Mauritius, July & August 1979, Overview, Summary and Picture Links

I spent several weeks of the summer of 1979 in Mauritius, with my good school friend Anil Biltoo and his dad, staying with many branches of their interesting family.

I want to write quite a lot about this trip, as it was the most amazing experience for a 16/17 year old youngster. It was hugely formative for me in many ways, not least sparking my lifelong interest in travel and cultures other than my own.

This posting is a quick summary and overview piece, linking to artefacts already available on-line:

I have started the process of scanning and uploading the letters I wrote home while I was there, which doubled up as my diary/travelogue. They make fascinating reading for me and I need to go through them carefully before I write up my stories and thoughts with the benefit of hindsight.

In the meantime, I shall upload the letters as I go. The brave might try to decipher them. The sensible might wait for my write-ups/stories.

Mauritius, Music During Our Visit July/August 1979

Music in Mauritius is currently described thus in Wikipedia.

While we were there, one might have been forgiven for thinking that sega was the only local style. Wikipedia specifically describes sega thus. Indeed, one might have been forgiven for thinking that Cousin Cousine by Joss Henri was more or less the only record in the charts.

Years later, I recall a very funny sketch by Barry Grossman at NewsRevue about the Tudor charts, the punchline of which was that Greensleeves was the number one for the 2,157th (or some such) week running. That sketch always reminded me of my trip to Mauritius and Cousin Cousine, which had been number one for as long as anyone could remember while when we arrived and was still number one when we left.

Of course, the whole idea of Cousin Cousine was very suitable for Anil, who was basically on a voyage around the island visiting a myriad of cousins (and cousines) he had not met before, so I’m sure that song must conjure up our trip in his mind as well as mine.

I have found this YouTube, which shows some good photos of people dancing the sega to the sound of Cousin Cousine, recorded pretty well.

I did buy three other records as well as Cousin Cousine, all of which can be heard on the soundtrack to the standard 8 movie from our trip to Mauritus, which I put up on YouTube.

Here is an instructional YouTube video on how to do the modern zumba version of the sega dance. Don’t try this on a full stomach.

While here is a UNESCO YouTube explaining the history, look and sound of it all in educational terms, complete with soporific schoolteacher voice to minimise the chance of you watching this video through to the end.

Suffice it to say, we had some fun listening to and dancing sega while we were in Mauritius in 1979.

Remaining Journal From Mauritius, 12 to 17 August 1979

A very brief background to this travel adventure is covered in the overview posting linked here, which contains links to photos and cine.

I wrote letters to mum and dad which doubled as my diary/travelogue. By 10 August, it was clear that I’d arrive home before the letters, so I concluded my journal using scrappy note paper. Here’s a scan of the four pages that remain.

Mauritius Journal Page 12 & 13 August 1979 Mauritius Journal Page 13 & 14 August 1979 Mauritius Journal Page 15 & 16 August 1979 Mauritius Journal Page 17 August 1979

Tenth Letter From Mauritius, 9 August 1979

A very brief background to this travel adventure is covered in the overview posting linked here, which contains links to photos and cine.

I wrote letters to mum and dad which doubled as my diary/travelogue. Here is a scan of the tenth and last of them.

Mauritius Journal Letter Ten Side One 9 August 1979 Mauritius Journal Letter Ten Side Two 9 August 1979

Ninth Letter From Mauritius, 5 August 1979

A very brief background to this travel adventure is covered in the overview posting linked here, which contains links to photos and cine.

I wrote letters to mum and dad which doubled as my diary/travelogue. Here is a scan of the ninth of them.

Mauritius Journal Letter Nine Side One 5 August 1979 Mauritius Journal Letter Nine Side Two 5 August 1979

Eighth Letter From Mauritius, 2 August 1979

A very brief background to this travel adventure is covered in the overview posting linked here, which contains links to photos and cine.

I wrote letters to mum and dad which doubled as my diary/travelogue. Here is a scan of the eighth of them.

Mauritius Journal Letter Eight Side One 2 August 1979 Mauritius Journal Letter Eight Side Two 2 August 1979

Birthday Airmail To Dad From Mauritius, 1 August 1979

A very brief background to this travel adventure is covered in the overview posting linked here, which contains links to photos and cine.

The following airmail was drawn by Anil and served as a birthday greeting to dad. I’m guessing we sent it c10 days ahead of the birthday.

Mauritius Journal Dad Birthday Airmail Side One 1 August 1979 Mauritius Journal Dad Birthday Airmail Side Two 1 August 1979

Seventh Letter From Mauritius, 31 July 1979

A very brief background to this travel adventure is covered in the overview posting linked here, which contains links to photos and cine.

I wrote letters to mum and dad which doubled as my diary/travelogue. Here is a scan of the seventh of them.

Mauritius Journal Letter Seven Side One 31 July 1979 Mauritius Journal Letter Seven Side Two 31 July 1979

Sixth Letter From Mauritius, 25 July 1979

A very brief background to this travel adventure is covered in the overview posting linked here, which contains links to photos and cine.

I wrote letters to mum and dad which doubled as my diary/travelogue. Here is a scan of the sixth of them.

Mauritius Journal Letter Six Side One 25 July 1979 Mauritius Journal Letter Six Side Two 25 July 1979

Fifth Letter From Mauritius, 23 July 1979

A very brief background to this travel adventure is covered in the overview posting linked here, which contains links to photos and cine.

I wrote letters to mum and dad which doubled as my diary/travelogue. Here is a scan of the fifth of them.

Mauritius Journal Letter Five Side One 23 July 1979 Mauritius Journal Letter Five Side Two 23 July 1979