Thursday, December 22, 2016

Ile aux Cerfs

I did not see any cerfs (deer) at the Île aux Cerfs, but we did have an amazing day out! We started by taking a boat over to see waterfalls and monkeys.

Then we landed on the island. As soon as we got there, Sheila negotiated a deal for the boys to go parasailing. So Benjamin, Noah, Sheila, and I hopped in another boat that took us out to a floating platform.

When it was their turn, they and an instructor took off with this bright yellow parachute, pulled behind a boat.

After that, we lazed around the beach for a while, until the boat came back to take us to another island, where we had a delicious lunch of fish and chicken, enjoyed some live creole music, and then swam in the lagoon.

Then one last boat ride to take us back to the main island. I think I had enough boat rides in that one day to last me for a few years!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Day 2: Ready to Go!

After a good night's sleep, we were ready to go! Christian and Sheila played tour guide for us all week. We started with a grand tour of the island.

Frédéric started by learning how to drive on the right side of the car, and the left side of the road. We won't tell you how many times I accidentally tried to get into the driver's seat during the week.

Mauritius has a large Hindu population, so there are a lot of Hindu temples around.

We stopped at a few lookout points for photos.

At one of them, we stopped for some fresh coconut, too.

The scenery in Mauritius is fabulous. Fields of sugar cane, mountains, ocean....

We went to another beach where we had lunch, and then went out on a glass-bottomed boat. The guide told us all about the different types of coral, and the fish that live in the coral reef.

Then the kids went snorkeling with the fish!

After the snorkeling, the guide dropped us off on another island, where we played in the water or walked around until he came back for us later.

Monday, December 19, 2016

The Longest-Planned Vacation

So the thing about this vacation is that we've been planning it for probably over 16 years - since we got married. But the first few years, we were poor. Then we were busy having kids. Then there's the trip home to the US every year, which takes vacation time and money, but which we weren't ready to give up in favor of this trip. Then every time we saved up some money for this trip, the government would swoop in and take it away for things like self-employment taxes.

But we decided this was the year! We talked with Frédéric's cousins, Christian and Sheila, who would go with us with their kids, and we got everything planned out and budgeted. We decided to spend one week in Mauritius, and one week in Reunion Island. Frédéric's mom and all her family are from Reunion, and his cousin's wife, Sheila, is from Mauritius, and they have a house there.

Both islands are located off the east coast of Madagascar, off the east coast of Africa. Mauritius is independent, and Reunion is a French overseas department.

We left Dec 18th. We got to the airport three hours early, and even so barely made our flight, because they had so few people working security. But as they were making the final boarding calls, we got on. Whew!

Then we flew for 11 and a half hours. That is a LONG time to be in an airplane. But finally, we made it! And look at the view as we came in! Wow!

The day we arrived, Sheila's family rallied to the cause and chauffeured us from the airport to Christian and Sheila's house. Her parents welcomed us there. That afternoon, we went to the beach near their house. This is their beautiful house.

And this is the beautiful beach.

What a perfect start to our trip!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

"The Best Birthday Ever!"

That is what Benjamin declared after having opened his presents - Minecraft Lego set, Nexo Knights Lego set, and three Lemony Snicket books. He requested Noah's gooey marshmallow cake as his birthday cake, and it was delicious.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Early Christmas at home

I like to let the boys open presents starting a few days before Christmas, to drag out the fun a bit longer. This year, since we were leaving for vacation Dec 18th, we decided to start even before Benjamin's birthday.

As usual - books, lots of books! And I made these afghans for them.