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Day Six: Mauritius

August 6, 2006

“Those Kodiak bears can have their glaciers; I’ll take a tiki umbrella and a pair of flip-flops in Mauritius, thank you very much,” says Orange Bear.

(photo: Ian Robertson)

Although Mauritius (pronounced more-RISH-us) sits about 1,200 miles off Africa’s southeastern coast, the flavor of this island nation owes more to a mix of European (particularly French) and Indian influences than African.

Mauritius was uninhabited until the Dutch settled it in the 17th century. Less than one hundred years later, the indigenous dodo bird famously went extinct, forever immortalized in the phrase “dead as a dodo.”

“You know, the poor dodo’s been getting an image makeover the last few years,” remarks Mr. Crumpet. “A lot more svelte.”

Mauritius is also remaking its image. Once known mostly for its sugar exports, this subtropical island paradise is now becoming the face of technology outsourcing (call centers and the like). That friendly, accented customer service representative on the other line might next time be sitting under a tiki umbrella in flip-flops. OK, probably not.

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