Archive for May 19th, 2009

The Indian Ocean Playground

The Indian Ocean Playground

My post from yesterday on disappearing places that exist only in memory without a time bubble for backwards traveling apparently sent more than a few readers traipsing down the dirt track of memory for some revisiting.

A comment from a long lost friend … reason #396 that I’m happy to be online, the reconnection thing that happens more often than it could without the sort of access to the world a blog allows … (Thanks, Ali!) brought another to my mind.

Even though I’m only five minutes away from the setting for memories galore, I haven’t walked the rutted way to what was once my favorite beach in Seychelles in a couple of years. I just don’t have the heart.

This end of Mahé is in full development swing, so what was my little corner of paradise is now looking a lot like Joni Mitchell sounded.

I could rail against the dramatic changes to my neighborhood, and in fact I have, but there are smellier fish to fry these days that sap energy and … well .. progress is progress and money makes the world go around and sustainable development is an oxymoron in any language, and there’s not a bloody thing I can do about it.

So, instead of spending my days allowing myself to be perpetually annoyed by the sound of cement mixers clanking and huge trucks chewing up roads and blocking traffic and legions of Chinese, Korean and Indian workers wandering down my road looking for coconuts and throwing rocks at my dogs … who are simply doing their job of keeping legions of strangers from my house … I try very hard to focus on the fact that I was lucky enough to know this place before the world caught on.

The area now under rapid and extensive development … and right behind my house, for the most part … was, in 1993 when I first landed here, without a road of any recognizable variety. Yes, there was a dirt track, and some hearty souls with sturdy vehicles did drive it, but only the most intrepid of tourists wandered this far, so I would go weeks without seeing even one person who hadn’t lived down this way for most of their life.

Strangers attracted attention, and those aimlessly drifting would be asked their business, then either aided or warned away if said business was deemed to be possibly shifty.

Back then, those of us considering a stretch of sand to be “our” beach were right piqued to find other bodies soaking up “our” sun and swimming in “our” bay, and a count of more than two or three extras had us grousing on about how crowded the place was.

We were always topless, and often bottem-less, as well, but presently tan lines are de rigueur with construction workers being pretty much of the same ilk worldwide … providing stimulation for hoards of wankers lurking in the undergrowth is neither appealing nor conducive to relaxed paddling.

But I did know it when, and the Anse Soleil of bygone years exists in my mind’s eye. Too bad the present version is more like a poke with sharp rebar.

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