The Island’s First Day
Bon Accueil, Mauritius
I had been greeted at the airport in Mauritius by an employee who yanked me out of an endless customs line-up to be brought to a moving VIP line. I'm not complaining. Having cleared customs and the long wait for luggage, I came out of the terminal with a substantial microphone coming at me. It was MBC, Mauritius Broadcasting Corporation.
The news interviewer asked me questions after welcome,
“When did you start walking?”
“When I was five, one mile to school and one mile back.”
“What is your purpose for walking Mauritius?”
“To promote the notion of pilgrimage. These legs were made for walking. To encourage more the spiritual side of life."
The questions kept pouring out, most of which I just can’t recall. It went all so fast. I guess it’s big news on this small island which was first discovered by the Portuguese. It would not be a major marathon. I would be starting tomorrow at a planned 20 KM a day. It’s less than my usual distance.
I was told by Thierry, a French native devotee of Krsna that there was no large wild animals here.
“Oh, that’s no fun,” I thought.
“Oh, but there are people,” he corrected himself.
“You are right, it’s the worst kind of animal.”
“Do you have Hell’s Angels?”
“A few Harleys are on the island but no one looks tough around here, really.”
“Again, well, that also sounds flat,” I thought.
Before a shower, sleep or eat, I was led to the Krishna Balarama temple on Vrindavan road at Bon Accueil at noon. There I was asked to conduct a kirtan, chanting. It’s perfect. You get to meet everyone through chanting.
Personalities stand out by the mere response to the mantra; who is extra or intra / verted; who smiles; who remains stern looking; who plays the instruments with you or tries to or who is in their own world.
It’s like sports. When engaging in a game of volleyball which I do from time to time, within twenty minutes of the game you’ve become acquainted with everyone. A second kirtan in the evening drew a full house. At this kirtan there were just too many to discern who’s who and what’s what. I’ll get my opportunity to meet everyone. It will be a happy getting-to-know the slightly over a million Mauritians. At least I hope so.