Posts Tagged ‘Mauritius’
You wish to know more about Reunion Island? Watch this lovely video and then you will find below some more info. Enjoy!
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You see then the ‘Piton de la Fournaise’ - Peak of Furnace – one of the most active volcano on the planet which is 2632 meters high (8635.2 feet).
The volcano is surrounded by the ‘Plaine des sables’ – Sandy Plain – a flat red and extended plain that looks surreal and you have the impression of walking on the moon.
For a few second the film shows the ‘Piton des Neiges – Peak of Snow – which is a sleeping volcano and also the highest peak culminating at 3069m (10,068 feet). You might wonder why such a name for a mountain situated in the middle of Indian Ocean. It’s quite simple, the temperature during the winter spanning from April to September goes down a lot on the top part of the island. From time to time it will snow on the Piton des Neiges.
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So the highest peak used to be an active volcano fed by three big ‘Calderas’ – Caldrons – containing burning hot lavas. When it stopped its activity the calderas collapsed to give place to what we call the ‘Trois Cirques’ – Three Circuses.
These are abrupt areas isolated from the rest of the island as there are bordered by mountains. Inside a circus you will find lush tropical forest, pristine rivers, and incredible landscapes.
‘Mafate’, ‘Salazie’, ‘Cilaos’ are their names, as they were given the names of slave maroons who escaped from the plantations and took refuge in these areas that were almost impossible to reach at the time. Nowadays, the descendents of these slaves who mixed with new comers still live in the circuses. You won’t be able to access Mafate by car so the only way to get there is to use the same paths as the one used by ‘Zesclaves Marrons’.
‘The Piton de l’Eau’ – Peak of Water – is an old crater with a little lake and its own aquatic life.
The Chameleon or ‘L’emdormi’ – The sleeper - in Creole is one of the four animals considered by the locals as emblems of the island. It changes colour to reflect the vegetation around it when feeling in danger.
The ‘Dodo’ big white bird that couldn’t fly, probably sibling to the duck, was endemic to Reunion and Mauritius. It’s now extinct victim of the appetite of the French sailors on their way to India. Dodo is also the name of the most famous beer in Reunion. For those interested it is a blond lager.
The Paille en Queue (1:36s), thin bird with a very long tail can be seen flying in the costal area.
The ‘Tang’ – tropical hedgehog leaves in the forests of the island. It is a local delicacy and will often be marinated and cooked in red wine the ‘Civet Tang’.
The ‘Trou de Fer’ – Hole of Iron – is one of the most impressive water falls in Reunion, you will find it after many hours of walk in the most impenetrable jungle -the Forest of Bebour – in the ‘Cirque of Salazie’. You may want to fly over it by helicopter. The Cascade du Niagara de Sainte Suzanne ‘Niagara falls of Sainte Suzanne’ are worth seeing too.
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In terms of the coastal area, unlike Mauritius, Seychelles or the Maldive, Reunion can’t boast superb beaches of white sand. It has however some nice beaches and L’Hermitage and Le Boucan Canot in Saint Gilles, or la Saline are great spots to lie down and get some sun tan.
In any case it combines a diversity that is unique in the world, including, arid steps, inextricable forests, mountains challenger to the Alps, immense sugar cane fields, local people with varied origins, colours and religions African, South Asian, European, Chinese and the mixes of these, magnificent temples of all the main religions, exquisite fruits and vegetables, incredible views at dawn, unlimited possibilities for trekking, canoeing, gliding, diving…, outstanding food culture alternating rich spices and French finesse and all of this on a little rock of 2,500 Square kilometres, 965 square miles .
Finally, the islanders – the Reunioneses – make Reunion so special, welcoming, warm and caring. Only few locals speak English however you can expect them to smile and do their utmost to help.
Reunion has all the facilities and infrastructures you will have in mainland Europe, including hospitals, schools, roads, euros.
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BBQ and picnics are the ‘national’ hobby and many times during the year family and friends will get together on the mountains or on the beach for one of these moments that never end.
They will always take the opportunity to dance to Caribbean, African, French, US music and at one point the original music from Reunion Maloya and Sega will emerge again reminding then that they are one people one entity the ‘Creoles’.
If someone mentions 974 you will know that it’s the administrative number referring to French Department of Reunion Island. So all cars will have this figure on the number plate and all post codes will include it.
The film finishes with the slogan “Chez nous c’est chez vous” which means ‘Feel at home in our home’
By the way, the music in the background is European with a soft touch of Maloya.
But what does it mean exactly to be Creole? Creole is something of an inheritance from the darkest times of history when the French, Spanish, Portuguese and Netherlanders decided to conquer the world especially Africa, the Americas and Asia.
They realised that it was not economical to the employ people in the colonised countries to take care of their farms, cultivate, works in the mines and so on.
Hence they decided that people from Africa were of a different colour and non-Christian therefore didn’t have a soul and could be submitted to slavery. We have made some short-cuts here but broadly the context is now set up.
Also, at that time there were some tribal wars in the west coast of Africa and the colonisers used these conflicts to buy slaves who would be brought to the Americas, the Caribbean islands and many other places as Reunion, Mauritius, Cap Verde, Madagascar….
Many died on the ships but many survived to live in atrocious conditions.
These slaves didn’t understand the language of their masters and were not literate. Also, they tried to replicate their words using what they could hear and adding elements of their own language.
This is how the various Creole languages are born as deformations of the coloniser’s language by the slaves.
Nowadays, various islands use Creole as main language at home or in the street whilst the language of he old coloniser is used at school, at work or in the administrations.
Amongst the places where people speak Creole you will have Reunion, Mauritius, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Haïti, Cabo-Verde…
Creole are also the people who come from these places and are proud to be!