Ave Maria and the Buttercream-Colored Girl

Or ‘How I know I’m not in Minnesota anymore’.

Stop signs are optional. 

This was discovered back during the white knuckle days of learning to navigate the streets.  There is one particular stop sign in the big city where everybody just kind of rolls on by.  I do it, too, but the initial thrill has worn off. 

In the beginning it was all rather naughty, but after snickering my way through many roll-bys, I just kind of complain now if the guy or gal in front of me isn’t rolling on through quick enough.

You can park anywhere, anytime for any amount of time.

Sure, there are plenty of no-parking and private parking signs.  But, what good is a sign without enforcement?  I have never seen a tow truck hauling any illegally parked cars here.  Parking tickets?  Maybe they are given out, but I haven’t seen any meter maids or cops walking the streets tagging cars.

The whole island is like a giant free-for-all parking lot.  If you can’t find a spot, just pull off the road an inch so that at least one tire is off the pavement and park it.  No need for hazard lights or even to signal that you are, in fact, slowing down to park in the middle of the street.  That’s what brakes are for and the steering wheel was made for moving around such obstacles.

It took 5 weeks to change the pool light.

I still don’t know why this particular repair was such a tricky one.  After we had the fire in the fuse box, it only took 4 days to get electricity back to normal in all parts of the house and when the kitchen light went a little batty, it took a mere 2 weeks to discover that, indeed, the bulb really did need to be changed.

At the 3 week mark and while a friend of mine was visiting from Chicago, I had high hopes that soon the pretty blue glow would once again be bouncing off the palms.  When I came home from work that night, my friend told me that the pool guy had, once more, been around and changed the light.  I walked over to the on/off switch and flipped it on.  Nothing. 

Maybe the underwater element added another level of complexity or maybe it was just time to call it a day?  And I guess after 3 weeks of trying different bulbs and other such electrical maneuvering, to test that the most recent bulb installation would work, would be rather a big occasion.  I think the pool guy graciously wanted me to have the first joy of experiencing the light working, again.  And after another 2 weeks, it did.

Sometimes it pays to get that extra option.

There’s a parking ramp located at the main/tourist shopping complexes here.  The drill is to pull a ticket when entering and then pay at a machine before heading back into your car to exit.  Just remember to load up on your ginko biloba if you’re parking there.

On many an occasion, the Frenchman and I have sat in our car and waited while someone who had driven down to the one exit, parked their car at the exit and got out of their car.  The driver then walked back up the steep concrete ramp and across the parking garage to head over to the elevators to go down to the machine on the main level to pay the ticket.  One chance, folks.  Just one chance.

As many people or things that can fit into a car can also fit onto a scooter.

There’s always space and when there’s a scooter, there’s a way.  It’s not uncommon to see 3 people cruising the main roadways and town streets on one scooter.  Add to the mix, a pile of bags with the weekly shopping and you really do start to question the necessity of a mini-van.

 Sometimes, the early morning traffic mix will include a gifted and talented man with a giant bundle of tree clippings, the breath of which is as wide as the road,  strapped to his head put-putting it to his end point.  Have body.  Have scooter.  Will move.

Scooter helmets are mandatory, but lights at night are a nice-to-have.

 I’ve developed a reflex night-driving skill – quick recognition of a body outline atop a scooter in the inky darkness.  While wearing of a helmet when riding a scooter is mandatory and everybody here complies, it seems as if having working tail lights and headlights is not as critical. 

Sure, lights are great when trying to see where you’re going at night, especially if the territory is unknown and bumpy; but are they really necessary when quickly cruising down the main paved highway? Once you become familiar with a road, it’s like auto-pilot.  One could even say that you really could drive it with your eyes closed.

Indoor lighting design is over-rated and unnecessary.

Why fuss and muss with choosing a fancy-pants light fixture even if you have extra money to toss about.  Just slap a long tube fluorescent bulb to the middle of a wall or at the edge of a ceiling and you’re good to go.  It’s easier to change the bulb without the cover and nothing gets in the way of the pure light projectile.

It’s good to have friends.

Some people scope the lines at passport control to find someone they know and then shake hands during passport processing.  I always just go to the line they send me to and I’ve never been offered a hand to shake.

Black smoke is nothing to worry about.

The burning sensation in your eyes and throat is either caused by the annual burning of the sugar crops or your neighbor  is just burning some trash and furniture in his front yard.  Smoke blows away.

It’s not us, it’s you.  Now, please go away.

Swiping of debit and credit cards doesn’t always work the first time due to heavy traffic, but instead of trying to swipe your card again, the cashier tells you it doesn’t work and starts helping the next customer.  99% of the time when asked for a second swipe, it works.  Hope is holding onto the 1%.

Prices are determined by how ‘money’ you look.

When shopping at any of the bazaars or local fruit and vegetable stands, the price that I pay always seems to be slightly higher than the going daily rate.

Always have offline activities ready at the office

I can not count how many times when I was working in the main downtown business hub that we lost network connectivity for over 3/4 of a day.  The reason for lost connectivity?  Stolen cables that were dug out of the ground to be sold.  The first time, I bought it.  The second time, I thought maybe they should install a fence or have a patrol.  The third time, I knew the IT network guy was just buying time.

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About Minnesota Pilgrim

A GenX Xpat who moved from Minnesota to Mauritius to France with her Frenchman lover. Multiple cultures, total bedlam, absolute bliss.
This entry was posted in Culture, Electricity, Home, Mauritius, Pool Guy, Shopping & Food, Transportation, Work Abroad and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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