Saturday, 20 November 2010

Breaking the Ice

So, before last night we had only briefly met our neighbours, having exchanged no more than a few words and open-ended invitations. We needed a master plan to break the ice… so we made cake - lots and lots of chocolate cake. And that’s how it all started. First we went round to ‘The Banana Lady.’
You may be wondering why she is called Banana Lady. Well, Katie met her walking home one day. They stopped and had a wee conversation – she doesn’t speak English. Katie told her in French, “We have just moved in!” and then pointed eagerly to our house. The next day she dropped off a pressie – you guessed it, bananas. Alas, Banana Lady came into our lives. So, Katie and I wandered on round to her house the other night with homemade chocolate cake close at hand. Katie (who’s French is much better than mine) explained the cake was for her. She gratefully accepted it and then off we went to do the next errand. We should probably find out her name though, and then we wouldn’t have to call her Banana Lady…

Margaret and Rosemary live just a little bit more down the road from us. We briefly spoke to Margaret one afternoon. We were very surprised to find an English name in Mauritius! She told us about her father who had a love for the royal family - hence why she is called Margaret. Margaret and Rosemary invited us in after accepting our slices of cake. We had a long chat mainly about food and how we wanted to learn to make rotis; our first attempt didn’t go well, they more resembled biscuits; cyclones, particularly cyclone Carole in the 60’s which saw Mauritius left in ruins; our work and living in the UK. Katie was very pleased to be offered a Cappuccino. She hates Mauritian coffee so she’s barely had any coffee since she got here! We left Margaret and Rosemary later that night. They have invited us round for dinner one day. We hope they will teach us how to cook!

Banana Lady (number 2). Another neighbour whose name we don’t know! You have no idea how guilty we feel about this. But it’s so difficult to remember, and even worse asking again after having spoken to her a couple of times. Most Mauritian names are very new and unusual to us so it’s incredibly difficult to remember. Charlie has gotten into the habit of writing down names to ensure she remembers. Might take a leaf from her book. Anyway, Banana Lady (number 2) invited us in. We went into her living room to find her son sleeping on a bed. He quickly woke up and looked very embarrassed, frantically rubbing at his eyes! We had a wee chat with the whole family (whose English was very good). The TV was on and we all had a little chuckle together when an Indian man came on wearing a Sari. Her son looked again very embarrassed. Banana Lady has the Internet! She said we could use it whenever we wanted. In emergency situations this will be very good! She has also invited us round for dinner one night. I think she is keen for us all to become friends with her sons, one of them has a fascination with England. On leaving she gave us another huge bunch of bananas. They had millions! I’ve never seen so many bananas! Now we feel obliged to make her some more cake!

Saturday 13th November

Suzelle lives down the road and has a crazy dog that barks and chews the wire fence (as if he’s imagining gnawing at our arms) while we walk past. Charlie was at work today as it’s the school holidays. So Katie and I decided we would go into Rose-Hill to find some lunch – rotis. We met Suzelle on our way in her garden. She then invited us in for lunch! We had rotis with cheese and butter. They were so good! We had another long chat. Apparently she cleans all day on Saturdays. We were there for an hour and a half… I hope we didn’t take too much of her cleaning time up. Also, she has a son who used to go to University in the UK. At the moment he is in California studying for a PHD in computer science. He won a scholarship over there. We’ve found that many Mauritians go abroad to study. Mainly in the UK and France. Suzelle has invited us to her mother’s house in Beau Bassin one weekend to pick Litchis which are coming into season soon. 

1 comment:

  1. They'll be calling you "Chocolate Chloe"!!!
    Chocolate and bananas taste good together of course!!!