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Day 306: The Reunion in Réunion

Finally free of the good ship Trochetia (at least for a while) I made my way from La Port to St. Denis and caught the number 6 bus towards Mickael’s place. He picked me up from the bus stop on his little scooter and took me to his house – a nice rambling student-esque digs. He had to go to work so he left me in the sparkling company of Matilde. She’s over here on holiday for a couple of weeks visiting Anne-Sophie, one of Mickael’s flatmates. I was even prepared to put up with her practising on the violin, whilst I stuffed the washing machine with my laundry (including my hat which was now smelling so bad that if you wore it, your face would melt like the Nazis at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark) and took a deep, relieved breath – it had been too long.

Meanwhile, back in Blighty…

TEAM ODYSSEY was rising from their slumbers ready to fight another day. After Cape Verde and Sao Tome, failure was no longer an option. If Dino Deasha and Lorna Brookes couldn’t suss out some way to get me back to Madagascar within the week, then I’d have to slap them on the back of the legs with a ruler. But they had a secret weapon – a magnificent friend of Lorna’s called Thierry Klinklin. A francophone, it was his job to sweet-talk the angels at CMA-CGM, the French shipping group (and one of the biggest in the world) into allowing a dishevelled scouse traveller hitch a ride on one of their ships.

The world holds its breath…

Meanwhile, back in Réunion…

Mickael returned to the house for lunch and decided to take the afternoon off work and go for a trip to the local waterfall with Anne-Sophie and Matilde. Since I’m physically incapable of saying no, I came along and soon we were high up in the mountains of Réunion enjoying the cool clear waters of the whachamacallit river. Ahh, I said in a recent tweet that I felt like I was on holiday for the first time in ages, and I most certainly do.

Soon we were back at Mickael’s. I emptied the washing machine to find my hat had been well and truly pulverised – the plaited band around the upper had somehow unplaited itself and the rest of the hat was a rather sorry soggy mess. And it had shank! I stuck it on the line to dry. I’d deal with it tomorrow.

Then it was time for what began as a dinner party and ended up as a mad French house party (a maison boom?), spread out over two houses (Mickael’s and his brilliantly insane next-door neighbours) involving a barbeque, boules and babes and lashings of rum – we are, after all, on a tropical island. Had a cracking time with Pierre, Anais, Lucy, Tony and the gang – they couldn’t have made me feel more welcome if they tried.

You know, I’m beginning to really dig this place.

Graham Hughes

Graham Hughes is a British adventurer, presenter, filmmaker and author. He is the only person to have travelled to every country in the world without flying. From 2014 to 2017 he lived off-grid on a private island that he won in a game show, before returning to the UK to campaign for a better future for the generations to come.

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