We are more than 2 months post lock-down here in Mauritius and we seemed for the most of it have forgotten the nightmare that was. Beaches are open, movement unrestricted, most things back to normal. Having said that though, we are surely still fighting some sort of after effect on our psyches of being locked in for nearly 3 months of 2020. It is either a good sign of how adaptable people can be that we’ve put it behind us and moved on or is a worrying sign of how easy we hide the scars it left on our souls.

What I am fighting is some post lockdown kilograms that I fought so hard during lockdown to avoid gaining. Seems my body decided otherwise. Dang, it! Lately, I am also convinced that lockdown was not good for my health as soon as it ended I started up with all sorts of health issues which escalated from a mere snotty nose to full-blown chest infection and even 2 rounds of antibiotics later I am now a victim of a horrid head-cold/fluey something or another and I am now sure that 3 months of no outside exercise and fresh air contributed to this factor. Someone jokingly asked whether my cold is from rolling in the wet grass with hubby …..I could but laugh and said I wish it was from something that nice.

Even being out of lockdown and living ‘freely’ once more we are still required to wear masks whenever we are out although I can vouch for the fact that most people are so ‘gatvol’ (read tired) of this protocol that it seems it is more of a personal choice thing at this point. I still see people walking and jogging with full mask paraphernalia at times and even the odd single person in a car by themselves with the mask firmly in place. For the most part though when outside I observe masks hooked over ears, around necks, pulled over the chin, covering everything BUT the mouth and nose. I’ve been known to be guilty of this practice, I need to breathe man!!

Temperature checks have also dwindled to a few select stores and businesses and I’ve noticed with much less enthusiasm than a month or so ago. Unless you go to Bagatelle mall where you get temperature checked and sanitized and then once again at some of the shops inside which means you can go home assured you have NO temperature and you’re sanitized to within an inch of your life. I don’t understand why once at the entrance of the mall is not enough? I can just put my hands in the air and sigh. Sorry, I am that person!

One would think that having been COVID free for 3 months now some of the rules would be relaxed by the government but instead, most people have taken that decision by themselves.

Social distancing measures

Parties of a few people only in a restaurant with the observance of social distancing, which by the way seems to ‘have gone by the window out’ as my son used to say when he was all of 4 years old and could only speak only rudimentary TV English has grown to full-blown socializing with no mask in sight. I don’t visit the local nightclubs but when you do a drive-by there are no masks to speak of so why bother when going food-shopping or in the Xman’s case in class at the college?

Even being out of lockdown now we still commiserate strongly with our friends and family who are still living the nightmare in South Africa where the people are suffering and the economy has ground to a standstill. We can’t do much but offer moral support. The only place where I can make a marked difference is in the #saveSAwines quest and drink as much wine as we can trying to save the wine industry at the very least, one box at a time….een doos op ‘n slag. For the rest, just hang in there. This will pass too, painfully like a kidney stone but pass it will. Life will probably never be the same again but we’ll adapt, as we adapted to lockdown, hating every moment but we made it through and truth be told it wasn’t all bad.

Een doos wyn op n slag 🤫

What is bad though is that with the aftermath of lockdown and the terrible impact on the island economy after months of NO tourists and outsiders Mauritius is facing an ecological disaster with the oil-spill from the stranded MV Wakashio that ran aground on the reef on the 25th of July. An absolute tragedy and travesty. My heart is lifted though by the response and actions from the locals and expat community as they rallied to the rescue to contain the oil-spill to minimize the devastating effects on the pristine beaches and fragile environment. Today saw some good news as it would seem the rest of the oil is in the process of being pumped out as the ship is starting to break which would have meant even more damage to the surrounding areas. Surely the bad weather we’ve been experiencing has not contributed to the fact. Weeks of anticyclonic weather with no break in the strong winds and huge swells although it doesn’t quite explain the fact of how a huge ship like that ran straight into such a (relatively) small island. Hopefully, the truth will out at some point although it will not take away the considerable damage done.

This has been our 2020. I’m sure you each have a story or two to share. Heaven only knows I have a few but I’ll spare you them all. Wink wink. One thing I can add is that I have now lived through a proper island winter and I am over it…..I am so ready for summer it is not even funny.

In retrospect, had we known of covid19 and could foresee months of lockdown and in some cases no booze nor cigarettes, one question remains…..would we have cheered so hard for the new year on 31st December 2019? I think perhaps not. I for one would have run for the hills. The most useless item for 2020 was probably the 2020 dairy. We seemed to have jumped from March to June without trying. The good news is, we’re only about 4 months away from Christmas. What a thought! Comforting or scary?

Mauritian borders are still closed, beaches and parks and hotels still empty. Let’s hope this scenario changes soon so life can go back to normal. On the other hand, what is normal these days? I think the fact that there is no more normal is the new normal.

If you are out of lock-down, enjoy it! For those still in lock-down, my thoughts are with you. It is something that will forever be carved on our souls and threaded through the stories of our lives. May it be over soon. In the meantime, take care, and be safe!