Last year two of my girlfriends from back home in Texas came to visit. They were girls I knew from working in a bar while going to college, and we would do a lot of partying back then…but just as often, I’d meet them at the gym and we’d work out together. So I thought they were kind of sporty, you know?
Well I was very very wrong. Before they got here, I asked if they were up for hiking and they agreed. I suppose I never considered that to a normal American, a hike is just like a flat trail in some trees. I took them to what I was told was the easiest hike in Reunion…going down to La Nouvelle in Mafate.
You park your car in this big parking lot and you have to walk over to the start of the trail…maybe just like a ten minute walk on a tiny incline. JUST THAT PART—from the parking lot to the trail–that walk–had them complaining and breathing hard. They asked if it counted as part of the 2 hours we would be hiking. My Reunionais husband thought they were joking…and he was really shocked to learn that they were not!!
We started the hike and it was just horrible. The girls were complaining the entire time, I felt so guilty because I wanted them to come here and have fun, and it really seemed like I was ruining their lives!! So we walked the whole way in an angry, awkward silence. And it was just awful. After we arrived in Mafate, we took showers and everyone felt much better. We kind of calmed down, and..we had a great dinner and drank lots of rum and danced under the beautiful stars. It was a perfect night. But my friends had resolved to find ANY way out of walking back up the mountain the next morning.
They were asking everyone in the gite how to get out of Mafate without walking. As you might know, there are not many other options out of Mafate. Except one. By helicopter. I don’t know how it happened, but my beautiful, blonde Texas friend somehow convinced the owner of the gite to get us a ride out of Mafate in the morning with his cousin, who was (happily) a helicopter pilot.
We weren’t 100% sure we could get a ride until 6:00 the next morning when the gite guy came to the window and said “hey if you’re going, you have five minutes before my cousin leaves!” We threw everything into a sack and raced out of the gite…running towards the deafening blades of the helicopter. All of the other travellers in the gite came out of their rooms to laugh and wave us on our way.
My husband and I were so embarrassed!!! But at least now, everyone has a great story about the time they met some Americans in Mafate.
College – La Fac
To party – Faire la fete
To work out – Entraîner
To be up for – Être prèt a faire qq chose
To complain – Se plaindre
To breathe – Respirer
To joke – Plaisanter
Somehow – D’une manière ou d’une autre
Deafening – Assourdissant