Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Things Indian and Mauritian

You walk in a Bazaar in Mauritius and you can't help feeling you are in an Indian Bazaar.

Of course, suddenly, you see 'Le Maurice' on a hand-crafted shopping bag or posters that say 'Isle de France' or a picture of the Dodo pasted on a shop window and you are reminded that you are in Mauritius!

You read boards on shops such as 'Pooja ke Samaan' with the coconuts, the agarbattis and the brass lamps or the 'Wedding gallery' with the latest fashions in Indian sarees in the window displays.

And, then, you see the colourful skirts at a shop in the 'Grand Baie Bazar' and you recognise it to be the "Thing Mauritian" because you've pictures of Mauritian women with similar skirts dancing the Sega - the Mauritian dance and musical form introduced by the Africans who were brought to the Island during the French colonial period.

Its actually heart-warming to see the push-cart seller with coconuts and the pineapple, right here at the beautiful Grand Baie.

So, this is tropical Mauritius, a country off the South-east coast of Africa, to the east of the island of Madagascar, so far away from India.

You can bargain here just like in an Indian Bazaar. "I give you good price" is what you hear. These are Indo-Mauritians who form about 70% of the population of the island. Most of the Indo-Mauritians speak Creole. Many speak Hindi, Tamil and Bhojpuri.

As you approach a vendor, she first starts to speak to you in French or in Creole and then, as you start to reply in English, she says "I thought you were Mauritian, you from India, then?"

You still get very good price and you just stroll along on to the next shop, the colours of the Mauritian crafts reminding you of bazaars in India more than ever.

Related Posts:
Street Food in Mauritius
Mauritius Bazaars