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The Brave Warrior in West Africa 1 – Back to Paris

In Travels on January 21, 2013 at 7:06 am

The Brave Warrior scans the departure hall in an unconcerned manner as he waits to see whether or not he will be given one of the standby seats on the Air France flight from Mauritius to Paris…

I am watching all these hundreds of mainly tourists lining up to take flights to Dubai, London, Paris, Kuala Lumpur. The random thought crosses my mind as to what these visitors think of our fantastic facility, known to the world as Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Airport. Of course the new building going up next door is also very likely to be called SSR something or other. Once you leave the airport there are a number of other places you can visit called SSR something or other – streets, botanical gardens, schools; as well as sundry statues everywhere, including one in Patna, Bihar State in India.

That got me thinking that maybe we should just change the country’s name. Make life easier for everyone… Why should we continue to be known by the name of some obscure Dutch prince – even though he was effectively military commander and ruler of Holland and its fledgling colonies back in the 1600’s – when we could have such a pretty name like Ramgooland for example? Just a thought…

As I look around, I am also thinking and hoping that anyone other some random Chinese bureaucrat (they designed and built this present airport), and his well-trained Mauritian counterpart, will be in charge of the décor of the new airport terminal. From the tacky false waterfall (water feature?), complete with plastic flowers and ducks when you arrive; to the cheesy sign that declares “Welcome to Mauritius, the rainbow island of beauty and harmony”; to the awful plastic and paper Divali lamps and other tawdry bits of pink and mauve muslin cloth; we really need a makeover for the new building. In fact the only bit of taste in the entire building can be found in the men’s toilet on arrival. There are a few paintings by the late Marilyn Bretillard, my daughter-in-law’s mum.

I am on my way to Africa via Paris once again. As it happens, this is my 3rd trip to Paris in the past 5 months. It seems that providence, destiny, fate, karma, luck, and all those other things that cause the planets to line up in the cosmos have decreed that my future is intimately tied up with France. Perish the thought! But, What is a Brave Warrior to do, except take it like a man?

Soon, my personal AF ground staff lady, a sister from church, comes and tells me that it’s all in order. Unfortunately, due to a weight problem, I’ve had to remove my pillow from the suitcase. It doesn’t look very heroic (or butch and manly) for a Brave Warrior to be walking through the airport with it tucked under his arm, I know… The plane is completely full. I am seated next to what sounds like a French Canadian couple. However much I admire the Quebecois, we are not likely to be comparing notes on any subject in the next 11 hours that we will be in close proximity.

I have my International Herald Tribune (24 hours late!), a novel, and over 100 movies to choose from. Who knows I might even fall asleep, despite the cramped conditions…

See you in gay Paree!

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