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Old 19th February 2019, 10:37   #1
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Default Marvellous Mauritius

The folks over at Oxford are lame. I mean the folks in charge of the "Oxford Dictionary".
And by lame, I am referring to the definition of the word: Paradise. They define this beautiful word just by this: An ideal or idyllic state or place..
That's it?!

Wonder why there is no provision to add more verve, more intensity or more color to the way these guys define their words.

If you ask me, this is how I would define the word Paradise, simply by this picture:-

Marvellous Mauritius-20180608_173817.jpg

Or maybe something like this:-

Marvellous Mauritius-20180607_172712.jpg

Well, you get the hint

This travelogue/photologue is all about trying to (re)discover/(re)define/(re)describe the essence of the word "Paradise", as witnessed on Marvellous Mauritius.

Last edited by JoshMachine : 7th March 2019 at 13:56.
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Old 19th February 2019, 11:08   #2
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(Apologies, guys. I know this thread should have been published a long, long time ago. But, I guess better late than never!)


MAKING THE CHOICE:-

Circa April 2018. Onset of Indian summers.
Time to plan the next vacation, hooray
This time round, we wanted to try a relaxed vacation.

Options on the table:-
  • Goa (always, takes the prime spot for vacation planning)
  • The North - Himachal, Uttarakhand etc.
  • The South - Ooty, Coorg etc.
  • The East - Seven Sisters
  • The West - Rann of Kutch

Gave some more consideration to the weather, travel time, availability of good places to stay etc and finally junked all of the above options.
Nah, said the daughter. Let's go really far this time round, please!

Went to the friendly neighborhood travel planning folks @ Kesari Travels and got convinced to book the Mauritius Tour. We chose the Customized tour option (not the Family group tour) since we wanted to really take it easy during the trip and not be part of the hustle-bustle typically associated with a large group tour.

Why Mauritius? I mean, if somebody lures you with stunning visuals and entices you with an attractive itinerary to consume a totally chilled out vacation, then who's to refuse such places

Marvellous Mauritius-beaches.jpg

Marvellous Mauritius-beaches-2.jpg

Obviously, there was also the budget to be considered, number of days to be planned for the trip and the actual travel date. Fortunately, all the factors (with the very important go-ahead from wifey and daughter) clicked and we finally decided to go ahead with this option!

Checked out some online views ofcourse (like this for example among others, blog@Air Mauritius) and were reasonably convinced that Mauritius is indeed a good place for a family like us, what with "relaxacation" as a primary objective.

PLANNING AND INITIAL RESEARCH:-

We had heard many a good things about this beautiful island beforehand from friends and office colleagues. But when we started to dig more to get ready, we couldn't help but just gape in awe and marvel at the sheer beauty of the place.

Since this was a Customized Tour, we had some flexibility to choose which sites to visit and what attractions to cover in our week-long stay.
This map proved to be handy for the planning:-

Marvellous Mauritius-mauritiusattractionsmap.jpg

For the resort option, we chose the South-western tip of the island - Bel Ombre.
We managed to get a good deal @ Tamassa resort (link) and as we witnessed - in hindsight - you can have one of the best hospitality experiences in Mauritius at this place.

The folks over at the travels company also helped with an indicative itinerary of our proposed stay - with, mind you, the choicest of adjectives that can allure you and really try to sound as if your decision to go to this place is indeed worth it!

Here's what the indicative itinerary looked like:-

Day 1: Arrive Mauritius - On arrival in Mauritius, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is free to soak in the tropical paradise's ambience. Overnight at the hotel in Mauritius. (Dinner)
Day 2: Mauritius - Today proceed to Port Louis for North Island Tour. Visit Port Louis, the capital, Marie Reine De Lax Paix, La Citadel, shopping at Caudran Waterfront, Jumbo Hypermarket or local market, China Town, Apravasi Ghat and Museum. Overnight at the hotel in Mauritius. (Breakfast & Dinner)
Day 3: Mauritius - This morning enjoy a Full Day Excursion to most famous Ile Aux Cerfs. Travel to Trou D'eaxu Douce for a speed boat to Ile Aux Cerf Island. Time free to explore the island on your own. Go swimming and enjoy the many water sports at your own expense. Overnight at the hotel in Mauritius. (Breakfast & Dinner)
Day 4: Mauritius - Full Day Casela Bird Park, Walk with lions and quad/Buggy Biking on double basis (1Hr) with Private transfer, overnight at hotel in Mauritius.(Breakfast & Dinner)
Day 5: Mauritius - Today morning depart for Full Day South Island tour. Visit to Floréal shop factories, dead volcano of Trou Aux Cerfs, the sacred lake of Grand Bassin, the unique seven coloured earths of Chamarel and witness the breath-taking Black River Gorges and 23 Coloured Earth Nature Park, La Vanille crocodile and tortoise park at savanne.Overnight at the hotel in Mauritius. (Breakfast & Dinner)
Day 6: Depart Mauritius - Today you will be transferred to the Airport to board your flight back home or onward journey. (Breakfast)

As the trip unfolded, we, however, changed the schedule a bit to suit our travel comfort patterns.

In terms of research, one other thing which I generally like to do before going on a vacation - is to find out about the history of the concerned place. This helps to get a good perspective of the place's legacy and culture, the ways of working, society tastes etc., essentially telling you a lot about the people and the places that you are about to visit.

I found out that Mauritius' history is quite fascinating and the administration changed hands periodically since the 10th century, when the Arabs first set foot on the island.

Without getting into too many details, just to mention that there have been 4 dominant parties ruling this island nation:-
  • Portugese - came onboard in 1507. Used the island resources as a source of fresh foods and to protect their trade routes with erstwhile Indian settlements.
  • Dutch - came onboard in 1598. Again like the Portugese, benefited aplenty from the island's natural resources and flora & fauna. Abandoned in early 1700 due to terrible droughts, cyclones etc.
  • French - came onboard in 1715. Established initial civic administration and developed infrastructure on the island.
  • British - invaded Mauritius and took over from the previous occupants, with the primary objective of protecting the sea route from England to British-owned India lands. In order to gain respect from the local community, they abolished slavery and helped establish the Council of Government eventually.

Point to note is Mauritius obtained its independence in 1968 but achieved the status of Republic only in 1992. BTW, here is the Mauritius history link for those sharing my interests.
Well, so much for the history buffs!!

Now, back to the trip.

For all practical tourism purposes, Mauritius tourism rendezvous points are usually spread across 4 regions comprising different tourist spots or attractions depending on the locations:-
  • The North/Northwest region, with the capital city of Port Louis forming the main attraction
  • The East, with some extended coastline set alongside emerald colored lagoons
  • The South/Southwest region, which is actually a very un-Mauritius type region given the prevailing tropical weather encountered in that area
  • The inland region, typically comprising reservoir basins and some natural lakes along with the population heartlands


TRIP DAY 1:

We had chosen Air Mauritius as the preferred airline option, since that was convenient both in terms of the travel dates and the air fares.

For the uninitiated, the approx. travel time from Mumbai to Mauritius is about 6 hours.

And if one were to locate the island on a globe, here is the tiny speck:-

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I am fond of aerial photography (thanks to my business travels) and so when I clicked this sky view of the Mauritius shoreline just before landing, we immediately knew that we had indeed made the right decision of choosing this picturesque location:-

Marvellous Mauritius-20180604_122022.jpg

Upon landing, we were escorted straight to the Tamassa resort and greeted by some breathtaking views therein at the resort:-

Marvellous Mauritius-20180607_082857.jpg

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The room interiors matched the exterior elegance:-

Marvellous Mauritius-20180604_133542.jpg

We just couldn't resist capturing the scenic sea-side views, which the resort had to offer:-

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And some equally enchanting night shots of the resort to end the first day:-

Marvellous Mauritius-20180606_201629.jpg

Marvellous Mauritius-20180606_201639.jpg


TRIP DAY 2:

We started off this day with a visit to Trou aux Cerfs, which is the site of the famous dormant volcano in Mauritius.
The actual crater is accessible down a steep embankment, however that is considered dangerous.
Unlike the typical volcanic features, this crater is surrounded by a vast area of lush forest comprising indigenous plant species and some giant pine trees. In the center of the crater, is a small lake. Experts say that this volcano has remained dormant for the past 700,000 years but there is a potential chance for it to become active again!
The good part is that from this vantage point, one can have a 360 degree view of the surrounding island body.

Pictures for narration:-

Marvellous Mauritius-20180605_105348.jpg

Marvellous Mauritius-20180605_104105.jpg

Tasted some local food. Forgot the name though, of this tasty savoury snack:-

Marvellous Mauritius-20180605_111049.jpg

Next up was a visit to a very exquisite ship builder (of the model type, that is) located in the town of Curepipe.

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The folks over at Bobato Ship Models (site) specialize in the manufacture of ship models, for almost virtually any model that has been built or is present out there.

They have a team of just 12 skilled craftsmen, accompanied by a team to support. To quote from their site:-

Quote:
Our ship models are realized with plans from marine museum of Paris and different part of the world. We also receive plans from our clients wishing to have their own custom model. We make it a duty respecting the maximum detail while realizing a model from start to finish. Each plan is carefully studied. All the measurement, pattern making, and details are taken into consideration by our craftsmen who have more than 15 years of experienced in the field. Each model sold in our showroom and through the net are inspected thoroughly before packing and sending process to its respective destination. We are constantly striving to better serve our clients by producing ship model replica, nautical décor, and gift items at affordable prices. We are proud of our business and guarantee total satisfaction with our products and services.
These guys redefine the word "QUALITY". Period.

A sample picture clicked from their shop/museum:-

Marvellous Mauritius-20180605_113121.jpg

Savvy, eh!


Also, paid a visit to a rather discrete place, the Adamas Diamond jewellery shopping center and museum.
The family which runs and owns this setup has a century-old legacy of being in the diamond cutting industry.

A brief advertorial from their site:-



Feels kind of different to come across such a place dedicated to jewellery in a tourism haven!

This was followed by an enroute stopover at Grand Bassin or popularly called as Ganga Talao, a crater lake in the city of Savanne.

On the way, we stopped to pay namaskarams to the world's tallest Goddess Durga statue:-

Marvellous Mauritius-20180605_120815.jpg

The perspective of the immense size of the statue is very evident when you look at the people standing beneath it.

And one of the island's tallest Lord Shiva statues:-

Marvellous Mauritius-lord-shiva.jpg

On the shoreline of the lake is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva (primarily) along with other Gods and Goddesses.
Here is a video overview of how it looks like:-



In Mauritius, this temple comes alive during the festival of MahaShivratri, wherein thousands of folks make the journey to this holy place.

The final attraction for the day was the visit to Vallee des Couleurs Nature Park.
Now, this place is quite unique and is loved by nature lovers, for the Nature Park offers a selection of nature trips and fun activities.

Marvellous Mauritius-20180605_135305.jpg

The park is abound with natural landscapes, valleys, craters and crater lakes accompanied by an adventure ride of sorts in a quad bike inside the park.
Yes, ofcourse we took that ride!

Marvellous Mauritius-20180605_143840.jpg

Marvellous Mauritius-20180605_151139.jpg

However, the main attraction in the Park is the 23-Colored Earth, whose origins dates back to millions of years ago, attributed to the volcanic eruption of the Bassin Blanc.

Marvellous Mauritius-20180605_151726.jpg

The unique riot of colors that can be witnessed at this location are a result of the magma (molten rock) coming to the surface after the eruption. When exposed to the surface atmosphere and environmental conditions, the mineral and chemical composition of the magma changed progressively. And the beautiful colors that evolved or came of age, were due to the subsequent weathering phenomenon that happened.

Here is a depiction of those 23 colors, for reference:-

Marvellous Mauritius-20180605_162435.jpg

Last edited by JoshMachine : 25th February 2019 at 14:59.
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Old 25th February 2019, 15:15   #3
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TRIP DAY 3

Today, we visited the Ile Aux Cerfs island, known as the erstwhile Deer island.
Albeit there are no deers roaming on this island though nowadays.

Ile Aux Cerfs is located off the east coast of Mauritius main land. It is famous for its pristine & sandy beaches, a fantastic lagoon and a sumptuous array of food and some very good sea-side adventure facilities.

For the uber luxury aficionados, there is a 18-hole golf resort also present to sling some big shots and empty your wallets.

To make your visit more enjoyable and relaxing, there are plenty of local tours that offer a day-ride in one of the Catamaran cruises or yachts, with various lunch/dinner packages included therein.

Some pictures off the island coastline:-

Marvellous Mauritius-20180606_110236.jpg

Marvellous Mauritius-20180606_122538.jpg

Marvellous Mauritius-20180606_125102.jpg

To reach the actual island, you have to take a speedboat ride from the main land (something faster and bigger than the one shown above )

Not sure if the pictures convey it, but believe me folks, the actual feel of the place is something that cannot be described in words/these pictures alone - one has to be actually present there, one has to be in that moment - to perhaps get the true meaning of the word "surreal" or "tranquility".

The cool, clear waters gently lap at your feet giving you the sensation of utmost relief and making you forget everything that is worrying you!

And once you are hooked, you can spend oodles of time just gazing at the beautiful waters, like I did here:-

Marvellous Mauritius-20180606_111507.jpg

Here are couple of short videos to give a feel of what it was like out there:-





Some more pictures for the clear lagoon:-

Marvellous Mauritius-20180606_144801.jpg

Marvellous Mauritius-20180606_122528.jpg

The place is also highly recommended for snorkelling and scuba diving to enjoy the rich underwater world.

Well, the adventure fish (replaced by the 'bug') bit me and off I went into the corralled waters with fish friends for company:-

Marvellous Mauritius-diving.jpg

There was also a mini-Niagra falls waterfall just closeby, so we went over to have a look:-

Marvellous Mauritius-20180606_130945.jpg

on this speedboat:-



With all this acitivity, our tummies had started growling, so we headed to the Indian restaurant called "La Chaumiere Masala Restaurant"

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Now, these folks, to our pleasant surprise, did serve Indian vegetarian meals. However the menus were set per some routine in terms of the day of the week (which was fine with us) but priced exorbitantly (which was not fine with us, but had to accept).

Nice views from the wooden kiosks or machans while having lunch:-

Marvellous Mauritius-masala-restaurant-2.jpg

After a sumptuous Indian lunch, we returned from Ile Aux Cerfs back, with some memories to cherish for a long time.



TRIP DAY 4
Today, we decided to just chill out at the resort itself and make the most of what it had to offer, essentially just lazying around at the resort private beach.

We went for an early morning pedal boat ride, posting some pictures of the beautiful corals just off the coastline:-

Marvellous Mauritius-20180607_102149.jpg

Marvellous Mauritius-20180607_102153.jpg

and a short video to accompany:-



The color myriad continues on the land also:-

Marvellous Mauritius-20180608_172806.jpg

Took a ride in a special "glass-bottom boat":-

Marvellous Mauritius-20180608_173817.jpg

With another short video atop the glass-bottom boat just to show how it felt like, while looking down into the sea waters:-



The day went by so quickly, it was time to admire some spectacular sunset views, a classic Insta pic - what do you say!

Marvellous Mauritius-20180607_172712.jpg


TRIP DAY 5

Today was the day to head out to some more fascinating places.

But firstly, we checked out a quite corner of the resort - called as Garden of Wishes.

Marvellous Mauritius-20180609_080846.jpg

The Garden, is essentially a place decorated with all the homely goodies that make you want to come back to this place, and also to leave a wish behind.

Like my daughter did here:-

Marvellous Mauritius-20180609_080718.jpg

The trip started with a visit to the famous Bagatelle Shopping Mall.
This place is huge in terms of the real estate it occupies - both inside and outside.

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Please excuse the poor image quality for this one, since this is taken from the website.

The mall hosts almost all the brands that you can see at any major metropolitan city in the world.
It has gained quite a reputation with locals and international travelers, primarily due to its fascinating architecture, broad walkways and vivid display of both local and international brands. From what I recall, there are close to 200 shops inside the mall gallery.

Some more pictures:-

Marvellous Mauritius-20180608_102412.jpg

Marvellous Mauritius-20180608_102554.jpg

Marvellous Mauritius-20180608_103038.jpg

Aha! a vintage "Indian" sight to behold at the mall parking:-

Marvellous Mauritius-20180608_103119.jpg

Next up was the visit to Fort Adelaide, the Citadel of the capital city Port Louis.
The fort gains a lot of attention and respect, courtesy its imposing silhouette and black stone walls.

Marvellous Mauritius-20180608_111918.jpg

Marvellous Mauritius-20180608_111928.jpg


The fort was originally built in order to protect Port Louis from a possible invasion from the sea, and also to tame any potential revolt from the local populace following the racial tensions of the time witnessing the abolition of the slavery and the beginning of employed labor on the island.

The fort is named in honor of Adelaide, the wife of the King of England's William IV. Built of basaltic stones, the fort bears testimony to the craftsmanship of the British realm.

To serve the objective of protection, huge canons were erected along the high walls:-
Marvellous Mauritius-20180608_112035.jpg

Marvellous Mauritius-20180608_113358.jpg

However, over the years, the fort lost its raison detre and the canons served to fire only for the arrival of dignitaries or simply daily gunfire.

As of today, the fort has changed its vocation and has become a center for cultural activities.

The day trip ended with a visit to the famous Caudan Waterfront.

Marvellous Mauritius-20180608_144114.jpg

The waterfront is a very interesting and exciting place, especially for shoppers. The entire complex overlooks the Port Louis harbor and offers a variety of shopping places, restaurants and a casino as well.

Marvellous Mauritius-20180608_134310.jpg

The place is probably made famous by its display of multi-colored umbrellas hanging over the main street:-

Marvellous Mauritius-20180608_121501.jpg

Another day well spent.

Last edited by JoshMachine : 7th March 2019 at 12:43.
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Old 7th March 2019, 13:55   #4
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FINAL DAY

When we woke up on the final day, we experienced a lot of emotions looking back at the wonderful time spent over the last few days.

Today was the day to depart for home.

However, we wanted to leave on a high note. So a trip to the famous Casela World of Adventure came beckoning.

They claim that this is the most visited attraction in Mauritius, and it started with just a bird sanctuary but now has literally grown into a full-fledged family adventure park.

This is a huge park spread over some 250 hectares of rugged terrain, lush forest and breath-taking gorges beside scenic mountains.

The park is divided into 4 theme regions comprising Safari Kingdom (with the big cats), Nature Kingdom (with the birds), Mountain Kingdom (classical adventure) and a Discovery Center (museums, 3D maps).

Marvellous Mauritius-casela-world.png

Even a full day trip was not enough to cover all the sections. We had just few hours with us so wanted to make the most of it. So we decided to pay a visit to the Birds and the Big Cats!

Am not an ardent bird watcher (figuratively and literally), so do not have many pictures to show, just a few (which do not really do justice to the wonderful setup that is present there):-

Marvellous Mauritius-20180609_120754.jpg

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Along came a tortoise:-

Marvellous Mauritius-20180609_132448.jpg

And then some Cats:-

Marvellous Mauritius-20180609_1404570.jpg

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A walk in the park:-



Up & close, really close with one of them, with the smile disguising the primal fear within:-

Marvellous Mauritius-20180609_141630.jpg

The meaning of the phrase hold your breath, understood in no ambiguous terms:-

Marvellous Mauritius-20180609_142139.jpg

With daughter trying to replicate the same emotion, albeit with a life-size replica of the cat:-

Marvellous Mauritius-20180609_145500.jpg

And a fond, final memory of the wonderful time spent at the park:-

Marvellous Mauritius-20180609_145616.jpg

Soon after, we headed to the airport with images and boards of Lame Dan Lame put up all over the way, the phrase dedicated to 50 years of independence for the island nation.

Marvellous Mauritius-20180609_170733.jpg

As the plane took off from Mauritius that day, the three of us couldn't help but continuously look back out at the Paradise Island through the tiny airplane window and mentally sift through the myriad of those awesome memories that we were taking along - best summarized with this beautiful video that captures the essence of everything that Mauritius has to offer:-



Cheers!
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Old 7th March 2019, 21:21   #5
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Note from Support: Thread moved to the Travelogues section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 8th March 2019, 14:12   #6
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Very nice pictures and travelogue, JoshMachine. Mauritius is indeed a lovely place and when you leave, you do so with a resolution that you will definitely come here again! There are so many resorts there that it is a problem to choose which one you want to stay in. Lucky that you didn't get rain on any of your days there. We had a whole day and a part of another washed out during our week long holiday there. You can read more about that in my travelogue here.

Vive la Maurice - A week in Mauritius
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Old 8th March 2019, 14:50   #7
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Originally Posted by aah78 View Post
Note from Support: Thread moved to the Travelogues section. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks aah78!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stryker View Post
Very nice pictures and travelogue, JoshMachine. Mauritius is indeed a lovely place and when you leave, you do so with a resolution that you will definitely come here again! There are so many resorts there that it is a problem to choose which one you want to stay in. Lucky that you didn't get rain on any of your days there. We had a whole day and a part of another washed out during our week long holiday there. You can read more about that in my travelogue here.

Vive la Maurice - A week in Mauritius
Thanks Stryker. You are absolutely spot-on about the resorts part. Almost every one of them is so good that you are spoilt for choice.

When we went in early June last year, there was some initial forecast of rains but guess we were lucky not to have encountered any.

And oh yes, I perused through your wonderful travelogue. I kind of related to almost all the places (and the descriptions) that you visited
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Old 8th March 2019, 17:43   #8
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Wonderful travelogue JoshMachine. Thanks for sharing.

Stunning pictures I must say.

Yup, you are right. Mauritius is paradise and the pictures prove it. Getting up close with lions reminds me of the time I patted a lion cub in South Africa. I was only 7 then and I have only a picture for memory.

What does Lame Dan Lame mean and why have they used it to commemorate 50 years of independence?
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Old 8th March 2019, 20:58   #9
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Originally Posted by ChiragM View Post
Wonderful travelogue JoshMachine. Thanks for sharing.
Stunning pictures I must say.
Thanks a lot Chirag!

Quote:
Getting up close with lions reminds me of the time I patted a lion cub in South Africa. I was only 7 then and I have only a picture for memory.
Wow, that must be something! And at that age, it must have been quite a thrilling moment, I would imagine!

Quote:
What does Lame Dan Lame mean and why have they used it to commemorate 50 years of independence?
The phrase "Lame Dan Lame" actually means "Hand in Hand".

Last year, in 2018, Mauritius celebrated 50 years of independence.
And the Mauritius Prime Minister Mr. Jugnauth had underscored that what makes Mauritius unique is the creation of a rainbow nation that necessitated adjustment, tolerance and respect for different cultures and faiths. (I have briefly mentioned in this post regarding the turbulent history of the island nation, with more details to be found here).
He stressed that the theme for the independence year be "Lame dan Lame", as all citizens have walked and continue to walk "Hand in Hand" to build the country as one people and one nation. Mauritius, small it is, is connected through the hearts of all Mauritians.

Link
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Old 12th March 2019, 14:44   #10
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Excellent travelogue; very well written and described. I absolutely agree with you when you say that the place is a paradise. I was there for about 2 months and even after that long a vacation, I did not feel like going back home. There is a lot to explore and do and one can not run out of things there.

Looking at your pictures make me want to go back there again and do everything all over again. Who knows, maybe soon? �� Thanks for sharing!
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Old 12th March 2019, 18:39   #11
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Originally Posted by Akshitsi View Post
Excellent travelogue; very well written and described. I absolutely agree with you when you say that the place is a paradise. I was there for about 2 months and even after that long a vacation, I did not feel like going back home. There is a lot to explore and do and one can not run out of things there.

Looking at your pictures make me want to go back there again and do everything all over again. Who knows, maybe soon? �� Thanks for sharing!
Thanks Akshit!
As compared to our stay of 6 days, your stay of 2 months at Mauritius must have been an absolute chiller of a vacation
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