Things you didn’t know about Mauritius
Mauritius, a beautiful island country, known for its white beaches and pristine waters. Each side of the island reveals a dramatically different landscape from the other. It is that one country you can fall in love with immediately… even before landing.
Mauritius is absolutely a pleasure!
People visit this country for warm hospitality, good food and good vacation comprising of several activities. It’s a multi lingual, multi cultural nation just like ours.
As usual, on this trip too I kept observing and asking questions to understand more about the country.
Today, I’ll tell you something that you may not know about Mauritius.
1) Mauritius is a land in which mainly four languages are spoken. Creole or Kreol as it is known locally is widely spoken at home, with family members and friends and in local markets. French takes the 2nd place, spoken in work places, hotels or for doing any business. Generally people are more comfortable speaking in French than English. English is taught in schools. Also taught in primary schools is one more language depending on the religion/ choice. E.g. Tamil, Hindi, Creole etc. The 4th language of Mauritius is Bhojpuri which is now restricted to older generation.
2) It is a country of music lovers. Besides English, French and other languages, Hindi music is extremely popular among the locals. Out of 7 FM channels on radio, two are dedicated to Hindi! It is amazing to listen to latest hits of Bollywood. They also announce various Hindi movies being shown on TV. And the moment you say you are from Mumbai, you are bombarded with numerous questions on Bollywood stars. 🙂
Can you see a cyclist going up the ramp?
3) Throughout the country the FOBs (foot overbridge) mostly don’t have steps. They are built like a ramp, so it is easy for bikes and people with wheel chairs to cross the roads. That shows the thoughtfulness of the authorities for their people’s convenience !
4) Jumping light isn’t the way. The drivers religiously obey the traffic rules. Even at 2 at night my driver stopped at a red light on a small street when there was nobody around. He could have sped away as we do in India but no. My respect for the locals’ self discipline grew manifold.
This car was registered in August 1999.
5) By looking at a vehicle’s number plate you can tell when that vehicle was registered…. which year & month. Isn’t it a simple way of doing things?
6) Japanese cars are popular in Mauritius. Toyota, Nissan, Honda rule the road. And yes, they drive left hand, surprising considering the enormous French influence.
7) To talk about vehicles, there is limited number of them on the road. You will not find more than 10 taxis waiting at any allocated taxi spot. Restriction on number of vehicles on the road (similar to Singapore) also takes care of pollution and traffic congestion.
My driver Rajesh works for a company. I asked him why doesn’t he own a car and drive for himself. He told me, he can not do so because of this rule.
8) Besides 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 etc. the Mauritian currency also has denomination of 25 and 200 ! Unheard of, no? I had these notes with me before going there and no, I didn’t spend them. 🙂 Surprisingly, the currency notes have marking in only English, Tamil & Hindi.
Which flavor would you like to taste?
9) Rum is widely popular in the country. There are several Rhumeries where you can see the entire process of rum making, visit the factories and buy rum as well. The Rum is available in flavors like ginger, passion fruit, vanilla, coffee, coconut, chilli.
10) My driver lives in a colony called Terre Rouge (It’s a French word meaning red soil or red earth in English) but I was surprised when he told me the meaning of Terre Rouge. He said, we call it लाल माटी in local language! He didn’t know it was Hindi!
Awesomely delicious food.
11) Pickle (achar) is called Achard in Mauritius and has many varieties like Bilimbi, Chalta, Mango etc.
12) The wedding expenses for locals can start from 250 thousand MUR (Mauritian Rupee). The Hindus still celebrate rituals like Haldi, Sangeet, feras etc and the wedding goes into four days. Minimum jewelry that is gifted from the groom’s side is kangan, mangalsutra, and ring.
13) A giant idol of Lord Shiva was donated by Govt. of India, the raw material and the workforce went from India to make it. Now one more statue is coming up, that of Durga…. again a gift from Govt. of India.
So, how much did you know about Mauritius?
This was just a glimpse of Mauritius. Stay tuned. More to come. 🙂
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