Around the island and back in one day
The weekend prior it was decreed that I and the remaining oldies (Lacey, Judith and Justin) would venture to the Ephelia resort and rent what is the current equivalent to horse and wagon (a car, if the time on your given longitude has not reached an acceptable hour for you to be applying your brain to mild conundrums. If it has, you may need to consider something; I don’t know what but just give something a try.) As such, on said day of adventure we trekked our way to the car rental and were told we would be given the keys to our freedom within only a few short hours, and so we sat by the pool and waited in what some would consider a very delightful area. As the time arrived we traversed the resort to be handed what we had been dreaming of, a car. Not exciting, I know, but a month of a pain of a walk to and from base and you really want that car. Sadly this was not to be and instead we were told that no booking had been made. After discussions with a lovely woman from dinner reservations she then spent the next half hour trying to track us down a car. Thankfully she did, but it transpired we now needed to get the bus to go into Victoria to collect the car, essentially defeating the point. After a less than stimulating bus ride, we then waited at the bus station to wait for our car which we were told would be arriving at four. Unfortunately, we are on the ever so wonderful island time and as a result did not receive our car until five. This all being said the second we were able to sit inside an air conditioned car and realise we were no longer required to walk anywhere, it immediately became an idyllic moment of joy.
After an exceptional night at Tequila Boom, we were finally ready to begin our around the island epic. Of course it began with a trip to the post office, but when you go the scenic route from Beau Vallon and not be required to use buses it is still an exceptional part of the day. After collecting packages of unknown items we just went for a drive. Why? Because we could, and it was just divine to be moving over so much of the island and not sweating. As I drove (being the only Brit I was the only one who could confidentially drive on the left which is the right side, saying the right is the right side is just too much of a cliché, you need some pizzazz when trying to win your cultural differences) and the others toured the island we were maybe half an hour into the drive and found a lovely quiet beach. And what do you do when you have a car and want to stop at the beach? You stop the car and go to the beach. It was amazing. Having a walk on the very serene beach and then having a little snooze was just another monumental period of time in the day in which there were many. Deciding we had spent enough time on the beach and all being particularly hungry we then went for a drive further along the coast of Mahe to find food and oh how we did. We found this very quaint roadside restaurant around half an hour later and my my was it sassy. Not only was the restaurant claiming to have better chicken nuggets than McDonalds, but the looks that the waitress could give were many and impressive. When someone can convey as much sass as this woman through a look you know it is someone not to be crossed. Once the food was ordered and delivered to our table in spectacular fashion it was time to really test whether the chicken nuggets could hold their own against the titan, and they most definitely could. Although calling them chicken nuggets may have been an understatement as they were much more comparable to gourmet chicken chunks in batter.
Once lunch had been devoured we then went on to complete the tour of the island. This lasted the grand total of another twenty minutes. As we ended it was decided we would return to base before our tea plantation hike later in the evening for sunset. As much as this sounds as a waste use of the car, I can assure you it was not. Driving right up until our dorms was an exceptional experience and one I will assume will be treasured for years to come. When we had woken it was time to complete this most joyous day with our hike. All previous volunteers had assured us that this hike although steep at the beginning will level off. I’m just putting it simply and stating that it most certainly does not. It is a very steep trek for a good forty minutes. Good cardiac health is most certainly required. I’m not saying that you could not give it a try, but I am saying you will die. This being said once the summit had been reached the view was immaculate. Even with the clouds obstructing parts of the view, seeing only framed images at a time, it was certainly a sight to behold. After a good fifteen minutes being spent in awe atop the mountain and oxygen was once again flowing through our bodies the trek down was embarked upon. This was not easy when the sun was going down (the inherent problem of a sunset hike) and, a multitude of trees were covered in spikes making them the devil spawn as this was not easily seen as one ponders down and feels the urge to grab a tree for stability you are instead welcomed with a hand of spikes. This was something I definitely did not appreciate. Although my situation was not helped in that I forgot both my head torch, which was sitting in the car being useless, and forgetting to take my glasses. As a result I was basically blind on my way down. I would say this is something I hope I would not do again but unfortunately I know myself too well to say that this type of situation will not be the last I find myself in. Now this brings the day to a close and I can say with certainty that this was an excellent day and one I hope to never forget. Although it is me so I might be able to remember for the next month if I’m lucky. I lack what some may refer to as a good memory.
P.s As a side note I would like to inform all that according to Justin, booties are now to be considered an all terrain footwear as not only were they worn on a night out to Tequila Boom but also on the hike. Just a thought to consider when next purchasing shoes.
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