Thursday, December 21, 2017

The Sounds That Are Mauritius

21 December 2017

Every place seems to have its own sound-track - all the noises and sounds and music that run in the background of life in each location.

In Mauritius, each day begins with birdsong.  We aren't sure which bird makes what noise, although the ground doves make a distinctive cooing sort of warble.  Our friendly crested bulbuls and bright red fodies come by to visit our balcony every morning, asking for treats like stale bread, or maybe croissant crumbs.  They and the quieter sparrows gobble up every little bit, hopping from balcony to balcony, entertaining the tourists.

We also hear quiet waves, although Grande Baie is so calm, there really isn't any crashing on shore.  More just a whispery hint of wave action.  Of course, hotels closer to the beach hear much more wave action than we do.

During the day, there's pulsing Indian music from various cars, restaurants, or often the kitchens as people go about their work.  This is the music we also hear on our television.  We have maybe fifteen different channels:  BBC News, China News, one sports channel, and then twelve or so Bollywood channels.  Seriously, if it isn't a Bollywood movie it's a Bollywood music video from a movie.  Some of them have subtitles, but the music always makes me want to get up and dance and twirl and tap my feet while shrugging my shoulders along with the dancers in the movie.  (I sometimes do, even though I don't know the choreography.)

Occasionally we hear the muezzin from the mosque down the street, calling the faithful to prayer.  We don't hear this every day, but sometimes.

And the Tamil temple, which is closer, has services that begin with little bells or maybe finger cymbals - just a gentle little tinkling sound, accompanied by incense perfuming the air if we are walk-ing by.

Every restaurant has its own soundtrack as well.  The restaurant right below our apartment has music on Friday and Saturday nights - last week they had a great little jazz combo that Richard and I both enjoyed.  They really were good!  We've heard Greek music at Zorba's, French music at our neighborhood bistro, cool jazz at the gourmet popsicle place, and often just modern American pop music at more generic eating places.

In the past couple of days, Christmas music has become popular at stores and the mall - not every store, but some.  It's surprising to hear things like Jingle Bells when the weather outside is warm and delightful and the only chestnuts are in ice cream pops.

At sunset, the birds return to their trees with their bird chatter, discussing their day and gossiping as usual.  And after sunset, we hear the bats (flying foxes) arguing or fighting over fruit as they land in the trees and decimate the mangoes or whatever.

But my absolute part of the soundtrack has to be to random fireworks!  We never know exactly what people are celebrating, or when, or who it is shooting off the fireworks - but we'll hear a BOOM after dark, look outside, and there are the bursting colors lighting up the sky!  So exciting!  We've seen all kinds of rockets and fireworks in large stores, so apparently people buy these for fun, or special occasions.  And I guess the lead up to the holiday season is a special occasion requiring fireworks!

Tomorrow we move to a new residence, just down the street.  Our current place doesn't have availability for the rest of our stay in Mauritius.  Turns out that our new residence (really, that's what it's called - a residence - meaning short-term studio apartments for travellers, I guess) hosts a big fireworks display for New Year's Eve, so we're both looking forward to that!

I've mentioned a few of our favorite eateries in Grande Baie, like Zorba's.  Not sure if I included L'Horizon, the neighborhood French bistro.  Delightful outdoor cafĂ© with wonderful items like grilled duck, mussels, steak, and a variety of amazing salads on the menu - I've had about half of them and they are wonderful.  Definitely recommend this spot:  www.facebook/restolhorizon

I've included the Unicorn popsicle from Gourmet Pops - though my favorite flavor is the chocolate with fresh raspberries.  Really, amazing hand-made gourmet popsicles with flavors like fresh grapefruit or watermelon or berries.  Or chocolate with a brownie in the center.  Vanilla with an Oreo, or a macaron.  The Unicorn is a rainbow of fruit layers.  Just a fun place for a light afternoon snack that really is tasty and relatively low in calories.  Check them out:

I need to pack up the computer, since we move tomorrow.  But I'm sure I'll be reporting back soon on what Christmas and New Year's are like in Mauritius!

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