This morning I woke with a scratchy throat, not unusual for me as I get to the end of a trip like this. The fatigue builds up over several weeks. I checked out of the hotel at 7:45, loaded my bags in the tiny rental car and drove to the airport a few minutes away. I was able to use the premium lanes for immigration and security, so things went quickly.
I had an Air France ticket, but the flight was operated by Air Mauritius in a little ATR 72. These Franco-Italian turbo-props have their doors at the rear of the place instead of the front, and have two seats on each side usually no premium cabin. I supposed for loading purposes, the company bunched us all at the very front and the very back of the plane. My seat was right by the prop. If the prop broke off, which is very rare but does happen, Marjolaine would be collecting insurance. Not really anything to worry about, but it's hard not to at least think about it.
In any event, Mr. Prodigue was waiting for me outside. We loaded my bags and drove the short way to the Tulip Inn in Sainte-Clotilde, not far from where the Prodigues live. I checked in, dropped my luggage in the room, locked the sliding door to the little balcony facing the Indian Ocean and went back to the ground floor. We drove up the hillside to their home, and sat and talked for an hour in their living room, catching up on all our news.
After the main course, there was a selection of cheeses after which we moved outside to sit in the shade a large tree and catch the breeze. Ice cream was served for desert and an hour after that strong coffee. In the garden they showed me some vanilla pods growing on a vine climbing a tree. The vanilla plant is actually a species of orchid that originated in Mexico (vanilla means little pod in Spanish). At first it couldn’t be grown outside of Mexico because it relied on a particular local pollinator. But eventually, here on Reunion, it was discovered that the plant can be hand pollinated, so now vanilla be grown in many tropical areas.
We continued talking about the work of the church, the upcoming Feast of Tabernacles, our families, especially their new grandbaby, life on Reunion as compared with Mauritius, air travel, French politics, and many more topics. Since they only usually receive a visit once a year, they have lots of conversation stored up. We don’t lack for things to discuss.
Finally about 5:00 I was driven back to the hotel. They offered me dinner, of course, the lunch had been so copious, I didn’t need another meal,
We’ll meet again tomorrow for lunch and to spend more time together, I’ll get some more office work done tonight and in the morning.
Sunday, April 23, 2017
Sainte-Clotilde, Réunion, Reunion