Alina Zawartowska – the local from import
Alina Zawartowska was in a pickle when she fell in love with her future Mauritian husband. She has been living on the island for 20 years. In my opinion, Alina is one of the best guides there, with huge knowledge, experience, and a great sense of humor. She knows the island’s nooks and crannies like no other. Privately, she is a very close person to me, who showed me another “non-tourist” Mauritius, and with whom the time on the island (and not only) was a real adventure.
Why does a young (at that time) woman land 10,000 kilometers from home? Either he wants to escape from the tax office, or… I got the second option. I got involved with a Mauritian. We met while studying in Germany, we lived in the same dormitory. First, I saw beautifully large eyes with amazing thick lashes. And then … strangely familiar highlander slippers (popular in Poland in Tatra mountain you know what I mean? I think I should explain it to English people :)) The whole thing belonged to a Mauritian electrical engineering student who became my husband after 4 years of acquaintance. It turned out that before we met, he had been in Poland and had bought the above-mentioned slippers in the Cloth Hall in Krakow. To this day, they are (highlander slippers) a mandatory part of my shopping in Poland. Next to kabanosy (popular Polish sausages) and Michałki (Polish chocolate sweets). The tradition of wearing them has already been passed on to our son.
What can we learn from the Islanders?
Sympathy, warmth, and openness towards the other person. The Mauritians are extremely nice and kind. They smile and greet you in the street. They are very helpful. At the same time – they are not intrusive.
What bothers you the most?
A specific approach to time. That is what is typical for exotic, full of palm trees places. This is a real challenge for an organized European. Punctuality, deadlines, obligations? These are mostly foreign-sounding phrases. Of course, the canon of a true islander does not include a phone call to anticipate the delay or cancel the meeting. There is no need to bother with such details. People here have absolutely no respect for the time of others.
Let’s say I have seven days on the island. I would like to see as much as possible. What places would you recommend?
Mauritius is admittedly a small island, but for someone curious about the world, it can offer a lot. Of course, you must complete the obligatory program. I mean the attractions listed in each guide, i.e. Chamarel waterfalls, Seven Coloured Earth, tea plantations, etc. It is worth seeing and very picturesque places. But after passing the obligatory program, it is worth taking the bus and watching the island from its windows with the Mauritians next to you. This is a great way to immerse yourself in the local vibe. For someone who lives in the North, I recommend a drive to the capital of the island – Port Louis. There you can wander around the city, pass the fruit and vegetable market, and eat a local snack. For those who live in the West and South, I highly recommend taking a bus on the South Coast by the ocean towards the Baie du Cup. Unforgettable views. Of course, such a trip by local bus brings many surprises such as the door being open while driving, and the driver stopping to buy something to eat in a roadside snack – it’s normal. Therefore, when deciding on such a ride, you should put it in Mauritius mode.
What is your favorite place on the island?
Le Morne Beach. But not on the weekend. A wonderful place with turquoise water and the monumental mountain Le Morne in the background. Hammock in my garden. My microcosm under mango trees. This world includes a favorite porcelain mug for morning coffee and comfortable, wicker armchairs. Recently, Polish Radio Nowy Świat has been well received on the island. Let this moment last !!!! There is one more important place – the so-called “Hole”. This is a niche in the wall, on the beach near my home in La Prenuse. You can admire the sunsets in the hole and from the hole … There you go to gossip with your friends in the evenings with a bottle of wine … oh so that the hole could talk …..
My comment: I can confirm the hole accepts all regrets and claims to the world, tears shed by broken hearts, etc. 🙂