It's been over a week now since returning from the Seychelles. A good time to write up my thoughts on the trip. It only takes a little while to forget all the things you dislike about a place, leaving only the good memories behind. I've all but forgotten about the sweaty humidity and the sandiness. I still remember that it was hot and sandy, but that seems less important right now compared to the beautiful blue skies, the white beaches and clear waters. How could I possibly forget that? Seychelles was great.
The thing I'll remember most was the laid-back atmosphere. Our trip took us from the biggest island to islands ever decreasing in size, and as the size of the island decreases, so did the laid-back-ness increase. Life seems a lot simpler when you're on a tropical island with not a care in the world. I remember encountering a British guy in a bus on the way to the beach. We started talking, and I learned that he was an accountant who escaped Britain so that he could live on Seychelles. That's possibly the best place in the whole world you could do accounting. Or any other job, for that matter, although I think Java software developers are not very high in demand over there.
When on Mahe we failed to get a rental car for the busy weekend, so we tried our hand at hitch-hiking a couple of times. Every time we tried it was successful, and we got some nice rides, as well as some interesting conversations. On the day we left Mahe to go to Praslin our pre-booked taxi driver slash tour guide failed to show up in time, so we went to the roadside and tried to hitch a ride. It wasn't long before someone pulled over. Our driver turned out to be working for the water company in Mahe, which is just about the most important job one can have over there, as water is a precious commodity. It's thanks to the water company's efforts that the tap water is actually drinkable. The driver told us a bit about how they purified the water for drinking and then dropped us off right next to the ferry to Praslin. Excellent.
On Praslin we rented a car, which proved to be the right choice, as there were not a lot of taxis on the island. 2 days was just about enough time to check out every road on the island, which included some fun (30% incline) slopes and narrow, twisty roads. We also did a full day island hopping tour which brought us to 3 different islands and gave us plenty of chance to see the local wildlife. On the third day of Praslin we returned our rental car and took the ferry to La Digue, an even smaller island. Bicycles are the transportation of choice on La Digue, and we enjoyed cycling across the island during the next two and a half days, doing plenty of sightseeing, swimming and snorkeling along the way.
The hotels we booked were quite interesting. The Mahe hotel (Le Surmer) turned out to be quite crap, but in a fun and quaint way. We had to move from a tiny, well air-conditioned room into a bigger room on the second day. The water turned off after 10am, so no lingering about. Upon returning to our hotel that evening we found that we did not have electricity, a problem that only seemed to affect our room. That was soon solved by the manager, but 5 minutes after turning on the air-conditioning the power went down again. This whole process repeated itself a couple of times until it was finally fixed. The day afterwards it wasn't just our room, it was the entire hotel that got its power cut. An employee even came by with a candle. Cute, but I wouldn't recommend the hotel to anyone. Compare that to Praslin where our hotel was really great: no problems at all, quite clean and an excellent view to boot. Very nice. On La Digue we stayed at Vanilla Guesthouse, which had a completely different ambiance from the Praslin hotel, but not in a bad way. Vanilla was cosy and warm, and full of interesting things on the walls and floors and tables. A great experience.
As I'm currently looking for a place to stay in London (again!) I can't help but compare the cost of staying at Seychelles to staying in London. Seychelles is a lot cheaper than staying anywhere near London! I can completely agree with the accountant we met, who fled the UK to stay in Seychelles. It's good to have the skills to get a job anywhere. In my case my profession limits me to major cities, unless I take a major pay cut and/or do something I'm not specialized in. I guess that's life telling me to expand my horizons.
I recommend everyone I know to visit Seychelles. Stay at one of the small hotels (the government no longer allows large hotels) or guesthouses, hitch-hike your way to places or take buses, cycle around on La Digue and go swimming and snorkeling at Anse Lazio on Praslin. It's definitely something you won't soon forget :) .