called in Mauritius before meeting our shuttle to take us on the Catamaran East Coast Tour.
 It was a wonderful sunny day to lay out on the front of the speedboat and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
One of the selling points on the brochure for this tour was the waterfall we were going to see. I love waterfalls, but was greatly disappointed when this is all it panned out to be. I guess I need to bring the Mauritians to America to see a real waterfall.
Then they put down the anchor and let us go snorkeling for a while to see the different fish and coral in the area. Afterwards, our guides made a BBQ lunch on the boat with consisted of Chicken kabobs, salad, garlic bread, rice, and YUMMY PINEAPPLE for dessert!
We ended the tour by spending a few hours on a deserted island named Ile Aux Cerfs. It was a nice island, but the water was very shallow and there were too many people everywhere.
And to top it off, they wanted us to pay $30 to lay on a lounge chair for a couple of hours. I don't think so!  The dirt will work just fine.
All in all, we had a great time…now off to the pool, dinner, and entertainment!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Day 7 - Casela's

Today is one of the days that Jared has been waiting for since we arrived on the island. He was so excited to go to Casela’s and interact with the lions and cheetahs. Casela’s is a wildlife reserve on the West coast.
After signing our life away, you are given a stick to take into the cages with you for protection. As you are petting the animals, you give them your stick to bite on so they hopefully don’t turn around and bite you!
One of the baby lions I was trying to pet decided he didn’t want the stick and went for me. So I was done.

Jared still hadn’t had enough adrenaline rush, so we signed up for another tour—a walk with lions.
We followed the lion’s trainer (from Zimbabwe) and four lions pups (4-6 months old) on a nature walk. It was exciting to see and interact with them so closely. They like to play and will do most anything for a little raw meat.

This was definitely a unique once in a life time experience!

I was never so happy to be back home on the beach relaxing before dinner. The taxi cab that we got today was out of control!! Enough said.