A Statistical Paradise

My time in Mauritius was short lived, but I defiantly made the most of it. Mauritius’ tropical culture and unreal white sand beaches are just two of the reasons why many refer to it as the Hawaii of Europe. In Grand Bay, where I spent my time, I took in more than the brilliant blue beach water and white sand beaches.

Not a second after I stepped into my villa, did my swimming trunks find themselves around my waist. Walking to the beach, I did not feel like I was in a third world country, but rather in a resort in the first world.  This did not seem right. I am not traveling the world to be in so called “paradise.” I am traveling the world to experience what gives a country its, as Semester at Sea says, “personal identity in a globalized world.” I had to step out of the comfort of the resort and learn about the people on the small island of Mauritius.

After a little fun in the sun, like pirates on the prowl for gold, my roommate and I started searching for tasty local food. At a bus stop, we stumbled upon a six-foot-tall, 19-year old, high school senior, named Dhyana.  The young man enlightened us on where to fill out stomachs and directed us onto a bus.

Once we stepped off the bus, Mike and I convinced Dhyana to join us for the feast. The three of us were soon sitting at an oval table on a pebble patio outside of a restaurant when, in mid-sentence, Dhyana shot out of his chair and ran inside. Seconds later, he was back. Our new friend gasped as he explained that he spotted his father driving past us in a black BMW, and that he would have his neck if he saw him drinking a beer the day before a statistics exam.

Mike and I felt guilty, and did not want our new friend to get in trouble. Not too bothered, Dhyana insisted on staying to finish the discussion. Somehow, the conversation turned to the immature topic of curse words in Creole, a language spoken in Mauritius. We all laughed as Mike and I attempted to pronounce the explicit words.

My roommate and I were practicing our new vocabulary when the waiter came to remove the licked clean plates and dry beer mugs. The waiter found our pronunciation of such vile words humorous. With the sun starting to set, it was soon time to head back to the villa. Our new pal spoke to us as if we were his best friends, as if we had known him his entire life. It was hard to say our goodbyes as he directed us to the bus that would take us to our villa for the night.

A groggy morning followed an eventful evening out in Grand Bay; it was soon time to return to the ship. The 45-minute drive from Grand Bay back to port was just as smooth as the drive to Grand Bay from the ship. The roads were not bumpy, and there were no pedestrians marching across the pavement. Sugar plantations stretched as far as the eye could see, and the sugar cane stood about five to six feet high, was a brilliant shade of green, and flapped in the sea breeze like a flag. Best of all and just as sweet as its sugar are the people of Mauritius.

—Thomas Shelton


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