Mark Twain once wrote: "'You gather the idea that Mauritius was made first and then heaven, and that heaven was copied after Mauritius."
However I doubt Mark stayed long enough to see the true Mauritius in all its beauty as well as in its flaws. Make no mistake, with a temperature range of 20-32 degrees celcius, upto 28 for seawater Mauritius is quite the destination for a holiday. But it's only when you've lived here for a long time that you see past the natural beauties, the people.
If you're a tourist, you're treated in the same way as you see Mauritius, that is, nicely. You walk around and mauritians have a great sense of hospitality..etc, etc.
But when you're a mauritian, things are different. You are seen as someone different. They automatically think of the things you should do but mostly of the things you shouldn't do! If you had people with whom you didn't get along very well in Mauritius, expect relations to have worsened. Your neighbours have a stool next to their windows; practical when you spend time not minding your own business. Their telephones have got hot keys and quick dial options and in Mauritius gossip travels faster than the speed of light - an attribute Mauritius Telecom has been abe to benefit , subsequently going into partnership with Orange on various projects.
A recent study in the US shows that gossip creates and maintains strong social bonds and it's true; social bonds in Mauritius is very strong. So strong that people actually think your business is theirs too. So when you're organising some party or ceremony, loads of people will turn up and help whether you like it or not. Miss out someone on the list and they take it personally. Do something they wouldn't do and you'll see them slipping away....
The conservatism originates from religious and cultural taboos. Sex isn't something you can mention easily, let alone talk about. And somehow being attached to their culture and tradition gives to the Mauritian population its beauty and at the same time creates its biggest flaw; If you're of a different religion than someone else's there's an invisible barrier between you two. Mention your name and the first thing someone will probably do is to deduce your religion, caste if applicable and family extensions across Mauritius. Next question you'll probably be asked: " Are you related to the X's from that town Y?" And in Mauritius, you almost certainly are.
And as multi-racial mauritius is, there is by far more racism here than in the UK for example. People tend to think racism is an issue between caucasians and other races.
Some mauritian friends reading this might disagree to what I'm saying. There's a simple test: ask yourself this question: " Would things be different with that person if I were of the same religion/race as him/her?" Things actually would - you'd get invited to more social events they'd organise. They'd phone you more often and who knows they might even find someone within their relatives to marry your son/daughter to! lol
Use the N-word in the UK and you'll land into trouble. People around would stare at you...lol Here similar terms are used on more than a daily basis and it's so common people don't think it's wrong.
People base their lifestyle on religion; issues like abortion, homosexuality, cross-religion/mixed marriages are taboo. It my philosophy to think as a simple individual first of all. Schools of thought that teach you how to think and what to think are quite dangerous. It alters the ability to see things from a different perspective, something that's critical to understanding and tolerance.
That's probably the only aspect about Mauritius that might not appeal on a brochure.