27 avril 2015

Voulé à Musicale Plage

                   I was invited to a company voulé the other day, a barbecue on the beach with the company I work with giving English lessons to adults. The rainy season is reaching its end now, but there are still some strong bursts of rain occasionally, and I was caught in one of these on the way to the barbecue. Not too promising, but it brightened up as I got closer to the beach in the south of the island. It was a chance to talk to some of the guys in the training company... [Lire la suite]
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21 avril 2014

Strange food they have here.

         These are banana flowers. They grow on the ends of big banana bunches like below. You have a hundred or so bananas spiralling downwards, and a big purple flower on the end. Lots of people eat yellow bananas. Here, green bananas are a vegetable like any other, and a cheap one at that, as most people have a banana plant somewhere nearby. Green bananas are eaten fried, they're very filling but don't taste of much. A pain to peel, too. I learnt the other day that you could eat the flowers. There's a... [Lire la suite]
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07 octobre 2013

Those who can, cook. Those who can't, eat.

         I've been teaching my students about food recently, as you saw in the recent blog post about the European classes. They love learning the English words for their local fruit and vegetables: cassava, breadfruit, chicken wings... they're shouting over each other to get the answers out. Unfortunately, they shout it out in Shimaorese first. When I complain, they shout in French. So I point to the giant "WHAT'S THE ENGLISH FOR...?" sign at the back of the room. Everybody suddenly goes quiet, you can... [Lire la suite]
25 février 2013

Pretty Yellow Flowers

          Yesterday, I went with the association I play music for to a farming establishment which I'd heard about before, because one of the owners has a stall at the big monthly market where she sells fruit, vegetables, juice, jam, ylang-ylang essential oil and vanilla. She's married to a Mahorese man named Fouadi, and they cultivate everything they sell. Every Sunday, they organise visits of the farm, where you can come and see how they cultivate and distil the ylang-ylang flowers to obtain essential oil... [Lire la suite]
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04 février 2013

It's a hard knock life.

          Last Sunday, the music group (as always oh-so-elegantly named The Blue Mango) and I went to a barbecue on the beach, organized by the Bretons of Mayotte. An excuse to get together as much as anything, go swimming, have some fun and have something to eat.                                   And eat we did: mabawas (chicken wings - you know that one by now), chicken and beef kebabs, fried green bananas,... [Lire la suite]
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27 août 2012

Charming flora and fauna

        A brief review of some of the various animals and plants we've seen during my first year in Mayotte. These photos do not come close to showing what it's really like, and I haven't taken photos of everything. Please bear in mind that all these animals are relatively big. Water buffalos are the size of decent horses, lemurs (maki) are larger than cats with long tails, the black and white birds (pie-corbeau) have a wingspan of roughly 1.2m, same for the bats. The birds with the yellow feet (mainate... [Lire la suite]
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22 mars 2012

My Granddaughter Went To Market And She Bought...

               We went to the market the other day. The big, covered market in the Place de la République in Mamoudzou. We'd never gone inside before, never really gathered that there was actually something in there, just seen the big pink building from the outside. It's joined to the tourist office, which is also pink. The covered market opened in 2009 and was welcomed as a godsend by the street sellers, supreme recognition of their jobs. The building stretches... [Lire la suite]
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19 décembre 2011

She'll be coming round the mountain...

                            I went round the Mont Choungui last week-end with a walking group. It's near the bottom of the island, and is the most famous mountain in Mayotte, if not the highest (That's Mont Bénara, 664m). From its top, you're supposed to be able to see all the southern half of the island. It's actually a volcano rather than a mountain, but it has been inactive for ages. ... [Lire la suite]
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05 décembre 2011

Mangrove Mud

                Last week, I went on a grande randonnée, a walk signalled by white and red flashes on the trees, with the association my music group belongs to, the Bretons of Mayotte. I hadn't really had the occasion to explore the island properly, mainly because of the recent strikes (more about those in a later message), so I was pleased to be able to go walking with a group. We set off from the south of the island, near Chirongui, and walked 3 or 4... [Lire la suite]
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26 septembre 2011

Birds and Beasts

             The first animals we saw upon getting out of the plane were zebus. Cow-like four-legged creatures with a bump on the back of their neck where they store water and fat for later. They stared at us, we stared at them and wondered where on earth we had ended up. There are plenty of those around. We regularly see them in the middle of towns, crossing roads on their own to get to the grassy roundabouts. They’ve often got a rope round their neck, but the end of said... [Lire la suite]
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