The Rascal is a not a fan of going to sleep. He quite enjoys a good snooze, but not until he’s fought against it, tooth and nail. Now I know the magic way to knock him out for several hours though – it’s a combined total of thirteen hours flying, plus another several hours using other forms of transport and standing about in airports. That was enough to wipe him out for a night. Unfortunately while he snored himself into oblivion, he was perfectly happy to roll about and smack us in our unsuspecting sleepy faces. This ensured that we didn’t get too much rest ourselves. By morning we were huddled up on either side of the bed while he sprawled horizontally between us. A trend for the entire holiday. Along with all the ants in the area feasting on our flesh while he lay protected and unbitten between us. He refused to get up for breakfast, or the orientation meeting that Daddy was sent off to. He finally woke around 11, hungry. Very hungry! I checked the clock for what time it was back home. 7am. Oh right, that explains the wakeup time… toddler is still on Irish time.
We dragged our aching bones out of bed, grumbling and wincing at stiff and cramped muscles. But this was it, the first day of our big holiday. A look outside the door was enough to get us all up and moving, not wanting to waste any time. We’re typically more of a backpacking/budget holiday couple. The only time we’ve done something like this before was for our wedding. And that was kind of on the cheap. Minimum fuss, just the two of us (and obligatory legal folk) barefoot on a sunny beach in Mauritius at a fraction of the cost of doing anything similar back home. It was also minimum stress as I offloaded the organisation to Chaka Travel, a UK travel agency. They arranged and booked the entire thing for us. Since then my husband has been subjected to not so subtle barrage of advertising from the Belle Mare Plage, attempting to entice him back to Mauritius, or to their sister resort in the Maldives. A steady stream of pictures of these beautiful destinations worked their magic on him and he really really wanted to go to the Maldives last year for our wedding anniversary. I was wary of holidaying with a baby that couldn’t yet crawl, so we agreed to defer. This year was the last chance to go with a mobile toddler before he turned two and costs became even more prohibitive. Back we went to Chaka Travel to sort everything out for us again.
So here we were, for our third wedding anniversary, determined to enjoy it. Somewhat awake and refreshed, we took in our surroundings for the first time and got a sense of how the island was laid out. Our beach hut was in the centre of the island, just across from the main reception, bar, pool and restaurant. To the north of the island was the super exclusive O Resort where we couldn’t set foot with our verboten child. The slightly less discerning Sangu Resort on the southern tip only allowed teenagers in the restaurant, but we weren’t banned from the beach or bar. We had opted for an all-inclusive package to allow for being on an island with a toddler that might want to eat at any time. Our fetching green bracelets gave us access to food and drinks throughout the day. There was an impressive list of cocktails included in our package. Realistically we could spend the entire trip on the island and happily not spend an extra cent.
We ignored the growing hunger of a missed breakfast by taking a stroll and checking out the restaurant and facilities. As soon as the buffet lunch was open for business we were first in the door. On our way back we came across Duniye Spa. Spa, eh? Don’t mind if I do! We wandered in to the pristine, but comfortable reception area, shushing Rascal. We strongly suspected that his running commentary on everything he saw might not be a welcome addition to the gentle chimes and background zen music. The lady on the desk did an admirable job of selling us each an hours treatment with vague claims that we’d step out looking and feeling like new people. We worked around our lack of babysitter. While Daddy enjoyed a luxurious massage, Rascal and I checked out our little patch of beach.
The Rascal modelled his functional bright red and yellow UV suit, complete with silly hat and sunglasses. Safe to say that it would be hard to lose him in it. However it left very little exposed skin to worry about in the sun. He confidently strutted his stuff down to the shore. He squealed and shrieked as we played in the waves and dug in the sand. The beach was definitely a hit with him! Other holiday-makers grinned as they passed him by. You’d think they’d never seen a fashion-challenged toddler before. Thankfully he’s not very concerned about anyone else’s opinion. The water was warm, the sand was soft. Staying at the edge we avoided the seaweed and rocks underfoot. We’d probably stick with the swimming pool for actual swimming, but it was a beautiful day for sitting on the beach letting the waves foam over our legs.
Once the Rascal was tired and ready to nap, it was my turn to experience the luxury spa treatment. My skin has never had so many lotions and potions applied to it before. Halfway through I was covered head to toe in what I was told was a coffee chocolate scrub. It looked a whole lot less appealing than it sounded. I looked like a swamp monster, dripping pellets of crusty mud with every movement. It was… an experience. In hind sight I should have opted for the straight forward massage. We have enough mud at home! Showered, dried, and pampered with a relaxing massage, I knocked back my complimentary ginger tea and wandered off in search of my boys for some afternoon tea and cake in the bar. The Rascal devoured cheese sandwiches while we scoffed the cake on the sly. We could get used to this kind of life!
We gave in to increasingly loud toddler demands to get into the swimming pool outside the bar. This time the Rascal sported his slightly more fetching blue and turquoise UV getup. A row of sunbathing Germans sniggered loudly as he strutted past. ‘Lifeguard in training’, one of them read from the insignia and laughed out loud. Last laugh was on them as the Rascal frolicked merrily in the pool, propelled high into the air by his father and having a grand old time while they sat around like boring old adults, slowly turning an unattractive lobster shade of red. After a lot of splashing and games, the Rascal inhaled most of my mocktail with the enthusiasm usually reserved for those who reach a desert oasis after five days without water.
While we waited for it to be dinner time, we chilled out by the bar pool that evening as the sun began to set. One area had a sign saying ‘Repeaters Cocktails’ which made little sense to us, but sounded like something we wouldn’t be invited to. A group of smartly uniformed staff clustered about tables filled with champagne glasses while a two-piece band played live elevator music and waiters set up romantic dinner tables along the beach. Holidaying couples gradually started to show up and be greeted warmly. We slightly gate-crashed the affair by lingering off to one side of the pool where the Rascal could see and hear the live band without disturbing the guests. Whatever the event was, it wasn’t very riveting, as most of the staff popped over for a chat. Thus we found out what a Repeater was. Would you believe there are actually people who can afford to jet off to tropical island resorts EVERY SINGLE YEAR. Some of them visiting Kuredu for ten years or more? No wonder they were getting the star treatment. While the ‘repeaters’ mostly ignored the music being provided, the Rascal and I danced under the rising moon and gave the band their only rounds of applause.
Already feeling like we were settling in well on the island, we ambled over for a Chinese-themed buffet dinner. Our group of beach huts was served by the main restaurant and we were assigned our own personal table for the duration of our stay so there was always a high chair there waiting for us. We were served by all the same staff who made an effort to get to know all their clients. It was a nice set up. There were plenty of options each night, and the food theme was at least a two week rotation so we never had the exact same menu twice. We were delighted to find the food was a really good standard. The Rascal was still unimpressed with the touchy-feely advances of the overly amorous waiters, but was eventually persuaded that offering them high fives might be the best way forward. He took to the eating arrangements very well after that.
Despite the late start, it had been a very full day. We barely made it through dinner and a cocktail before the Rascal turned psycho tired and we gave up on seeing a few minutes of the eighties disco. Oh well. There was plenty of time left to enjoy the daytime island hospitality.