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Wedding on Seychelles News # 044: The Magic of the Seychelles

Wedding on Seychelles News # 044: The Magic of the Seychelles

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Seychelles. a bay promising relaxation in the pink sunset light, lined with palm trees and takamaka trees. on the sunbeds on the sandy beach the last bathers are sipping their sundowners. as the sun sinks into the sea behind the granite rocks, suddenly a dark brown hump appears in the shimmering water a few meters in front of us, dives away and lifts itself out again in seconds in enormous size, a stingray with a long tail. it jumps probably half a meter high over the water before it disappears in the floods towards a bathing couple.

Geschrei an der verträumten Badebucht. Das Pärchen hechtet aus dem Wasser. Die Bediensteten des Lémuria-Hotels auf der Insel Praslin beruhigen: „Den Burschen kennen wir, der will nur spielen.“ Rochen seien nicht gefährlich, nicht aggressiv, griffen keine Menschen an. Es sei denn, müsste man wohl hinzufügen, sie fühlen sich bedroht, dann ist ihr giftiger Stachelschwanz durchaus eine lebensgefährliche Waffe.

+++France's new outpost+++

The Seychelles, known as the islands of the rich and beautiful with expensive hotels, are above all an extraordinary natural experience. Nowhere else in the world can you find oceanic granite islands like in the Seychelles - with their typical, rounded rocks and the mountains towering over 900 metres high from the sea. A good dozen of the more than 116 Seychelles islands are of granite origin, including the main islands of Mahé, Praslin and La Digue. What they have in common is an almost exploding tropical vegetation with plants and animals that can only be found here. The famous sea coconut in the Vallée de Mai on Praslin, for example, with nuts weighing up to 20 kilos, the largest seed on earth. Or giant turtles that lay their eggs on the fine sandy beaches of several islands, black Seychelles parrots and paradise flycatchers that swarm through the treetops of palm forests.

1770 the first settlers arrived, today language and food are creole

One of the most beautiful bays in the Seychelles is Anse Lazio at the northern tip of Praslin: turquoise sea and a pristine sandy beach framed by granite rocks, it makes you happy to swim endlessly in this crystal clear warm water and afterwards eat delicious fresh fish in the shade of tall takama trees in the beach restaurant.

the islands were uninhabited until modern times, serving at best as a shelter for pirates. the first settlers came from france in 1770. to cultivate the land, they had slaves work for them. if you drive up the steep sans souci road with 66 hairpin bends to the pass of the national park morne seychellois on the island of mahé, you will see a plaque on the viewing platform commemorating the release of 2409 african slaves between 1860 and 1870. after the english annexed the archipelago in 1811, they abolished the slave trade, but slavery itself continued for decades. it was the anglican church that initiated a school for liberated children in this remote mountain region. the colonial government provided 20 hectares for the project, but after a few years the venn's town school was closed again.

+++The top 10 dream beaches worldwide+++

White colonial rulers and abducted black Africans are the ancestors of the Creole island people. Today 86,000 people live in the Republic of Seychelles, which has been independent since 1976, 90 per cent on the island of Mahé. The former French military base developed into the capital Victoria, named after Queen Victoria, more of a cosy village with the only traffic lights in the Seychelles and a clock tower that is a small copy of London's Big Ben. There is a lively market when the fishermen come back with their catch, two cathedrals, one Anglican, the other Catholic like the majority of the population, and in a beautiful old wooden house the seat of justice with a front garden where prisoners weed, guarded by a dark-skinned warden.

Spätnachmittags, wenn sich die Gassen beleben, empfiehlt sich ein Besuch auf der Terrasse des Pirates-Arms-Restaurants, wo auch kreolisches Essen serviert wird. Noch schöner ist es, kreolisch kochen zu lernen. Als Vorspeise mischt Koch Alfonce einen Salat aus geräuchertem Marlin mit Tomaten, Zwiebeln, Wasserkresse, Meersalz und Pfeffer in Olivenöl, dazu gerösteter Toast. Das erste Hauptgericht ist frischer Fisch, ein roter Schnapper, den Alfonce „Bougeois“ nennt. In die eingeritzte Fischhaut träufelt er eine Gewürzpaste aus Tomaten, Zwiebeln, Ingwer, Chili, Kräutern, Soja und Olivenöl, dann wird in der Pfanne gegart. Auf einem Mahlstein im Garten raspeln wir Kokosnüsse für das Chicken Curry. Daraus wird die Soße – verfeinert mit Kukuma, Curry- und Zimtblättern. Zum Nachtisch gibt es Papaya in Limetten- und Passionsfruchtsaft mit Honig, Zimt und Minze.

No building may be taller than a palm tree, this preserves the originality

Dass es auch im Inselparadies Probleme gibt, besprechen wir beim Essen. Während der großen Wirtschaftskrise war die Republik Seychellen, regiert von der sozialistischen Staatspartei, nahezu bankrott. Der Internationale Währungsfonds verordnete eine drastische Abwertung der Seychellen-Rupie und ein hartes Stabilisierungsprogramm. Die Hotelpreise blieben konstant. Touristen können nun aber zu einem festen Kurs auch in Rupien bezahlen. „Für die Einheimischen“, sagt Inselführer Alan, „ist das Leben besser, aber teurer geworden.“ Besser, weil freier Markt jetzt erlaubt sei und kein Mangel mehr herrsche. Teurer, weil die Preise um das Zwei- bis Dreifache gestiegen seien, auch das Fahrgeld für den Bus. Allerdings sei der Lohn auch erhöht worden. „Das Motto heißt nun: ‚Lève debouquer‘ – Steh auf, um etwas zu erreichen.“

+++Saving is out: more desire for luxury travel+++

the effects of the crisis are still noticeable today. there are fewer tourists. the airlines are saving money and direct flights have been cancelled. however, life in the seychelles has hardly changed in recent years. nowhere may one build higher than a palm tree. the aim is to preserve the originality. when you arrive on the island of la digue by ferry, oxcarts wait for the passengers as they have always done. by bicycle or on foot you can reach the famous beach anse source d'argent with its large rock formations, between which palm trees tower like a miracle. scattered around the island's interior are traditional plantation houses, overgrown with banana trees in the middle of tropical gardens.

Es fällt uns schwer, mit der letzten Fähre zurückzufahren. Ach, könnte man doch bleiben! Alan tröstet: „Es ist immer zu früh zu gehen, aber nie zu spät wiederzukommen.

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