We are in the short strokes now and things are all happening pretty quickly with regard to the “Big Move” back to South Africa. However, it’s not all sunshine and coconuts and tying up the remaining threads of our life here in Mauritius is proving to be pretty stressful, take for example yesterday. Terry and I decided to go into Port Louis to surrender our residence permits to the BOI, close our account with the Standard Bank and get the change of ownership papers for the car we have just sold, stamped and signed by the Transport Authority.
As usual, it was raining! It always flipping rains when we decide to go into Port Louis and while it is a challenge for Mauritians to drive like responsible road users in the dry weather, when it’s wet – God help us all!
It was a frigging nightmare, between the kamikaze bus drivers racing through narrow streets at a million miles an hour, ten zillion mopeds whizzing in front of, behind and alongside us, not to mention the arrogant taxi drivers who stop wherever they like (in fact almost everyone in Mauritius stops wherever they like), unconscious pedestrians who step in front of oncoming traffic, the inevitable government officials and entourage complete with huge black luxury vehicles and flashing lights, “Get out of the way! Get out of the way! Very important person coming through! Way too important to sit in traffic like the rest of you peasants, get out of the way! Get out of the way!”.
Port Louis was, as usual, bustling in it’s own unique and insane way; tourists, locals, rats, vendors, beggars, cars, bicycles, buses, mopeds, cobbled streets, filth, derelict buildings, mingled smells of roti, curry and rotting fish in the harbour, all make up the madness that is Port Louis.
Our first stop was the Transport Authority offices and of course there was no parking. After about three gauntlet runs past the building, almost being squashed by a bus and the air made blue by much colourful language, Terry managed to park our little “Nissan March” hire car in front of a derelict shop and walked about two blocks, in the rain, to the transport offices. He came marching back about fifteen minutes later, looking like thunder and announced that he needed an additional document to complete the deal. Unfortunately, aforementioned additional document is now in the possession of the new car owner who can’t speak English and lives in a rabbit warren, with no visible street names in the village of Goodlands. Good luck with that one Terry!
To cut a long and whingeing story short, we did manage to hand in our permits without too much drama and complete our task at the bank and that, together with a few glasses of wine at the end of the day, made two out of three things ticked off our list, seem not such a poor achievement after all.
Just to end off this post on a positive note, it’s not all craziness on this tiny volcanic rock in the middle of the Indian ocean, there are some aspects of Mauritius that I find truly beautiful and which inspire peacefulness, this is one of them…