Thursday, June 13, 2013

Touchdown in my 99th country - Savannah

“Why am I always flying?!” I asked myself as usual before taking off.
I don’t know when the fear came to be as bad as it is, perhaps it was that flight to Samos island in Greece.
It was the kind of landing where you could only see water, water, water until that last split second before the jolt of touch down and roar of engines. Going in for the first landing on the tiny island was terrifying seeing water only metres below and no land. Coming in at a complete angle the engines suddenly roared up, NOT in an “I hit the ground and am slowing down” kind of way, but a “I hope I can get the speed back up in time to get lift off again”. Freaking heck.  As if for comfort, the pilot’s announcement came, “Sorry, there was too much wind, we had to abort our landing, we’re going around to try again,” Yes, I think that’s where my fear started.
My first experience with Emirates airbus left me with a great impression for the airline. The meal, dare I say it, was a yummy tandoori chicken and I almost had to order seconds, we were provided with blankets, head phones and an endless list of movies, which may seem like a bare minimum but I’ve been on lots of flights lately that didn’t provide any of that, especially for free. Glancing up the stairs to the second level’s, first class i assume, had me drooling and writing down a new goal for my bucket list.
Stop overs aren’t my thing because double take-off and landing is double scary though I think I am getting slightly better. After 6 hours we landed safely in the U.A.E. in Dubai’s beautiful, glossy international airport. We spent an easy 3 hours there strolling, shopping, having a drink and eating a soup. I don’t think Kees has said much more than, “Sweet, we’re on a holiday!!” so far.  It was the final day of  my free eBook “Sihpromatum – I Grew My Boobs in China” promotion so I made my final tweets out before boarding the final 6 hour flight to Port Louis, Mauritius. 

Flying over the African island country, Mauritius, off the east coast of Madagascar, I was surprised by its size. I was expecting it to be much smaller. Instead it had a big city, and gorgeous mountainous formations spewing up out of nowhere which from the ground are very Grinch-like giving a very mystical aura. In certain directions the water is all kinds of dreamy turquoise colour. It has been a while since I’ve been past the equator so I’m definitely going to test out the toilet water theory again. Mauritius is my 99th country (and no, Dubai’s stopover did not count) and our 37th country together on 5 continents.
Everything seems to have worked out perfectly already. Our first flight was not busy, and Kees slept the whole way stretched out on 3 benches, the second flight we were the only ones with an empty seat next to us in the row of three which is nice because I like to be able to hydrate and go to the bathroom as much as possible. When we arrived, instead of taking the en route bus we’d reserved we were driven in a private taxi an hour to our hotel at the north of the island. We drove across the entire country and had a very pleasant driver who was happy to share lots of information about his country.
The driving is on the left side of the road, which is lined with big fields of sugar cane, apparently their most exported goods. In 1598 the Dutch (yes, there they go again! They’ve been travellers since the beginning of time and it always makes me wonder why they have such a small country today) founded the island which was later taken over by the French then the British. Now it is its own country with a huge mix of races and religions from the conquests bringing people over from Asia and Africa for slavery. According to our taxi driver they used the slaves to hunt and kill dodo birds to eat. Though I’m not sure how true that is, I did a bit of research and am amazed by what I found. Dodo birds are extinct birds that only ever inhabited Mauritius and were up to 1metre tall, 20kg and because of their lack of predators on the island before humans came, they were peaceful and passive making easy prey. I find this so special… that this bird was ONLY on this tiny island in the whole world… doesn’t it just make you wonder how on earth and when on earth they appeared in this world!? And why did they call the country Mauritius instead of Dodo, since it seems it was their island.
From what I’ve heard and seen, the country is very peaceful today, much like Suriname was and that is good to hear. Creole is the official language though English and French is spoken widely. The island is a third the size of Holland with a small population of 1.3 million. Lined with stunning white sands, blue waters and reefs, there is a lot more to see and do here. Water sports such as scuba diving, swimming with dolphins, underwater jet ski, submarines, water skiing and kite surfing, to volcanoes, colored volcanic rock, nature parks, lion walking, Segway riding, zebra petting, zip-lining and more are all available. The information I’m giving has come from either the taxi driver or pamphlets we received from both airport and hotel.
 When we arrived at the hotel Kees and  I couldn’t help but laugh at ourselves as we were served, our baggage being taken to our room, getting welcomed with handshakes and complimentary refreshments by staff dressed in peaceful masseuse-like uniforms. The pure white against their darker skin is so charming. As we sat in the breezy lobby while they checked us in we were promptly told we’d had a room upgrade from a superior to a deluxe room. Score!!!

I must admit this didn’t come as too much of a surprise for me because the travel agent I dealt with had hushed me when I suggested our double birthday might be worthy of something a little extra. She said she already had “a surprise up her sleeve”! 


“This is ridiculous!” we both said as soon as our escort left us in our room.
The glorious king-size bed was adorned with pink flowers delicately placed on the white linen. The headrest and mirror frames are glass with sand and shells for decoration. The luxurious bathroom is completely open with a bathtub, walk in shower and closets. Definitely would not recommend this room for non-lovers!
 Breathtaking is the word to describe the view from our terrace. We are on the bottom floor so we simply walk out the sliding doors to soak up the sun rays and gaze at the sparkling ocean. I’m convinced we have one of the nicest rooms in the resort because there are only a few that have personal patios like this. Laying in the lawn chair it feels like I have more than just the ocean at my feet and the beauty of it could really make you cry.


Having had such a long, terrible winter in Holland my eyes seriously needed to adjust to the sun, I hardly know what it is anymore. The beach has shallow, calm water for a long way out before there are any waves which is ideal for me. I’m easily the youngest one here aside from a few toddlers, which really comes as no surprise, it’s been that way ever since I started traveling. I’m already head over heels crazy in love with this resort and island. The people we’ve met have been exceptionally friendly, though I do struggle with their strong accents.
This is the first ever 5-star resort I’ve stayed at and it’s amazing to be here. I feel like a true goddess. I used to dream of one day experiencing this and it’s amazing to see the difference in lifestyles I’ve lived.
Speaking of stars, finding two more reviews, a 5-star and 4.5- star and tallying my final score for my promo at 2,217, I couldn’t have a better start to my holiday!!! Thank you everyone for your amazing help, I couldn’t do it without your support. It means the world to me and I truly couldn’t have thought of a better gift to start my 23rd    (or is it 24th) year in this beautiful world.   
Kees is out kite surfing for his first time right now as I type this. I’m curious to know how it goes. The weather is beautiful with slight wind and I have a beautiful view of the ocean with islands in the distance. The kite surfing is done at a different hotel so it’s nice to be able to sit and write with a different view today.
Tomorrow we are going to be walking with lions and we are both scared and excited. I purposely booked the trip ON my birthday because if I’ve learned anything about my family it’s that they are cheapskates… so now, if I get eaten by a lion they will be able to save money on my tombstone. June 14th, 1990-2013. Aren’t I so considerate?
Though there have been some reported lion attacks at similar parks in other countries, Mauritius (according to Kees’ research) has never had an attack. “There’s always room for a first,” says the back of my mind. But no, seriously, I’m joking and feel so privileged and lucky to have this incredible opportunity. Kees feels the same as he says, “It’s every boys dream to walk with a lion!”
I will be posting pictures and a story about the experience, and for those who don’t already have my FB and Instagram, find me there for MORE pictures:
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Comments and likes are, of course, always appreciated.
I could barely pull myself out of bed this morning after yesterday’s 17+ hour transit and a total of 36 hours awake. It certainly didn’t break any record but tired me out none-the-less,  so I hope I’m not dragging as much tomorrow.
Savannah Grace


At 11:18 AM , Blogger Erin Williams said...

Congrats on 99!! Happy Birthday. Miss you love.


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