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Monday, 22 March 2010

Finding Paradise in Mauritius - Page 4

Written by John M. Edwards
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John M. Edwards grabs his “beach-combers card” and celebrates Diwali (Festival of Lights) on the Indian Ocean Isle of Mauritius--once only the roost of dodos, now the boast of beach bums who before they discovered it couldn’t place this paradise on a map!

 


Later on that night my thoughts turned to anticipation of Diwali. As the celebrations began, I headed out with Grenouille and a group of travelers to the epicenter of activity: the Hindu
village of Triolet. Like a bewildering mixture of Christmas, New Year’s, Fourth of July, and Halloween, Diwali celebrates the victory of Rama over Ravana and Krishna’s destruction of the demon Narakasuran. As our nondescript van inched through the traffic, we stared out at Mauritian homes bedecked with Christmas lights, oil-burning lamps, and paper lanterns—these homeowners had spent thousands of rupees on ostentatious displays.


Fireworks popped and sizzled. From loudspeakers, tinny nasal spiritual songs crackled. In the crush of so much humanity, the van halted. A grinning Ahab-bearded man wearing kurta pajamas and a haji cap threw a roll of firecrackers onto the windshield. Then, in the headlight beams we saw a father and son holding hands, the son swinging a gourd jack-o’-lantern with an evil grin.

Finding Paradise in Mauritius, budget travel Mauritius, Mauritius on a budget, travel Maurice, Péyrebere, Diwali, Festival of Lights, John M. Edwards


The car horns chirped in the darkness like mechanical cicadas. We weren’t going anywhere. I’d come all the way to the other side of the world not only to not catch fish but to get stuck in a gnarly traffic jam. Nevertheless, the festivities of Diwali, the island’s primitive beauty, and the wonderful tumble of cultures held me fascinated. There were worse places to be stuck.

©John M. Edwards



Bio: John M. Edwards has traveled worldwide (five continents plus), with stunts ranging from surviving a ferry sinking in Thailand to being caught in a military coup in Fiji. His work has appeared in such magazines as CNN Traveller, Missouri Review, Salon.com, Grand Tour, Islands, Escape, Endless Vacation,Condé Nast Traveler, International Living, Adventure Journey, Emerging Markets, Literal Latté, Coffee Journal, Lilliput Review, Artdirect, Verge, Slab, Stellar, Glimpse, Big World, BootsnAll, Hack Writers, Trip0s, Travelmag, Vagasbondish, World Hum, Richmond Review, Borderlines, Go Nomad, North Dakota Quarterly, Michigan Quarterly Review, and North American Review. He recently won a NATJA (North American Travel Journalists Association) Award, a TANEC (Transitions Abroad Narrative Essay Contest) Award, a Road Junky Hell Trips Award, a Bradt Independent on Sunday Award, and three Solas Awards (sponsored by Travelers’ Tales). He lives in NYC’s Hell’s Kitchen. His future bestsellers, Move and Fluid Borders, have not been released. His new work-in-progress, Dubya Dubya Deux, is about a time traveler. He is editor-in-chief of the upcoming Rotten Vacations.

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Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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