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!

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