Seychelles Holiday

9 Nov

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From the first glimpse it was apparent our holiday island was very different from the island we call home. From ultra-modern glass towers in the desert we had flown into a lush, green haven from the modern world. One thing was familiar, though, the heat and humidity. Oh, yes, just as Abu Dhabi cools down, we had flown out into a tropical wetness with precious little in the way of air conditioning.

It was something of a culture shock, too. From the modesty and abstinence of the Arabic world to the anything-goes, it’s-five-o’clock-somewhere attitude of the Seychellois took a little getting used to. Well, a few minutes, anyway. Five laughing girls dressed in skimpy summer dresses and lounging in the back of a pick-up truck, beer in hand, at nine in the morning, felt a bit surreal at first. I knew I was going to like this place!

So, a plane journey, a bus and two ferries later and we were in La Digue, a small island of some 10 square kilometres, dragging our cases along the cobbled street to our holiday home, not a chance of a taxi. These are few and far between while the nearest thing to a bus is a converted pick-up truck, also referred to as taxis. Then there are the ox carts. Once a familiar sight, apparently, there are now only a few about and can be put to use for weddings. It sounds romantic but is a bit of a smelly option, if you ask me. Otherwise, everybody, just everybody, goes around on bikes.

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Now me and bikes don’t have the greatest history. However, this was going to be our mode of transport for the duration so, let’s face it, I had to just get on with it. And these weren’t exactly state of the art. A bit rusty with a loose chain that hadn’t seen oil in a long time and a supermarket basket welded on the back, it was still rather fun and a lot cooler than walking everywhere. I was still wobbling and zigzagging at the end of the holiday, decidedly saddle sore and had gained a few bruises.

As you may have gathered, you don’t go to La Digue for luxury living. Homely is perhaps the kindest description. Nor do you expect haute cuisine. However, stick with chicken and fish with the odd pizza and you won’t go far wrong. Probably best to stick to the local beer rather than wine, too. Plus you won’t get a diet drink, other than water, either. But then there is the fruit juice which is well worth piling on the calories for, especially when laced with rum.

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No, what you go to La Digue for is the beaches, picture-postcard beautiful beaches. Most aren’t great for swimming with either vicious currents or just too shallow but the sea temperature is perfect, the fish so laid back you can literally catch one with your bare hands.  Plus you can usually find a bit of shade and a stretch all to yourself. All this and giant tortoises, too.

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I want to lie, shipwrecked and comatose,
Drinking fresh mango juice.
Gold fish shoals nibbling on my toes,
Fun, fun, fun in the sun, sun, sun.
(Howard Goodall)

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