Mauritius: The playground of the Indian ocean [Archives:2005/853/Reportage]

June 23 2005

By Irena Knehtl
[email protected]
For the Yemen Times

On trade and economic front, the Mauritian Minister of Finance announced that Mauritius is to become the world's first duty-free country in its bid to turn the country into a tourist shopping paradise. The move is a response to a threatened collapse of textile exports to the US under its Agoa – African Growth and Opportunity Act. It is as Mauritius' sugar has regained its sweetness. Mauritius has had one of the world's fastest-growing economics. A success story and a profile of this Indian Ocean island nation.

The contrast of a multitude of colors and tastes, the Mauritius island, set in its turquise sea, is an oasis of peace and tranquility. Mauritius is a melting pot where past and present seem to smoothly blend together. The first people to set foot on the island of Mauritius were Arabs probably as early as in 10 century. Arab merchant ships that have been sailing the Indian Ocean for centuries on important trading routes linking the east coast of Africa and Madagascar with the Arabian Peninsula, India and Indonesia. The Mascarene Islands were way off the usual trading routes of Arab and Indian navigators. The islands were probably discovered by chance, when a cyclone caught an Arab dhow unaware and pushed it toward the Mauritius. Any ship sailing in the southern Indian Ocean out of season faced extreme danger from storms and gales. The northern half, the predictability of the monsoon and the known character of the various local winds made it easier for navigators to sail in the desired direction. The time for sailing in an eastward direction began just as the south west monsoon set in, but during the three months from June to August, when the winds were at their strongest, the ports on the western and eastern coasts of India remained closed to shipping.

“.. know that the wind only blows from a cold place “”

In all the coasts of the world the wind only comes form the land at night and generally only comes from the sea during the day because of the heating up of the sand by day and the coldness of the sea at night. It comes from the land