Every baby is different, of course, but that has not stopped us comparing our two children, if only because it is such a joy to look back on our blog posts from Munchkin’s first year. It is incredible how much one forgets of those early moments, and how quickly!
Mauritius is a fascinating place. Successive occupation by first the Dutch, then the French, and finally the British have forged a multi-religious, multi-ethnic nation that is Africa’s most densely populated. [With twelve million people crammed into a country the size of Maryland, Rwanda – where we live – is the most densely populated nation on the African continent. At 640 inhabitants per square kilometer, Mauritius is 40% more densely populated!] Rwanda definitely feels crowded, so it was quite a trip to visit an even smaller, even more densely populated nation.
After five days in Mauritius – three of which we spent waiting out a cyclone warning – we were beginning to feel more than a little stir crazy. As soon as the storm had passed and the meteorological service had lifted the cyclone advisory, we booked a car to take us around the island.
Although we enjoyed our stay in Mauritius (how could one not?!), it did not wow us in the same way that our visits to Zanzibar and Madagascar had. This is partly because we skipped some of the island’s most scenic locales and partly because the timing of our visit, coming at the tail end of the cyclone season, was less than ideal. We arrived to clear skies and flawless weather; a cyclone warning went into effect less than 48 hours later.
South Africa’s coastline is beautiful but wild, with rip currents rendering many of the most scenic beaches too dangerous for young swimmers. This is why we decided to end our R&R trip with a stop in Mauritius – a week of pure relaxation after two weeks of road-tripping around South Africa during which we covered more than 2,200 kilometers.
Last month we wrote about the moving anxiety that has begun to grip our household. This week our forthcoming transition got a little more real as we attended a departure seminar at the Embassy and realized that we are fast coming up on our final 100 days in Kigali. That we have been down this road several times before makes the impending transition a little easier, but not much.
The very first thing we did during our first trip to South Africa was go to see the penguins at Simon’s Town. It was our “baby moon” – a long weekend escape to Cape Town tacked onto S’s antenatal screening in Pretoria. We drove straight from the airport to Simon’s Town, arriving just as storm clouds gathered overhead. We spent enough time on the boardwalks observing the breeding penguin colony to feel that the visit had been worthwhile. Leaving as the first raindrops fell, however, we knew we would have to come back to do the Cape Peninsula justice.