Sunday, 2 September 2012


Seychelles isn't all sea, sand surf and speedo's. It can get pretty frustrating and tiring too. I misuse the word frustrating as I've learned to become pretty chilled out. But as Boaty M (my neighbour) says on his blog:

"On the other side the madness of this place has also been much more than expected. We were told to expect 1960s Britain and having not been born in 1960 we did not know what really that meant. Well it turns out it means tiny supermarkets, mad bureaucracy, 20p bus journeys for an hour's ride, mad switchback roads everywhere, insane heat, insane rain, 2 hours of water per day, trees falling through power lines, massive spiders, tiny plane journeys in tin boxes and large quantities of home brewed rum!!!"

I forgot about the powercut until now-a new challenge every day!

The great thing that I've noticed so far is the drinking water, when we're not in drought, the tap water is great. I use a Brita filter but have been fine without and there's no limescale on anything, which saves us scrubbing! Air pollution is pretty minimal too, however litter is on the rise. On an island where joblessness is considered unacceptable, the former mayor created jobs for the unemployable to collect litter. But it turns out that on average these collectors took 2 days off a week and were mainly on the chillax tip. The photo below kind of shows the sorry state that Praslin could find itself in if we don't all sharpen up our act and use the bins, eventhough there's not that many around!

In a bid to learn Kreol, I've started to read more and more where possible; listening is just too difficult. Most of the words are blended together and the way locals speak is very musical, almost like a song.

I can translate the above sign into french as: "Il est contre la loi pour fumer dans la salle"... and then I'm lost.

On Friday, we all went off to the main island of Mahe to sort out our ID cards, I'm now the proud owner of 3 identities, UK, Hong Kong and Seychelles. Whilst over there we checked out the local market in Victoria. Victoria is very different to any villages on Mahe, for one it's the size of a tiny town and it's apparently the smallest capital city in the world. The kind of supplies available really vary from Parquet tiles to fish, fruit and veg. A much wider variety than Praslin is on offer and being the main island, it's actually cheaper as all shipping comes directly there and doesn't need re-distributing by boat to Praslin or any other island. It's funny how the exact opposite is true of London, imagine if things were cheaper in London than the rest of the country. Obviously rent and logistics in London Town is different to Seychelles, so I'll stop there on that thought!

These palm spiders are huge, about the size of, well a large palm. One doesn't need to be told the scale of these structural supports to realise that these buggers are pretty huge and scary. Apparently harmless though.

Dr G and Lady P checking out the palm spiders.

From doing a lot of research, I found out that Chinese and Indian migrants have been coming to Seychelles for generations. They previously came here as fisherman and plantation workers. Most shop keepers are now Indian, so I've been keeping up with my "Namaste" and "Sukriya" but that's as far as my Hindi stretches. Everyone speaks English and Kreol anyway.

The Chinese population is very small and were originally from Mainland China, not Hong Kong. The most likely place you're going to find Chinese people is behind the counter at Kim Koon's. The chain is huge on Mahe with several electronics shops, a scooter/car company and all sorts of other convenience stores. There's also Sham Peng Tong, another large Chinese conglomerate. By large, I mean they have several stores selling different things. There's no actual conglomerates like Arcadia out here!

What fascinates me here is that the main market building has huge influences from the East, it looks like a pagoda from China Town, yet no Chinese market stall owners were in there, not that I saw anyway.

The Victoria Clock tower is a national monument, it's a miniature replica of one on Vauxhall Bridge Road, which in itself is a mini replica of Big Ben. What do you call a replica of a replica?
Yes, they painted it silver. Chrome & Black would be proud.

I've been making a video for my mum's 50th, which is on the 18th September, more video's will also follow but for now, anytime I see something which reminds me of people and home, I'll post it. The picture below is dedicated to the great Professor ZB. Zoran is a legend, you will hear more about him in due time. For now, just know that he can name every country in the world based on a country's borders/outline on a blank atlas/globe. He's not even a Geography teacher either. He teaches History but he's also a great rapper and one of the finest educational practitioners I've ever come across. To put it bluntly, he's in my Top 10 living inspirations.

Top 10 living inspirations in no particular order:

1) Suki Chan
2) My Mum and Dad
3) Zoran Bracanov
4) Elizabeth Hidson
5) Ken Robinson
6) Seth Godin
7) Bboy Cloud / Abstrakt and the whole of Skillmethodz Crew
8) Jez Franklin and the rest of Born To Rock crew
9) Werner Herzog
10) A whole host of Marylebone teachers and people in my Twitter PLN which don't need naming!

Having endured the 1 hour catamaran ride back, with only half the crew vomitting (note to self, always fly between Praslin and Mahe as advised by E, it's practically the same price anyhow!), we awaited our shipping arrival. We've been living out of our suitcases for six days now, I've been handwashing clothes and even had to go commando on more than one occasion as you can only handwash when clothes when there's running water! It's been a pleasant challenge to say the least, thankfully Captain M made a few phone calls and being a Captain, people responded pretty swiftly to get our shipping over from Mahe.

Unloading from the Belle Pralinois took approximately 4 hours, our shipping was last, and as the crane operator skillfully pulled out broken palettes of kitchen and floor tiles, I was less than confident that our baggage was undamaged. Pictured below is Boaty M and Joycey Joyce helping unload and Ellie L posing for the photo opp.

As predicted, something did leak, a bottle of plant feed. It slightly damaged the corner of a couple of Miss Chan's Fujitrans tests which was heartbreaking. Literally, they were the one thing that I was looking forward to putting up in the house and classroom. Upon reflection, it's not too bad, and if the Fujitrans are stuck up with white tape, it will cover up the light staining.

Unpacking was pretty exciting. This is what a year's worth of supplies looks like. I hope this will last a year, although I will have to be rationing myself a bit!

The word "SUPPLIES" on its own brings great joy to 3 of the readers of this blog post. It could be considered mildly racist, but being Chinese myself, I can say it with great pleasure: SURPRISE!

End of Day 5. School starts tomorrow. Wish me luck!

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