Positive Vibes

Happy New Year everyone!

Just like every New Year I think it’s important to settle on some goals and resolutions for the following year. And yes maybe I forget these things after the first week but it’s still important to set them ahead of time to figure out the kind of year that you are going to have.

Now the usual type of resolutions people always have are “go to the gym” and “drink less” and “work hard”. I have been told that these shouldn’t be resolutions; they should be a normal task that you do every year!

Due to my busy schedule last year – of working and watching TV shows till I passed out of course – I couldn’t go to the gym as often as I wished. And despite hearing it should be part of my normal routine, I still make it my New Years Resolution.

What a lot of people don’t seem to be able to do is empathize with others, especially nowadays. When I told my friend that I couldn’t find the time to go to the gym every week, I was laughed at and asked what was so important that I couldn’t give a couple of hours to working out. Sure! I could’ve have taken the time I spent watching shows and reading books and spent at the gym. However, a lot of people don’t seem to realize is that not everyone is the same. A job that others might find easy and not tiring, can be seen as exhausting for others where all they feel like doing is shutting down once they reach home.

I am one of those people.

Now your personal goals or resolutions for the year shouldn’t be made in haste. You shouldn’t define your year based on the choices of others. Just because you see other people posting their gym selfies and their vacations doesn’t mean you have to do the same.

Don’t feel pressured into taking a new hobby or throwing your life savings away to have an amazing holiday.

Your goals should be your own.

What you wish to complete this New Year should be completely up to you and you alone.

What you should definitely do though, is make sure you continue living your best life. Be the best you can be and the happiest with whatever you choose!

 

Wrapping Up The Year

Shopping at the last minute for Christmas is the most stressful activity concerning this holiday month that I can think of. The only thing that makes it easier is that I more or less know what I am going to buy for each of my friends and family.

The best thing that you can do if you know you will be late on shopping, whether you get paid late or you don’t have enough time, is to go around town and window shop. If you see something that sticks out or you know someone will enjoy, pop by and put it on hold. Another thing that helps with this dilemma is that town will be opening till late the closer we get to Christmas Day.

Now if you want to be super organized like me, I suggest getting a wrapping paper from Cosmorama that you can use for only the gifts you are giving. This helps to eliminate any confusion between who bought what when it comes to gift giving.

This year between my friends however is that we are going to try and do a Secret Santa gift giving; not only is it more affordable but also less stressful. When you only have one friend to focus on, you won’t end up messing up and buying the wrong gift for the wrong person.

My only problem is that I enjoy buying gifts for people. It is one of my favorite things. I know my friends so well that when I see something I know one will like, i get the impulse to just buy it, despite not knowing whether they reciprocate. I don’t mind not getting anything in turn, it’s the happiness that is enough for me.

Shopping Around The Christmas Tree

Christmas is fast approaching on our less than sunny Seychelles Islands, and along with it, Christmas Shopping.

This to me is a dreaded time of year; traffic in town, lining up and trying to buy as many things before everything is sold out is stressful. What makes all this worthwhile however is the happiness that radiates around the house on Christmas Day when all the gifts are exchanged.

I’m still trying to figure out what to buy everyone this year and it is very important to budget yourself accordingly. You have to guesstimate how much you want to spend on who and what is more important; does something small and significant have more meaning than a bunch of little gifts together?

As each year passes, my Christmas list changes. This year for example, I have moved away from asking for books and instead gone after household items. From cushions to rugs to little decorations for my home. These items have become more and more easier to find as Seychelles also progresses.

I know my mother as well has similar tastes, but instead of asking for a bunch of things, she prefers the meaningful gifts. It isn’t about how many presents she gets but what one of them might mean to her. My grandmother is more indecisive. She never knows what she wants but somehow my mother always knows what to get her.

Friends are easy to shop for. I know who would prefer a voucher of some sort and who would like something more material.

Do you know what your friends and family want for Christmas? Don’t leave your Christmas Shopping to the last minute!

For furniture ideas check out Island Living and DIY.

Check out Sarah’s Kids Corner for children.

For spa vouchers check out this list of spas here.

For a wider range of shops check out this page.

Christmas Ready

As our calendars make their way to mid-November, a lot of people make the decision of decorating for Christmas early; or if you’re anything like me, remind those that do, that it is still November!

My mother won’t listen to me as she makes me go get the Christmas decorations out of storage and dust off my father’s custom made Palm-like Christmas tree. Her theme this year is Under The Sea. The baubles are all colored shades of blues and greens, glimmering in the late afternoon sunlight on our veranda. I am still insisting that it is “only November!” but she ignores me in favor of her Celtic Christmas music.

Being half-American means that Thanksgiving is also thrown in the running along with our yearly Holidays in Seychelles, and in my home it usually means a quiet meal shared with family and remembering the history of such a ‘holiday’ However, my mom has decided to forgo this Thanksgiving meal and remind me that we (her, my grandmother and I) all have birthdays in November.

This means that we are just going to jump straight to into Christmas spirit and drink liqueur coffee while watching the rain pour down outside. Being a humid country means no snow but plenty of rain for the rest of the year. The rain can’t drown out the Yuletide cheer though. It’s thick and distinct and smells like vanilla and cinnamon and it shouldn’t because its “still November!”

No one hears me still. My Grandmother has decided to  pull out a small faux tree to place upon her coffee table and my mother has once again convinced me to decorate something else; it’s the fake bamboo plant and it is now adorned with burgundy baubles.

It seems like our town of Victoria is the only one who’s rational; the streets are yet to be fully decorated to the max as it had been last time around. But the resolve is slowly breaking as Seychellois’ comment on Facebook about the lack of festive cheer. Slowly, but surely, lights are being strung up and the Christmas music is playing on almost every radio channel.

We have almost over a week left of November and I tend to cling to it as hard as I can. It isn’t that I hate Christmas; I love the food my family shares and the gifts we give. Perhaps it’s the American in me that is used to having holidays forced upon me, one after the other as another year comes to a close.

What I won’t do though, is begrudge my mothers happiness and instead I’ll complain to the dog as I light all the scented candles that smell like sugary goodness and have my ears berated by cheery flutes and harps.

Although, don’t let my Grinch like behavior get you down! Christmas is a wonderful holiday (when it’s December!). Think of the treats and the Advent Calendars and the warmth of family.

What is Christmas like in your home? Is it cold and white or sunny and bright? Are you excited or just not that interested? Leave me a comment and let me know how you feel about one of the biggest holidays of the year!

For decorations check out Cosmorama and Pineapple Boutique for scented candles.

Festival Kreol

Every year for the past twenty six years, the people of Seychelles come together to pay homage to their culture.

The Festival Kreol is held every end of October and always represents beautiful Creole culture through food, art, music and more.  The week long celebration from the 20th of October to the 30th, is bursting at the seems with fun events. Restaurants also participate with special deals and activities to commemorate this week.

Despite the festival taking place in Seychelles on Mahé, Praslin and La Digue, the week long celebration recognizes and welcomes all Creole cultures from across the globe.

The itinerary for this years Festival Kreol is as follows

 

A Brief History of Seychelles

According to historians, Vasco de Gama came across islands as he was traveling from India to East Africa in 1503. These islands then became known as the Amirantes. In the year of 1608, the East India Trading Company came across land that was in abundance of resources after getting caught in a storm. Despite reporting the island they inhabited for a short time, the British took no claim over the land.

The Isle de France which is now known as Mauritius had been occupied by the French since 1715 and by 1742, an administrator by the name of Bertrand-François Mahé de La Bourdonnais sent an expedition under the command of Lazare Picault to chart the islands northeast of Madagascar.

By November of the same year, the boats Elizabeth and Charles had anchored in Mahé at Anse Boileau and Ile d’Abondance was born. However, due to the fact that the mapping was so poor, Picault headed back to the island in 1744 and renamed it Mahé after La Bourdonnais. The islands ended up being forgotten two years later once La Bourdonnais was replaced.

The Seven Years War between England and France in 1754, reminded the authorities of Mauritius and its neighboring islands and thus two ships were sent to claim them once more. Under the command of Corneille Nicholas Morphey, the largest island was renamed Isle de Séchelles in honor of Viscount Jean Moreau de Séchelles. This name then became Anglicized as Seychelles and was then used as the name for the entire group of islands; Mahé becoming the largest island once more.

After the French Revolution, a Colonial Assembly was formed by the settlers on Mahé In 1790. It was decided that they would run their colony themselves, according to their own constitution.

In 1794, Jean-Baptiste Queau de Quincy took command of the colony, making Seychelles a haven for French corsairs. Despite trying to stay under the radar, in 1794, three British ships arrived under commodore Henry Newcome to Mahé. He gave Quincy an hour to surrender.

Alas, the British didn’t feel the need to claim Seychelles due to the fact that they believed it to be a waste of resources. This made the island a neutral ground to British and French folk alike, supplying newcomers.

If you fast forward to the British rule of Seychelles, around 2.400 men women and children were brought to the islands over a period of thirteen years from 1861.

The main town had been known as Victoria since 1841 and was growing exponentially. By 1879 there were a range of businesses in town; two auctioneers, five retailers, four  liquor stores, an attorney and a watchmaker to name a few.

When Seychelles wanted to become a colony in its own right, the Mauritian governor of the mother colony sent a petition to London but Seychelles did not become a Crown Colony until 1903 when Sir Ernest Bickham Sweet-Escott became Governor. The French language remained dominant and the botanical gardens were created along with the clock tower residing in the heart of Victoria.

But just like the French, the British saw Seychelles as the perfect place for exiling political prisoners.

It was not until 1964 that any new political movements were created, giving birth to the Seychelles People’s United Party led by France-Albert René. The party rallied for socialism and independance from British rule. The late James Mancham’s party called the Seychelles Democratic Party, represented businessmen and planters and wanted closer integration with Britain.

When the elections began in 1966, SDP won. Further elections in November 1970 brought about a new constitution, putting Mancham as Chief Minister. With elections in 1974, both parties ended up campaigning for independence. After that election the British agreed to allow Seychelles to become independent under the Commonwealth on June 29th, 1976. Sir James Mancham became the first President and René as Prime Minister.

René, however was not satisfied and threw a coup d’état on the 5th of June. 1977, overthrowing Mancham while he was overseas. This resulted in Seychelles becoming a one party state for the next 16 years. A number of Seychellois were displaced and exiled within these times

On December 4th, 1991, President René  announced the return of the multiparty system.

This failed to remove President René and his political party from the Presidency and the now SPPF, remained in power for the next 22 years.

By 2016, and after years of losing presidential elections, the opposing party SNP joined forces with other oppositions in the National Assembly elections. This resulted in a 15 to 10 district win for the newly formed LDS, and the first time in 38 years that there was a new party that claimed the majority of parliament.

A Brief History on Food and Dance

Two main things most people would associate with Seychelles could be argued as food and dance. These two things almost always go hand in hand and are incredibly popular among Seychellois and tourists alike. The traditional music and dance shows the culturally diverse background of our nation’s history.

Seychellois Dance

There happens to be a plethora of different traditional dances that are practiced in Seychelles but I will be writing about my three favorite.

The Moutia is a fan favorite with its percussion and string instruments. It contains foreign influences from when Seychelles had been colonized by the French in the 18th century followed by the British in the 19th. They brought about the guitar and violin which play a large part in Seychelles’ music today.

The Sega dance is the most popular of dance styles; the go to when learning Seychelles’ dances. With its characteristic hip-swaying movements, it is believe that it began with the slave population on the islands of Reunion and Mauritius. Sega music is traditionally performed with hand drums and rattles. while the feet remain planted on the floor in a rhythmic shuffle.

Kanmtole music is always fun to listen to. It bears a resemblance to the French Royal Court’s contredanse as well as Scottish square dancing. Accompanied by an accordion, violin and banjos, the contredanse was a French version of English country dances integrated with steps typical of the French court. Dating from the early 19th century, the kanmtole is a lively blend of all these dance styles.

Other musical styles in Seychelles include hip-hop, country, modern jazz, rock, ballads and choirs performing traditional popular, sacred, ancient and evangelical music. It’s thanks to Seychelles’ diverse past that these music and dance styles have evolved over the centuries to give the nation its rich musical heritage.

Seychellois Cuisine

Fish is definitely a big player in Seychellois cuisine and fishing happens to play a large part in our Blue Economy. Fish can be prepared in several ways, including, but not limited to: steamed, grilled, baked, boiled, fried, salted, smoked and wrapped in banana leaves. However, fish isn’t the only sea dweller that locals enjoy to catch and eat.

Other big ‘fish’ that were consumed in most Seychellois homes back in the day, included dolphin and turtles which were known as manze rar; rare food. These meats have since been forbidden by local authorities and marine parks, but some still risk it for that old Creole feeling. Sharks however, are fair game. One thing Seychellois can pride themselves in is using every part of the animals they consume. For shark you can make soup, salads/chutneys, curries and more with different parts respectively. Shark chutney, a personal favorite, typically consists of boiled, finely mashed skinned shark, and cooked with lime and bilimbi juice. Fried onions and spices are mixed along with it and makes this a perfect side dish or samosa filling.

Another type of meat that is popular in Seychelles is bat meat. Bat curry is something that can be found in authentic creole restaurants who can gain access to these creatures and is a great delicacy. Other curries can be found in almost any crock pot on the island! These curries can vary from salty to spicy, coconut cream enriched to tangy. Rice is also available with any meal.

Growing up, my family would enjoy eating a dish called ‘ladob’. Depending on the ingredients, I always found it to have a strange smell and was never fond of it, whether it was in savory or dessert form. The savory version usually had salted fish along with plantain, cassava or breadfruit with salt and boiled with coconut milk until soft. Its dessert dish omitted the fish (thank goodness!) along with the salt. It could be cooked with plantain, bananas, corossol, sweet potatoes, cassava or breadfruit and was seasoned in coconut milk with sugar, nutmeg and vanilla pods.

A few delicacies and specialty dishes include:

Bouyon bred
Kari bernik
Cassava pudding
Satini reken
Kat-kat banan
Salad palmis
Tec tec soup
Kari sousouri

Find more information on Creole cooking here.

Is It Time Yet?

When people think of Seychelles, they think of sandy beaches and crystal clear waters. They think of a rich culture and traditions, food and art. What they forget about is the perfect time to visit. This doesn’t mean that it’s not beautiful all year round, but certain people prefer certain things.

The golden rule of traveling to anywhere in the world is that you make sure you know what the weather is going to be like. You need this information so you can pack accordingly of course.

Now just because we have gorgeous beaches doesn’t mean they can’t get a little rough at times, which is why it is important to take into account the wind patterns and their effect on the seas.

We have two opposing trade winds that are in charge of the weather here. From May to October you can get the south-east winds coming in that bring about a relatively dry period on the islands. The southern beaches of Mahé get rougher during this time as well and it is always advisable to be on the safe side when going swimming.

The north-westerly winds begin in November, making December to March the wettest times of year and April being the calmest month of the year. The northern beaches of Mahé tend to get rougher during these months.

Another factor that plays into the interests of tourists, is events occurring around specific months. Sailing and snorkeling are a year round thing that no one ever really misses out on. Diving however, is preferable around March to May and September to November. The fishing season becomes popular around October all the way to April and hikes are recommended during the dry season. The bird watching on Bird Island has a couple of popular times; April is the peak breeding season making May to September the nesting months followed by migration in October.

Find a selection of excursions here.

Catch of the Day

If you’re big on fishing on the open seas, then Seychelles is the best place. Not only is there a wider variety but the fish almost always tastes better than anywhere else in the world. However, fishing isn’t just that; you have to be more specific and figure it exactly what it is that you want to do.

Big Game Trolling

With Big Game Trolling, it is all about the adrenaline coursing through your veins as you come face to face with some of the fastest and largest predators of the Indian Ocean. Feeling the almost violent struggle of the larger catch is enough to get you going. Sailfish happens to be a fan favorite in Seychelles as it is one of the most reliable fishing grounds for such. These intense creatures are in abundance all year round so you can most likely be lucky in catching one without venturing far out to sea. Other large game include, Yellowfin Tuna, Black Marlin,, Dogtooth Tuna, Bluefin and Jobfish to name a few.

Bottom Fishing

If you want to go a more traditional route of fishing then you should try Bottom Fishing, a big favorite among locals. To achieve this method, one needs a strong handline, 4-6 hooks with bait and a heavy sinker. This allows a wider range of catch seeing as that it is able to capture any species of fish around. If you are looking to catch as many different species of fish as you can, then this is the sport for you.

Fly Fishing

Fly Fishing can be achieved from either a boat or the from the shallows around the inner islands. The Outer most islands remain untouched by this sport. The variety that is available is as wide as that associated with Bottom Fishing.

Jig fishing

Jigging is considered an active fishing method due to the fact that it requires a lot of snapping and jerking of the rod tip. This is to make sure that the bait looks injured enough that game fish is wiling to bite. A normally long, thin jig is dunked into the water and retrieved quickly through short pulls up to the surface.

Popping

Popping is more on the extreme side of fishing and to be successful in your endeavors you must have a skipper with this experience who can position the boat in such a way in rough waters. A strong tackle is also important as well as reels that can withstand drag power of 20kg upwards.

Spin Fishing

Spin fishing is a technique wherein a spinning lure is used to entice fish into biting. This is done in both the open seas of Seychelles as well as in the flats. Depending on the type of fish you are willing to go after, your equipment should be chosen to carry the weight and speed of your catch. Spin fishing is distinguished between fly fishing by the type of rod and reel used.

For a list of fishing operators please click here.

‘I Do’

Destination weddings are in high demand as of late, especially where islands are concerned! If you’re ready to tie the knot then you should check out the Seychelles Islands as your ideal wedding location.

These gorgeous islands have be a hot spot for romance among many celebrities who have fallen to the beauty of the white, sandy beaches and crystal clear waters. As paparazzi snap their photos and magazines gossip on their vacations, Seychelles becomes more and more tantalizing to those who wish to get away with their significant other. The Seychelles Archipelago began gaining such endorsement when the newly-wed Duke and Duchess of Cambridge chose to honeymoon here.

Where honeymoons on the various islands are popular among celebrities, so are the actual weddings; beach weddings to be exact.

Various hotels deal in special packages for those who are ready to commit, including seven nights stays for most. Depending on your budget, it is always important to check up on these things prior to booking a plane ticket.

The best time of year varies on Mother Nature. The weather in Seychelles varies due to trade winds. From the months of October to April, you can find the winds coming in from the North which allow for more gentle breezes and safer swimming in the South. The only downside is that these months are more susceptible to rain especially around November to January.

From May to September, expect a drier climate. The winds head in from the south east and normally affect the beaches on the Southern parts of Mahé, making the waters to rough to swim in. The northern coast is relatively calm during these periods. The seas also make boat trips rougher when crossing between islands so flying is more advisable to those with sea sickness during these times.

Depending on where you stay, a hotel can most definitely organize a hairdresser and florist for the wedding package. However, if you prefer to plan yourself you can find a list of Beauty and Hairdressers and Spas and Fitness.

One must always be aware of the legal requirements that are needed before getting hitched, especially in a different country. It is always important to be prepared so your wedding can go as smooth as possible. A full list of legal requirements and rules can be found here.