Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Adventures in Bougainville

25 October 2017

We're at our new place in the Seychelles, still on the large (and main) island of Mahe.  We're in the neighborhood of Bougainville, which is the French word for the flowers we call bougainvillea.  Anyway, we're at a nice B & B type place, with a lovely view of the ocean at Bougainville Beach.  This is probably just a couple of miles or kilometers south of where we were in Anse Royale, so I won't bother posting a map.  Just a little south on the east side of the island.

This morning was rainy for a bit, though now it's nice and sunny.  I don't know if it shows in this photo, but there was a bird sheltering out of the rain - and, in bird logic, not sitting on top of the table (made of grating) but under the umbrella - no, this bird was sitting under the table that was under the umbrella.  I just thought that was quite funny.

Anyway, someone asked me what people eat here in the Seychelles.  Fish is popular, and the local food seems to be fish or seafood curries, over rice.  Fruit is also a big item, all the usual tropical fruits.  We had no idea what foods might be served at breakfast, but our new place includes brekkie, so we found out.

Our breakfast was served on the balcony, with a view of the ocean.  (It wasn't raining at that time.)  We started with plates of fruit:  papaya, melon, orange, kiwi, and a bit of tamarind, which I think is way too sweet.  (Tastes a bit like super sweet dates.)  Then we were served freshly cooked French crepes - yum!  With a choice of honey or jam.  And then, even though I was full, our hostess brought out omelettes - true French omelettes aux fines herbes, or omelets with herbs for anglophiles.  Plus toast and butter.  And tea or coffee.  HUGE breakfast.  And very tasty.  So I have no idea if this is a typical Seychellois brekkie or petit déjeuner, or not.  But this is what we were served.

Our B & B is up a long steep hill.  Not quite a kilometer long, only 700 meters, just about half a mile.  But STEEP.  The kind of steep where my feet were sliding forward out of my sandals while walking downhill.  Where I felt like I could easily fall forward on my face.  At least a 45 degree hill, if not more.

We walked down the hill to the main road, and caught the bus going south.  We asked the driver to drop us at a particular restaurant that was recommended.  Had a nice lunch, and waited for the bus back in our direction.  Again, asked the driver to drop us at a certain location, since there's a shop at the base of the hill.

Well, then there was the issue of walking back up this hill.  Which feels like climbing a steep mountain without any equipment.  On my still recuperating new knee.  Yeah.  So we stopped at the shop to buy something light for dinner, and Richard asked if there was a place to call for a taxi to take us up the hill.  

Now, this is out in the countryside of the Seychelles.  Not in the city, which bills itself as the smallest capital in the world.  (It isn't, but it is a tiny city.)  No, we're not in a place where one just calls a taxi.  We're in a place where the shop owner goes outside to see who's around.  He finds a lady coming into the shop, and speaks with her in Creole.  They have a discussion, and she comes over to me and says they can give us a ride up the hill, they are going that way.  She points me over to their red pickup truck, and she goes into the shop.  I explain to Richard that we have a ride, and I go stand outside.  So this guy gets out of the truck, and starts chatting with me.  We have a nice conversation, in mostly English with some French thrown in when I remember how to say something.  He injured his toe, they're on their way back from the hospital, tomorrow is his birthday, and the woman I was speaking to is his wife.  We have a nice chat, and his wife comes back out.  So we go to climb into the back of the pickup.

Now, they realize we're rather older than they are, and maybe they also see this long scar on my knee.  So they tell me to go sit in the front of the truck.  I do, and realize there's a totally different man driving the truck.  Then they tell Richard to go sit in the front with me.  And this lovely woman actually picks up his leg to squeeze him into the cab of the truck with me, and the driver, as I'm trying not to sit on top of the gearshift!!!  She reaches in, introduces herself to me, and shakes my hand.  I give her my name.  And ask if they are coming too?  No, they are sending us up the hill, then their friend will come back down and take them up the hill.

So off we go, heading up the hill, and the driver (who speaks very little English) goes to shift.  The engine dies.  We start rolling back.  He jams on the brake, and I have to pick up my leg so he can shift into first and start up again, heading ever up this insanely steep hill.  He explained in French that he lived up here, showed us his house, he said his wife was at home with the child (or maybe children).  And he drove us on up to our B & B.  We sort of fell out once the door was open, and we thanked him profusely in two languages.

It was funny.  It was fun.  We may never see these very friendly and kind people again, but it was one of those incidents where we appreciate the kindness of strangers, who easily become short-term friends.  It's the sort of situation that reminds us why we travel.

As I was taking photos this morning, a little orange bird flew onto the electric wires.  I'm pretty sure this is related to the Madagascar fody, which is usually a bright red with grey and black wings and tail.  Same size and shape, sort of sparrow-like.  I don't know if the orange one is a variation, or the female, or maybe a juvenile.  Or even an older fody, going orange instead of going grey as he ages.  Anyway, I tried to get a decent photo while also not scaring the bird away.  Not sure I succeeded, but this is a unique bird so I thought I'd add him in.

We head to another place on the west side of the island on Friday.  Our current place will be occupied, and the owner offered us an apartment at another location.  We like to see various parts of a country, so this seemed like an easy way to do that.

Until then, more adventures!


  1. when you get Netflix again... You MUST watch "The Kindness Diaries"
    a documentary about a Brit who travels the world solely depending on the kindness of strangers!

    1. We often do as well - though not deliberately, just that people all around the world are happy to help. Really is a life-affirming experience!