Well, we've been island hopping for a few days now, and there are interesting similarities and differences between them. Reunion was lovely. A mixture of Swiss alpine meadows, Bolivian highland volcanic landscapes, and Newfoundland scrubb trees, as well as a forest of tall ferns taken right out of Jurassic Park! The island belongs to France, is a member of the EEC, and is very modern and well-kept.
Mauritius is just 1 night's sail or 1 hour flight away, but very different. Mauritius is 54% hindu, -with a strong Indian influence. We visited a Hindu festival (Christmas day!) and a tamil group were having a street festival/parade as we drove by. The culture is so completely different from Reunion, which is owned by France and so close you can see Mauritius from the top of the volcanoes Reunion.
Iain and I both thought we could live in Reunion. It felt quite comfortable, both in climate and culture.
Both these islands are much cooler than Madagascar, although in similar latitudes. Madagascar was flat, at the North end where we were, and scorching hot. It was also poor like Africa. The children were selling shells and cloth along the sandy roads, as well as charging to let you photograph a chameleon.
(photos to follow when I get them downloaded.. computer is overloaded with images at present!)
Another amazing stop on our trip... 2 days in Madagascar, one in Nosey Be, (Meaning Big Island), and the 2nd in Diego Suarez, a town at the north end of Madagascar itself. In Nosey Be, we visited a Ylang Ylang forest and flower production centre, as well as a botanical gardens. Wonder of wonders, we got to hold chameleons and lemurs and boa constrictors!
Today, we visited Diego Suarez and got a private taxi to see Baobab trees and a drive through the countryside. Madagascar feels very much like Africa, although we've never been to Africa. It's as hot as we can stand, and Iain didn't even want to swim at the beach since the heat is so intense!
Hilary Slater: I write in the morning before I get out of bed. I write in the evening when the world is quiet. I write at Starbucks, where I can escape the household interruptions. But most of all I write in November, when NaNoWriMo inspires me!