A Scottish girl’s top 5 tips for surviving those humid nights.

It’s easy to forget why I thought moving to a tropical island was a good idea as I lie in bed at night sweating like I have never sweated before, from places I didn’t even know could sweat. The knowledge that I must surely have lost all the fluid that has ever entered my body plays through my mind and so I simply lie there waiting for death -If death requires movement however then maybe you’ll do it later – Instead I spend the night complaining to myself.

Being the last to arrive in the house I inevitably ended up in the room without air conditioning. Well… it has air conditioning… it just doesn’t work meaning that I often find myself lying in bed staring at the stupid machine and cursing its name. During this time however I have learnt some valuable life lesson about how to stay cool in times when even the mosquitoes must be feeling the humidity and I would love to share them with you in case you are ever as unfortunate as to find yourself in a similar situation.

Lucy’s top 5 tips for avoiding death by sweating

1 – Keep the window open.

Yes, this opens up a who other host of problems such as mosquitoes the size of humming birds popping in to say hey but if you can face leaving the window open and the bedroom door closed during the day there should be a nice stash of fresh air, that you don’t have to share with any one else, waiting for you by bed time.

2 –  Water is not just for drinking.

Taking a bottle of cold water to bed and clinging to if for dear life may make you sounds like a complete weirdo but there is honestly nothing so good as when you locate your bottle of water in the night. It’s kind of a reverse hot water bottle idea.

3 – Make it wet

Covering your chest, arms, face or hair with cold water and then going to bed without drying off offers at least and hour of cooling.

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A picture of the offending air conditioner – let’s all hate it together now!

4 – Don’t move

Even getting up to close the door can be a all it takes for a night times sentence of sweating and whinging. As I’m lazy I’m a pretty firm believer in not moving once I’ve lain down any way so this one isn’t often a problem but for those of you who are more active this is definitely one to bear in mind.

5 – Sleep

Just sleep as soon as you can. When lights out comes so does the race against the humidity. The faster you can go to sleep the more likely you are not to feel the effects of the heat.

 

This is all pretty self explanatory but you’d be surprised how long it has taken me to settle into a new beat the heat evening routine.

If anyone has any other ideas or tips on how to combat life in humidity then please do feel free to share them in the comments – Please I could use them.

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Best laid plans

One of the most important things you can learn about travelling is that even though a day doesn’t go as planned it does not make you a failure. Nine times out of ten you will still end up with a story to tell – normally a lot more entertaining that the one you would have had before.

I may only be saying this as a way to defend the adventure Lulu and I had this weekend as this was a prime example of failed planning. We had decided that we were going to head out to the near by town of Tamarin, mainly to sample some of their exquisite sounding beaches. Was the sand extra cushy? Was the sea extra beautiful? Were the crabs extra friendly? We couldn’t wait to find out.

After pilling onto the bus we quickly became mesmerised by the passing scenery. Planning expeditions up the tree cover mountains and trying to choose which of the vein like tracks that covered their slopes would be the best to try we became so absorbed that we quickly forgot to concentrate on the rest of the journey. After a little while of silence we suddenly realised that neither one of us knew where to get off the bus… this would have been fine if only we had expressed this concern to one another. Instead we sat and watched as everyone left the bus and vaguely wondered if it would have been an idea to go with them. The conductor lurched towards us as the bus whizzed out into the country side and let us know that we needed to get off… we could catch another the bus back to town… this was all the information he gave.

As the bus drove off we stood on the pavement… in one direction trees and no pavement… in the other…. trees and some pavement. We chose to follow the pavement and hoped to stumble across the stop where everyone had left the bus – it couldn’t be that far.

Unfortunately, this stop consisted of a fruit stand and a tiny shop… god knows why everyone left the bus here. After and hour of trying to get to the beach through the rows of private houses and intimidating fences we wandered across a huge out door shopping mall with lots of little boutique shops. The place was eerily quiet and the shops all appeared closed at first glance. When we were bored of soaking up the shops free aircon we decided to head further up the road in search of a beach as we were now pretty thirsty – our bottle of water having absorbed the midday heat.

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The most official building of our journey. 

A lovely little bar caught our eye and we decided to make a move on it. Unfortunately, the people at the bar all new each other so as we approached they all turned and stared at us in silence…. being cowards we walked right through the bar and out the other side into a building site…. a fine moment for us both. Especially as we skirted round the bar to get back onto the road.

We finally found a haven next to a super marked that served ice cold drinks and had free wifi. from here were googled where we should have left the bus…. it was at least an hours walk away. Sleepy in the heat we decided we had had enough and skulked back to the bus stop.

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Sweet chocolatey salvation!!!!!

On the way home the bus drove through the place we had meant to spend the day in and I must say it look lovely. However, I bet we wouldn’t of had as much fun or as much chocolate.

Together we march.

One of the things about being on an island it the sudden realisation that you have no idea about what is going on in the world other than the vague  snippets you gather from those around you or the odd (possibly miss translated) newspaper sighting.  Most of my news is gathered from a quickly sift through Facebook – normally while praying internet/power holds out long enough for you to have a good perusal. Its here I noticed that suddenly my time line has filled with images of all the strong, incredible people I know and love coming together in a dazzling show of power and strength.

Despite being gutted that I could not join my fellow humans as they marched for a better world I feel so proud and lucky to have a life full of people who will join together to fight for what they believe.

As I trawl various sites, tittering to myself at the witty, passionate signs and the faces grinning determinedly back at me I am filled with a fire and a hope that this world will soon be a better place.

I have been called a hippy on many occasion and this seems to stem from my belief that we should all be friend. If this makes me a hippy then a hippy be I!

There are far too many unsettling, terrifying issues arising in this world for us to ignore. Together we are strong and with this strength and the passion I can see in those who marched we will be able to change the world.

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The roads we march are all different but lets be sure we do it for the best.

Reflections in the sand.

One of the most exceptional things about being in Mauritius is the glorious sunsets. Every night at 7pm the most amazing natural display of orange, pink, mauve, grey and blue paints its way across the horizon.

The event is best witnessed on the beach, surrounded by numerous tourists with cameras all trying to capture the same moment and immortalise it forever in their scrap books.

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A forrest on fire – one of many MU sunset photos.

One evening after a forced and horrific work out, inflicted upon me by Mango Stealer friend, we decided to go and take in the sunset as a reward.

As we sank giggling and sweating into the cool fresh sea, being careful to avoid any on looking sea urchins, the sky began its usual, now familiar, fade to grey. Beams of gold and red flecked the near by clouds setting them alight and within minutes the sun was balancing on the horizon, ready to fall backwards into darkness.

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So beautiful it can’t possibly be real.

While we swam the sun lowered itself down and a brilliant white moon appeared above us the realisation of how exceptionally lucky I am made my heart leap. As I sat in the sea with one of my most dearests people, laughing and telling stories, I couldn’t help but think that surely moments like this are better than any photograph in a scrap book.

Lazy lagoons

It turns out I have been here nearly a week and already I have had countless adventures. A highlight being our trip to Ile aux Cerfs with its sweeping sand, deep lagoons and vast trees- all hanging with bright dazzling flowers.

After a brief walk in the heat we decided lazily to leave the exploration of the island until later so with bags on heads, we waded through a narrow strip of sea separating the two beaches. We emerged damply onto a clear, abandoned stretch of sand and it was here we decided to set up camp. img_1866
We plunged into the shallows armed with snorkels and goggles to find a dense covering of sea grass spreading its way across the sea bed giving an eerie, murky feel to the waters. This caused my mango stealing friend to announce in disgust that it was just like the forbidden forest.
Between the patches of green the water remained as clear as crystal and deliciously warm. After a while, however, it became apparent that there were not many fish out and about who were willing to grace us with their presence although we did spot numerous sea urchins, a couple of potentially dead sea cucumbers and even a rather lazy spotted octopus basking in the green.
We decided it was time to move further round the coast to an area where the while sand was separated from the brilliant blue sea only by rounded black rocks. Here a whole host of sea urchins lived, even bizarre yellow ones, all clinging together desperately on any available rock. It appeared that the fish here were just as unimpressed at the idea of being gawked at as they had been before and so we only managed to spot one or two.
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Beautiful rocks

As part of the tour we were also given a massive lunch on another part of the island. This consisted of a huge slab of fish, a piece of chicken, a sausage and a heap of coleslaw, all washed down with local beer. Once this had been devoured and we were able to move again the boat took us out to see a waterfall, along the banks of the river there were vast green trees, one of which was home to a family of monkeys another to a whole host of giant bats all upside down and sleeping in the sun.
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So much food

Once we had watched the fizzing white water plummet down the rocks and into the black waters below the boat turned and navigated its way back down the river before depositing us on the mainland and making its way sleepily back out to sea.

Welcome to Mauritius.

It’s a strange sensation, that first day in a new country. This feeling is one of bewildered childishness as you navigate your way along the unfamiliar streets with their unpronounceable names and strange heavy smells. A feeling of total exhaustion after the 13 hour flight that allows you to let the local langue wash over you in it warm, soothing rhythm.

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Feeling soothed by the creeping vines and wash of the sea.

This sleepwalking is often interrupted by brief moments of panic as you realise just how far away you are from everything you know. The sudden thought of what the hell am I going to do here presses into your mind and amplifies the repressed crying in your heart for those you left behind. The first few days are never easy in a new place, especially when you are lazy and didn’t bother to learn the local language convincing yourself you would pick it up when you got there along with water, bread and mosquito repellent. As daunting as coming to a new country on your own is I was in good hands upon arrival.

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Safety and support found in beer on the beach – Heaven

I am exceptionally lucky to have been asked to spend my time here living with friends who arrived a few months earlier and are already well adapted to island life. They have welcomed me with open arms, filled me with local delights over the past few days and, most importantly, introduced me to the phrase “welcome to Mauritus”. This is a phrase used about seventeen times a day to excuse or explain anything that happens: it’s raining whiles 30 degrees “welcome to Mauritus”, the islanders unique and strange sense of time –  reminiscent of time keeping in the south of France ” welcome to Mauritius” and my favourite occasion for the phrase arises when the fridge is crammed with stolen fruit – deliciously perfumed orange and green mangoes swelling with juice, bananas fresh from the tree and beautiful bright pink delights –  all scavenged by my friend on here way home.

So as I lie on the brilliant white sand gazing at the sea and watching the tiny finches dance about the beach all I think is “Welcome to Mauritius”.

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It could be worse really.