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Madeline's experience of working in Mauritius
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My name is Madeline and I have worked in Mauritius for 6 months. I have laughed, loved, lived and enjoyed myself during that time; sometimes I had to deal with a very conservative culture but in short: I fell head over heels in love with this island.

I arrived in August 2012. When it got too warm wearing leggings I had to switch to shorts. But sandals and flip flops were standard from the first moment. Sometimes, it rained but I soon learnt that that is a good thing in Mauritius. From October, it slowly but surely got hotter. Sunshine from 7.30am till 6.00pm. From December, the sunshine lasts longer so you have even more good weather. In December, there were some days where my friends and I sat around the pool in summer clothes until midnight, because it was simply too hot inside.
Rain is rare but cyclones can occur, though they don’t happen very often.
Time seems to pass differently here than it does in Europe, and the Mauritians are of a completely different mentality.

Where people in Germany are always looking for work, or say “first work, then pleasure”, my experience here tells me that the enjoyment of life is more important than anything else. If you long for more of the beach, sea and coconuts, then somehow you make time to take a break from work and head to the beach. I often went to the beach or sunbathed during my lunch break.

The best part about coming home from work was heading straight out to the beach. I would get home at 5pm, change into my swimsuit, grab my towel and head to the beach in Pereybere. At 5pm the sun was still shining high in the sky and I was able to relax on the beach until half 6.
Pereybere is one of my favourite beaches in the north. The Mauritians always say that Pereybere has the most beautiful beaches and they are some of the best and cleanest. It is small but I’ve always been able to find a place to sit. The ocean is clear and turquoise-blue. When you go in the sea, you can still feel the fine sand after a few metres and see the bottom of the ocean.
And everyone is so outgoing and friendly. The fruit sellers often gave me mangos, lychees and pineapple and I made friends with many Mauritians, who always came to the beach after work as a perfect end to the day. The encounters were always funny…either I was approached in the sea as I swum lengths or I was woken up on the beach to be told to apply my suncream. At first, I sometimes felt awkward but Mauritians are generally open, friendly and direct.
Of course, there are some with bad intentions but you’ll find them everywhere. They usually just wanted to make friends with someone new and have somebody to talk to.
So I made lots of new friends in a short time in Pereybere. Come to think of it, I’ve met more people in these 6 months than I did in Germany when I moved to a different city.
Germans are so very different – I prefer Mauritians!
I did lots of spontaneous trips around the whole island. I personally prefer the North for shopping and partying but for everything else I prefer the South. Several of my friends come from the south and we did lots of day tours. Usually we stopped at big beaches like Blue Bay but otherwise we went from river to river through the breath-taking landscape. I found it exciting that these rivers were always deserted, far away from the tourism and only people who lived in Mauritius knew of these places.

I remember: one river was behind a sugar cane field near ‘New Grove’. We had to climb down a slope and climb over a huge cliff before we reached a small warm body of water. I felt like Tarzan. We jumped from trees into the refreshing water, climbed over large rocks like geckos and went diving.
And it was just me and my friends there.
It was so much fun! It is hard to put these moments into words.
The south is very natural; everything is green and peaceful, just like Mauritius was 20 years ago. In places like this, it feels as though the word ‘time’ doesn’t even exist. We simply did what we wanted when we wanted. No fuss. It was like something out of Tarzan and the scenery reminded me of ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’, with all the waterfalls and exotic plants.

In the north I prefer Pereybere. There are places to shop, fruit sellers, restaurants, bars, watersport activities and, in my opinion, the most beautiful beach. If you leave the public beach and take a 10 minute walk (an adventurous walk as you have to go over stones and through water in some parts), then you’ll find 2 secluded beaches which offer a small paradise for you to relax in.
In addition, you can easily get to Grand Baie or other neighbouring towns from Pereybere.

The north is nice if you don’t mind encountering crows. There is a lovely shopping mall: La Croisette, which is home to great clothes shops and restaurants. There are supermarkets, many tour operators, coconut sellers on the streets and Dholl Puri and Roti (Mauritian snacks) are sold everywhere. Some people say: Grand Baie pulsates with life.

There are lots of great places where you can party. I almost always start in the Banana Beach Bar. I know the waiters and the drinks aren’t expensive. Jean-Lou, a guitarist and singer, often performs there, accompanied by a drummer and a bassist. The best way to start a night out? With Jean-Lou! I’ve never heard such a beautiful voice and have never been so moved to hear someone sing.
If there is a DJ playing then you can also dance. And if you’re hungry there is a restaurant called ‘The Grill’ out the back – the pizza is particularly delicious because it’s not very greasy. After the Banana Bar there are 2 options, you can go to Les Infants Terribles in Pointe aux Canonniers or Insomnia in Grand Baie.
These are my favourite clubs. Les Enfants Terribles was reopened in December after some renovation work. Now it’s a stylish club which is divided into 3 sections. Live music and relaxation, with the best mojitos I’ve ever had, dancing until the early hours or hanging out in the VIP area. It’s a great experience!
In Insomnia there are 2 rooms in which Sega is always played.
I’ll miss hearing this kind of music on the street, on the bus and in the clubs.
In the bigger room, the resident DJ Emmanuel Savannah plays lots of music from the charts. The dancefloor is always full. I’ve heard that sometimes you have to pay 200 Rs to get into Insomnia. But as I know the bouncer I’ve never had to pay admission.
That’s another thing. In Mauritius everything runs on connections! If you have contacts, then life is straight-forward and great. But if you don’t know the people, then you may need to be patient.

Mauritius is a complete adventure! You get up and you never know what the island and the islanders have in store. I remember one Sunday when I had no plans and I headed to the beach, in a very sleepy state, in order to continue sleeping. After an hour a Mauritian guy started talking to me. At first, I was a little wary but the conversation was actually very interesting and funny. After 15 minutes I also met his friends; 2 Mauritians, an Italian and a Spaniard.
After half an hour, I spontaneously went to the neighbouring beach in Trou aux Biches with my 5 new friends and we spent the rest of the day there. And ever since, I’ve been best friends with the two Mauritians.

Know one – know them all. After being out here for two months, whether I was shopping or on the way to work, I would see at least one familiar face. Sometimes there were parties on neighbouring islands and even if I only went with 6 friends, I’d see at least 10 familiar faces and meet another 10 new people.
If you’re an outgoing person then Mauritius has plenty of surprises in store.

For sports enthusiasts, I recommend the 7 cascades: 7 waterfalls in one big mountain. Anyone who can climb through without sweating has my greatest respect. Normally, you should go with a guide but I was with a Mauritian friend who had done the climb 11 times. Beforehand we bought some fruit and sandwiches and then we went into the mountain. Up and down, over hill and dale…after the first waterfall I felt like I’d fallen in the water. But it’s well worth it – the views render you speechless. At the second waterfall, I stood under the waterfall and I even swam in the fourth waterfall. When we were there, we took a break and ate our snacks.

One experience which surprised me was the influence of the Indian culture. In Mauritius, most of the population is Indian. The Indian festivities and sarees are so colourful; the people seem so opened, but the culture is conservative and stubborn.
Arranged marriages are still common practice. You can’t talk about independence with most of the young people because their parents keep them at home as long as possible. Religion comes first. Family is more important than friends.
The boys have it much easier in this case. There is only equality in individual cases. The girls are usually kept at home or in the family. While living in Mauritius, I didn’t get a good impression of Indians. Sure, I got to know 3 exceptions to this rule but that was nothing compared to all the other Indians I met at the university campus or through mutual friends.
If you’re on holiday, I don’t think you notice this. If I hadn’t spent 6 months on the island, then I would probably be going back to Germany with a very different impression.

Speaking of culture, I want to talk about the food. The Indians fry pretty much everything. Chinese restaurants are similar. The influence of Indian culture is everywhere. Healthy eating is somewhat more expensive, so people tend to eat fast and unhealthy meals. But if you know the right places, like buying fruit and vegetables at the market in Port Louis or going to a restaurant, you can find some great meals. In Flic en Flac, you’ll find the ‘Domaine Anna’ restaurant which services first-class cuisine! For Mauritians, it is slightly expensive but the prices are comparable to those in the UK. My friends and I (4 of us) never spent more than 50 Euros total for food and drinks in a normal restaurant. For pizza lovers, I recommend Luigis in Grand Baie: a great atmosphere, funny waiters and the pizza dough is home made.

I will definitely come back again!
Of course, I would stay with my Mauritian friends.
I’d like to spend as much time as possible on beaches like Pereybere and Blue Bay. Flic en Flac is a TOP beach. There is lots of space and the beach is clean with fine sand and shallow waters but the edge of the water is stony and not very pleasant.
But it is perfect for sunbathing.
I wouldn’t miss any of the parties which take place on the neighbouring islands like Ile aux Bernaches, Ile aux Benitiers or Ile aux Cerfs.
I’d like to have BBQs on the beach – there is nothing better. When the sun is shining, you’re with your best friends and you’re enjoying good food. After you’ve had a bit to eat, you can jump into the clear water of the turquoise-blue lagoon and then you can stay until the evening and watch the beautiful sunset!
I love this island so much…I’ve even considered burning my plane ticket and staying here as an illegal immigrant.

I now think in English, speak ‘Frenglish’ and sometimes say stuff in Creole. And some of my friends say I’ve become a Mauritian. I can’t think of a nicer compliment.
I love Mauritius!

Read our other pages about Mauritius.
ABC Guide to Mauritius: East Mauritius Beaches: Entertainment: Grand Port District: Mauritius explored: Markets in Mauritius: Cuisine in Mauritius: Airport in Mauritius: Black River District: Central Mauritius: Coral Reefs: Mauritius Culture: Mauritius History: North Mauritius Beaches: Pamplemousses District: Pereybere: Port Louis: Savanne District: Shopping in Mauritius: South Mauritius Beaches: Sport in Mauritius: Travel Seasons and Transport:: West Mauritius Beaches: Why Mauritius:
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