Keeping to our Spanish rituals, after all of the travelling and a swaying boat ride; we had an afternoon siesta. The journey from the jetty to our home was a bit of a haze and after a little nap we could now appreciate our surroundings; they were beautiful.
After some rest, we were picked up and taken out for dinner. It was wonderful on our first night not to worry about where to buy food or how to get around the island. Our first insight into Creole food was a buffet full of colourful fruits, vegetables and rice dishes, various curries along with meat and fish on a BBQ. Jay was in meat heaven and I was pleasantly surprised by the vegetarian choices.
The next day we woke up bright and early, eager for the day ahead. The first plans were to go shopping and stock the fridge. It is always exciting to see what different countries have on offer in local supermarkets and being on a tiny island in the middle of the Indian Ocean made it even more intriguing. The number one item on the list was DOOM! This is an all-purpose bug killer and we were told to always have this in our cupboard (or by the bed). Another important item is a machete, one advised use is for killing the dreaded centipedes and the other is in case of a break in, to scare someone off (unfortunately break ins occasionally happen here, especially for foreigners as we earn a lot more than the locals, luckily we have been fine so far). Our preferred use for a machete is to open coconuts…
‘Mas’ is known as one of the best supermarkets on the island, it is small and full of character. Looking at some of the fruit and veg, some I didn’t recognise and others were items you might only have every so often back in the UK; but now these are part of our weekly shop. The locals in and around the shop were all so happy and friendly; the cars outside were all left unlocked with engines running while they shopped, many barefoot and in loose clothing chatting in creole and laughing a lot!
After a quick lunch (and realising we had just bought the strangest mix of items ever), we were picked up again and were on our way to one of the best beaches in the world, Anse Lazio (it has won this award a number of times). It definitely lived up to this prestigious reputation!
The sand and water at this beach are just out of this world. I managed to take some great snaps on my camera but the pictures don’t do it justice! From the main part of the beach, we turned left and walked through some of the massive granite rocks to a smaller and much quieter beach. We met some more of the staff from school and their children and had a lovely afternoon relaxing in the clam and clear waters. We had fish swimming around our ankles and even observed dolphins in the distance. It was also nice to be able to sit and chat to some of the current staff; listening to stories and advice from those who have lived here a few years was fascinating and made us realise just how different life here will be.
The next few days were admin based; we had a lot to get sorted! Paperwork for school, residencies, banks, phone and internet contracts.
Our first task was to get to the school on Monday morning. We left early, unsure about bus times and anxious about getting lost. We now know getting lost here is quite impossible, you can get a bus in the wrong direction but that is about it! Whilst sat on the bus we got to see more of the area and the journey we would be making to work each day.
We quickly noticed that the bus journey was more like a fairground ride; the drivers do not slow down around corners, they don’t move over for other vehicles and the Vallee de Mai road is very hilly and windy with lots of edges that a speeding bus could fall off! After surviving our first bus ride, it was now figuring out how to get off, the buttons to ring the bell didn’t work and people seemed to shout something in creole to let the driver know it was their stop coming up. Luckily for us someone else wanted our stop too (future journeys have consisted of us either hoping the buzzers work, hoping that someone else needs our stop or me forcing Jay to shout ‘Devarn’ which results in lots of giggles from the locals and a confused driver).
When we were sorting out the internet (which has reasonably fast speeds but capped) we realised that we don’t actually have an address. To let someone know where you live you have to explain what it is near ‘opposite the shop called…’ ‘we have a black gate…’ ‘near a sign that looks like…’ or say the name of the landlord or last person who lived in the house and hope they knew them! I thought; what about deliveries or bills? But I am sure we will find out soon!
For the residency cards we had to go back over to Mahe. Once again this meant a boat trip, not once but twice in the same day! We all took some travel sickness tablets, but for me I took mine with plenty of time before the journey and to my relief, thankfully was better than the last. After hours of queuing up and a few snaps later we were officially residents of the Seychelles!