Thursday, August 09, 2012

We have been trying to get our fill of Olympic coverage, but our idea of what is of interest does not seem to correspond with French TV networks, unfortunately for us. Last night we were hoping to catch some more track and field and ended up watching the last half of the French vrs Spain team handball game.  This is not a game that I am very familiar with but it turns out that it is quite vicious.  We saw guys grabbing uniforms and hauling each other down, followed by the innocent “who me” look at the referee.  The elbow to the head and the finger in the eye gouges were a bit over the top but seemed to be par for the course.  We had found a great spot to watch, the local Walmart type store with a whole array of TV’s (about 12) tuned to the track. When a customer would walk in front of a set near the floor, which had great graphics, and pause with their shopping cart, I would switch to as set over their head and continue my viewing.  We watched all the heats of the men’s 200m and some women’s javelin as well as some diving.  We would be glued to the TV and then once the commercials started would wonder off into the store and examine other merchandise.  I think we bought some dental floss to justify our presence there.
Fording a small stream
Yesterday we took the bus up into the mountains and went on a 5 hour hike.  The bus trip was unbelievable with the driver blaring the horn around every hairpin turn warning the potential unseen drivers coming towards us to beware.  There are supposedly 500 curves in the hour and a hour and a half bus ride so there was a lot of honking going on! We went through 2 tunnels that must have constructed before the buses were built, they barely fit.  I am not joking, if you put your fingers out the window (your fingers, mind you not your hand or your arms) you could scrape the stone walls.  I cringed each time we entered the tunnel sure that I would hear the bus scrapping along the side.

The scenery was spectacular on the strenuous hike.  We wound down into a ravine where there was a lovely waterfall and then ascended. I figured we would then just hike around the lip of the gorge and end up back in town, but no, there were 2 or 3 more ravines in the way and we ended up going down into and climbing up several long steep mountain sides.  The paths and the footing were pretty good, it was just a long way up each time.  I am glad that we had the hikes in Rodriguez and the climbs in Mauritius in the bank to get our legs and lungs in shape before we tackled this trek. Barry’s ankle took a beating however and he is not anxious to do much more of that kind of hiking.

We have a map with a lot of other hikes on it. It is a big tourist attraction here.  There are houses along the way where you can stop for the night. There are 5 and 6 day treks you can go on but Barry’s body just won’t handle it.  I am really happy that we were able to do one and that he is not hobbling around with a cane like he was before we got to New Zealand. It was a gorgeous sunny day and we experienced a beautiful part of La Reunion.