The soft breeze blew my hair away slightly cooling my cheeks and the tip of my nose. I dangled dangerously in mid-air, as I squeezed my way through the back of the car window with my smartphone phone. It was on live mode on social media posting this thrilling experience. My dad was driving in slow motion for my benefit or maybe right now his legendary turtle speed on the road was less annoying. “Please Zafi, sit down properly or you would give me a heart attack,” my mom scolded, her eyes were bulging so much that I feared that they would drop on the backseat. My elder sister snickered in the front seat. “Give her a break mom. Let her enjoy the view.” She was right. The landscape was amazing. On my right, the mountains sat peacefully facing the ocean. We were making our way right along the edges of Mauritius island, on a serpentine road along the east coast.
Despite the moderate chilly weather of July, it was a beautiful day, and I was enjoying the warm sunshine on my skin. I just could not wait to feel the sand on my toes. We drove along the coastal road from Mahébourg and stopped here and there to contemplate the beauties of our island. We passed through the village of Vieux Grand Port to stop briefly at Bois des Amourettes where we walked along the jetty and breathed in the fresh air. Some fishing boats could be seen, tied up near the shoreline, already back from their day at sea. As I looked over the ocean towards the horizon, islets could be seen from afar. I leaned over the jetty and peeped into the water to see if I could get a glimpse of a few tiny fishes “ti million” as we called them in the Mauritian dialect. They can usually be seen near the shore. There they were! Swimming in shoals and nibbling algaes near the rocks.
A fisherman’s inquiring voice was calling if we would like to buy the ‘catch of the day’, the famous “Cateau vert” (parrotfish). My favourite! Happy with my purchase and already thinking of tonight’s delicious fish curry on the menu, our journey continued along the coastal villages of Bambous Virieux, Grand Sable, Quatre Soeurs and Deux Frères. I realized that there were so much of Mauritius I had not seen yet. I was submerged by the beauty of this part of the island for it was scarcely put forward. I could literally get the smell of the sea while we drove alongside the road and could see a bit more clearly the islets. Ile aux Fouquets with its lighthouse could be distinguished among the lot.
I had my final stop at Belle Mare where I literally rushed to the beach and took off my shoes. What a bliss! A delicate sun kissed my face. The warm sand on my toes, I bent over to take a handful and smiled as it slipped through my fingers. So soft. It seemed the right thing to do – sensing each particle of sand on my hands. As I looked up, three children happily raced to jump in the water with their buoys. For sure, the sea was inviting. I walked along the shore, letting the waves crashed to my feet, while I made up my mind. I was just pondering if I should change before jumping in the sea or could I just do it fully clothed, which was my secret wish? The second option made me laugh to myself, thinking of my mother’s reaction should I decide to go back to the car with my salty-drenched clothes.
After all, life is all about enjoying the moment … here and now!