On the 13th We decided since midterms were over we wanted to have a yogurt on the seventh deck and then play cards. It was really fun sitting outside and relaxing. We went to pre-port, I was really upset with the presentation they gave us. They flat out told us that this was our “SPRING BREAK”. They told us what bars to go to and what beers to order. They never spoke about what food to try or great places to visit. I am getting very disappointed with Semester at Sea. They promote drinking so much more than I ever thought they would. What professor gets up in front and tells the entire ship board community what the best beer is in Mauritius! Hello....we are in a different country to see the beautiful culture it has to offer, not buy the best beer they serve on the island. This makes me just a little confused, we took an alcohol class prior to boarding the ship and students have been expelled because of drinking, but they are going to direct us on where to get good alcohol. WOW!! I am so glad that my friends are not into the whole party thing and I am able to see the cultural aspects of the countries we are visiting. I am able to have an amazing time and have a drink on the beach! There is a balance and spending your time in port drunk is not it.
The next day we arrived in Port Louis, Mauritius at 7am. I did not watch the sunrise, it was already up by the time I made it to deck seven. I expected the view coming into the port to be breathtaking. Unfortunately, it was not like that. Yes, it was pretty, but I thought there was going to be miles and miles of beaches. That was not the case. It just looked like every other port. I was very disappointed. Everyone was telling me this was the prettiest place in the world. I would have to argue with that! I do not want to sound like the beaches were not nice, because they were extremely nice, just not what I thought it was going to be like.
We ate breakfast, then waited for the announcement to say, “The ship has been cleared.” It only took an hour and a half to clear the ship. We were so thankful since we only had the first day to explore and see the island, since the second day, we had an orphanage visit. When we got off the ship, we turned to the left and tons of water taxi were there waiting for us. We had to go down about 6 stairs to get to the dock. The stairs were extremely shaky and two guys were holding on to the stairs so they would not move away from the dock. I walked a few more feet and was in front of the water taxi. These boats were not easy to get on and off of. They were very uneven. After the gentlemen helped me get on the boat, I found a seat. It was so crowded, they had shoved about 15 of us on this tiny boat, we barley could move. This guy began to maneuver his way through the crowd, he was stepped on my back like I was a stepping stone. I had to ask Emma if I had shoe prints on my back. I did not just in case you were wondering. =) The water was crystal blue, it was beautiful and peaceful. The water taxi took about 10 minutes to get to the center of town. The Island is much more developed then I thought it was going to be. I thought it was going to have tons of beaches and 5 star resorts all over the island, and in the middle I thought it would be trees and sand. I was completely wrong, there were so many cars, people, and buildings everywhere! Traffic was also a huge probable here. It takes a long time to get to your destination because of all of the traffic. The island is small and the population is 1.3 million. I also think the roads are not as well developed as the untied states and that contributes to the traffic problems.
This is a closed currency country so finding an ATM was first on our list. We found an ATM that looked like a reliable one and withdrew money.
A guy had us follow him to the market, it was really unique.
A taxi driver approached us and asked if we wanted a taxi, at first we said no and then we decided we wanted one. He said he would take us to the beach and on the way there he would show us the Jummah Mosque, other important things in Mauritius, the post office, and then the beach for ten dollars each. We thought that sounded good. He grabbed his taxi and we jumped in.
Jummah Mosque was our first stop, before we stepped inside we told him we did not feel that we were wearing was appropriate to go inside. He insisted that we were fine, and proceeded on leading us in. Everyone inside was starring at us, we felt so uncomfortable. When I asked if I could take a few pictures he said that was fine. The people began to glare at us even more! For some reason, I do not think pictures were aloud and I know for a fact we were not dressed appropriately. We were so glad once we got out of that awkward situation. The taxi driver took us to a few other important places and then he took us to the post office. After we waited about 15 minutes, he was like lets go, we have waited to long! We were the next people to be helped, but we listen to him and jumped back into the taxi. He drove us to the beach area and there was also a post office there, so we got our post cards and post stamps and then we were finally off to the beach. He brought us to the first one, but it was kind of small, and not what we were looking for. So he said he would take us to another beach down the street. This beach was still not as big as we thought, but it was very pretty and the water was light blue.
There were food stands and ice cream stands all around. We decided to eat at this one restaurant that faced towards the ocean. It was a Chinese restaurant. I got chicken and rice! It was so delicious! We also got alcohol beverages! They were very good as well. After we finished up with our meal, we went down to the beach and laid out. It was so peaceful. We wrote on our post cards, in our journals, and read. I could have fallen asleep, it was that peaceful. Emma and I went swimming in the ocean, then sat on the beach and let the water keep splashing us, it was so nice. We found a cab and asked if he could take us to a resort, but he did not understand what we were saying. We decided to go back down on the beach and watch the sunset. After the sunset we headed back to the waterfront. Emma and Carren love Indian food so they wanted to eat at an Indian restaurant. I have never tried Indian food and I was very nervous! Emma told me what type of chicken I should order. The meal ended up being extremely good. We called our parents and then head back to the ship. We were off to the water taxi but a taxi driver said he would take us to the ship for only 5 US dollars. This was cheaper then the water taxi, so we said sure. Once we were in the car, he told us not to tell anyone, even the other taxi drivers that he gave us a ride for 5 US dollars. We asked him why, and he said because he would get in trouble. He also said that he just really needs the money so he could go to the pharmacy and buy medicine because him and his wife are sick. Emma and I were in the back seat about to cry, it broke our hearts. We decided to give him 20 US dollars. He was so grateful.
The next day we had the Children's Terre De Paix visit. We went and visited a children's shelter. They are in charge of removing children from abusive families and placing them in foster care, kind of like CPS but they are not government foster care. They have set up this program to teach the children life skills. They have physical education, arts, agriculture, writing, math, and a variety of other life skills. We got the chance to go around to some of these groups and interact with the children, it was a very cool experience. It was much harder to interact with the children here, because they did not speak English. One of the groups taught us how to say a saying. Which means without other people I am not a person. Si Pena ou Pena nou, Si Pena nou Pena ou, Se nou nou se ou,ou ou ou, nou nou nou. I thought it was really cool they were able to teach us.
Then we went to another building so they could show us what the EU (European Union) donated. EU donated 140,000 dollars to go to the children of ages 0-7 years old. This place looks like it belonged in the United States! It was outstanding!
Words will not even begin to explain it. I will have to post pictures so you can see and understand what I mean by this. It did not fit into the community, it stuck out so much, it was a phenomenal building.
It was time to head back to the waterfront. We stopped at the mall and bought a few last minute things, had lunch, and went to the grocery store to buy food to stock up. After we were back on the ship, we took a nap, then went upstairs for a BBQ. The food was okay but still not amazing.
On ship time has passed and over 100 people got dock time for being late and about 250 people boarded the ship drunk. I am in amazement. These Students paid a fortune to be here and they are wasting their time in port drinking! IDK, but it is beginning to get really annoying. Enough rambling on about drunk people!
In 5 days I will be in Chennai India. I am excited about having a reading day before we arrive in port. Reading days are days when we do not have class. They are catch up days. Most of us use them to catch up on sleep. We lack sleep and are always so tired, however, this reading day is not a normal reading day, it is the Sea Olympics! This is when all of the different halls on the ship compete in different varieties of games. The winners get off the ship first in San Diego. I normally am not competitive, but this time I definitely will be! I want to be the first one off!!! I am the Baltic sea and we are going to win!