Seychelles: From the perspective of a non honeymooner.
Perhaps the biggest irony of my life is I am both a hopeless romantic and a hopelessly single individual. This is not to say that I don’t get into relationships but perhaps to emphasize the fact that I have been first and foremost always interested in romancing myself. With this in mind, I thought why not visit the Seychelles- a renown honeymoon destination, to celebrate turning 26 and graduating with a Masters degree on the same day (20 January 2017 was an eventful day for me and the world – trump was sworn in as president establishing that whilst America got dumber, I, with my cool masters degree got smarter).
I’ll be honest about my intentions for choosing the Seychelles as a destination to visit. As you all know the entire premise of my blog is about traveling with our third world passport. And as it happens Seychelles is one of those very few countries in the world which allows unrestricted an unquestioned entry of Bangladeshi passport holders so long as you can provide proof off an accommodation that you have booked. My mother was kind enough to offer to meet me in this honeymoon island while on her RnR, so I set off in February 2017 to this tropical island to meet my mother #singleAF.
I bought a flight from Kathmandu to the Seychelles with jet airlines. When I got to the airport I realized a glitch in the system meant my entire trip from Kathmandu to the Seychelles had been upgraded to business class (yeah I know, my life sucks :)). I waited in the business class lounge excited about this trip that I was about to take, when the airlines announced that they were about to delayed the flight. After a couple of hours wait we boarded the airplane only to be offboarded and taken back to the airport terminal the flight to Mumbai had been cancelled. Much chaos ensued and after a lot of negotiation and a lot of channeling my inner Karen I managed to get Jet Airways to put me on the earliest flight to the Seychelles – which happened to be through Etihad airlines. As luck would have it, the gods of travel took pity on me once again and upgraded me to business class, on what, I would till this day call, the most luxurious flight experience of my life.
I essentially floated my way to Seychelles and when I arrived in Mahé island the weather was a balmy 28 degrees with a beautiful breeze and I was welcomed by the smile of wonderful Seychellois immigration officers. With next to no questions asked (which is a shocker for a Bangladeshi passport holder) I was out of the airport and on my way to the beautiful resort I had booked for my mom and myself to spend the next few days on a beach chillin.
A bit of background: Seychelles is located in the Indian Ocean somewhere in between continental landmass of Africa and Asia. The country experiences beautiful tropical weather throughout the year with intermittent rainy seasons earlier in the year. It is one of the smallest nations in the world – there are two main islands (and several other small ones) in Seychelles; Mahe – where the capital Victoria is located and Praslin. We made it a point to visit both Mahe and Praslin during our trip. The history of the country is rather interesting, as it falls within the migratory route between Africa and Asia it has been visited, exploited, colonized, invaded and explored by many groups of foreigners. Including the Portuguese, French, Arabs, Malaysians, British, Indian and many more. the country was a French colony initially and was later taken over by the British. There is a lot to be said about the colonial legacy off the country as it lingers in its architecture history mixture of people and politics till this day, however that is an article on its own. Creole, also called Seselwa, is the mother tongue of most Seychellois. Under the constitution, Creole, English, and French are recognized as national languages.
In Mahé, we spent a good deal of time lounging in front of turquoise waters that grazed our beachfront rooms. We ate delicious seafood dinners under starry skies and lovingly spoke about how I had never been more single in my entire life. We also visited the capital Victoria walking around the beautiful streets visiting museums, the market and conversing with people to understand the life of a Seychellois. I wouldn’t know this until a little way along the line but the markets and the streets off Seychelles would play in my mind whilst I wander the streets of Cabo Verde and Cuba.
We ventured to Praslin which is the second biggest island in the Seychelles. In order to do so you must get yourself to the jetty from Victoria and buy yourself a ticket to get on board the boat that will take you two Praslin. There, we stayed in a lovely B&B called the Mango Lodge. Birched on top often emerald Hill the mango lodge provided a panoramic view of the crystal-clear waters in Praslin Gold Star it houses several little cottages built with wood with the patio slash terrace where you can sit on a sunbed enjoy the breeze and watch the waves slowly caress the white sand. True to its name, the mango lodge is home to dozens of lush mango trees and it’s grounds are covered in delicious mangos that have fallen having ripened just enough.
From Praslin we decided to take a day trip to La Digue – an island which is simply a boat ride away. La digue is truly Beautiful. It is home to vanilla farms, sandy beaches studded with rocks, delicious sea food restaurants and many a wedding photo worthy spot which did not go unused by the multiple people shooting wedding photos there (all white, not sure if that’s relevant but…). Mum and I decided I’ll do a solo shoot because you know what- why not? Afterwards, we sat under a straw roof and ate fish to our heart’s content (sorry did you forget I am Bengali for a moment? There’s your reminder) before getting back on the boat back to Praslin.
Once back in Mahe, I decided to go diving once to experience whether or not life under this side of the Indian ocean could compete with the emerald hills, white sand and turquois waters onland. My grandfather who was in the navy always told us that life under water offers far more beauty than the human mind could conjure, and boy was he right! The underwater life in Seychelles by far overtook anything else that was on land. In 2017, under the crystal clear waters of Seychelles, I saw a shark for the first time in my life, swimming freely – simply a few feet away. I saw fishes of color combinations beyond my wildest dreams and coral reefs that dressed the ocean floor with a medley of colours and textures, dancing to the rhythm of the water amidst which it flourished. Even till this day, I remember the vivid colours and the feeling of utter awe I experienced. Eckhart Tolle, in his book ‘The Power of Now’ speaks of how he experienced the power of now in nature for the first time. For me, my first memory of experiencing every second of every minute of the ‘now’ was on that scuba diving trip in Seychelles.
Seychelles are a cluster of stunning islands, they offer breathtaking views, chill island vibes and lovely food. There is not a lot to do in the island nation and I can imagine perhaps therefore it is the perfect honeymoon location. Disclaimer: it is also crazy expensive. As is the case for most honeymoon destinations. I look back at my experience in Seychelles and it was a truly lovely one – but as a culture and history drawn traveler I don’t know if I would return to the place again but it holds some very specific and beautiful memories which helps me hold the place close to my heart.