View from Corps de Garde

A simple life in Mauritius

View from Corps de Garde

If you come to Mauritius for the usual 2 to 4 weeks of holidays, you may not have time to fully experience daily life on the island. A typical day for you will involve going out and visiting places. Yet, if you dig deeper, you might find that life on the island is much simpler there than in countries suffering from severe winters. Here’s why.

In the cold

Carpets are very popular in Europe to act as insulation and cover a poorly finished wooden floor. However, if liquids fall on carpets, it is not easy to clean them. As stains accumulate, it is either time to call a professional cleaner or change carpet. Cheap carpets don’t last long. In addition, carpets are a source of dust and many asthma sufferers have a poor time coping with them. You need a vacuum cleaner to clean a carpet and the good ones must be powerful and will be expensive.

Proper house insulation is crucial if homeowners don’t want to be burning money through heating bills. Energy bills rise steeply every year. Double-glazing windows are essential nowadays as a result. Not having them in a well-insulated house is like trying to heat it with the door and windows wide open. Yet double and triple glazing windows don’t come free. In addition, bathrooms need an extraction fan in order to remove humidity and prevent the growth of mould in winter. As usual cheap fans won’t do a good job.

Snowfall and freezing weather result in a lot of serious consequences for countries that are not prepared for them: burst pipes, abandoned cars, accidents on iced roads.  We all know how trains stop running in England for any reason, least of all snow. There are horror stories of Eurostar trains breaking down, people spending Christmas and New Year in airport lounges because the landing strips are covered deep in snow and schools unable to open. Salt must be imported and fleet of vehicles operated to grit major roads.

And in Mauritius

The intense heat on the island throughout most of the year means that rooms must be kept as cool as possible.  Ceramic tiles are an ideal material to cover floor surfaces every where. They are easy to clean, do not get stained and are hard-wearing and long-lasting. Unfortunately, they are quite brittle and can get broken suddenly. They are also expensive to buy and lay down. A very popular and cheaper alternative in Mauritius is the vinyl. However, vinyl tiles tend to get unglued with humidity so are not used outside. Just a simple broom is enough to clean these surfaces, no vacuum cleaner is necessary, although it is quite popular to use one. It is also possible to thoroughly clean these floors with a mop and a detergent.

There is no need for such a thing as insulation in Mauritius – no loft insulation and no double or triple-glazing windows to pay for. This means windows do not need to seal shut to block the cold, thus requiring a lower standard of finish. No insulation means no heating which means that inhabitants do not spend a single penny on heating bills or worrying about the rising price of energy. The time for sunset and sunrise change little throughout the year under the tropics so it never gets dark at 4 pm and there is no need to start switching on lights so early. Some people might invest in air conditioning or fans to keep their house cool.

A hot weather throughout the year also implies no issues whatsoever with snow and its consequences. No airports closing, no bursting pipes, no iced roads and accidents, grit that must be imported and spread on roads and so on. Perhaps the only natural disaster that may occur as a result of the climate is the formation of cyclones in the area. However, the country is well-prepared and experienced in such cases and has a system of warnings that everyone is familiar with. Apart from limited flooding, fallen-down trees and electrical cables on the road, there are few other consequences of the passage of cyclones. No damaged houses or roofs blown away as they are all made of concrete.

Such a simple difference in the weather – akin to summer all year round in countries experiencing harsh winters – leads to profound and positive changes in the lifestyle of the inhabitants on the island. Nothing is perfect yet life in Mauritius has nothing to envy from that in other countries. A holiday is too short to experience it.

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