Archive for January, 2010

Cooking stress

Ready steady...$%*!

Five nights in, cooking. That’s stress in the Seychelles in my book. Like being the contestant on Ready Steady Cook for five consecutive nights except without the celebrity chef and expertise. Exacerbated by the fact that being ‘between jobs’ anything that heightens my sense of being a housewife (not that there’s anything wrong with it, just not my choice) brings on a grump quicker than watching Delia educate the great British nation how to boil an egg, relieved only by taking a spoon and smashing its stupid little eggy head in.

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Baie Lazare

Baia Lazare

Day 2 of ‘MP’s holiday and we crank up the entertainment factor – they get to go to not one beach but two, woo hoo. Taking ‘the beast’ we first head up the airport road for Anse Royale (where we’ve snorkelled) and MP are allowed to get out and enjoy the view but are under strict instructions not to relax and get comfortable – goddamit we have an itinerary to stick to. We hit the road again and take Les Cannelles over to the other side of the island heading for Anse La Mouche, passing by and pushing on to pastures new (the other one getting nervous at this point).  No need to worry though, a beach sighted, a parking space nabbed and a hop across the road and we were the only people on the sand that calls itself Baie Lazare. Paradise. The water was beautifully calm and clear and as we had MP with us, as they lazed about on the beach, me and the other one went and acted like 10 year olds in the water- my attempts at handstands being considerably better than his – but then I’m a girl and that’s what being eight and playgrounds were all about.   

At some point another couple dared visit the beach too, though they were faux, jumping out their car, shooting some pics and then getting back in again..oh wait a minute we did that at Anse Royale. Lunchtime approaches so we head back to Anse la Mouche intending to go to the Anchor but, as it’s closed, end up at the fairly new place, Opera instead.  I love that their opening gambit in their menu is that Opera has spread its wings to the Seychelles from its original home in, drumroll please…Munich, Germany. Not quite on the London, Tokyo, New York vibe – I can’t help wondering if they’re fugitives from the law. Still, Munich’s loss is our gain as the place was fab – lovely tables outside (sadly a seaview not available due to trees lining the beach), jazz playing in the background and the best food I think I’ve had on the island yet for a very reasonable price. And friendly service too. I felt giddly, like I was a proper loaded tourist who could afford to do this every day – Earth, crashing, ouch..

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Our mate Alix

Receiving a package wrapped in brown paper, the other one’s curiosity was piqued. Could it be a surprise care package from the UK full of goodies like coffee, Galaxy chocolate, veggie Oxo cubes, pants even?

No. Guess again. Actually, don’t bother you’ll never get it.

It was a lion puppet.

Or more precisely, ‘a stuffed traveller’.

Posted all the way from the UK, ‘Alix’ had started his journey at Bourneville Primary School, Birmingham, where he’d been tasked with travelling round the world sending emails and postcards to class 3P to enable them to learn about different countries* (I would have kindly volunteered, though I’m not sure that being told regularly to ‘get stuffed’ is quite the same thing as being a stuffed traveller).

The poor thing had endured a long and tiring journey so far having visited Cardiff and Sheffield – I don’t think it unjust to say that his travel luck was on the up. He’d timed his arrival impeccably as it meant he could tag along with ‘MP’ round Seychelles and onward to Thailand and Laos – see, not even where Doctor Who is filmed can compete with that.  

In the end, we all fell a little bit in love with Alix, he was impeccably behaved (hardly a peep out of him) and he didn’t make a fool of himself by bagsy-ing sun loungers, sitting in the sun at the heat of the day turning beetroot red or wearing a dubious combination of Bermuda shorts and sandals. He even went into school with the other one to meet his kids where they really gave him a grilling asking if he had a girlfriend and what he did for money (not much in all honesty but his charm more than made up for it) We were very sad to see him go but a peep of his travel diary reassured us that he’d had a great time.  Just hope that ‘MP’ watch him closely in Thailand – wouldn’t want him to get stuffed with a load of drugs and carted off to some prison- not sure 3P could handle that.

*Coronation street had Derek Wilton harassed by postcards/photos that the gnome stolen from his garden sent him in classic Corrie comedy gold. Reminding me of another classic line; someone in the Rovers Return asking for a pint, said straight faced that it should have a good head as whoever it was for, liked good head…cheeky!

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Marmite faces* – a musing

At Uni, my friends and I had a predilection to nickname most people we came into contact with, including one girl we fondly christened marmite face on account of her use of inappropriately shaded (read orange/brown) foundation. She’s now a well known TV presenter despite our derision (shows what we knew) – perhaps her intention was to have been always ‘camera ready’ even if that meant the college library. Anyway. Flicking through the Manchester Evening News and Hello my eyes were caught by pics of the younger ‘stars’ of Coronation Street, her that plays Rosie and the one that plays ‘Tina’. Both are not unattractive girls but the way they were made up, ‘tanned’ (marmite-like hence this post) with full faces of makeup and clothes for women about 20 years older, it was like footballers wives meets dynasty meets drag queen – and it wasn’t ironic.  I could do better with a pair of curtains…

* Actually, I think oompa loompa more accurately captures the colour than marmite face but it’s been so long its stuck.

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First stop Victoria

Victoria's hindu temple (and a car park)

I don’t know you travel thousands of miles to a supposed idyllic island in the Indian Ocean and your first introduction to it is the town centre on a Saturday morning taking in such wonders as the market, library, government owned supermarket and the infamous Pirates’ Arms. Tiresomely, your hosts seem to stop every five minutes to chat to someone else they know, exchanging banal pleasantries and the car you’re driving round in, nicknamed ‘the beast’, generously lent, has only one working door handle. It then pees it down all afternoon. Relief is brought only by witnessing the pathetic spectacle of your hosts slavering over copies of the Manchester Evening News, The Sunday Times, Observer magazine and a couple of women’s mags.

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Hotel Rainforest ranch

Having very little in the way of home comforts and decorations with which to make ‘MP’s’ room more welcoming, I did the best I could with what we had; a free tourist map, a glossy corporate brochure about Seychelles from the ex Minister of defence, three Seychelles guidebooks and a couple of postcards. I stopped short of the pen, pad and miniature sewing kit though I did thoughtfully leave a bug spray for the cockroaches…

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Family arrivals

With the car on ice, ‘N’ kindly lends us hers to pick up our first visitors to the Seychelles – the other one’s mum and his stepdad (aka ‘MP’). Waiting outside the airport, it feels strange on one hand to have people from home in ‘our world’ but on the other hand as we’d only see family every few months in the UK anyway, it felt completely normal. When we lived in London the unwritten rule, you moved away = you shoulder familial obligation to keep in touch, got kicked into the play by some. Living on a tiny island in the middle of the Indian Ocean has its advantages, though admittedly rather an extreme way to make a point.

Not that ‘MP’ ever played by the rules, London, Seychelles – all part of life’s adventure, though they nearly didn’t make it…Not having our home address to supply the lovely immigration people and the other one having left his phone in the car there were some anxious moments of them inside the airport phoning us frantically while we stood outside wondering where the hell they were. All was resolved in a wonderfully Seychellois way by the immigration official along with P coming outside the airport, scanning the 15 strong crowd for our faces, and getting the info off us directly. Welcome to the Seychelles!

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Garage woes

The English language is incredibly rich so I’m told but if it is there should be more and better ways of saying cars are a sodding, annoying, expensive waste of piggin time (yes even you Toyota owners out there!).

We knew the pimp mobile needed some TLC- some new shocks, a fan belt and some welding. So far, so straightforward. The car went to the garage Monday and checking up on it end of play Tuesday we learn nothing had happened to the car as we had forgot (and mechanic didn’t remind) that here either you buy the car parts yourself or provide the money upfront to buy them before any work is done. So we needed to hand over 5000 SCR which we did (maybe have told us this Monday?). Come Thursday, we call again for a progress check thinking car would be nearly ready as advised in time for our family visit. Only then are we told that they’d just looked at the overheating issue and that we needed a new head gasket and yup needed to part with more cash. Might have been helpful to have known on Tuesday when we called. Proactive certainly is in the English dictionary but perhaps poorly advertised here. We’re finally promised the car after the weekend on Monday (after our guests arrive but not much we can do).

 We get the car Wednesday.

We drive it over to Beau Vallon for the Wednesday day night market, all good.

Next day, the other one drives to work and I pick up a text on my phone, ‘Car’s got puncture’


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An aside (as it would seem cancer is…)


Sorry I forgot this in the holiday monologues. A packet of cigarettes from either Uganda or Kenya. It struck me as funny. But then again on reflection it really isn’t.

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Dinner for three

On the theme of networking, thought it was high time that I repaid a favour by inviting ‘M’*out for dinner –yup I’m not really sat on my ass all day writing this blog but am an Mi6 operative though they can’t think me that good – I mean the Seychelles for heaven’s sake, hardly a hotbed of intrigue (though who knows, Victoria Beckham caught reading a book on North Island –  western civilisations could crumble as the very cult of celebrity is threatened – can some of them actually be intelligent, gasp?).

Back to the business of spying (sorry matters of national security) how wrong is it as a career choice that getting posted to some ex USSR state like Belarus could be someone’s idea of a wet dream and the Seychelles the fuzzy end of the lollipop?  Twisted. Then again so is probably finding it funny imagining some hapless civil servant having to trawl through Mi6 mentions on the internet and stumbling upon this. Hello.

I think I digressed.

*man in the know and has my CV (as litter tray lining probably)

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