Mauritius for a first timer - Driving on the Island
Category Living in Mauritius
The reunion was heart-warming, seeing the kids so happy to see their Father, that they actually had no words. My heart melt. But I had to stand in the back of the 'hugs and kisses' line, for now.
Moving along swiftly from hugs and kisses to the actual topic of this post, Driving on the Island. One of the things the most people I talk to complain about. Here is my experience.
Our husband picked us up in a Mercedes GLA 45 AMG. Not that I have any clue what all those letters and numbers actually mean, I just know It is a real fancy freaking car! No also, not a lot of people can say this, and please don't think this is our life style, but this is how we spent our three weeks on the island. Oh man can that car move. It even has a special baby chair. The clips for this specific char is already built into the car. You just slide the seat in place, 'clip', seat secure. I mean, talk about Mom friendly. This car has sensors all over the works, there is absolutely NO WAY you can drive into something. If the car in front of you is driving to slow for your current speed it tells you. Going from comfort to racing mode is something to experience. But look, I am no car expert, so I don't even know if I have the right words to explain all this. I just know it is a VERY expensive car, and we were lucky enough to drive around in it.
Okay, so we are driving on an island, in a car that wants to go fast, on island roads, with other slower island cars. If you don't realise you are on an island, with people on island time, driving might not be the thing for you. There are scooters and motorcycles on the roads. Lots of them. And they load their family and their daily shopping on their scooters. And the island people are used to it. That is how they do it. That is their live.
The roads are narrower there. They have no yellow lane to drive in. They have thick white stripes and then, boom! Sugarcanes! No wonder the drinking and driving law is so strict. So if you want to pass a slower car in your lane, you wait for oncoming traffic to pass and then you pass. In town this is a whole different story though. The highway has two lanes at least, so it is easier to drive. They also don't have a lot of traffic lights. Mostly circles, so you have to know how a circle works to drive here. If you don't know how to go around a circle, you will most likely end up crashing into another car or even worse, a motorbike. Each circle is also sponsored by a company, from what I understand, so some of the locals will talk about a circle by calling it circle 'so-and-so' mentioning the name of the sponsoring company. This company will have their name on the circle on a small advertising sign on the ground. Not obscuring the view.
We were driving along when all of a sudden I thought one of the busses got on to a ramp, like a moving conveyer belt ramp. It looked like this bus was taking the escalator to the first floor. I gasped so load my husband almost got a fright. This bus literally looked like it was driving and then all of a sudden did a 90° 'Next stop, Heaven!' move. Barry explained that this is their off-ramps. The road is just wide enough for this major machine to fit snug on it. Again, the drinking and driving law makes even more sense. Missing that road with just a few cm and he is doing a roll along the highway. 'So how many times can you roll a bus?'
Driving into Grand Baie, my husband decided to take us for a drive around the area before he took us home. (I actually just really wanted to go home and shower, it has been a looooooong trip) Keep in mind it is now around 06:00 in the morning. 04:00 SA time. My kids will usually still be asleep. But now it is a sunny 23° and both kids are way to excited to nod off. As we come into the part of the island we will soon call home, my first thought, expect that everything is still closed, is that everything is so clean. Not one piece of paper is littering the road. It is immaculate. Still no yellow lane. One lane for each direction, and a lot of scooters.
Now the 'rules' of the road here is not as in South Africa. Luckily my husband warned me about this ahead of time, so I knew what could, and would, happen. On the island parking isn't as freely available as anywhere else. No. Here if you want to pop into Lennard's (My most favourite place to pop in) and there is no parking, you park your car in the road, put on your hazards, walk in and do your shopping. The rest of the island will drive around your car. And that is what everyone does, and that is what you need to get used to. But again, you are on an island. This is really not that bad of a thing to deal with.
We were on Sunset Boulevard and the light was green, we wanted to turn right, but the oncoming traffic was never ending. You want to know what happened next? A police officer walked into the middle of the road, stopped the oncoming traffic, indicated for us to turn and then walked away once we turned. Why? Because we were causing a backup to form of the cars behind us that wanted to go straight. Would any South African Police officer do this? I think not. Coming from South African traffic, this is a breeze. Maybe it is just my calm hippy nature that couldn't care less who parks where and who does what, but this really doesn't faze me at all. Pop open the sun roof, let the fresh ocean breeze in, put on the good French tunes and breathe.
This is live. Clear blue ocean on the one side. Husband on the other. Beautiful, happy, healthy children on the back seat.
How could I be this lucky?
All I am trying to say here is that, you are going to live on an island, the traffic will be there. Be grateful you are not on William Nicol in Johannesburg where they will shoot you for your phone while standing at a red light in a 4 lane road.
Author: The Mommy Mermaid