Leaving Paradise – a catch up post

So, as it turns out, safari camps in the middle of the Serengeti do not have internet access. This should have been obvious. I just honestly never thought about it. And I can’t say I missed it. As it was the days were full and I was in bed between 9 and 10 pm each night exhausted. There was no time.

It does however, leave me with some catching up to do.

When I left you last, I was seasick after the return from Praslin. We had two days left in the Seychelles. Friday, we decided to take a vacation from our vacation. We did nothing. We slept in. We read books. Played games. Hardly left the hotel. There was no need. We enjoyed the awesome weather from our awesome patio.

Saturday was our last day. We had no real plans, but a few ideas. Dave had been wanting to go para-sailing. I am afraid of heights, and so kept stalling him. Saturday I gathered my courage and told him to book it (and fast, before I chickened out.) So before 11 am I found myself 150m (+/-) above Beau Vallon beach, strapped to Dave, holding on for dear life, and loving every minute of it. (What do you think Rawlsy, there’s something Eat-Pray-Love-ish about overcoming fears, am I right?)

As we were gathering our things after our flight we were randomly asked if we were interested in a boat ride to the marine park and some snorkelling. Um, yeah. We’d been trying to plan this already, but it was too expensive ($90 each). Now with a group we could each go for $35. Perfect.

So after a quick lunch we boarded a glass bottomed boat for a 3-hour tour of the marine park, and some of the most amazing snorkelling ever.

As we walked down the beach we spotted some folks putting up a Takamaka Bay Rum tent, but I assumed it was a sponsorship thing and never thought more of it. However, when we returned, there was a party about to start. Tents were up, and a parade had just started. Takamaka Bay Rum was having a promotional event. For no particular reason. On our beach, on our last day in the country.

The company co-founder called us over, asked where we were from, and served us one delicious cocktail after another, and made us promise to pick up a bottle of Takamaka Bay Rum at the duty-free store on our way out. And so we did. So very yummy – and such a nice sendoff.

Bye-bye Seychelles. We will miss you.


Anse Major (Or: The hike that nearly killed me)

So I don’t fancy myself to be overly fit. I am one of six siblings. Five athletes, and me, the yearbook editor. I do try to stay in reasonable shape. I ran the Bluenose 10k in May at a respectable but by no means fast time. And pretty much any vacation D and I take involves a hike of some kind.

With our hike to the summit killed by rain at the peaks, we undertook a different walk. At the end of the Beau Vallon beach road (about 2km away) begins a “footpath” up, along, and down the mountain, a total of 2.4 km, to a lovely little each called Anse Major. We decided to go.

A little over 4k in. A nice break and lunch and a swim. Then back out. sounded easy enough. Or so I thought.

I was completely unprepared for the effect the heat would have on my stamina. I was tired before we even got to the so-called footpath. Then the real fun began.

And Anse Major was beautiful. After a relaxing soak in the warm Indian Ocean and a much needed lunch*, I was even willing to admit it might have been worth the walk. Might.

Up and over the mountain on a series of stone pathways which occasionally gave way to forest walks or wound through caves. It was pathetic. I felt like the stereotypical lazy, overweight, out of shape Western tourist. I was a panting sweaty mess. But if 10k training gave me anything, it was endurance. I kept going.

*Note: Peanut butter and pineapple jam sandwiches are my new favourite thing.

Of geckos and such

So, I won’t pretend this trip was cheap. Because it was not. That said, generally speaking, D and I don’t exactly travel in style. It’s economy plane tickets, rail passes and budget self-catering accommodations all the way. And for that reason we can go to the Seychelles and Africa for the same price many go to Europe.

It also leads to some unexpected surprises that we just roll with, while many travellers would walk away. We have a lovely room here on Beau Vallon beach. It has a tiny kitchen where we can save much money by cooking our own breakfast and dinner. We buy lunch on the road, and all is well. The place is clean and well looked after. Two minor problems (bathroom light switch and outside door hinge) were dealt with swiftly and efficiently.

What won’t go away however, are the critters. There are tiny ants & spiders everywhere. Not hundreds of them, mind you. Even I, with my insect fascination would not be able to deal with that. But they are always around. They are rather polite though – they seem to crawl only on surfaces that we are not using, and don’t get into our stuff. I’m OK with that.

There are also geckos. Funny thing is, we love geckos. D especially. Our first night here, we drank a few beer, sat on our patio and watched the geckos stalk bugs and fight each other for territory. Better than TV. (If there was Gecko TV, we’d watch.)

Then last night, D was running errands while I started supper.  I was browning minced beef and shopping onions, and bent down to get another pot out of the cupboard, when a wee gecko jumped out from beneath the dipper and scampered across my toes to hide beneath the oven. Holy cats! The only reason I did not scream bloody murder is that my heart was in my throat. In my defence, I scared him more than he scared me. I’m sure I did. But I have decided geckos are lovely outdoors, but they do not belong in my kitchen.

2 Canadians + 1 small island = Confusion

That’s Seychelles math.

I have no idea where to start. I am in the Seychelles. That is enough right there. I’m in a tropical paradise in the middle of the Indian Ocean with my long lost husband. This makes me happy in ways I can’t (or perhaps won’t) even explain.

It is remarkably beautiful here. Everything is so lush and green. It was raining when we landed, but honestly it was such a soft warm rain we didn’t even care. It was like we weren’t even getting wet. Our room is lovely. Built right into the side of the mountain,there is a large rock protruding into the bathroom and bedroom wall – they literally just built around it. Beau Vallon beach, the island’s most popular, is just across the road.

Because of the rain. we rented a car and spent our first day driving around the island. Or perhaps I should say, our first few hours. We Canadians are incapable of looking at a map without equating centimetres – even millimetres – with kilometers. We still thought we were driving down the east coast, when we suddenly found ourselves back where we started. No wonder the signs weren’t making sense. But since we still had plenty of time left, we made another loop, and checked it out in detail.

Last night between supper and patio beers, we went for a starlight swim and some stargazing. The stars are in the wrong places. It is so n. I have never been in the southern hemisphere before. The big dipper is all inside out and backwards. Odd. Just odd.

We tried to hike up Mont Blanc today – the second highest point on the island. Naturally D. wants to go to the highest point but it is complicated. Something about sheer granite facings and quicksand and needing a guide and applying to the internal ministry of something or other… so second highest it is. Or hopefully will be. Lovely as the morning was when we left, by the time we got to the tea factory (more on that later) to start our climb, it was pouring. No point climbing to the top of the mountain if it is shrouded in cloud and you can’t see anything anyway.

So we stopped in at the tea factory. Did you know that the Seychelles is a major tea exporter? (Cheryl, I am talking to you.) Well, it is. We sat in the tea room. I sampled the cinnamon while Dave opted for vanilla. Lovely. I will bring some back with me.

Then, since it was rainy at 900m but not at sea level, we got back in the rental car and searched out a tiny secluded beach recommended by our Lonely Planet Guide. After a few scary turns and a road that made the highlands of Scotland look like the Autobahn, we got to Anse Soleil. It was breathtaking. Lovely swim, and I think the first sunburn of the vacation.

More later. I am off to supper, and then the beach. (later might be days. Internet is scarce here. And I’d rather be swimming.)