Friday 9 January 2015

Mauritius: Mark Twain’s heaven – PRESENT DAY

While its history seems a tad morose, Mauritius in its present day is a thriving island—a modern-day heaven much like Mark Twain described. One of the truly amazing things about Mauritius is how peaceful its people are. With residents from India (almost 60% locals are of Indian origin), Africa, Europe and Asia, you would expect some amount of disturbance or inter-cultural clashes. But I was pleasantly surprised to find that Mauritians are a peaceful people. Religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and Christianity co-exist in harmony. Unlike India, where religious debates and inter-racial politics dominate the nation, Mauritius welcomes everyone with open arms and an open mind. If this doesn’t constitute a heaven-like abode, I don’t know what does.

Living in Mauritius
Mauritius is a great tourist destination; you have beautiful, clean beaches, contemporary hotels, cultural sites, easy navigation and a variety of food in abundance. But what is it like to live here? Pretty damn great. Here’s why:
  • Free education: On my way to the airport to catch my return flight, I had a long conversation with my cab driver. He told me that the Mauritian government offers free education to all its citizens until HSC. A great initiative, which ensures that every citizen is educated at the basic level. This explains why the literacy rate is as high as 90% here.
  • Barely any traffic: Being a small island with a population of 1.2 million (which includes Rodrigues and the outer islands), there’s nearly no traffic in most of the areas of Mauritius. You may encounter some traffic in prime areas like in its capital of Port Louis or the touristy Grand Bay, but it is nothing compared with cities like Mumbai, Delhi or Bangkok that are known for their insane traffic situations.
  • No poverty: During my trip, I visited many areas in all the four corners of Mauritius and nowhere did I come across any sign of poverty. Even locals who work as hired help have small-sized concrete homes. To me this indicates that the people here are living decently, with basic amenities provided. 
  • Low crime rate: All through Mauritius, I barely ever saw a policeman on the road or any requirement for one. Mauritians I noticed follow traffic guidelines very strictly, which reduces the chances of car of bike accidents. Even at late hours of the night, they stop at a red light even though there is no other vehicle in sight. In addition, the penalties for talking on the phone and driving or driving without a seatbelt are quite high (almost MR 500 and above I was told), which urges people to follow the rules. I was told that the only crimes that are committed often here are alcohol-induced brawls. Aside from these, there are very few incidents of crime in Mauritius.
  • Short distances to travel: Travelling from north to south will barely take you two hours as the entire island is quite small. It is spread over a mere 2,040 square kilometres.
If your version of ‘heaven’ is of a flourishing island in the midst of the ocean surrounded only be happy people and plenty of space, then Mauritius certainly is it. Mark Twain it turns out was right.

P.S. This may cause you to migrate to Mauritius. It would be helpful to know that the immigration laws are fairly relaxed compared to other countries :)

*This trip was an invitation from the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority

COMING UP: A quick guide for first-time visitors heading to Mauritius


Rohit Dassani said...

I absolutely love your blog.... the pics are so refreshing.... do visit

Ruchika Vyas said...

Thank you Rohit. I will :)