Today is our last day in the north of Mauritius. The week's holiday has been a good combination of relaxation and exploring. We've disconnected a little, but not completely. JB is still following his work emails and I have been on social media daily, as well as following the Scottish referendum and the Beyoncé/Jay-Z will they won't they split up.
Yesterday was a day for exploring: we ventured into Port Louis with the bus, the 215 Express service leaves from Grand Baie. The bus timetables here are a little hazy, and by hazy I mean practically non-existent, so we caught our bus at 11:20 but I don't know if that is a regular occurrence or just the time that our driver decided to rock up. Port Louis is the capital of Mauritius with one of the highest population densities in the world, and is the centre of trade for the island's imported and exported goods. As soon as we stepped off the bus we felt the difference in atmosphere: you immediately get swept along in a huge sea of people with taxi drivers and street sellers calling out to you offering their fares and services.
The central market is a heritage-protected site and has been in existence for 200 years. Spices, herbs, vegetables, fruits - the market buzzes and the vibrant colours of the local produce are a sight to behold. The merchants are proud of their fare and happy to explain unknown vegetables to visitors. The cuisine of the island has many influences: Indian, African, Chinese and Créole as well as French. In Port Louis you see this diversity in the culture, there are both Chinese and Muslim quarters within the city. We tried dhal puris from the food market (a curried crêpe) and an alouda, a very sweet milky drink containing tapioca like seeds. We gave the meat hall a miss as I'm a bit squeamish and the first floor of the market is full of tourist paraphernalia if you're looking for postcards or souvenirs.
The market is open Monday-Saturday 05:30-17:30 and Sunday 05:30 - 23:30. I highly recommend a trip to see it. We then spent the rest of the day walking through the city before taking the bus back to our hotel. A day well spent!