Today I thought I’d show you the capital Port-Louis and tell you a bit about Mauritius. Port-Louis is situated on the north west coast in a natural harbour as you can see on this map. The whole island is a very colourful place even without the tropical flowers, as all the buildings are painted bright colours. It’s hard to explain the mix of cultures in Mauritius. Mauritius had no native human population before foreign settlers got there in 1600ish (but a large number of endemic animals, birds and plants) and the population today is roughly of equal parts Chinese, African and Indian origin. The official language is English (meaning the papers, many road signs and education is in English) but the most widely spoken language is Creole (a sort of pidgin French leftover from the time of French colonisation), followed by Hindi, Mandarin, Urdu and Gujarati. Wikipedia actually has a whole article of Mauritian languages…!
It’s crazy to me that everybody seems to speak about 4 languages minimum without fuss. The food, architecture and faith groups are all a kind of mash-up of different cultures as well and I really love the diversity. From an outside perspective there’s no “culture clash”, instead all the different cultures seem to blend together seamlessly in a true display of multiculturalism. Seeing a mosque next to a church next to a temple next to a Buddhist shrine within the same 200m of road is magical.
I love anything with a contrast or fusion of influences and I think this comes across in everything I do. I feel happiest when things are thrown together and mesh in weird ways and I mean that in the broadest way possible. I think it reflects my feelings toward my identity; both my parents are mixed race and I have never really felt aligned to a country or nationality, instead always feeling like a mixture of places and backgrounds. To me Mauritius kind of encompasses this mixed up and diverse existence, whether it’s the mix of people and cultures or the natural geographical diversity between volcanos and rocky mountains, sandy coast and rainforests that have existed for thousands of years before people arrived. For me it’s a real life place of thrown together variety and I’ve not been anywhere else quite like it.