Wednesday, October 26, 2005

On Fire!

Today while coming to work, in the middle of the road there was an electric company truck on fire! We had to take a small dirt road through the sugar cane field to get through because the highway was closed. The firemen were still trying to put the flames out.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


By far the most naturally beautiful place I have ever been to! 115 islands build up the whole country, but I only managed to visit 2 of those. They're made of granite rock and it is very common to see the rocks in the mountain and the ocean together with the trees and the water. As well as being the most beautiful, it is also the most expensive! There are two main industries, tourism and fishing, everything else must be imported thus the high prices. Also, the arable land is very little because of the granite rocks beneath.

The circumstances of my trip to the Seychelles where very random yet interesting. I decided to go there 3 days before I actually left; I bought a ticket from a travel agent and booked my hotel online for the two nights I was staying there. My two credit cards were declined after trying to book the hotel so I ended up with no reservation and without a hotel reservation you can't enter the country. Then the last day before leaving, Friday, I found a hotel through and booked it; the reservation was confirmed and I was ready and good to go. I tried to look for some tours to do on Sunday, but everything is closed there on sunday, so the only thing I managed to get was a tour operator that was willing to schedule a private driver for me on Sunday to give me a tour of the main island Mahe. I settled for that.

When I got there at about 10pm, I asked a taxi driver how much he would charge me to take me to my hotel, and he gave me a price which I though was ridiculous so I told him that was out of the question. Then he threatened me be saying: "how else are you going to get there?" I told him I would find a way. So, I asked another taxi driver if he could take me to the hotel, and this one gave me a much more reasonable price, so I got in the car. We got to the hotel at about 10:30pm but there was nobody there! Only a few tourists that were walking to their room. I asked them who I should talk to so I could get the room I reserved and she told me the owner of the hotel lived in the house next to the hotel so she should probably be there. I got back on the taxi and drove to the house. The dogs were barking, we called out for the lady, but no one came out! After a while a very old lady in pajamas came to the door and said the owner wasn't there and that she couldn't give me my room. By now it was already 11pm, so I asked my taxi driver to take me to another hotel and I would look for a room there. On the way back we were talking about the things I could do the next day, since it was my only day really to go around. When we were near the other hotel he took me completely by surprise when he proposed I stay with him and his family at his residence and that when I left I could pay him something. I accepted his offer and we went to his house.

I can't express how grateful I am to Mr. Jimmy Elizabeth, his wife Monika and his daughter Emminielle. They took a complete stranger in their house and treated him like family; these are the kind of humans this world needs. The most wonderful thing about staying with the Elizabeth family is that I got to see how real Seychellois people live and shared for a brief instant their lives, their culture and their customs. Monika works at the Victoria Seaport and Emminielle goes to primary school, she's 6 years old and Joel, Jimmy's nephew, is a professional football player. Jimmy breeds Guinea Pigs and rabbits for pleasure, he also has 3 dogs of which the one I liked the most was Spicky.

The next day, Jimmy took me in the morning to the port so I could buy tickets to go to Praslin island, the second largest island of the country, by speedboat. The trip would take 1 hour each way, so I bought my tickets for 10am going there and the return at 6pm. I planned to go to La Digue island once I got to Praslin; there is a little boat that can take you there and it runs all day every half hour. When the speedboat left the port I started getting very seasick like I always do, I should have know better! I settled for seating very uncomfortably in a chair trying to make out of it a bed. When the boat finally got to the jetty, as I was getting off the gangway I kicked the anchor with my right foot, which gave me a big bruise. Not only was about to throw up, but now I had a bruised foot! I sat down on a bench for about 10 minutes and the seasickness went away. When I started walking down the jetty, a lady taxi driver passed by and I asked her if it was possible to go to the airport and check to see if I could take a flight back to Mahe island instead of riding the speedboat again. We went to the airport and asked, but all the flights were full and so I left my name on a 20 person wait list… the odds of getting a seat didn’t look too good. After that she took me to Valee de Mai, which is a Nature Reserve in Praslin and it has the Coco de Mer palm trees which grows 23-kilo coconuts! The largest coconuts in the world… very beautiful. While I was walking the trail of the national park, I kicked a rock with my left foot this time and got a cut on my big toe. So now I was to feet down and seasick. Optimal condition! I went for a pizza at the beach where I took very nice photos, in fact the best ones of the whole trip. The beach was called Anse Volbert and it is the most striking beach I have ever seen! The water had 5 different colors, there were granite rocks making little islands, palm and pine trees lining the sand and of course the very soothing sound of the waves.

By the time I got back to the airport to check on my standby status, it was already 3pm. Still the list was long and there were only 3 flights left. Again I was lucky enough that my taxi driver knew the girl at the check-in counter and asked her to help me find a seat on any flight. The Air Seychelles girl was leaving on the flight at 5pm, but she decided to give me her seat on the flight and stay there until the next day, just so I could go back! Seychellois are the nicest people in the world! She put me on the flight and jumped over the whole standby list, and by 5:15pm I was already back at Mahe.

That night Jimmy, Monika, Emminielle, a friend of Monika and I went to The Pirates’ Arms for dinner, where they had a cowboy night special. It was very nice to listen to country music in an island where most of the time people play Sega, Seggae and Reggae. After a nice dinner, we went back home and I watch a Mexican telenovela in english with Monika called ‘Cuando Seas Mia”. Interesting how soap operas can captive people from such different cultures; Monika followed the story so closely she could even forecast what was going to happen in future episodes!

The next day my flight left at 11am, and just before going to the airport Jimmy took me to the port to see if I could get a refund on the return ticket I didn’t use from Praslin. The lady told me that they usually didn’t give refunds, but because I was sick she would make and exception. So voila, I got my money back. Afterwards, we went to the airport to check in and I had a little trouble because the people at Air Seychelles thought I didn’t have a visa to go to Mauritius, but it was resolved easily by calling Answer Plus and verifying that I was in fact working there and my work permit was in process.

It was a wonderful weekend and it wouldn’t have been as nice if I would have stayed at that abandoned hotel. I would like to thank Jimmy and his family once again for being so exceedingly nice! They will always be on my good graces and I will always remember Seychelles as a land of great people and beautiful sites.


I thought I'd do a little PR for both Jimmy and Judy. I know not many people read my site, but just in case any of you decide to go to Seychelles, you will know who to call.

More Beach Pictures

After all, beaches are the best thing in Seychelles!

Hues of Blue

Kids Playing at Anse Volbert

From The Speedboat

Scuba Divers

At Beau Vallon.

Beau Vallon

Having Fun

These guys were singing Bob Marley and having the time of their lives. This is the kind of thing you don't get to see when you stay in hotels.

Air Seychelles Power Ride

Yet Again Anse Volbert

More Anse Volbert

Nice Smiles!


Taxi Wash

Laughing Jimmy


Mountain Rocks

This was the view from the Elizabeth's balcony.

Maldives' Ants


Best Family in Seychelles!


Quite the dancer! Sweet little girl.

Interesting Perspective


Air Seychelles

From Praslin to Mahe.

Praslin Airport

The Price You Pay...

More Beach

Palm & Pine

Palm and pine trees at the beach. Amazing combination!

Granite Rock Island

This is at Anse Volbert.

Anse Volbert

More Coco de Mer

Coco de Mer

23-kilo coconuts!! That means this tree could be carrying about 200 kilos of weight.

Praslin Jetty


Took the picture while going to Praslin on the speedboat.

Tuna Fishing Vessels from Spain

Some of the tuna fishing in Seychelles is outsourced to other countries like Spain and France.

Beau Vallon

The most popular beach in Mahe. Most hotels are around this area.

Port View

The Little Ben

In London they have The Big Ben, in Victoria they have The Little Ben. That's how people call it!

Granite Mountain

Like all of the Seychelles islands, in Mahe the mountains are a beautiful mix of flowers, trees and gigantic granite rocks.

Best Scam

It was all a scam! The dog never existed and there was no reward. It was a publicity stunt by the billboard company!! The last update of the billboard says: "Zoon becomes a star in 7 days. Now that he doesn't exist!" I think there is yet one more update to come and I will post it for sure.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Relative Size

I took this picture from far just to show you in perspective how big the "Zoon" billboards are. I have never seen such a thing before.

Oligarchy in Mauritius 2

They changed all of the billboards around the island once again! The picture is still the same but now we know they're paying Rs 50,000 = US$ 1785. I'll keep posting updates if anything happens.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Oligarchy in Mauritius

They're all over the island. This must be one important dog in this country! Full-sized billboards to show a lost dog and offer a reward? I wonder how much the owner spent for that and if they're ever going to find it. In Mauritius there are more stray dogs than people, and given the way people drive here, there is a big probability that this dog is already dead. Road kill is an every day thing.

Sarah Jane, Sundeep & Tash

Now that there is a new shift at Answer Plus, at 2 am when we go back home we have more people in the van with us. It's fun because before we only had 4, now we have an extra 4 so we always have very nice conversations on our way home. And yet better, now that we have more people I am no longer the last one to be dropped.

Varma's Glasses

It turns out I have an infection in my left eye so during those long nights at the office in front of the computer screen, my eyes irritate a lot. Yesterday I used Varma's glasses for about 2 minutes and I managed to take the picture. I think when I go back home I'm going to have to get permanent glasses of my own.

Office Pic

Since I haven't posted in so long, I decided to take some pictures in the office yesterday. It's hard to get good pictures at night inside an office; the flash usually ruins the lighting. This one turned up quite a decent shot.

Fallen Half-Container

I know I haven't posted for a while, but really there have not been many interesting things to post in the past month. This one I took last week right next to the office. It's amazing how there is always, always a crowd when some traffic event happens. It doesn't matter if it is 3 am, people will come out of nowhere.