Archive for January, 2012

Tuesday in Johannesburg

January 31, 2012

Hi Family and Friends,

I’ll start with Yesterday. I finished up my work in Mauritius and took a flight to Johannesburg. The flight was easy, and the arrival was also easy.

I’ve heard many horror stories about people losing or getting things stolen from bags in the OR Tambo airport, but I was lucky!

This first picture is of Maude Street in Sandton, took today.

The hotel here in Sandton (a district north of Johannesburg) is amazing. Very chic, very comfortable. Additionally, the shower is so good. This one ranks in the top five showers I’ve ever had in my life.

The hotel rooms are so modern and efficiently designed that I couldn’t find the closet/safe without asking someone to help. I tried to take some pictures but they don’t look that good.

This morning, I started work early in Sandton City.  Here’s a picture of what it looks like on the outside.

It’s just a big city with newish buildings. Theres a convention centre, business buildings, and the Johannesburg stock exchange is near where I am standing, there are a bunch of fancy hotels and restaurants. Nelson Mandela square is also in Sandton city.  I ate lunch at an Indian restaurant. It was good — not Mauritian good — but tasty enough!

Just because I have room, here’s a picture of Sophie. 🙂 

There’s not that much for me to do here, in part because of the safety risks. On the way over to the Mall area this morning, I noticed enormous fences guarding every house and on top of the fences is barbed/electric wire. I’m not supposed to walk outside alone at night.

Well, it’s cocktail hour, time for some wine. Tomorrow I’ll be going to some different areas so hopefully I’ll have cool pictures to show.

Love,

Annie

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Sunday in Mauritius

January 29, 2012

Dear Family and Friends,

Today was another great day! I slept late and headed to the beach once again.

This time, north to a place called Pereybere. On Saturday I went to the Western area, which is south of Port Louis. On the way north, the taxi driver asked me if I would like to take the highway or the coastal route. I opted for the coastal route and got to see some scenery. It was really nice of him to do this! He didn’t even charge me more for the “tour”, which was pretty sweet, and I gave him a tip.

The swimming in Pereybere was awesome. Warm, clear waters.

I ate lunch at a beach side café and then hung out on some rocks, pictured above. After I’d had enough of that location (it was getting a little crowded), I walked south along a coastal road to Grand Baie. I hung out on the beach there for a while (not the beach pictured but one you could swim at), and then explored the town. There were many shops but since it was Sunday, they were unfortunately closed.

I ate dinner with the same friend I had drinks with on Friday at the hotel party. He took me to a Chinese-ey restaurant back in Flic en Flac on the west side of the island. It was packed and awesome. Pictured here. We ate something called “magic bowl” which is a funny translation because the French is “reverse bowl.” It was pretty magic though. They put rice, and chicken, and vegetables in sauce in a bowl and then flip it over onto the plate. It was extremely tasty and a great experience and I was so very happy to have company.

Off to Johannesburg this afternoon. I’m a little sad to leave this island but excited for the next adventures!

Love,

Annie

Spectacular Saturday

January 28, 2012

Dear Family and Friends,

Today was awesome. I got up this morning and started work, as Saturdays are working days.

After lunch, which was delicious Indian food that I ate outside, I was feeling pretty good about my work and decided it was time to get to the beach already. Time to take that swim that I’d been craving since I arrived.

The beach is not in Port Louis as it’s a city and harbour and you cant swim here, so I headed to Flic en Flac, a beach area on the west side of the island. I took the first picture from my hanging out spot in Flic en Flac.

Not to long after I sat down, some guys sat right down next to me and started bugging me, so I picked up my stuff and started walking down the beach. I ended up walking all the way to the next town, Tamarin.

Between Flic en Flac and Tamarin are a lot of resorts! I found some empty lounge chairs in one of the resorts, and just sat down and made camp. I had the attitude that my bubbie taught me to have (especially when trying to use bathrooms in fancy hotels), just walk in like you belong there, like you own the place.

No one gave me any trouble,  and they even had this mobile bar, a rolling cart that comes by every so often to sell drinks.

Awesome. I sat there and read, and went swimming, and read some more.  As you can see from the previous picture, there were some ominous looking clouds. So I changed and kept walking. I walked past tonnes of resorts. Each one had its own windsurf and little sailboat rental and fancy restaurant on the beach. It was kind of a long walk but extremely nice.

The next town, Tamarin, is at the base of that sweet mountain. Tamarin is one of the “nicer” areas for people to live here.

At one point, there was no beach left to walk, so I asked someone how I could get to Tamarin. He said that there was a path through the forest!

So I went. Here’s a picture of the path. It looks spookier than it was! And, I got to see cool views like the one pictured.

I arrived in Tamarin and walked around a little there. I saw some wild goats (they looked like goats, but stray dog size) and some men praying in front of a fire and then headed home.  This last picture of of a street in Tamarin.

Now I’m hanging out, drinking wine and am about to get some dinner.

Love,

Annie

pounding pavement in port louis!

January 27, 2012

Hi Family and Friends,

It’s been a busy two days. Yesterday I also worked all day. I went to a new part of town in the morning, and in the afternoon worked around my hotel in the Caudan Waterfront area.

The Caudan area seems to be the touristy shopping and more-expensive-food area of Port Louis.  They get a lot of cruise ships here! This first picture is of my lunch yesterday at the Caudan Waterfront.

This morning, I had a meeting in the area of Port Louis that was away from the waterfront! I found the address all by myself even though road signs are pretty scarce. The less touristy part of Port Louis is extremely interesting and vibrant.

Here is a picture of a cool way to sell pineapples that I took on the way back from the meeting.

I was kind of upset that I was not hungry at the time because there was a lot of great foods being sold on the street that I would have loved to sample. I’ll probably have to take a trip back to get some samosas.

Yesterday I had an interesting encounter in a mall.

I guess the mall owner’s wife saw me working and getting help from employees in each store, so she called her husband and security on me! I was asked to come with two guards and a businessman. Once I explained to them what I was doing, it was of course all right. But it was a process.

I was annoyed at the woman because she could have just come up and asked me herself because (at least in my opinion) she wasted everyone’s time.

This picture right here is just checking out the scene in Port Louis.

Anyway, back to today. After a long day, I went to a party at my hotel! I guess every Friday night the hotel hosts a happy hour that turns into a party that lasts until 2- am!

At the event, I met up someone I had met in my meeting earlier on today, and we had an awesome time! It was great to have some company.

Here’s a not-so-good picture of the event. It was really hopping, i’m not sure all the awesome is visible in the picture.

Time to go to bed!

Love, Anne

Delicious Mauritius

January 25, 2012

Dear Family and Friends,

Not much to report today as I spent the whole day working but here are a couple of pictures. This first one is of the view from the taxi. No, i’m not driving the taxi… hahaha… the steering wheels are on the other side.

And here is a picture of the outside area of the market I walked around yesterday. It was bustling. At dinner tonight the server brought me a bowl of soup and said, sorry, we’re lacking soup spoons.

I asked for a teaspoon and he said they didn’t have those either. Would I like for him to bring me a straw?

So I picked up my fork thinking… man they probably should have told me about this issue before letting me order soup… and then he gave me a spoon. Great joke. Ha. Ha. Then he told me they ran out of wine glasses. That was fine, I said I can drink from the bottle.

So I told him when he brought the cheque that I was lacking money.

Love,

Annie

London and Hello to Port Louis!

January 24, 2012

Dear Family and Friends,

It doesn’t feel like January here! After two days of travelling, I’m finally settled in Port Louis, Mauritius. The hotel is on the waterfront and has some great restaurants.

This is view from the Hotel. The room is also nice. I’m writing this blog post while sitting outside, looking out at the harbor, drinking some wine and eating banana chips. It’s warm, there’s a breeze, and the heat is not oppressive. Could be worse.  🙂 Also, the bartender said he likes my typing skills. Yeah!

Two days ago, I flew to London where I had a twelve hour layover. I arrived in the morning and after screwing around the city for a while (this was a little uncomfortable as I did not pack a jacket) I met up with my friend Scott, who is studying there at London School of Economics and (lucky for me) only had class in the morning.  He brought me a sweater to wear for the day and as soon as I put it on my day got 1,500 times better. 

We first went to eat lunch at a Korean food café and shared kimchee, spicy bimimbap, and a beef thing. It was absolutely delicious and nice and spicy and there were great sauces involved.  After that, we went to the British Museum and checked out the Rosetta stone and other cool things in the museum. I saw a lot of things I had studied in Art History class in college! and the museum is pretty beautiful. Then Scott showed me the LSE campus and his programs special room in which a lot of people study. It was very awesome. Here’s a picture of Scott (with my backpack… thanks for holding it) and part of the LSE campus.

We said goodbye and I took the express train to Gatwick airport. I found Gatwick to be extremely pleasant. The bathrooms were nice and it wasn’t crowded. Surprisingly, the almost twelve hour flight to Mauritius wasn’t bad at all… I got an entire row to myself because the flight was so “quiet”, and slept most of the way. I definitely needed it. After settling in to the Hotel, I went to explore Port Louis.

The way to get to the city centre from the hotel is by Water Taxi! I walked around and encountered this market that had AWESOME smelling spices in it. I found some food in another section of hte market that I could eat while walking… Roti, which is a kind of flat bread, with a spicy mixture inside (I just asked the guy selling it for whatever was the best). I dropped some on my shoe and it got into my toes but that was the worst thing that happened today so I can’t complain!

Hope you are well!

Love,

Annie

Happy New Year!

January 15, 2012

Hi Family and Friends,

Just a quick update from Boston. I hope you’ve had a happy holidays and new year! Last week I went to Vail to ski with my family. Here is a picture of the girls of the family after lunch (From left to right: Me, Mom, little sister Melissa) I know, Melissa has some amazing hair. There are other amazing things about her (obviously) but her hair does stick out in this picture.

We had a great family week and awesome days of skiing even though only thirty percent of the mountain was open. Apparently, this was the first time in twenty years or so that the “back bowls” weren’t open for Christmas time. It just hasn’t snowed very much.

Here is another picture, this one is of the family kids in Vail Village. In this picture, everyone is healthy.

Unfortunately, the next day (our first day of skiing) Eddie tore the ligament in his shoulder on the mountain. (the A-C Ligament). 😦 He was out for the week but maintained admirably high spirits. He fell at the top of the mountain and still made it all the way down – totally bad ass.

Lastly, here is a picture of my dad and me at lunch at the Two Elks lodge way to the left side of the mountain. We really liked this lodge. They hand you tissues when you walk in and the bathrooms are great in part because they have candles burning inside the bathroom. They also have great food (I ate the Veggie Chili and French Fries both times we went but they also have a Rockin’ salad bar and other things too). The first day it was beautiful and pretty warm so we ate outside. Bright sun and beers– all smiles in this picture!

One week from today, I’m leaving for my next survey assignment to Southern Africa! I’m headed to (in this order) Mauritius, South Africa, Namibia, and Angola and couldn’t be more excited. I’ll be flying through London and have enough time there to visit a friend studying there, so that’s a bonus.

See you in a week or so from Port Louis!
Love,
Anne