Next stop: Mauritius

Friday, April 14, 2023
Blue Bay, Grand Port District, Mauritius
We were up at 04:15 this morning so we could catch the 05:00 shuttle, which we did. Marjolaine checked in her suitcase, we went through immigration and security. We then had some breakfast and above all, coffee, in the lounge. I was given a middle seat; I don’t understand why. I’m in the very top tier of flyers with SkyTeam, they could make a little effort, but their service seems to be slipping. I read that Kenya Airways is seriously in debt and may not survive, but they turned down a buyout offer from Delta. It looks like they’re going to partner with South African, which I think they will regret. I may not be able to get SkyMiles on KQ much longer.
Thought the plane was full, I noticed that the exit rows were empty. So when the door closed I moved up. A few minutes later a flight attendant asked to see my boarding pass.
-Please take your assigned seat.
-May I ask why?
-Because no one is allowed to sit in these rows.
-I’m in a middle seat….
That was the end of that puzzling exchange. Other passengers were moved out as well. I do not understand the logic, nor have I ever seen a crew refuse to use the exit rows. I’ll register a complaint somewhere, actually several complaints. So I moved back to my seat with my tail between my legs. My generous wife took the middle seat and gave me the aisle. 
It was a four-hour flight to Mauritius, smooth most of the way. There was quite a crowd in the immigration area two flights had arrived at the same time so there were long lines to get to a desk. Mauritius now has an online al-in-one form that covers their immigration questions and the health questionnaire. That will speed things up. Once through the formalities, we descended to the ground floor where the luggage carrousels are. We found Marjolaine’s suitcase and headed for the door. The car rental area is right out side the terminal. It takes much longer to rent a car outside the US than inside. I’m a gold member with one company, so in the US I basically just show my ID and pick up the key. In Mauritius, like a lot of places, even if they have all your information in the system, they still have you fill everything out all over again, photocopy your passport and your drivers license, etc. etc. We were given a little Suzuki Spresso, with an automatic transmission, which I hadn’t requested but it does make things easier.
As a former British colony, Mauritius drives on the left. Some controls in cars are opposite what we have in right-driving countries. So once again, as I always do when I start on the left, I turned on the windshield wipers when I wanted to activate the turn signals. We drove about 20 minutes to our hotel in Blue Bay, a lovely spot, very popular with local people. I took an inexpensive hotel, but set on the water. The clientele was mostly European: French, German or eastern European. Not too many Americans come here, it’s so far away from everything, and we have the Caribbean close to hand. But it is an amazingly beautiful island. The upscale resorts tend to cater to monied English tourists.
The hotel has only a tiny parking lot and it was full, so I dropped Marjolaine with the luggage and drove around a while to find a spot. Friday afternoon is a popular time to come here. Street parking was at a premium. But after three times around, I finally found spot. In the room, I wanted to check right away on the status of my suitcase. I was in the middle of that when Marjolaine exclaimed “how did your stuff get in my suitcase?” I looked at her suitcase which she had just opened. It was my suitcase! It took a minute to register what had happened. The luggage tag showed that the agent in Kigali had not changed the luggage tag as he said he would. My suitcase did go to Nairobi, but then it was held over night and put on the same flight we were on.
Next realization: Marjolaine’s suitcase was still at the airport. No relaxing for me yet. Back to the car, give up the precious parking space. I drove back to the airport, and asked a policeman at the arrival exit, where lost and late baggage services were. “Go outside to door number eight” he told me. The I went through door eight and found a sign about baggage next to a phone on the wall. I called the number on the sign and explained my situation. The agent took my information. “Wait there” we’ll bring you the suitcase” the voice said. I waited five minutes and the phone rang. I assumed it was for me and it was. “Go to door number three, we’ll bring you the suitcase there.” Door three was on the other side of the terminal. Go figure.
I went and waited 15 minutes; finally, our suitcase arrived, and I headed back to the hotel. It was mid-afternoon by this time. I received an e-mail from Kenya Airways apologizing for our lost suitcase, assuring me they were still tracking it and would let me know right away when they found it. I’ll let them track it for a while.
Dinner wasn’t served in the hotel until 7:30, European hours. We like to eat earlier, so we walked across the street to a little local restaurant and ordered seabass. It wasn’t very well prepared, not tasty, but edible. We’re both tired, so I think we’ll sleep well tonight.
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Cecil M

Oh, the joys of African travel! Sorry you've had such a hassle on this leg of your journey.

Tess Washington

Wonderful that you're finally get some rest from all the hustle & bustle!


Well, the suitcase made it at last and you will have a little rest now. Nice to see you are on the water.