Jim and Jane Hildebrand are on a four-month vacation to Mauritius and South Africa. Students from the Grade 9 English class at J.M. Olds Collegiate in Twillingate pose questions to them about their experiences and the locale. Keep looking to the Pilot for future questions from students and travel highlights.
Q. Izabella Dalley: Do the people in Mauritius celebrate Christmas? If so, what are some of their traditions?
A. Jim Hildebrand: I wrote about Christmas in the travel feature that appeared in The Pilot Dec. 20 edition. Now that Christmas has passed I have learned that firecrackers and fireworks are a big part of Mauritian celebrations. I have learned that the cacophony of explosions is a tradition that starts Christmas Eve and continues through New Years.
I asked the family across the street if “Pere Noel” had come to their house and the father reassured me that the Jolly Elf had left presents under the tree for the children.
Jane and I had a relaxing day. After our breakfast we went to the local shopping mall and enjoyed some cappuccinos. We continued from the patisserie to the beach. Beaches were crowded with tourists, and Mauritians enjoying family gatherings and barbeques by the water. After several hours we returned to the apartment and I phoned my mother and children over Skype. It was still very hot and so after the phone calls we went for a swim in our pool.
Our supper wasn’t a traditional dinner that we would have had at home. I barbequed some humungous scampi for an appetizer. When it came time for supper we sat down to barbecued ostrich steak, potato, buttered carrots and tarragon, and a bit of sautéed cabbage with balsamic and bacon.
I must say that when I phoned home and heard that there were storms across the country I am glad that we opted for the tropical Christmas. Regardless of the weather though, I hope you and your classmates and teachers all had a Merry Christmas and that it will continue to a Happy New Year.