The road less traveled

Claudine, the hostess, was serving breakfast that morning and they started chatting

Breakfast display

Breakfast display

about dinner. They asked about lobsters and she said that she could try even if it was a bit at short notice. So, they decided to make a first stop into town, get the supplies they wanted, cancel their booking with Marlin Bleu and then head out for the mountains and then dot he south west coast ending up in St Francois for a dip in the sea.

In town they found parking easily in front of the bank where they had to draw money, then walked to the warehouse of the ‘King of Rodrigues’ where Shameemah bought a slab of Belgian cooking chocolate and then the other ladies went to hunt for Rodrigues sausages while she went up to the 2 Freres to order their picnic pizzas.

Their menu looked interesting, but since the owner was not there it was not open for dinner. She ordered a vegetarian pizza and a pizza de la mer. They went to put the shopping back in their room while the pizzas got ready. Luckily she did not have to go back into town, Shameemah picked up the pizzas on her way up.

And so they started out again. First stop at Valerie’s where they bought loads of local jam, jellies and condiments. Valerie, it seems, had had a bad fall and now cannot see but she is a great person. Still very much interested in what she does and open to suggestions too.

Down in the valley of the bees

Down in the valley of the bees

After Valerie’s they stopped at Quatre Vents for honey and bee-related products. One had to find these places but once they were found, it was a pleasure to just be there – tucked in some remote valley, very green and quiet.

After the bees they headed down towards the south coast where they stopped at Cité

Patate, an end of the world track that leads to the end point of an old, mostly abandoned village. At the end of this track they stopped and had a picnic, being visited only by goats and hens on an otherwise empty piece of a rather rocky coast.

Picnic at Cité Patate

Picnic at Cité Patate

The pizzas were excellent. The ‘sea’ one had locally smoked marlin and pickled limes on it, a great combination. They stayed a while admiring the view and enjoying the quiet. Following a nice coast road they stopped a few times to purchase the local baskets and some more pickles and chillies, and then made it slowly to St Francois beach.

Beach at St Francois

Beach at St Francois

By then the wind had lifted a bit. Adam and Shameemah went for a swim, she went just up to her legs while the others were on the beach enjoying the view of a very empty white beach with a turquoise sea.

Back at the lodge they washed, rested and had tea, took lots of sunset pictures and then later made it to the hostess’s dining room for dinner. It was more convenient for her because there was flambé on the menu and she wanted to use her big kitchen instead of the smallish kitchen of the dining room.

Dinner started with local smoked marlin on a bed of warm potatoes – inspired,  from

Smoked marlin starter

Smoked marlin starter

herring on potatoes and excellent with marlin too. Then, she managed to get us a shell that she calls ‘tourne à gauche’ (translates by ‘turn to the left’) it was just a amuse bouche portion to let us have a taste. This was excellent. Their friends who were there know of this shell but they put it whole in Chinese soups and they say it is usually like rubber but this was nicely prepared and chopped up  – not soft but not rubbery either.

Sauté of local prawns

Sauté of local prawns

Then came the garlic butter prawns with white rice. They managed to wipe out the wok-full that she made. It was very fresh, it tasted like the real thing. Ok, ok, not as nice and big and firm as what she used to get in the DRC but nice for this part of the world. And then came the surprise – lobster flambé. She went into the kitchen to help with that since the hostess asked. It was great fun to work in this huge big kitchen. The lobster was excellent and just enough for all of us. More than that would have been stuffing themselves silly for no reason.

Crème caramel

Crème caramel

Pudding was crème caramel with orange zest. That was excellent too. They chatted to the hostess for a while after the meal and then made it to the room to finish packing, have tea and chat some more.

Breakfast was a jolly affair except that Adam did not want to leave. They stuck candles on

Last breakfast

Last breakfast

the brioche for Shameemah’s birthday. Then they took a little tour of the Domaine de la Paix with Claudine, to see her improvements, her massage room and other extensions. After which they loaded the cars and left with fond farewells of the Claudine.

Birthday brioche

Birthday brioche

At this airport, funnily, they could do some duty free shopping! Yes, it is the same country

Farewell to the Domaine

Farewell to the Domaine

but getting back to Mauritius, duty free shopping is possible. So they did just that and then boarded. Pascal, the host, was getting back that day, they saw him through the terminal window but he did not see them.

Another uneventful flight with a small snack and they landed in the heat of the day. It was a public holiday Tuesday. They picked up the cars in town and went off to the beach where they unpacked slowly, ate some of the pie from Rodrigues and did nothing much for the rest of the day.

 

 

 

451

Pathway into the Domaine

 

All in all, the Rodrigues holiday was a real holiday where the being was present and the doing was optional. They did a lot, saw the sights and had a great time together – creating bonds! It was certainly not the same Rodrigues that she saw some 20 years back. She thinks things are better but there had been three weeks of rain, so the whole place also looked better.

 

As much as she thinks Mauritius is paradise lost, Rodrigues is paradise found. That is not to say that there are no snakes in paradise but the place sure has potential – for basic eco tourism, for peace and quiet and serenity. People who know what they want, should go looking for this place.

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