Saturday, December 31, 2011

First photo of 2012

Lazer eyed spider of DOOM! It's a babouk (huntsman spider) we used to see a lot of these when we were staying in the hostel but we see them rarely here in the house.  That's the big bamboo leg of the couch next to it for scale.

My intention is to post a picture every day in 2012 ('cos no one has ever done something like that before, right?) - we'll see how long my resolution lasts!  I'd like to try to get across the little differences that make living here so different (it's not just the climate), plus it looks like I'll be working in Guinea in West Africa for a part of 2012 and that should be interesting to share!

All the very best for 2012!

Here's wishing everyone a peaceful and happy New Year from our island hideout.  May 2012 be good to you all.

Stephen, Aurelie, Sam and Ela

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Watering the garden just in time for the rain

It's been so dry here that a couple of days ago I decided to water the fruit trees in the garden (not for the first time).  Unfortunately we haven't gotten about to getting a garden hose yet so it involved me spending an hour or so lugging buckets of water about the place in 30+ degree heat.  Of course a couple of hours later after dusk the heavens opened and we had torrential rain with spectacular thunder and lightning over the centre of the island (the main road on the Island was closed for a while due to the rain)!

This has reminded me that although it's been very dry and warm since we got here Réunion holds all kinds of rainfall records.  It holds the record for the most rainfall ever recorded in a 12 hour period, in a 24 hour period, in a 72 hour period, in a 96 hour period and in a 10 day period.  This place can be WET.

Fortunately the rainfall is concentrated on the other side of the island (we are in the rain shadow of the volcano) but you can see the effects of such huge amounts of rainfall around the place.  Lots low points on roads have barriers that can be placed across them to close them when they get inundated during storm flooding.  On the main road huge bridges span giant dry river valleys.  Dry open drains at the side of a lot of roads up can be over a meter deep.  All pointing to lots and lots of flowing water.  

Oh and all the windows and doors of houses have shutters to protect during tropical storms!  Apparently this year promises to produce a bumper crop of storms due to predicted high sea temperatures, we'll see if any come this way, there may be exciting times ahead! 


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Three months here

The day before yesterday was the three month anniversary of our arrival here in Réunion and oh my, what a three months we've had.  From being in super holiday mode staying in the hostel to settleing in our new home and having to deal with the relaxed Réunion way of doing things (we called to a government office on friday to sort some stuff only to find out that they close at 11.30am on fridays, admittidly they opened at 7.30am, but still!) it's all been good.

We're all very happy with the move so far, we've been lucky enough to make some friends here and now that we seem to have won the war against the fleas in the garden (see Aurélie's previous post) we're really enjoying the new house. Of course now there are the termitesin the house to deal with, but nevermind - there are a lot more beasties about here.  And of course there is the weather, we should be into the wetter part of the year by now (when it's supposed to be hot with some rain most days) but the rain hasn't started yet so for now it's still glorious :).

Some of our new friends, Jean-Fabien and Laurence, with Sam n' Ela

Our new home!
One big event over the last month was Sam's first day at school, which he is loving, long may that last.  Dropping Sam off to school in the morning is one of those times that reinforces the differences in culture.  The vibe at the school seems different to that of an Irish school (mind you it's been a long time since I had any experience of an Irish primary school).  For one thing the schools is very open plan, no corridors, just classrooms opening out to the outside (the benefit of living in a warm country), for another the principal stands at the school gate and greets and shakes the hand of all the parents who go into the school to drop off their kids which seems very formal though he is very relaxed about it.  A lot of the parents sit about in the sun outside the classrooms for a little while after dropping off their kids giving each other the french cheak kiss hello and chatting, of course I've no idea what they are saying most of the time since they are all speaking creol rather than french!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

An update from Aurelie

A lot can happen in 3 weeks especially when you're moving in a new house, in a new town, in what is still a new country. So let split the summary in different chapters: Arrival, Unexpected guests and Surviving without Ikea.


Thought we got the keys on Monday 31st of October, we were staying in the Hostel until Thursday to have time to gather some basic before moving in. So we had fridge and washing machine delivered on Monday (to find out that the water tap for it was not working in the house). Then we had hire a van on Wednesday to collect the 2 second hand beds and a rocking chair. During the local hypermarket sales we had bought a set of plates, a little microwave, hoover and a little rice cooker called kitchi. And that was it, back to basic indeed.
Because I did not contact the water company before, they cut the water on Thursday so when we moved in in the evening we had no water, no gaz, no table or chairs. Our 1st dinner was take away food on cardboard boxes. Classy but still tasty.

1st night in the house
As the previous people renting did leave the house in a less than perfect state, we had 2 guys coming to paint the inside of the house and terrace. They actually told us about a huge water infiltration from the bathroom that was affecting the bedroom beside it (ours) and all the outside paint. Not much to do beside waiting for landlord to take action (still waiting BTW). The handy guys were also kind enough to get the coconuts down from the giant coconuts tree in the front of the house, so no one end up dead by falling coconuts. I think we had about 15 of them. We ate the cracked ones straight away, gave a few, and still have some around the place. Stephen really likes to play with his machete and it's the main use we have for it.
We have other fruits in our garden: bananas, litchis and others that we are not to sure what do with. The end of the cul de sac is actually a banana plantation.
Otherwise the neighbours are nice, even if their dogs bark every time we come and go. Kids have now made friends with other from the house at the back of ours. We have a boulangerie and a pizza place nearby. We would be settling nicely if there was not the guests of doom...

Unexpected guests

Here we are. Few days in and several trip later from the DIY shop and and Stephen made great moustiquaires (mosquito net) for the windows so we can enjoy a relatively mosquito free house. Of course we still have plenty of company: margouillas (little lizards, about 2 in every room) go out at night and totally harmless except for pooing everywhere, ants (at least those one don't seems to be the red angry one) in the kitchen, living room and for some reason bathroom.
The one that came as a surprise (and not a nice one) was fleas. Not just 1 or 2, an infestation in the garden (the previous occupants had a dog), and of course then in the house. We went from “eco friendly” repellent to “ kill them all” type of product with plenty of warning at the back. Sprayed the garden 3 times so far. Still cannot go outside without picking them of our legs. We have little bowls of water to drown them. Stephen even used himself as human bait to collect them. Result no so conclusive but he seemed to enjoy the fight.
It's very frustrating to have such a nice garden and not be able to enjoy it. I can't send the kid to play outside! And we still bring them inside so I have to hoover all the time.
Anyway I still had my little moment of pride when both Samuel and Ela managed to catch one flea... it take skills.
Anyway the battle goes on. My main worry is that as we are getting more furniture in the house, they have more places to settle inside too...
This brings me to the last section:

Surviving without Ikea

This is the 1st time I had an empty house, the fist time I could choose the furniture, decoration, etc.. A blank canvas to make the house really mine. That would be interesting.
Hold on... oh yes I meant our. Of course Stephen and I have already bought furniture together, like shelve and ... folding chairs... and there is plenty of stuff we know we both don't like: kitschy and
big heavy stuff.
We had been joking for years about the fact that we would end up with 1 bedroom each, or even 2 separated floor... well this is indeed the time of truth. Can we manage to furnish the house without assigning room to the despair of the other?
Well my idea of my house would be cosy, loads of shelves, chest drawers and wardrobe (to put all the stuff I keep) and very practical (because I'm lazy). I like light wood (pin or beech) especially in the bedroom (but not in bathroom) nothing metallic and most shade between deep purple and sky blue are acceptable. In one word: Ikea.
Now Stephen vision of his house is spartiate. Minimalist and white. Not so compatible with the above.
We could not agree on anything except on very horrid stuff (which is quite common). They like they're massive furniture here. Granny style. To be honest there was nothing I really liked, but everything one would qualify as not too bad, the other would dislike. We did ALL the furniture shops we came across, even on the other side of the island.
Stephen kind of won the bedroom, so my big wardrobe (I need to put my stuff somewhere, and no your little canvas shelve are pants to me) is going in the spare room. Fine. But I'm getting a table for the kitchen, and an oven. I will anyway eventually. The big wardrobe is still in pieces cos you need bac+5 in DYI to do it. Great, my clothes are still in pile on the ground.
We miraculously agreed on the couch and low table set (last week, 3rd time to the shop). But it was white so I got blue throw to put on them. Look a lot cosier, if not so practical, I 'd say I won that one...
 So we are getting there slowly, still eating of the plastic garden table and chair, and so what?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

We're still here!

Just a quick update to say we are still here, enjoying our life here and our new home. We still don't have an internet connection in the new house though so a proper update on our adventures will have to wait a few more days. So until then.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Moving house and barbecue

This'll be just a short post as we're leaving Residence Créolie today after almost two months here.  It's a bittersweet moment as we've had a wonderful time here in the hostel in our little two room studio, of course we're really looking forward to having our own place and settling in.

All the guys here have been really really great, friendly, helpful, we couldn't have asked for more.  We've made friends here which makes everything easier when you are far from home.

The night before last the guys here invited us to a barbecue with their friends down at the local beach.  We had a wonderful night.  The kids crashed out fairly early but wrapped up in sarongs and towels they snuggled down on the sand and slept soundly.

Sleeping beauties

Aurélie and Fabien enjoying the barbie
There was good food (even if it took a while to get the barbecue going), good music and great cheer.  Standing on the beach, in the moonlight, watching the waves, arm in arm with a beautiful woman, it doesn't get much better than that!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Busy Days and Changes

Tomorrow is a big day in the Bradley-Trombetta household.  We have two big events (three if you count Samhain/Halloween, a big favorite in our house).  It's Sam's first day at school and we're getting the keys to our new rental house.

Sam is starting the second year of "maternalle".  School here is done by year of birth and since it starts at 3 years and Sam is 4 he goes into the second year.  He's really looking forward to it and it seems that he's at the right level to start in the class so thats all good.  Aurelie assures me that his French is up to the rigors of classroom life which is good but of course all the other children will speak créole as well so that's another language for him to pick up.  He's been picking some up already here from the guys working in the hostel and it's pretty astounding how well they can learn languages (me, I'm concentrating on French, créole can wait!)

The school is 1.4 km (down a steepish hill all the way) from our new home, or what will become our new home between tomorrow and Thursday (we get the keys tomorrow and have booked our place here until Thursday to give us a few days to set up in the new place).

Our new place is a créole house, four bedrooms, a big living room with a terrace, WC, bathroom and a kitchen, all very nice. What sold me on the place though was the garden.  While it's not huge, it's big enough, the lower garden is dense trees (shade being important in the summer here), litchi, banana, custard apple and maybe more while th upper garden (where the living room and terrace open out to) is more open with grass and a number of coconut trees as well as other plants, hopefully we'll be doing a lot of our living out here instead of inside!

One difference to renting here from Ireland is that like in France houses are generally unfurnished. All that will be in the house will be the kitchen presses and hob so we have been busy picking up stuff for the house. Fortunately there is an active second hand scene here as a lot of folk come out here from France for a year or two and then return, also the local hypermarket has been celebrating it's birthday for the last couple of weeks so there has been lots of promotions there too.

So far, second hand, we have:
Bunk beds for the kids
A double bed for us
A rocking chair
A washing machine
A fridge

And new:
A vacuum cleaner
A microwave
Plates and bowels
A rice cooker/steamer (for the grand total of €9.50 on sale)
A stone coated (magic) frying pan - this thing is unbelievably good, go look it up online right now!
A spatula

We also brought over some bed linen, kitchen knives and a hammock.

Other than that we are planning on getting a table and chairs, a couple of presses/wardrobes for clothes, a dust pan and brush, some cups, some pots, bed sheets, big cushions or bean bags and a low table for the living room.  And that's about it, it's going to be a fairly minimalist household (I hope, though Aurelie isn't fully convinced yet) though I know that there is a lot of other bit's and pieces we'll need to get to keep the house going but I'm hoping to keep that to a minimum so that we can concentrate on the important things in life rather than just on things.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Some photos from the last few weeks

The sudden realisation that getting down from there may be more difficult than getting up there!

Going for it!

Jungle exploration

Panorama of our local beach 

Sunset at the beach

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Créole Rap

Laurence, one of the guys working here, is in a band and he us invited to a gig on Wednesday night. The gig was up in La Port, about an hour from here so we sorted a babysitter for the kids for the first time
here (the sister of Fabien, the guy who runs Residence Créolile). There were four bands playing on the
night and one of them would be selected to play in a festival In Metropolitan France. Apparently lots of the big names  in Réunion's music scene were there (though it must be said that Réunion's music scene seems  small!).

The night was good craic. We were introduced to a load of the people there (I didn't understand a whole lot as a lot of it was in créole rather than French) but everyone seemed really nice. According to Aurelie I seemed to be a bit of a novelty being all the way from exotic Ireland.

Alex (the name of Laurence's band and of it's lead singer) were on second so while the first band was
playing the band, Aurelie and I nipped out to a local bar for some shots of rum, necessary to warm up
the vocal chords according to Alex! Then we headed back to the gig to catch the end of the first band
while the guys got ready.

The band played créole rap, which honestly was good (this from a person who normally doesn't like rap). I think not understanding the lyrics helped as I just listened to the music and obvious passion without having to
worry about what was being said! For the record Aurelie had no idea what most of it was about either.

We found out yesterday that Alex were chosen to go to the festival in France so Laurence was a happy camper!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Aurelie's post on her day at the windy beach.

Well to be exact it's often windy and we've been loads to the beach, but what happen yesterday will hopefully make you smile ( it certainly made Stephen laugh).

So here we are heading to the local beach this afternoon. As we get use to it we get better organised (by "we" I mean Stephen), and today was a "mostly everything" time. (and there is a lot to think of: swim suits, towel, toys, snacks and drinks, sun cream...)

We actually forgot the children hats (no mine, that would be hard to miss) but it was not too bad as we had just invested in a parasol!

I'll pass the joy of settling on a chosen spot. Of course I like the beach and the sea, but there are the little things that I'm not so fond of, like the sand everywhere (in everything), getting changed (either I do it before going, and then you can sure be I forget some of my clothes, or it's the let flash everyone on the beach cos I haven't figured out how to tie my top with a t-shirt on), or just that I and all the stuff has to be rinsed once home. With the kids, just multiple sand everywhere by 10 and had screams at the rinsing phase.

I got much better to the getting changed in public thought. I don't like topless, but I don't care so much about some boobies showing for a minute. I've also improved a lot in the skirt/surong/pareo method for the bottom so I'm now ok with getting changed on the beach.

I always do the kids first so Samuel can run off in the water with his dad, and Ela can start putting sand everywhere. So I had been sitting for a while under the parasol, looking at the most gigantic waves so far, when Ela decided she was ready for a dip, which meant time for me to get changed (no point getting undress if I'm not going in the water).

So after the top, I did my pareo skirt, take off my underwear, and at this precise moment the parasol flew away. Of course it had to be at that moment!

The parasol started rolling away from me. A few nano second of hesitation (putting my swimsuit would take too long and I didn't want the parasol to got too far as it could injure someone) and I started running after it. Funny the way it stopped so I could catch up and them flew a bit further as I was going to grab it. I could use only one hand since the other was holding the sarong (the skirt was not made to last that much) and I was hoping it was still covering most of what I wanted to hide.

I had the feeling that people around were looking at me and probably finding the whole scene quite entertaining.

Finally got hold of the parasol with my free hand (it did not go that far, it just felt that way), and turn to Stephen who was still in the water and certainly found the whole thing very amusing. Because of the young public around me (including my own kids) I could not express my feeling as strongly as I wished to conclude this moment of shame.

Note to self: parasol should stay closed until I am ready.

By the way I did not stay long in the water as a big wave took us and Ela got underwater while I was struggling to stay up while holding her and Samuel. Then Ela and I stayed safely out.

Finally in the water, but not for long.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Our local beach

180 degree panoramic view of our local beach (Grand Anse) 
One of the big benefits of not working while we are here is that we don't have to fit everything into weekends or around work schedules which means that we can avoid the busy times (as you can see from the photo!)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Aurelie's take on our first three weeks

So were are we? well I think we are not doing too bad. For me some things feel like home, I'm happy to find stuff I could not get in Ireland (like proper breakfast chocolate cereals, for adult not children, ah the chocolate Clusters) and there are damn good road signs. I love to go to the supermarket and finding stuff I used to have when I was young...

There is also the culinary novelty (that we have not tried to do it yet) but the mix of french, indian, chinese and african cooking give some very interesting result. Ask Stephen for the famous sandwich "americain bouchon gratiné" which is an open baguette, with steam dumplings (ravioli chinois), fries, a dressing to choose (ketchup, mayo, spicy sauce), the whole thing topped by cheese and grilled. You can also get it without the fries...

We did the market today and there Stephen kept asking what were the different fruit and veg. The pb is I can barely tell the difference between a courgette and a cucumber, so I'm really the wrong person to ask. But there is plenty of them (what ever they are). At the end of the market, after the food and some clothes and souvenir stalls were also live poultry and bunnies which I found a little disturbing. I was very tempted to buy the bunnies just to free them (sorry chicken, you're just not that cute).

There are some french things that I was not so happy to get back into, like the administrative paper work, the fact that you need a ID card and address to get a sim card, that I need my parents to be our "guaranty" for the renting contract of the house, and I have not started with the school or the health service yet. But it's fine cos we are not working and we have plenty of time to go through it.

The place is beautiful. I don't think I will get bored of the palm trees, sugar cane fields, banana trees, the beach sunset, the ravines, the mountains in the clouds. And we have not done the full tour yet! Also there is a great peace of mind for me it that it's safe, no deadly beasty is going to attack my kids; and like in France, there are pharmacies at every corner for the scratches and bruises.

So yes some stuff is quite expensive, but not much more than Ireland, and a lot of local things are quite cheap if you buy them at the right place.

I have learnt at least a new skill: how to peel a pineapple. Yes these is a specific technique! Of course it took me about 30 min to get it ready, but I'll practice.

So yes, so far so good! Now we are (hopefully) getting a 4 bedrooms house with a big garden full of fruit trees, so we will have plenty of room for guests. You know what to do.

Market Heaven

Yesterday we finally got to the weekly local market and what a market it was.  It was huge, with a big variety of stalls.  Lots of fruit and vegetables at low low prices, meats, snacks, clothes (Ela got a dress), curios, bags, knick-knacks etc. etc.  Plus it had live chickens, geese, rabbits (Aurelie had to be persuaded not to buy all the cute fluffy rabbits so that she could free them, for some reason she didn't feel the same way about the birds!).

Having been there once it looks like the market will be a weekly event for us from now on.

Unexpected benefits of hostel living

For the last three weeks since we got here we've been staying at a little hostel called Résidence Creolile ( and it's been great.    Jean-Fabien the young guy who owns it only opened it recently so there is still stuff being done to it in outside but the hostel is small (just three studios and three dorms), bright, cheerful and friendly.  Plus the guys here are really friendly, helpful and great to be around.

Résidence Creolile
Laurence teaching Ela the drums 
We have the largest studio here.  It's two rooms a private living/kitchen/dining room and a bedroom with a double and two singles.  So we are all sleeping in the same room which while it may not be the most romantic of setups does have unexpected benefits.  As the bedroom is closest to the corridor Aurelie and I pass through it a lot when the kids are asleep (luckily they are both heavy sleepers) when we are going back and forth so we get to see them sleeping la lot and do you know what, sleeping kids are the funniest/cutest things in the world!  And as any parent of young kids can tell you it's really quite nice just to watch then while they sleep.  Back home we'd put the kids down to bed and leave them to sleep but because of the move and our current set up we find ourselves just stopping to look at them sleeping as we are passing by, something we could have done any evening back in Dublin but just never really did as much.

We had the place generally to ourselves for the first two weeks but things have gotten a bit busier this week as there is an international bodyboarding competition happening here at the moment and a lot of the guys involved with the media side of it are staying here.  So the place is full of surfer guys (and they are all guys bar the masseuse), one of them even called me "dude".  They are nice guys though we only see them in the evening as they are off covering the event from before dawn each morning.

It looks like we'll be here for a few more weeks (no complaints) as the house we have decided on (finally) probably won't be available until the start of November.  It's a creóle house with lots of fruit trees (litchi, coconut, banana, custard-apple and possibly more) to provide shade and fruit (hopefully).  We should be signing the rental documents on Tuesday so it'll be good to have that sorted all going well (you never know with French paperwork!).

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Two weeks in and Black Sand!

We're more than two weeks here now and still finding our feet really. We're all enjoying the life here so far, which of course isn't hard to do when you don't have to work and are living on a Tropical island!

Of course Reunion doesn't really fit the stereotype image of a tropical island. For one thing being a part of France it's a lot more developed, at least parts of it are, the mix of first world (do we still say first world?) and less developed elements is a bit jarring at times but not in a bad way.  Another thing is just how varied the island is, from the wild south and empty east to the busy, beach encrusted west (haven't been to the north yet) and that is just the coastline!

We've been busy this week getting more things sorted and exploring a bit more.

We bought a car (a 2005 Mazda 3, white of course) on Tuesday, picked it up on Friday, cars are a lot more expensive here than in Europe but other things are a lot less expensive so you win some and you lose some.

We also went to see a couple of houses (a lot more to see this week, more to come on this).

Spent some time at a few different beachs, one of which was a black(ish) sand beach (according to Lonely Planet it's one to the best beaches in Réunion) which we went to on Saturday afternoon. Quick geology leason, Réunion is a volcanic island made up of lots of basalt, a dark volcanic rock, when this erodes it forms black sand which mixes with the eroded coral (which is white) to form a darker sand than we are used to.

(looking south)

One effect of this is that it absorbs the heat from the sun more readily. Which means it heats up more than the sand we poor Irish folk are used to, la lot more. Cue me jumping wildly across the sand diving into the shade of a convenient palm tree before suffering anything more serious than sore feet (the rest of the clan were back at the car getting ready while brave daddy was scouting about).
Reading the information sign nearby I discovered that in addition to the usual dangerous currents and sharks the sand can give you third degree burns! Is it just me or is dangerous sand (that isn't quicksand) just the greatest thing!

(looking north)

Aurelie's spider adventure

The day of the hiden spider

by Aurélie on Wednesday, September 21, 2011 at 12:40am

It's warm, it's sunny, but there are little things that remind you that you're not dreaming, for example kids waking you up at 7.00, and wanted to fed... As you all know, I'm not a morning person, but since my dear husband was deaf to Ela's cry for food I had to get up. Fine. Then sorry for the details (but everyone dealing with kids will understand) but it's pee time which involve me holding Ela on the toilet seat. Anyway this morning Ela did not want to go and made some disturbance on the seat. As I am holding her, I have direct view in the bowl (endless joy of parenthood). And what did I see coming out of under the rim? TWO spider legs!!!!!

I stop here to let you know that we already had our encounter of giant spiders, called babouk ( We usually catch spider with a glass and a sheet of paper and release them outside, but because of their size and tendencies to run and jump fast, we had to used a sieve to "neutralise" it.

So back to my story I had Ela wriggling bare bum in my arm and I was trying hard to not scream at the nightmare vison. Managing to get Ela out of the toilette without panicking her too much, I was faced with a very quick decision to make. Because they run so fast I had to think fast, but when I panic, I can't think. Now the spider was fully out in the bowl, I could flush the toilet, but with or without the lid? With the lid of, I could see what's happening (hopefully the spider going with the flow) but taking risk the spider could escape. Without the lid, the spider was less likely to escape, but I would never be sure it was really gone....

I chose the leave the lid open and flushed.... and of course the spider jumped out of the toilet to go hide behind it. Great!

Now I had the 2 kids getting excited behind me and a sleepy Stephen not being as manly I as could hope for (he is not that brave with those spiders either). Every time the spider came out, the kids would "try to help" and scare it away back behind the bloody toilet.

After a while it did not come out anymore and we had to go. Leaving a giant spider in the loose, who could go anyway in the house while we would be gone.

When we came back I could not see it anymore but I was hoping it was just hidden a bit further. All day I checked and could not see any sign of it. I looked under the wardrobe and the beds. Nothing. Obviously I did not want to check to much either in case I would disrupt something I did not even know. Only tonight we spotted it on the wall (well we hope it's the same anyway) and chased it outside with the sweeping brush.

I'm feeling a bit better now, but I can tell you that going to the toilet will never be the same again.

Facebook update!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Beach Rugby

Watched Ireland v Australia yesterday on French TV. I loved the fact that the French commentators were going wild in support of Ireland!  Even though I couldn't understand much of what they were saying I got that much.

Anyway it turned out that completely unrelated to the rugby the guys running the hostel where we are staying were having a barbeque here with some of their family so we were invited to join in. Sam and Ela had of course already joined the fun and were playing with the other kids.  

Speaking the international language of "ball"

So we had a lovely barbeque, along with some punch made from the ubiquitous Réunion rum, got to know our hosts (who have been great) even better and generally enjoyed the afternoon.

Once the barbeque was pretty much over a trip to the beach was suggested for swimming and  beach rugby so everyone loaded into the carts for the 5 minute drive to the beach (Aurelie who hadn't been imbibing was our designated driver - I love my wife).

 Beach Rugby!

After a close game the Hiberno/Réunionase team lost to the all Réunionase team 15-10.  It was followed by a dip in the sea to wash off the sand and relax.  And then after sunset it was time for home with some very sleepy kids.  All in all not so shabby a day in Réunion.

Getting close to home time. 

Packed up and ready to go!

Dublin airport at the start of our travels (from my phone, still no cable)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Beaches - and lessons

We're coming to the end of our sixth day here, the kids are in bed and we are settling in for the night.

It's been a fab few days. After spending Tuesday and yesterday moring sorting “stuff” we went to the beach for a few hours yesterday afternoon, played in the sun and in the sea. All the areas where you can swim here are enclosed by boulders to calm the water and keep the sharks out!

Today we started to explore the eastern part of the island a bit and got to see some of the old lava flows comming from the volcano, spectacular! On the way back we dropped into a little black sand beach and to a great little swimming area just a bit further along the coast.

One thing that I'm starting to get my head around is the scale of the island, at about 45 x 60 km it's smaller than Co. Limerick (but there is a lot more topography!). Which means that once you have a car getting to the different places along the coast is easy (once you avoid rush hour), of course once you head inland and upwards it's a different story.

Lessons learned so far:
Don't expect footwear that costs less than €2 to last very long.
Avoid rush hour on an island that essentially has one road running around it.
Naked childern will make a run for it
Reunion has large fast running and jumping spiders but there isn't agreement about if they bite or not.
When a sign adds "Dangerous currents, deadly sharks, DANGER OF DEATH" to "Swimming forbidden" it probably best not to go for a dip. 

Still haven't found the camera cable.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Photos will follow as soon as we find the the cable to connect the camera and download them!

Monday, September 12, 2011


So here we are on Réunion!

After a long time talking about just packing up and heading off we finally made the decision to do so at the end of last summer, giving ourselves a deadline of this summer to get gone. We finally picked a spot at the start of this summer and the plans started to get made in purpose.

So after selling or giving away most of our accumulated stuff and storing a few sentemintal bits and pieces we packed up what was left and took an Aer Lingus flight to Lyon where we spent a wonderful week with Aurelie's family. And then this friday evening we boarded an overnight flight with Air Austral to Réunion Island in the Indian Ocean.

After a night of little sleep we got in to Saint Dennis early on Saturday, picked up our hire car and drove to Petite Ile on the other side of the Island in the “Wild South” of Réunion. We spent our first day and night in a little bunglow with a terrace and outdoor table and barbeque area up in the hills which was dubbed the jungle house by Sam and Ela. And today we moved to a little studio in a hostel by the coast (the move was due to a mix up in the booking, as it happened we had the chance to stay in either and chose where we are now, which wasn't our original choice).

So one night down in Réunion and we are in the middle of our second, the kids are asleep, A is reading and I'm typing this, not too bad.