We are not alone

Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolo reau fugiat nulla pariatur. Non numquam eius modi tempora incidunt ut labore et dolore magnam aliquam quaerat voluptatem.

Praesent sollicitudin ligula a magna consectetur commodo. Integer id urna dui. Vestibulum ornare orci eget dolor laoreet placerat. Suspendisse eu enim dui, a varius tortor. Aliquam in ipsum sed mi vestibulum lacinia. Morbi sit amet placerat nibh. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Nullam hendrerit sapien vel lorem varius pellentesque. Donec rutrum lorem ut diam volutpat at consectetur erat sodales.

Sed tortor arcu, egestas eu molestie in, lacinia luctus justo. Suspendisse semper, justo eget hendrerit viverra, mauris ligula gravida lorem, vitae mollis nisi nisl sed velit. Phasellus tempus mi id mauris accumsan dapibus. Vestibulum luctus porta nisi, a blandit quam volutpat at. Praesent in sapien arcu, ut malesuada dui. Morbi sed felis eget lectus semper tincidunt eget at nisl.

Donec augue turpis, tempor id pulvinar eget, cursus eget ante. Proin sit amet nibh sem. Aliquam in ipsum sed mi.

Nulla porta sapien id diam euismod ultricies. Vestibulum elementum, lectus at gravida facilisis, sem ante bibendum justo, sit amet semper lacus nulla at est. Curabitur id augue libero. Quisque bibendum mattis luctus. Integer molestie molestie dapibus. Sed imperdiet, diam eu feugiat tristique, felis odio condimentum tellus, ut fermentum tortor urna sit amet arcu. In hac habitasse platea dictumst. Pellentesque purus augue, hendrerit at fermentum at, euismod a velit.

Integer eget eros ligula. Curabitur a leo tellus, quis elementum turpis. Curabitur est nibh, ullamcorper eu viverra ultricies, aliquet nec lectus. Vestibulum elementum, purus a tempus fringilla, tortor est ultricies nibh, id feugiat nunc lectus in massa. Vivamus iaculis purus at tortor lacinia pharetra. Curabitur orci neque, tincidunt at pharetra in, accumsan elementum orci. Maecenas id nibh quis arcu ultricies dignissim in sit amet justo. Fusce mattis arcu sed nulla volutpat porta.

Etiam pellentesque mollis ultrices. Nam dictum auctor nunc, at ultricies lorem tempor id. Nulla tellus dolor, aliquam ac consectetur at, euismod sed sapien. Fusce placerat, metus in placerat luctus, nisi ligula varius nisl, a venenatis turpis purus sit amet quam. Nunc quis eros quam, sit amet malesuada tortor. Praesent viverra adipiscing quam, sit amet aliquet velit aliquam vel. Vivamus quis enim interdum lacus mattis feugiat.

Dive, dive, dive!

Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolo reau fugiat nulla pariatur. Non numquam eius modi tempora incidunt ut labore et dolore magnam aliquam quaerat voluptatem.

Praesent sollicitudin ligula a magna consectetur commodo. Integer id urna dui. Vestibulum ornare orci eget dolor laoreet placerat. Suspendisse eu enim dui, a varius tortor. Aliquam in ipsum sed mi vestibulum lacinia. Morbi sit amet placerat nibh. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Nullam hendrerit sapien vel lorem varius pellentesque. Donec rutrum lorem ut diam volutpat at consectetur erat sodales.

Sed tortor arcu, egestas eu molestie in, lacinia luctus justo. Suspendisse semper, justo eget hendrerit viverra, mauris ligula gravida lorem, vitae mollis nisi nisl sed velit. Phasellus tempus mi id mauris accumsan dapibus. Vestibulum luctus porta nisi, a blandit quam volutpat at. Praesent in sapien arcu, ut malesuada dui. Morbi sed felis eget lectus semper tincidunt eget at nisl.

Donec augue turpis, tempor id pulvinar eget, cursus eget ante. Proin sit amet nibh sem. Aliquam in ipsum sed mi.

Nulla porta sapien id diam euismod ultricies. Vestibulum elementum, lectus at gravida facilisis, sem ante bibendum justo, sit amet semper lacus nulla at est. Curabitur id augue libero. Quisque bibendum mattis luctus. Integer molestie molestie dapibus. Sed imperdiet, diam eu feugiat tristique, felis odio condimentum tellus, ut fermentum tortor urna sit amet arcu. In hac habitasse platea dictumst. Pellentesque purus augue, hendrerit at fermentum at, euismod a velit.

Integer eget eros ligula. Curabitur a leo tellus, quis elementum turpis. Curabitur est nibh, ullamcorper eu viverra ultricies, aliquet nec lectus. Vestibulum elementum, purus a tempus fringilla, tortor est ultricies nibh, id feugiat nunc lectus in massa. Vivamus iaculis purus at tortor lacinia pharetra. Curabitur orci neque, tincidunt at pharetra in, accumsan elementum orci. Maecenas id nibh quis arcu ultricies dignissim in sit amet justo. Fusce mattis arcu sed nulla volutpat porta.

Etiam pellentesque mollis ultrices. Nam dictum auctor nunc, at ultricies lorem tempor id. Nulla tellus dolor, aliquam ac consectetur at, euismod sed sapien. Fusce placerat, metus in placerat luctus, nisi ligula varius nisl, a venenatis turpis purus sit amet quam. Nunc quis eros quam, sit amet malesuada tortor. Praesent viverra adipiscing quam, sit amet aliquet velit aliquam vel. Vivamus quis enim interdum lacus mattis feugiat.

A long walk

Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolo reau fugiat nulla pariatur. Non numquam eius modi tempora incidunt ut labore et dolore magnam aliquam quaerat voluptatem.

Praesent sollicitudin ligula a magna consectetur commodo. Integer id urna dui. Vestibulum ornare orci eget dolor laoreet placerat. Suspendisse eu enim dui, a varius tortor. Aliquam in ipsum sed mi vestibulum lacinia. Morbi sit amet placerat nibh. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Nullam hendrerit sapien vel lorem varius pellentesque. Donec rutrum lorem ut diam volutpat at consectetur erat sodales.

Sed tortor arcu, egestas eu molestie in, lacinia luctus justo. Suspendisse semper, justo eget hendrerit viverra, mauris ligula gravida lorem, vitae mollis nisi nisl sed velit. Phasellus tempus mi id mauris accumsan dapibus. Vestibulum luctus porta nisi, a blandit quam volutpat at. Praesent in sapien arcu, ut malesuada dui. Morbi sed felis eget lectus semper tincidunt eget at nisl.

Donec augue turpis, tempor id pulvinar eget, cursus eget ante. Proin sit amet nibh sem. Aliquam in ipsum sed mi.

Nulla porta sapien id diam euismod ultricies. Vestibulum elementum, lectus at gravida facilisis, sem ante bibendum justo, sit amet semper lacus nulla at est. Curabitur id augue libero. Quisque bibendum mattis luctus. Integer molestie molestie dapibus. Sed imperdiet, diam eu feugiat tristique, felis odio condimentum tellus, ut fermentum tortor urna sit amet arcu. In hac habitasse platea dictumst. Pellentesque purus augue, hendrerit at fermentum at, euismod a velit.

Integer eget eros ligula. Curabitur a leo tellus, quis elementum turpis. Curabitur est nibh, ullamcorper eu viverra ultricies, aliquet nec lectus. Vestibulum elementum, purus a tempus fringilla, tortor est ultricies nibh, id feugiat nunc lectus in massa. Vivamus iaculis purus at tortor lacinia pharetra. Curabitur orci neque, tincidunt at pharetra in, accumsan elementum orci. Maecenas id nibh quis arcu ultricies dignissim in sit amet justo. Fusce mattis arcu sed nulla volutpat porta.

Etiam pellentesque mollis ultrices. Nam dictum auctor nunc, at ultricies lorem tempor id. Nulla tellus dolor, aliquam ac consectetur at, euismod sed sapien. Fusce placerat, metus in placerat luctus, nisi ligula varius nisl, a venenatis turpis purus sit amet quam. Nunc quis eros quam, sit amet malesuada tortor. Praesent viverra adipiscing quam, sit amet aliquet velit aliquam vel. Vivamus quis enim interdum lacus mattis feugiat.

City skyline

Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolo reau fugiat nulla pariatur. Non numquam eius modi tempora incidunt ut labore et dolore magnam aliquam quaerat voluptatem.

Praesent sollicitudin ligula a magna consectetur commodo. Integer id urna dui. Vestibulum ornare orci eget dolor laoreet placerat. Suspendisse eu enim dui, a varius tortor. Aliquam in ipsum sed mi vestibulum lacinia. Morbi sit amet placerat nibh. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Nullam hendrerit sapien vel lorem varius pellentesque. Donec rutrum lorem ut diam volutpat at consectetur erat sodales.

Sed tortor arcu, egestas eu molestie in, lacinia luctus justo. Suspendisse semper, justo eget hendrerit viverra, mauris ligula gravida lorem, vitae mollis nisi nisl sed velit. Phasellus tempus mi id mauris accumsan dapibus. Vestibulum luctus porta nisi, a blandit quam volutpat at. Praesent in sapien arcu, ut malesuada dui. Morbi sed felis eget lectus semper tincidunt eget at nisl.

Donec augue turpis, tempor id pulvinar eget, cursus eget ante. Proin sit amet nibh sem. Aliquam in ipsum sed mi.

Nulla porta sapien id diam euismod ultricies. Vestibulum elementum, lectus at gravida facilisis, sem ante bibendum justo, sit amet semper lacus nulla at est. Curabitur id augue libero. Quisque bibendum mattis luctus. Integer molestie molestie dapibus. Sed imperdiet, diam eu feugiat tristique, felis odio condimentum tellus, ut fermentum tortor urna sit amet arcu. In hac habitasse platea dictumst. Pellentesque purus augue, hendrerit at fermentum at, euismod a velit.

Integer eget eros ligula. Curabitur a leo tellus, quis elementum turpis. Curabitur est nibh, ullamcorper eu viverra ultricies, aliquet nec lectus. Vestibulum elementum, purus a tempus fringilla, tortor est ultricies nibh, id feugiat nunc lectus in massa. Vivamus iaculis purus at tortor lacinia pharetra. Curabitur orci neque, tincidunt at pharetra in, accumsan elementum orci. Maecenas id nibh quis arcu ultricies dignissim in sit amet justo. Fusce mattis arcu sed nulla volutpat porta.

Etiam pellentesque mollis ultrices. Nam dictum auctor nunc, at ultricies lorem tempor id. Nulla tellus dolor, aliquam ac consectetur at, euismod sed sapien. Fusce placerat, metus in placerat luctus, nisi ligula varius nisl, a venenatis turpis purus sit amet quam. Nunc quis eros quam, sit amet malesuada tortor. Praesent viverra adipiscing quam, sit amet aliquet velit aliquam vel. Vivamus quis enim interdum lacus mattis feugiat.

Across the desert

Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolo reau fugiat nulla pariatur. Non numquam eius modi tempora incidunt ut labore et dolore magnam aliquam quaerat voluptatem.

Praesent sollicitudin ligula a magna consectetur commodo. Integer id urna dui. Vestibulum ornare orci eget dolor laoreet placerat. Suspendisse eu enim dui, a varius tortor. Aliquam in ipsum sed mi vestibulum lacinia. Morbi sit amet placerat nibh. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Nullam hendrerit sapien vel lorem varius pellentesque. Donec rutrum lorem ut diam volutpat at consectetur erat sodales.

Sed tortor arcu, egestas eu molestie in, lacinia luctus justo. Suspendisse semper, justo eget hendrerit viverra, mauris ligula gravida lorem, vitae mollis nisi nisl sed velit. Phasellus tempus mi id mauris accumsan dapibus. Vestibulum luctus porta nisi, a blandit quam volutpat at. Praesent in sapien arcu, ut malesuada dui. Morbi sed felis eget lectus semper tincidunt eget at nisl.

Donec augue turpis, tempor id pulvinar eget, cursus eget ante. Proin sit amet nibh sem. Aliquam in ipsum sed mi.

Nulla porta sapien id diam euismod ultricies. Vestibulum elementum, lectus at gravida facilisis, sem ante bibendum justo, sit amet semper lacus nulla at est. Curabitur id augue libero. Quisque bibendum mattis luctus. Integer molestie molestie dapibus. Sed imperdiet, diam eu feugiat tristique, felis odio condimentum tellus, ut fermentum tortor urna sit amet arcu. In hac habitasse platea dictumst. Pellentesque purus augue, hendrerit at fermentum at, euismod a velit.

Integer eget eros ligula. Curabitur a leo tellus, quis elementum turpis. Curabitur est nibh, ullamcorper eu viverra ultricies, aliquet nec lectus. Vestibulum elementum, purus a tempus fringilla, tortor est ultricies nibh, id feugiat nunc lectus in massa. Vivamus iaculis purus at tortor lacinia pharetra. Curabitur orci neque, tincidunt at pharetra in, accumsan elementum orci. Maecenas id nibh quis arcu ultricies dignissim in sit amet justo. Fusce mattis arcu sed nulla volutpat porta.

Etiam pellentesque mollis ultrices. Nam dictum auctor nunc, at ultricies lorem tempor id. Nulla tellus dolor, aliquam ac consectetur at, euismod sed sapien. Fusce placerat, metus in placerat luctus, nisi ligula varius nisl, a venenatis turpis purus sit amet quam. Nunc quis eros quam, sit amet malesuada tortor. Praesent viverra adipiscing quam, sit amet aliquet velit aliquam vel. Vivamus quis enim interdum lacus mattis feugiat.

Green & Tranquil Malta: Tasting Maltese Food & Wine in the Countryside — Travels with Tricia A. Mitchell

Close to where Malta’s Victoria Lines fortifications taper off, there’s a little piece of Mediterranean paradise – a plot of land where olive and pomegranate trees, along with chickens, goldfish, frogs, and bees mingle. The spot, called the Tan-Nixxiegħa Olive Grove, began its transformation from overgrown and forgotten, to tended and tranquil, just over a decade ago, thanks to two farmers named Charley and […]

via Green & Tranquil Malta: Tasting Maltese Food & Wine in the Countryside — Travels with Tricia A. Mitchell

Sunset over Mauritius

If you want to see beautiful daily sunsets in Mauritius, the best side of the island to visit or stay at is the Western side. Everyone would come and watch the sun go down and believe you me, it would never take too long as in just under 30 minutes it would be dark. 

The days in Mauritius are pretty much the same length all year round, so sunset times are super easy to predict. The hotel we were staying has a decent long beach, with a boardwalk jetty half way and just adjacent to the main hotel building and gardens. The jetty was a focal point for a lot of people, including locals and was one of the finest places to sit, with your legs dangling over the edge into the warm waters. Many people would fish from it, people would pick people up via boat (which we did on one occasion).

Culture Shock

A “culture shock” is a strong reaction to have for a place, sometimes it is a bad thing and in others it is just a case of simply being immersed in a culture that is alien to your own. I experienced this recently when we arrived in Mauritius but thankfully it was a case of never having been there before. We soon became settled and absolutely loved the island, so let me tell you a story about one particular area we encountered and how we ended up helping some of these people at a time of personal loss.

The journey from an airport to your actual destination, can often be an interesting experience. I can recall many such drives, bus rides and taxi rides through places such as Naples, another one of those locations that is a little “shocking” at first but then you soon see the dilapidated beauty slowly turn into breathtaking scenery and all is right with the world again. On the flip-side, definitely one of the highlights of that trip, was seeing Vesuvius for the very first time. Indeed each of these drives features such moments of recognition. Pisa to Sienna, spotted the Leaning Tower from a distance as you head out of the airport to the autostrada. Lisbon, we got to drive over Vasco da Gama Bridge (the longest bridge in Europe) twice, as we headed South. You begin to appreciate the world more and what human beings have achieved when building extraordinary things.

In Mauritius we were collected from the wonderfully named Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport (I had to look that up to ensure correct spelling here and named after their first Prime Minister post-independence) by a very friendly taxi driver who told us a load of facts about the island. The drive usually takes about 1 hour up towards the North Western end of the island, the area known as Pointe aux Piments (peppers).

The journey was mostly rural to begin with, as we caught glimpses of the stunning scenery, sugar cane fields, isolated properties and lots of other agricultural land with other crops being grown. The first major town we came to, as the road bypassed many others, was Port Louis, the capital city. We then headed out of Port Louis and were drawing closer to our destination, it was here that the landscape started to change, a stunning vista across a vast plain, backed by sharp craggy looking mountains, stretched out for miles. It seemed endless and there was a dramatic sky which will stick in my mind forever. I was half tempted to ask the driver to stop, so that I could take a photo but we were already hours behind schedule and conscious of getting to the hotel for showers and freshening up. I must say I was running on adrenalin because I stayed up for hours later and had been awake for 36 hours without any sleep.

It was when we reached a small neighbourhood made of pieces of corrugated iron and tin roofs, that my perceptions were truly tested. That was my culture shock moment. It was like we were in the depths of Africa (and Mauritius is technically an African island) that I found myself drawing parallels with the “Townships” of South Africa, purely based on what I had seen on documentaries. This however was nothing like that, nowhere near the scale of such places but nonetheless, these houses were built mostly out of sheet metal and some breeze blocks. I noted that there wereone or two that had been “improved” beyond the bare basics and were at least made from breeze blocks with windows added. Some even had a top floor. Outside each there were countless dogs, basking in the sun, sitting under the shade of a tree, idling the time. Washing lines erected on wooden poles that we later realised were made out of wood gathered from Banyan trees, which are abundant on the island. People were busy everywhere, harvesting food, catching their dogs, talking to each other, cycling on rickety bikes, driving old (rather dented) cars and just getting on with life. There certainly was a lot going on and I was truly fascinated by it. I would like to learn more about the people and their lives.

Minutes later we arrived at our beautiful hotel – I shall write about that in another post for fear of losing the context of this piece but I mention it because, it is at least relavent to this article.

It made me think. We had driven through a poor area and that we live in a world where we can have too many things and we can keep on “having”. A little piece of our world had been planted on this beautiful island, within barely a mile of the people who have lived here for centuries. People who don’t have a lot but have enough to live off the land that they have been born into. They perhaps need nothing more and I must add that sanitation is very good in Mauritius, so what seems ramshackle is still miles better than the way some people live in other parts of the world, casting my mind back to those townships I was referring to earlier.

A lot happened over the following weeks and we made friends with people, from all walks of life, most of whom are from our kind of background. Mauritius is a country on the rise with a huge amount being invested in FinTech businesses due to the country being a tax haven. It is also a popular country for IT outsourcing, as we met a guy who works in that field of business, as well as a lady who is Director of a financial company. We met her on our flight down and it turned out that she lived just down the road from our hotel. So we made some entrepeneural friends whilst on holiday. We all had quite a bit in common and we will visit them again when we return to Mauritius in the future.

One of our new friends Kim, had driven us over to visit some other people we had met in a town called Rose Hill. It was this evening we encountered a tragedy on our way back to the hotel. We saw for the fist time during our stay, 4 fire engines go charging down the road we needed to turn down and then we saw smoke. Kim commented that it was more than likely a deliberate Sugar Cane fire, as the farmers burn their crops around November. However that was not to be the case, as we turned the corner and caught up with the fire crew, it became rapidly evident that it was a house fire. One of the tin houses that we drove past on that first day, was ablaze, a spark inside had very quickly started a fire and the heat inside would have been extremely hot. Luckily the family had all escaped. In seconds they lost all of their belongings inside. It was horrid to see. A large group of people were standing on the other side of the road whilst the fire crew were taking control of the situation. The family naturally were distraught, with tears running down their cheeks. Kim was also very upset, because she knew the people and it was then that we got to learn more about them. That night neither my wife Tina nor I slept very well, the images of the fire were playing on our minds.

The following week we heard via Kim, that the fire had been caused by an electrical fault and that one of the sons was already beginning to rebuild the home and was trying to work harder, to earn more money to pay for a new roof. Kim and her family came up with a plan to help them out, to see if enough people could donate some cash. All they needed was equivalent to £300 to complete the work. It would need to be done before the monsoon season at the latest.

We were due to head home at this point, with just 3 more days left and we donated a fair chunk of our remaining Rupees to help them and that brings my story full-circle. I couldn’t recall which house it was now but it was one of the first I had seen on that taxi ride from the airport. I still think about them to this very day. The next time we visit Mauritius, I hope to see that this enterprising young man, may have perhaps introduced another floor to their new house, like a phoenix from the ashes.I hope that this time there will be more breeze blocks and less tin.

It’s Fody O’Clock

Amongst the multitude of wonderful avian wildlife, one little character stands out and that is the Red Fody. A beautiful bright red bird that is about the same size as any British Finch.

The first morning we woke up to a tap tapping sound at the window and were slightly startled! So gingerly I walked to the window, opened the curtains to see this beautiful bright red bird flying against the window. He could perhaps see his reflection in the glass or maybe had found a source of insects climbing across the window.

The people here live in coexistence with nature,they don’t fend it off or even kill it like the original inhabitants of Mauritius would have done (Dodo for example). This means you share your dining experience with the Minah Birds who are quite vocal and may even imitate you which is very funny.

Funny that every morning the Fody wakes me up in time for breakfast. I could almost set my watch by the little guy.