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Thursday, August 26, 2010

THE BEST PLACE IN THE WORLD: Mauritius (Part 12)

The following continues the serialization of the final chapter from SIMPLE SOLUTIONS for Humanity.  The distance between Reunion and Mauritius is about the same as a flight between Honolulu and Kailua-Kona.

 e.  The Paradise Known as Mauritius

Well, for Week Three, I was next scheduled to fly back to Paris to meet with UNESCO on the Blue Revolution, but riots had started, so, instead, by their request, I flew to Mauritius, a half an hour away, which is smaller than Reunion, but has 1.2 million people, just like Hawaii. It has a sugar industry on the edge of going bankrupt, a declining textile industry (because of China) and a smaller and smaller fishing fleet. However, there is low unemployment, religious/ethnic harmony (Lee Kuan Yew pictured on the left in his youth, evidently, some time ago, came here and copied the system for Singapore) and an inspired leadership, which has selected the Blue Revolution as their future. (A small team visited Hawaii a year later.)

I was housed for three days at Sugar Beach Resort, a combination of Mauna Lani Bay and Mauna Kea Beach Hotels. The dinner buffet was at least twice as large as anything I'd seen anywhere, with various stations for carvings, creole food (yes, same kind as Reunion…and Louisiana—but at least this one was temperature hot), pasta, etc. There was also a stage show at dinner time, very similar to those you see on a cruise. The one distracting factor one night was another large cockroach that seemed to enjoy running from the stage to my table and back, with the lead singer and me subtly and unsuccessfully trying to kill it. 

The breakfast buffet was equally impressive, with free champagne every morning. After my ordeal on Reunion, this was  a nice change of pace.

I gave my talk on THE BLUE REVOLUTION to the government planning group of the Mauritius Research Council, headed by Arjoon Suddhoo, a PhD aerospace engineer and past chairman of the board of Air Mauritius (Air Madagascar is on the “don't fly” list…..Air Mauritius is doing quite well, unlike United Airlines and most American airlines, and is the only one, I think, to still pass out metal knives with their meals).  Mauritius is a nation (same vote as the U.S. in the United Nations) and linked historically with Great Britain, meaning they all speak English.  As Brisbane was an oasis, Mauritius reminded me of what Heaven might be.

The flight from Mauritius to Paris was, courtesy of Arjoon Suddhoo, in First Class, and wonderful. However, I soon noted that virtually every notable location we flew over started with an M: Mauritius, Madagascar, Mombasa, Mogadishu, Misratah, Mediterranean Sea (and several other seas, which, when you approach Italy, become Mer, for Sea), between Marseille and Monaco, at which point I began to get worried. I still had that M Curse in my mind. Clearly, this was a clue that the plane would be hijacked and flown to Munich, or, more probably, Moscow. However, as we approached Paris, riots were still going on, and the city was, indeed, burning. The civil unrest was worrisome, so I immediately transferred planes at Charles De Gaulle for Oslo.

European settlers came in 1595, and within the century, man and their animals killed off the dodo.  Interestingly enough, the Calvaria tree also disappeared, as the cycle of seed, diet of dodo and resultant poop was necessary for survival.  At least that was the story until the matter was further studied, and now the belief is that some combination of deforestation amd imported animas eating the seed can be blamed.  This Calvaria certainly looks like the typical banyan tree.

I might mention that, while Mauritius is in the Indian Ocean, it is considered to be the most successful African nation in progressive business development. It is the only African country to have eradicated malaria. The government has been stable for forty years, and featured are free education and free health care.  I was very impressed with their success at racial relations, and they have taken on the challenge of the Blue Revolution.

The Dow Jones Industrials sunk 74, and lost a digit, now down to 9986, while world markets were mixed.    Gold fell $2/toz to $1237 and crude oil is at $73/barrel.

There are now three storms in the Atlantic:

     1.  Hurricane Danielle at 110 MPH will further strengthen, but, as reported earlier, will begin to move north and avoid any landfall.

     2.  Tropical Storm Earl will strengthen into a hurricane by this weekend and could threaten the Caribbean or move towards Florida.

     3.  A new disturbance off Africa is moving west and could track either Danielle or Earl.

In the Pacific, Hurricane Frank at 90 MPH is turning north towards Baha, but should begin to weaken.


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