Mauritius day 3: Lazing

Today I entered the beach-side restaurant by the front entrance and was greeted by the cheerful staff standing at the entrance. The staff gave me a beach-side table today. The breakfast selection looked the same as yesterday so it was a good thing that I’m not big on breakfast. Plus I have a lovely view which more than made up for the unchanging breakfast selection.

I took a brioche bun, some hash browns and a piece of french toast. The french toast was the only new item compared to yesterday. I’m surprised to find that it was rather nice. It was slightly sweet and very soft, almost custardy. At the drinks station, I saw something that was labelled as chocolate milkshake. Oh, milkshake for breakfast? How decadent, I thought. So I took a glass of it, and found that it tasted just like chocolate milk, how disappointing.

After breakfast, I walked to the end of the beach where there were less people. I met a young Chinese couple who were also staying at Club Med. They greeted me and we talked for a little while. They were the first Chinese people I saw at Club Med, but they told me that there was another Chinese family staying at the resort.

I found a nice quiet spot and lay down on the beach chair to read. It was peaceful here. However, even at this quiet part of the beach, there were still people walking around selling merchandise. Another clothing seller came up and tried to engage me in casual conversation. All I wanted was just to be left alone to read my book. So when he asked if I am from China, I decided to just play along.

Seller: Are you from China?

Polar: Yes.

Seller: Where is your family?

Polar: They are still in the room.

Seller: Want to buy some? Very beautiful.

Polar: Oh, I already bought some yesterday. Thank you.

Seller: Yesterday?

Polar: Yes, at the other end of the beach.

Seller: How much you paid for it?

Polar: Er…

Seller: How much? You tell me, I give you good price.

Polar: I don’t know. My mom paid for them.

I made it clear that I wasn’t going to buy any clothing from him, saying that my family already bought enough. Looking rather disappointed, the seller left and went to talk to another couple lazing on the beach chairs. I watched them for a while, wondering if the seller will have a successful sale. Eventually the seller walked away without the couple buying anything from him and I went back to reading my book.

A necklace seller passed by but he did not bother me. I continued reading.

A sunglasses seller passed by and called out if I wanted to buy sunglasses. I pointed at my own spectacles which had turned dark under the sun. So he waved goodbye and called, “Maybe later.” I continued reading.

About 11 am, I decided to pack up and go to the Discovery Center. After thinking about it for a long time, I decided to take up Nicolas’s offer and go for a taxi tour. It cost an extra 900 Mauritian rupees for a taxi tour than going on a group tour but after doing some calculations, I found that it was still within my budget.

I decided to cut through the compound instead of walking back along the beach. This way, I would be able to see the other parts of Club Med. Passing by some palm trees and coconut trees, I heard loud chirping and looked up. There was a flock of village weaver birds and their nests in the trees.

The nests were located at the end of the thin branches and swayed wildly in the breeze. I wondered why the birds decided to build the nests there as it looked rather insecure. I saw two nests that had fallen off the tree and were lying on the ground. There were other sturdier trees nearby but the weavers’ nests were only concentrated on these trees.

At the Discovery Center, I placed my booking for a day trip tomorrow. Nicolas said that he would ask for an English-speaking taxi driver who could point out the sights along the way. However I would have to pay out of my own pocket for the entrance fees and meals. I guessed it can’t be helped. I also would need to check back with Nicolas at the end of the day just to confirm that he was able to book a taxi for me. After we settled the details for the trip, Nicolas treated me to a shot of homemade passionfruit rum. It was bright yellow with black passionfruit seeds and tasted like passionfruit. If not for the unmistakable heat when it went down, I would have thought it was just passionfruit juice.

During lunch, I tried to cram as many appetizers as I could on my plate so I won’t have to make too many trips. There was hard-boiled egg, pork pate, lentils salad, cous cous salad, salami, guacamole and bread. It was all quite tasty. I was enjoying lunch on my own when Nicolas came up and asked if he could join me. I didn’t mind having a quiet lunch with just my book for company, but it felt rude to say no. So I gestured at the empty chair and invited Nicolas to sit down. I wondered if all Club Med staff were told to mingle with their guests at meal times, but I didn’t ask.

Luckily Nicolas was by nature a friendly and chatty person so it felt easier to keep a conversation going. He asked me a few questions about Singapore and seemed genuinely interested. In return, I also tried to ask some questions about Mauritius. All in all, I had an enjoyable conversation with Nicolas during lunch and I was able to find out more about Mauritius. The thing is, I was so focused on making small talk, that I forgot to take a photo of the other dishes!

After lunch, I went to the bar and had a cocktail made by a friendly bartender called Manu. I told Manu to just make me something that he felt was good. As Manu handed me the glass, he joked he decided not to make a Singapore Sling as the best Singapore Sling is in Singapore. I sat at the bar and read, while sipping the cocktail. There was the slight floral taste which reminded me of almond beancurd.

At 3 pm, I went for archery. It seemed easy to pick up as the instructor spent 5 mins going through the steps and I was ready to go. But it was really difficult to master. If I had to hunt for my meals, I would starve to death first. I spent 1 hour shooting arrows at a straw target. Aiming felt different from aiming a gun. The arrow did not travel in a straight line and I had to aim much lower than at the target. After several tries, I found the sweet spot to be somewhere along the right leg of the stand. At first I missed 2 out of 3 times, then it became 1 out 3 and finally I managed to get all three arrows to hit the target. It was fun but my fingers hurt at the end of it.

As it was still early, I went back to my room. I didn’t want to laze on the beach in case another seller tried to sell me merchandise. I went to the porch and I could hear the catchy music the aerobics instructor played during her classes. (If you look at the above photo, the aerobics classes were held at the open-air shelter on the left, behind some coconut trees.)

There were two wicker armchairs and ottomans on the porch. From where I sat, I couldn’t see the aerobics class but I could hear the music. The music was something fast and catchy, and sometimes it was English pop songs, sometimes it was Indian music.

Red-whiskered bulbul

I also saw a few birds flying around. Maybe because I quietly read my book and did not bother them, the birds became used to my presence. The boldest ones were the red-whiskered bulbul and the red fody as they eventually flew really close and landed on the chair next to mine. They didn’t stay long though and flew off after a few seconds.

I stayed on the porch until the sun was setting. The sun shone into my eyes making it difficult to read.

As there was still time before dinner, I decided to take a walk along the beach to see the setting sun. As I walked towards the less traffic part of the beach, I saw a photographer taking wedding photos for a couple. The couple was standing ankle-deep in the sea. After several photos in that position, the photographer decided to try a different pose and gave some instructions to the couple. The groom sat down and cried out with laughter at the coldness of the water.

I stayed at the beach until I could no longer see the sun.

Nicolas wasn’t around when I went to the Discovery Center at 7 pm. Another Club Med staff called Lionnel was manning the office and he helped to confirm my taxi tour for tomorrow.

Dinner was good. Once again there were a group of staff standing at the door. Now that I’m know what to expect, I just smiled and quickly walked into the dining hall. I choose a table for two and was just finishing a fish salad when an Indian young man came up and asked if he could join me for dinner. He was plump with a pleasant round face and curly hair. He introduced himself as Charlie. Talk was a bit awkward at the beginning (I’m not a big conversationalist) but it got better.

Charlie worked at the reception so he would have met all the arriving guests. The funny thing was, I don’t remember seeing him and he also did not remember seeing me. I learnt that Charlie is a big fan of rugby and his favorite team was the New Zealand All Blacks. So I got him to explain the game to me. Charlie patiently explained the rules and answered all my questions.

Charlie excused himself after finishing his plate as he had to leave for work duties. So I remembered to take a picture of my last dish which was grilled duck. Once again, I forgot to leave room for dessert.

I went back to my room after dinner. Charlie said that the New Zealand All Backs would be playing tonight so I tried to catch their match. But all the sports channels were only showing soccer matches. After I dozed off while watching TV, I decided that it was time to call it a day and go to bed. Despite not doing much for the whole day, I felt quite tired.

Towel display today

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