At Dubai International Airport at 11pm to catch our flight to Mauritius. It had been over a year since I had been to Terminal 3 when we flew to Cape Town for our wedding.
With Rianda nearing the end of her second trimester and with the five day Eid al-Fitr holiday coming up we decided to plan a relaxing few days in Mauritius.
On the travelator in the newly reopened Concourse C. The original Terminal 1, it was closed in 2016 for refurbishment and is now part of Terminal 3.
A diorama on display of when Dubai Airport used to consist solely of a simple terminal and a runway of compacted sand.
Grabbing a pre-flight bite to eat at the Marhaba lounge. With the start of the public holiday it was very busy.
Our flight was a simple direct to Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport on Emirates. I had some Skyward miles expiring from my previous trips to Canada and the USA so used them to pay for the trip to Mauritius.
The flight route was almost due south and it quite felt strange to fly 5,000+ kilometers and still be in the same timezone.
Boarding just before 2am. It was Rianda's first flight on the double-decker A380.
The safety demonstration underway as we push back for our 2:30am departure.
Take-off roll on runway 30R.
I then put in some earplugs and put on my eye shades for a bit of an early morning nap.
Watching the Dick Cheney biopic Vice, featuring actor Christian Bale in a fat suit after a few hours nap.
Halfway through the film a false epilogue appeared saying that Cheney lived the rest of his life healthy and happy in the private sector with the credits then rolling. The film then abruptly jolted back to reality and continued onto right before Mr. Cheney became Vice President (and the consequent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq).
Hot breakfast served ~2 hours from Mauritius.
And a cup of coffee to clear away the red-eye cobwebs.
On finals to Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport.
And stamped into my 131st country visited.
After picking up our suitcase we headed out to the Sixt rental car office to pickup a Nissan Micra (and a slight upgrade to the Kia Picanto we had booked) for the next five days. It was only $45 a day so quite reasonable and a better option than just relying on taxis to get around the island.
Our plan for today was to drive across the island to the capital, Port Louis, and then head north to Grand-Baie.
After some initial roadwords we then made good time on the M2 highway to Port Louis.
After parking the car in Port Louis, we went for a walk into the city center. Outside the colourful Kannanur Mariamman Kovil temple. 48.5% of the Mauritian population follows Hinduism.
A British Airways A320 rebranded as 'Aero King' on the side of a Port Louis bus.
Vegetables for sale at the local markets.
Plenty of street food.
More buses at Immigration Square Bus Station.
And looking across to the Le Caudan Waterfront, named after Frenchman Jean Dominique Michel de Caudan who started a saltpan in 1726 near Port-Louis.
Rows of umbrellas strung up beside the Barkly Wharf building, named after Sir Henry Barkly, the British governor of Mauritius from 1863 to 1870.
After a bit of a walk around we settled for some lunch at Mammamia che Gelato. An espresso for me and a mango smoothie for Rianda.
Followed by some tasty crepes.
And a decent sized sundae to share for dessert.
We then walked back to the car to make the 30 minute drive to Grand-Baie.
After a bit of a faux pas by Google Maps after it crazily diverted us down a very narrow alley we finally arrived to check in to the Ocean Villas Hotel.
The rose-sprinkled bed in our beach side room for the next two nights.
The very spacious bathroom with outdoor bath and shower.
And the infinity pool and view of the bay just outside. For €100 per night including breakfast we were quite impressed.
We then went out to stretch our legs on the beach.
Looking down on the infinity pool to the right and the hotel sun loungers on the beach to the left.
Boats moored below in Grand Baie.
To the south with rain clouds in the distance.
And sugar cane fields in the middle distance.
The sun now low on the horizon.
And about to set at the end of the day.
The island of Coin de Mire in the distance with Flat Island to the right.
In the evening we went to the hotel bar for some pre-dinner drinks. My Blue Hawaii and Rianda's virgin Mojito.
A short walk from the hotel was La Cigale Pizzeria and where we headed for a bite to eat.
And about to enjoy some very tasty pizza.
Rianda kept her bag next to her on the seat beside her (just visible to her right in the above photo). There was a few bushes between us and the road. As we were eating we heard some rustling just behind us. A guy wearing a motorcycle helmet then suddenly emerged, grabbed Rianda's bag and then bolted!
I quickly jumped up to try and catch him but he had jumped on a waiting motorcycle and quickly disappeared into the night.
The bag had contained Rianda's wallet, a point-and-shoot camera and some clothing but luckily we had left our passports in the hotel safe.
My ~$4.5k DLSR camera had been sitting on the table beside us and fortunately just our of reach of the thief.
Some South African expats who were also dining at the pizzeria then quickly gave us a lift to the nearest police station to file a report.
The Police were very professional, helpful and friendly and quickly helped us to make a witness statement. Rianda was still a little shaken up but somehow managed to remember the 24 hr phone number for her bank and call and cancel her cards. Given that the thief was wearing a helmet and that we only got a brief look at him there was little chance of being able to identify him. The police report would help with replacing Rianda's ID and insurance card though.
It was my first time being mugged while travelling since I had my iPhone pickpocketed (and promptly returned after I angrily confronted the would-be thief) in Mexico City and figured we had had a pretty good run since then so just chalked it up our luck finally running out.
They then gave us ride back to our hotel. It was my first time taking a ride in the backseat of a Police car and it was quite a surreal and bewildering end to our first day in Mauritius!
The sun peaking above the horizon amongst some dramatic looking clouds on the morning of day 2.
After putting on my running shoes I went out for a bit of a jog.
With an easy 5k's along Grand Baie.
Outside a mosque with locals celebrating Eid al-Fitr.
Grand Baie Public Beach.
A colourful Hindu temple on Royale Road.
And back at the hotel where Rianda had managed to find a new friend.
Breakfast at the hotel where they had a generous spread including fresh omelettes and crepes to order.
We then went for a drive to explore some of the local beaches. Our first stop was Bain Boeuf Public Beach.
The island of Coin de Mire visible in the distance.
Also called Gunner's Quoin, the island has an area of 65 hectares and is situated 5 kilometers offshore from Bain Boeuf Public Beach. There are nearly a hundred tiny islands, islets and rocks scattered around the coast.
Just behind Coin de Mire is Flat_Island, which has an interesting history as a quarantine island during the British colonial period for people suffering from malaria and other diseases.
To the right is Round Island and Serpent Island. Both islands are part of a nature reserve and are home to various endemic species of reptiles.
And a close up of Coin de Mire. Previously a sanctuary to the domed Mauritius giant tortoise, they unfortunately became extinct in 1735 after the arrival of the Dutch when they were slaughtered for food and oil.
Heading back to Bain Boeuf.
With the rows of green Casuarina trees lining the beach.
We then walked along the golden sand in the warm morning sun.
And another holiday selfie!
After a short drive west we arrived at our second stop, Pereybère Public Beach
It was a cosy little family beach in the village of the same name and a nice place to dip our toes in the sea.
We then made the drive to the west side of the island to the town of Trou-aux-Biches.
And taking a stroll along the long white stretch of sand, and purportedly one of the most beautiful beaches on the island.
The boat pier in front of Club Med La Pointe aux Canonniers.
With some locals enjoying a swim.
Just offshore was a boat towing a parasail.
Flying high above the water.
At about 3pm we were getting a little hungry so headed to a food stall for a snack.
And shared some tasty samosas before heading back to Grand Baie.
After an afternoon nap back at the hotel I went out to explore more of Grand Baie.
A field of sugarcane just outside town. Sugarcane is grown on about 90% of the agricultural area in the country and accounts for 25% of export earnings.
The Royal Princess moored in Grand Baie.
Looking down on the rows of sun loungers at the five star Royal Palm Beachcomber Luxury where room rates start from $900 a night.
And chilling in the pool at our mere €100 a night hotel.
Rianda enjoying a few laps.
And a great way to freshen up at the end of a relaxing day.
In the evening we headed to a local seafood restaurant, Le Capitaine, for dinner.
After a quick look at the à la carte menu we decided to try the seven course dégustation menu.
Bread and some water to start.
Our first starter, tian of crab and avacado.
Next was the ravioli of foie gras with Thai broth and pearl of fruits. It was my first dégustation experience and as well as the intriguing and wonderful tastes the presentation really added something too.
The duck springroll with sweet rhubarb jam.
After the delicious three starters we were then served the lemongrass sorbet to cleanse the palate.
The first main course, the maple and ginger peking salmon served with rice.
Followed by the very tasty filet mignon of venison with curry sauce, cumin paratha and raita.
And finishing with a trio of desserts. A great way to end an amazing meal and introduction to Mauritian cuisine.
And superb value for 2,365 MUR ($65) for the two of us.