April 5, 1978

At 05:00, my host, Uncle Wil, woke me up, made me a nice breakfast and took me to Johannesburg International Airport. At 08:00 I boarded a 59.6m long Boeing 747 with over 300 fellow passengers on our flight to Mauritius, via Durban. I took a lot of photos of the fascinating coast near Durban both before landing and after take-off. After that, vast stretches of deep blue Indian Ocean, and an impenetrable cloudcover all over Madagascar kept me from taking more photos till we reached the SouthEast coast of the jewel-like Island of Mauritius. We flew over sharp green forested volcanic peaks, brown sugar plantations, and blue bays with coral reefs and many small boats before landing at about 15:00 (there is two houirs time difference with South Africa) on Plaisance Airport, since renamed to "Sir Seewoosagur Ramgolan International Airport".

It was 28 degrees, and a long line of passengers sweated going through customs, surprisingly efficient and friendly. I exchanged US$ 100 for just over Rs 600, then hired a Hertz Mini for Rs 54/day + 1.20 per mile (or km?). I also met a guy sporting a spectacular Rolex Diving Watch, so I asked him jokingly what he did to determine the fate of the World (then a Rolex ad). Apparently he had been diving in the Persian Gulf with Sammy Collins and had met an Australian girl who he married. I helped them with a hospitality card reserve a place at Hotel Chaland and took them across the old airfield and through a sugar cane plantation to the coast where we booked two icecold AC rooms.

This was a lovely spot near the beach, rustic, with a large garden, pleasant cottages and a very friendly staff, mainly Indians. We immediately changed to swimming suits and went to explore the bay and corals reef with many colorful fish, more spectacular than either Hawaii or Caribbean. I then took a shower, donned a clean red shirt and joined the gang for drinks and dinner of lobster (they) and shrimp (I) and tall tales. My journal refers to "bieren en tieren" till about 21:30 when I was ready for bed. Around midnight, however, I was woken up by a loud quarrel in the next cottage, where one inebriated Aussie woman kept answering :" No, no, no, I did not take the pill!" Guess what the question was? After that I went back to bed which was even colder now than before...

please click on SATMAP to enlarge


Flag of Mauritius

c'est francais(e)?

Coat of Arms
of Mauritius

Pauvre Dodo ...

Casuarina - NW Mauritius
Trou au Biches

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