Stuck in Mauritius while on a scouting trip, Nina is not complaining

Expat news
Published on 2021-01-20 at 14:05 by Estelle Bastien
Nothing could get in her way to finding out if she could see herself living in Mauritius. Not even a global pandemic. Nina, a Bulgarian expat in the United Kingdom, is however, now stuck in Mauritius because of the restrictions between her host country and her dream host country. But she's not exactly complaining.

Where do you come from Nina and what do you do?

I am from Bulgaria but I have lived in the UK for two years now. I work in hospitality, in a small boutique city hotel, on the front desk and recently I started volunteering in care homes. And I'm thinking about shifting to this but I know it can be very challenging for me. 

Why did you fly to Mauritius during a pandemic?

I really wanted to come to the island and see whether I'd be able to live here someday.

Were the procedures to come to the island easy during the pandemic?

Yes, I found them very easy. The first thing you see when you go on the website is that you have to do the quarantine and I thought I would have trouble adjusting the flights to the quarantine but it went very smoothly. 

Was it easy to find a hotel for your quarantine?

When I booked the ticket the first time, I could not find a 3-stars hotel for my quarantine. And everything else was very expensive. But then my flight got cancelled and I called Air Mauritius to book another flight and I opened the platform again to book another hotel. This time I found a 3-stars hotel. The easiest thing about this platform is that you can cancel your booking two days before arrival and they give you your money back.

So, how was the quarantine?

Because I was alone, it was extremely boring… You are in this nice room, you have a nice balcony and you can smell the ocean. It is a good thing that I could not see the sea ! We could walk on the balcony but nothing else. It could be fun if one is not alone. I just spent my time eating, reading and exercising. But if this is the price you need to pay to live normally, it's worth it.

It's your first visit to Mauritius, so what's your impression of the island? 

Well, I've always wanted to come here even before having friends from Mauritius. And not just here. Travelling is my passion actually. For me Mauritius is considered as an exotic destination and it is lovely. I really love the way of life here. Time seems to pass by at a slower pace, nobody is ever in a hurry. Back in the UK, things are totally different. Here it's exactly how I imagined life should be. I love it, I love everything. You have the sea, you have the mountains, you have the rivers. It's very nice, in my opinion. I'm a tourist of course but I have seen many places with my friends and I like it a lot. 

Have you been to other tropical islands before?

Yes, I went to the Carribean. 

And is it different? 

It is not very different. I surely did not stay in the Carribean for two months and here, I had the chance to get to know people more but I loved it there also. When I say I want to live in a place like this, I mean I want to live in a place where the summer is never-ending. I love the fact that everyone has their own pace and nobody's anxious. 

Do you already have a favorite place here?

The beach is my favorite thing to do and I explored as many beaches as I could. But I do have a favorite place and it's La Pirogue Hotel. It's near where I live and they have an open bar on the beach which is not a common thing here. And I also like to go to Pereybere. The beach is so nice there. But on the days I don't want to go to the North, I go to La Pirogue. 

How would you describe the Mauritius experience to others? 

Well I was supposed to come here with 5 to 6 people. 

If it wasn't because of quarantine I would have had another five or six friends with me. We were planning to come together. And I tell them that it is heaven and they should come. We are planning to come next summer, in December.

Is there any activity you discovered for the first time in Mauritius?

I still have not gone diving but I am saving it for my last week. Just to keep the souvenir with me for as long as possible. I am going to be very sad and it will be harder now that I've spent two months here. For sure, I am going to cry when I'm leaving. 

What's your favorite local food? 

Oh I like the fried noodles and also the chanapuri!

Would you like to live here?

I think I could yes but I might miss the big city life. But I have always pictured myself living this kind of life. 

What do you see yourself doing here to earn a living for example? 

I have no idea. That's the worst part. I don't speak French and Kreol. For me, it is very difficult to understand kreol and that was the biggest barrier.

I speak in English and they do understand. If they don't, I shift to sign language. We figured out a way to understand each other. 

Tell us, did you take the bus?

(shocked) Yes !! My first encounter with the bus was when I got off the plane. I had never seen a bus like this before. I looked around they were all the same. I saw those buses in movies…on Africa. There were no air con and it was so hot. The worst part is when we started the ride, the driver was like a Formula 1 driver and a few times I could feel the bus would flip over. We also had police escort and the policemen were acting like the chauffeur's driving was completely normal. I just realised that it was part of the experience. Later I realised, the bus drivers are so laid back here, If they want to stop to get themselves a drink or to give something to someone, they just do it. It's crazy. And then, there's also the super loud music!

Have you followed the local news? 

Yes! I followed the Wakashio Oil Spill and also all the protests that went on. 

Who is the Mauritian Prime minister? 

Oh, I don't know how to pronounce his name. I don't even know how to pronounce the name of the airport…