Julie : The first question that comes directly to my mind, how a Mauritian girl leave a paradise island to being an expat in France? Tell us a little bit more about your journey
Shelley: It hasn't been an easy decision but love brought me to France! cheesy, right?
Julie - How would you describe the Mauritius Island?
Shelley - A multi-coloured nation with endless beaches.
Julie -Too often known for its luxurious stays, what would be the Authentic Mauritius according to you?
Shelley - In order to experience the real Mauritius, pick renting a house over a stay at the hotel, shop at your local supermarket and eat in roadside restaurants selling the most authentic food you'll ever come across.
Julie - What do you miss the most about your country
Shelley - Family, the food and the kindness of Mauritians.
Julie - What is the first thing you would go for when going back home?
Shelley - The first mauritian meal is such a basic(rice, coconut chutney, rougaille and mommy's special potatoes). Having stuffed enough love in my belly, I would go watch the sunset on the beach, which is a ten minutes' walk from home.
Julie - Which dish do you like to cook ?
Shelley- Briani! It is a rice dish mixed with meat, vegetables and a wonderful blend of spices. It sure does take a good 2 hours to prepare but it is so worth it.
Briani or Biryani - Traditional Indian Mauritian Dish
Julie - Learning a bit about the History of Mauritius and meeting up with the local, we realise the island is Home to many different cultures and religions, am I correct?
Shelley- Yes, you would find in Mauritius a variety of cultures living together: Africans, Indians, Muslims, Chinese and other European-based cultures. In any one given town, you would come across a Church, a Mandir and a Mosque. Mauritius might indeed be one of those rare countries where you would find so many different cultures living together. At the end of the day though, we are all mauritians and basically "créole" as one would call island people.
The Mauritian culture is so unique and its gastronomy is a perfect blend of all the different cultures.
Julie - So how many languages do you speak?
Shelley - My mother tongue is the Mauritian Creole, which is a blend of French and English. The official language is English and we speak French too. I also speak Hindi. Other languages spoken would be Urdu, Marathi, Tamil or even Mandarin. Most people have a working knowledge of 3-4 languages.
The Diversity of Mauritian Culture
Julie - Living in France you've probably discovered its difference from North to South, would you say there are different characteristics living on the North or South side of the island?
Shelley - The north of the island is pretty touristic and the south on the other hand is mostly undiscovered. The beaches in the north are simply beautiful but can be overly crowded. Depending on the type of experience you want, the south has a raw appeal to it which I personally prefer. Also it might be because I come from the south
Julie - Which places would you recommend our readers to visit to get the Authentic Mauritius experience?
Apart from the beaches, you would find there are many trails to discover or mountain climbs if you are more of the sporty kind. Other than that, there are some natural reserves like the Crocodile park where you can also find and feed giant tortoises. Some reserves are also found on the small ilots surrounding the island which are a boat's ride away and diving is meant to be incredible there!
Pieter Both Mountain