Saturday, May 25, 2013

A Special Birthday

Waking up on my birthday at an idyllic beachside resort in Mauritius was cool.  Having it come in the middle of a perfect week with the family, with nary a thought of the busy life we had left behind, was priceless!

It was another perfect sunny day.  After a lazy breakfast at Le Manoir, we plonked ourselves on the beachside lounges with books and iPads in tow.  The library at the resort had several books on the island's history and I perused some of them. It was interesting to know how hard it was for the Dutch and then the French to keep ruling this island from their distant shores.  The Dutch eventually left the island with one main contribution - that of making the Dodo extinct!  The French were more successful and their influence is the one you see most now - in terms of language, cuisine, etc.

Souvenir hunters may like to know that Mauritius has a tradition of building miniature ships.  Highly detailed, these ships are faithful reproductions of famous ships that plied the seas during the 18th and 19th centuries.  I bought a 20 inch long miniature of HMS Victory, Lord Nelson's flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

It is no surprise that Mauritius is also the best place to buy fine sugars - in fact, there are almost a dozen varieties of differing tastes, textures and colors.  Finally, some of the best vanilla bean is harvested in this island too; however, the ones you get in the touristy places are a cheaper variety imported from nearby Madagascar.

When I walked back from the beach to our suite there was a surprise waiting for me!  My wife, daughter and the hotel staff had decorated the room for my birthday and there was a lovely chocolate cake for me too!

My wife has also bought me a spa treatment!  Off I went, feeling nice and pampered.  The St. Regis has one of the largest resort spas I have seen.  The therapist was nice and spent some time explaining the science behind some of the Swiss-made lotions they use here.  The massage treatment was good and when I came out I realized it had briefly rained outside.

In the evening, the General Manager had invited a few special guests to a small reception at the sea-side  Boathouse Bar & Grill.  We were going to be given a demonstration of the art of sabering.  The idea is to use a long sabre to cut open a champagne bottle!  That's right, they actually cut the head of the bottle right off and serve you champagne from it!

As you can imagine, this day was particularly special for me!

Previous (in this series): Restaurants of the St. Regis


Renuka said...

Wow..that's quite a birthday!

Anonymous said...

belated happy bday :)

Nice blog


Shantanu said...

@Renuka, @Radhika: Thanks.