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Day 1 - Reunion Island

REUNION | Saturday, 1 May 2010 | Views [344] | Comments [1]

We touched down just as it was beginning to rain (and then pour) at the already dark and overcast Roland Garros airport of Reunion Island.

As soon as I'd set foot off the plane I was struck by the concoction of thick humidity, the sea, spice, sweat and smoke. The locals (and I'm sure it's the same for all the islands around here) are beautiful. Most notably, the well built, toffee complexioned immigration police/officer and slender and graceful information booth ladies that served me were gorgeous. Here, the mixing pot of cultures can be traced back mainly to African, French and Indonesian influences.

Fortunately, the shuttle bus to St Denis was still running at 7pm (it is 4Euro compared to 20-25Euro by cab). I got on after some friendly banter in broken english and was mistaken repeatedly by the same men to be Japanese.

At the St Denis bus stop I asked the other obviously non local (he was peering intently at a hotel guide brochure) what hotel he was staying at. He mumbled and pointed at one and I replied that I had booked at Hotel du Central. He seemed as lost as I was and at that moment also decided he too would be going to Hotel du Central. So we hopped in the first cab in line and were charged 10Euro for being transported a few blocks to the dingy alley leading to our accommodation. The fare was outrageous and the meter was off (apparently the cabs here are supposed to be quite legit and run off a predetermined rate that is shown on a meter like here in Aust.), but since it was late and I was exhausted, I agreed.  

Thinking I had a reservation, I took my time getting out my booking printout and passport and let my newfound New Caledonian acquaintance go ahead. Unfortunately, my booking with hostelbookers.com had not gone through and the last single room went to him. I wasn't too bad off as the desk man assured me I was still ok to get a room. Ironically, it was 5Euro more (34Euro), and at the same time, New Caledonian gentleman had refused to let me pay him for the taxi, also 5Euro. Karma?


Shoe box room (102b; and this is a double?), paper thin walls, sticky doors that you gotta really shove your shoulder into in order to shut, and a toilet that leaves A LOT to be desired. I also wondered where the washbasin was for the single communal toilet on the floor was, and upon returning to my room understood when I saw the appropriately labeled 'toilet soap' on the table. Otherwise, the room is reasonably clean, A/C and TV is provided. If you keep your view to the window side of the room (without looking down into the empty alley), it’s actually kind of quaint.


As I begin typing my first ever blog entry, a French dubbed rerun of the classic “Baby sitter's club” has just started with the boppy early 90's (and oddly tropical island-ish) music of the opening credits running in the background. This is the beginning. Time to zonk out and catch some much needed zz's.


Ps. I awoke to cock-crowing this morning and the patter of a tropical deluge on the iron roofs. As expected, the hotel breakfast was uninspiring and consisted of an unexceptional microwaved croissant, baguette, generic juice, and coffee. I was so hoping I’d get a coconut and tropical fruit platter served by a shirtless local. Alas, is that too much to ask? There was also a sign saying wireless was available for 5Euro but last night when I checked for networks in the area, there was only one band. Would not recommend this place for a long stay but it’s ok for budget backpackers who want to spend more time exploring than in a resort.




I hope that toilet just leaves a lot to be desired and doesn't just, ahem, leave a lot...
I'm sure for 5 more Euro's someone would have given you a shirtless Pina Coloda.
Sounds like you're a great start to an African holiday!

  Sam May 16, 2010 12:55 AM

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