On the terrace of the guest house I met a South African couple that offered to take me around the town – the man was going out anyway. Off we went – me to get my bearings (and a SIM card), him to buy some cake. The sun is blaring, so my gracious guide offers his umbrella for some shade. The first thing I notice along the streets are all of the snacks. I love snacks. Noodles, samosa, pineapple popsicles, pickled fruits, dumplings.... Yum! After our errands, we walked down to check out the waterfront. There were vendors, small shops, a temple, and people sitting and enjoying the gorgeous view of the mountains and the stunning blue water.
There were a couple of other solo travelers, and one was a South African guy just off an oil rig stopping over on his way home. I mentioned I was going to rent a scooter, so he joined me in the quest. We found a local guy that just happened to have 2 left for 500 rupees a day (a bit high we came to find out). I stayed 5 nights in Le Bamboo (900R/night including breakfast), and got to know a great family. Each day I had breakfast on the terrace with other guests, and during the day I took my rented scooter out to explore the area. Dinners were also spent on the terrace, enjoying delicious Mauritian recipes out of Reshma's kitchen. I explored Blue Bay, went snorkeling in the Marine Park from a glass bottom boat, drove through fields of sugar cane, snuck into a few fancy resorts just to have a look, and drove around searching for the perfect samosa :)
After a few days it was time to explore so I packed and took the scooter to the north. The South African joined, and off we went along the coastal road to the north. It is a beautiful drive up the east coast of Mauritius, and after stopping for snacks, swims, and photo opportunities it took us 4 hours to get to Grand Baie. We started looking for accomodation, and the first place we came across was a nice guest house run by a Canadian. They had no clean rooms, so they made a call and sent us on to the Auberge Miko where Vivek and Lena were waiting. It couldn't have worked out better. For 800 R per night I had my own studio apartment with a small kitchen, dining table, queen bed and balcony. I decided to stay 4 nights.
Grand Baie is much more commercial and touristy, which meant more bars, restaurants, water sports, and traffic, but it was a welcome change after Mahebourg. The first night was spent at The Beach House, where they had a band and windows that opened up to the beach. A nice welcome to Grand Baie! The next day I discovered the stunning beaches, with turquoise water and white sand. Mon Choisy & La Cuvette became my 2 favorites. Noodles on the beach in Mon Choisy, and swimming in the cove at La Cuvette. There is a South African owned bar, the Patch and Parrot, so it's not surprising I ended up there with the South African. We made new friends, but it was time to drive back south. The South African was returning home to his family, and I wanted to witness the festival of Cavadee down in Mahebourg. Back down the coastal road, this time fully confident in our navigation. Although I had a feeling I'd be seeing the north one more time...