"Have you realized that most of the couples around here walk around holding hands?" A fellow-journalist asked me during a recent 5-day business trip to Mauritius.
We were part of a conference party that had invaded Flic en Flac, a village on the west of coast of Mauritius. Mauritius is an island on the Indian ocean; About a 1000 kilometers off the coast of Mozambique.
Flic en Flac is an hour's drive from the airport and about 30 minutes from Port Louis, the country's capital city. Driving from the airport across the island to Flic en Flac, you will go through Quatre Bornes, a well-known market town.
We stayed at La Pirogue, which bills itself as the most authentic and Mauritian of resorts. The chalets are built in a semi-circular format and roofed with grass, like African villages of old.
A few meters from the chalets is the beach, and an endless expanse of the Indian Ocean. Walking up the long stream of white beach front, I could see nooks and crannies where a couple wanting to spend time away from the crowds could retreat. Or a couple could laze on the deck chairs on the beach.
Every evening the hotel has a musical show, where couples can dance until dawn after a sumptuous dinner. Then there's shopping and an interesting night life in Flic en Flac.
While I could appreciate the beautiful setting, excellent accommodations, friendly service and good food, most of my concentration was on attending conference sessions, interviewing the speakers, writing and emailing my stories in time to meet deadlines.
My college's comment opened my eyes to how other people were experiencing the island paradise. For the next couple of minutes, we count the number of couples holding hands or smooching in corners. We saw six hand-holding couples within a 500 meter radius.
Some of the couples we saw over the next couple of days were newly-weds, the bloom of a new marriage still visible in their eyes. We also bumped into a few couples still dressed in their wedding clothes, including the white dresses with trains.
Other couples we saw were clearly part of a family group, kids included, or came with friends. La Pirogue is also child-friendly, and offers baby-sitting services and a number of activities aimed at keeping children occupied while Mom and Dad enjoy their holiday.