• Salina Janzan

On an infrequency of avocados.

Updated: Jan 15, 2020

Posts from my time in Mauritius, an insight into conservation work and island living.

Island Living. We've been using this phrase to explain a lot of happenings the last month (can you believe it, this coming week will be my one-month-Mauritius anniversary, talk about time flying!) although I suppose some of them would be better classed as 'Field Station living". Here's a few things I have learnt to expect and factor into organising my life here:

  1. Random cats may or may not sleep on your sofa at night. They will certainly be shocked when you are working late one night and are there to catch them sneaking in the window.

  2. Scavenging forest fruits may make you look like a feral child, but will be very satisfying.

  3. Other than in the field when walking boots are your best friend, submitting to wearing shoes will seem very difficult and rather unnecessary.

  4. Upon developing a slightly stiff back, you will realise that bumping along dirt roads in a jeep for 40 minutes 5 days a week is probably not that good for you.

  5. Finding coconuts on the beach may seem like a great source of free juice and food, but let me tell you this: breaking open coconuts with a potato masher as your best and only appropriate tool is not so easy.

  6. There will be confusion over who in fact owns the dog that has walked along the beach with you for 45 minutes. You will think he belongs to the people in the house that he runs into, they will wonder why you are not calling your dog back as he scatters sand and seawater across their entrance hall.

  7. Mosquitoes. You will learn the need to repel-gel everywhere very quickly. Everywhere. Especially when using a compost toilet in the forest.

  8. Speaking of creepy crawlies: there's no time to be scared of spiders

9. Do not trust the supermarket (which by the way, is called 'London' here. This causes much confusion and frustration to begin with when you tell people 'Oh you can buy that in London...' and they think you are being incredibly unhelpful) to keep a frequent stock of it's apparently staple foods. Avocados may be there all the time, they may be there once a week. Take opportunity when it is ripe! (Or in this case, when in varying stages of ripeness to stock pile effectively..)

10. Being allowed to ride (when on field roads) in the flat bed of the truck is always exciting.

PS - in fun science news, I'd like to thank Emily (who blogs at The Hungry Dodo by the way, and deserves kudos for updating far more frequently than me and being exceedingly funnier) for introducing me to the existence of the IgNobel awards (link here), which I have been snortling about greatly this afternoon. The awards celebrate research "achievements that first make people laugh then make them think" and are definitely worth a browse for some Sunday silliness.

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