Its such an amazing feeling to live in a hot country when other parts of the world are freezing cold…
When I was little I’ve been told that even birds are running from the winter, migrating to the “warm countries” but at that time I thought “warm countries” represent a fairy land and not a real place on the map. My parents and teachers never named those places maybe not to destroy the mysticism or simply because they never asked themselves this question: “Where are the warm countries?” Few days ago I asked my mother: “Mom did you ever wonder where the birds migrates for winter?” After few moments of deep thoughts she answered me dry “No, they never told us”.
Almost 30 years of my life I ignored this matter myself, being too busy or to careless to find an answer. Every October I observed the number of pigeons multiplying on the beaches and streets of Abu Dhabi and I even heard stories of magical pink flamingos wandering the desert.
I am blessed to live in the fairy land of the warm countries where hundred species of birds find their refuge every winter.
Sharing my little friends antipatie for rainy, cloudy days I find myself relaxing under the gentle sun of November with no desire to return to my cold, grey country, Romania.
I turn on the other side and place my head on his chest. Close by, the sleepless waves are hitting the shore and I am smilling in my dream…he played again the Youtube video which makes us sleep like babies, I am thinking, half awake. I open my eyes and I don’t recognize the place…it’s certainly not our room but some kind of old ship beautiful decorated with white sails, wooden bars and fancy rags. My heart is filled with happiness, invaded by feelings which are out of this world. Whatever this place is, it must be something magical about it and no doubt we are trapped by its spell.
Between dream and reality
A gentle sunshine is caressing my face and I know its time to wake up. My love is still sleeping next to me and I shake him hard: “Wake up babe, we are in Seychelles”.
I open the glass door and I step carefully on the wooden stairs..the beach is just in front of me and without hesitation I let my feet drowing in the sand. The waves are crashing on the rocks and I smile…it wasnt just a beautiful dream nor a Youtube video. The birds are performing their daily symphonie and I could listen to their song forever if Abdulla would have not call me for breakfast.
Breakfast with style
The restaurant is decorated in the same style with large white beds and hanging shells. We find a good table with sea view, just perfect to start our first day in Seychelles. While we are busy picking up the fruits for the breakfast, two naughty birds are already savourating a delicious croissant that I left careless on the table. I cant help but laughing of their “rudeness” and I offer them other items from the menu making sure that my new winged friends are enjoying a full complimentary service.
We spend the rest of the day in the natural pool of Bliss boutique hotel which is actualy a part of the sea surronded by huge stones and palms, filled with colorful fish, until the sun goes down….orange sky, noisy fruit bats circling around in search of fresh mango, a glass of wine and then…
….and then the stars, million shining stars piercing the black sky. I pay particular attention to one, the most shiny but the most isolated and I keep wondering how can it be so beautiful but so lonely in the same time?
The tour of Heaven
Next day in the morning we plan a tour on Mahe island. Paradisiac beaches, waterfalls, stunning panoramic views are waiting for us and we dont want to miss a thing.
First stop is the colorful hindu temple of the god Vinayagat. The old temple represent an important attraction for the tourists and the place of worship for more than 5000 hindus living on the island.
Surprisingly Seychelles is majority Catholic and our driver proudly wearing a big cross over his tshirt insist that we should also visit “The cathedral of our lady of immaculate conception”, the largest church in Seychelles. I am a little bit sceptic while Abdulla is over excited so I accept to visit the cathedral and I am not disappointed at all. While the inside impress just by its stained windows and the huge statues of biblical characters, the outside is absolutly heavenly. A big wooden door take us to a quiet, contemplative garden with a view over the Priests houses, considered to be one of the most impressive construction of the island.
Driving towards the Botanical garden, we make a last stop to the oldest historical landmark of the country, ironically named “Little Big Ben”, a small copy of the famous clock of London. The tower clock was built in 1903 to honor the Queen Victoria who colonized the island and saved the country from slavery and poverty.
The old giant turtles
Right now I am impatient to meet the giant turtles, the beautiful creatures which populates the island of Seychelles. From September to March the female turtles drag themselves in a choosen beach where they dig a nest using their hind flippers, carefuly placing their eggs inside. Unfortunately its the end of labor season and our only chance to see the turtles is the Botanical garden.
We found one pretty easy, just on the entrance of the garden. It seems quite big and slow in the same time. We move on quick as the era of dinos is long gone and this beautiful dummy cant fool anyone.
It did fool us in a different way thought…instead of following the path indicated by the turtle we choose to walk in the opposite direction and here we are lost in the beautiful park with plenty of crooked alleys and dead ends on a hot summer day.
We almost give up on hope when finally an welcome signage announce the turtles island.
Regardless of their reputation as “slow animals”, the turtles are in fact quite fast when it comes to their favorite food and in just few seconds I am surronded by a whole squad of hungry turtles of all ages, ready to seize not only the tasty leaf from my hand but also the veil of my dress.
Coco de mer, the hidden tresure of Seychelles
We are about to leave the Botanical garden when we almost step on an weird “coconut” which resemble more with an ugly human butt other than a delicous fruit. Coco de mer or the sexual coconut represent the natural tresure of Seychelles and the largest seed in the plant kingdom (it can reach up to 42 kg) and became highly prized over the time due to his shocking human resemblance. The naughty story of the coconut is far from being over as the female Coco de mer has an even more sexual looking partner (during its inflorescence)…the male coconut.
The Paradise has a name: Seychelles
We leave behind the crazy coconut life and the crowded capital city, Victoria driving towards the south part of the island where the real Paradise is opening its gates for us.
Down the road, a colorful stand of “innocent” coconut is inviting the tourists to enjoy its delicious liquor in an unforgettable scenery. A well deserved hydration break before our next stop…the waterfall.
There is not much to say about the waterfall…the terrain is difficult, the stones are slippery and not only once I was one step away of falling into the river. The water is shallow during this period and if I would have got my swimming suit I could happily enjoy an afternoon bath together with the other tourists who were more inspired than us.
Our “waterfall guide”, a young boy who just passed his puberty is sharing with Abdulla the story of his life, being the only one supporting his family while his brothers and friends all ended up in jail for drug traffic or robbery. I like the guy but he becomes annoying at one point for being so talkative. In fact it supposed to be a romantic visit not a man to man talk. I forgive him thought after he makes us an unexpected goodbye gift: a natural cinamon bark that he just removed from a three.
Bat curry, a delicacy of the creole cuisine
The day is far to end but we are already exhausted and hungry. Abdulla suggest that we should try the local food and the driver promiss to take us to the best restaurant in town but not before of warrning us about the owner’s impolite behaviour. We need to speed up as the restaurant is open only from 10:00-14:00 daily and we dont want to be kicked out by the boss before we finish our lunch.
Notorious and overpriced , the restaurant is far from beying fancy, the food is weird and the staff very rude. The owner who is also “part time” chef is sitting grumpy on a table and doesnt seems in mood to cook today. He answers with a cold “pas bon” (not so good) when the habitual costumers are trying to engage him in a conversation and he is going mad when a familly of tourists are trying to take his parking lot. Our driver is giving us a complice look together with a smile: “I’ve told you…”
Meanwhile, a bored waitress is trowing the menu on the table asking us in french “what we want”, while she checks her watch impatiently. I am trying to find something edible in the multitude of the exotic dishes, most of them prepared in cury style: octupus (the house speciality), chicken, bat wings…yes right the small creatures of the night are hunted and used as source of food in Seychelles since the slavery period. If in the past the locals used to hit the bats with rocks until they felt dead on ground, in present nets and hooks allow bats to be caught, skinned and curried. The fruit bat is a delicacy in the creole cusine and I am most willing to experience it but I change my mind after Abdulla comes with scary stories about the diseas carried by those tiny “vampires” of the sky.
We decided on something more familiar: chicken curry, rice, tuna steak and creole sauce. I totally dislike the food but I am trying not to offend our driver who seems to be delighted with his choice. I fill my stomach mostly with rice and coke, we thank the staff for their “kindness” and run away of this place…for forever.
Ending our visit in Mahe
We end our journey with a tea factory visit and the panoramic view point, located up on a hill in the north side of the island. From here we can admire not only the beautiful Mahe in all its splendor but also Praslin and La digue, the second largest islands from the archipelago.
Madly in love with this place we are thinking seriously to extend our holiday for few more days and without paying a second thought, we book right away our plane tickets to Praslin.
New day, new destination: Praslin
Air Seychelles is ready for boarding but we cant leave the small domestic terminal before watching the safety video, a legal requirment even for the short 10 minutes flight over the Indian ocean.
With less than 12 seats, no hostess nor a cockpit door, the motto of the company seems to be “we totally trust our passengers”.
I am scared and agitated like everytime when I face a situation out of my confort zone but Abdulla tries to calm me down by setting the timer on his phone: “Its just 10 minutes flight baby, you wont even fell it”.
He is right about that and after exactly 10 minutes, the light aircraft finally touch down the runway and we are over happy to start a new chapter of this amazing holiday.
Coco de mer hotel, Praslin
Once we reach our hotel, Coco de Mer, we are welcomed with delicious cold cocktails and invited to have a seat on the lobby until the check in formalities will be over.
Its already evening and the tourists, well dressed are joining the special dinner organized by the hotel with different theme every night. Today is Creole buffet followed by a local show and even if we had a bad experience with the national food of Seychelles we decide to give it one more try.
After dinner, the artists are waving their body in the rithm of African music and I dont hesitate when the girls invite me to join them. Even if the dance is not one of my passion I am stealing few of their moves and by the end of the night, encouraged by my performance and few glasses of Proseco, I am making plans with Abdulla to not leave this island anymore.
If not for a lifetime at least for the next 4 days, Coco de mer will becomeour lovely home and we are planning to enjoy every moment spent in here. In fact it would be impossible to get bored with so many activities offered by the hotel: gym, library, watersports, cycling, massage, games, pool and amazing cocktails served in the Mango bar, the perfect mix for an unforgettable holiday.
The weather is a little bit whimsical and not only once it make us run for shelter when the bright sun is suddenly replaced with an angry tropical storm. It doesnt last for long thought and after half an hour of heavy rain, the sky is cleared up even more blue and shinny than before.
Relaxing day at the hotel SPA
Today we will let ourselves spoiled with a full facial and couple massage, ending our holiday in a perfect environment, a beautiful SPA above the sea. Meenasree is our host today and after being welcomed with a delicious cocktail made of cinamon and orange, we are asked to fill a questionnaire which seems weird in the beginning but will make so much sense later on. Based on our date of birth, Meenasree is choosing the right essence to create the perfect balance between the mind and the body. My element is Earth while Abdulla’s is Sky, we are total opposite (Ying and Yang) but we complement each other perfectly.
We end up the massage session with a romantic bath in coconut milk, flowers and lot of bubbles and we leave the place not only energized but also with a new friend, Meenasree, a pure hearted person always surrounded by positive energy and good thoughts.
Its almost sunset time and we are rushing to catch the marvelous show offered by the nature which lasts for almost two hours. The great Painter is mixing harmoniously a whole palette of colors, setting the sky “on fire” and leaving us wordless until the night is taking over with her black, mysterious veil.
Time to say goodbye
Our holiday has come to the end and its time to say goodbye, leaving behind the Paradise with sadness but greatful for the great moments spent in here. The taxi is waiting for us but before, I need to say goodbye to some little friends that I meet during this trip, wondering…will they ever remember me?