Back in 1999, after a lovely stay on Mauritius, I went for a short hike up to Fort Adelaide on the last day of our stay on this tropical island, for the views. I was robbed, and for a while, the event left its mark on me. Also, all my pictures were in the stolen bag, and although the bag was recovered, the rolls were not. Now, many years later, it is time to go back, to see that spot again. From the busy streets of Port Louis, I climb the hill on which Fort Adelaide is built, and instead of taking the shortcut (which is where I was robbed), I take the official road. The fort was built in the 1830s, perhaps against invaders (although British Mauritius was never attacked), or to protect the British against the French who still lived on the island. It never really served either way, and now is mostly a curious building with good views over the Mauritian capital and the surrounding mountains.
After walking the courtyard, the walls, enjoying the views and seeing the cannons still pointing to the ocean, I walk the shortcut, the same shortcut I took back in 1999. Oh, it looks so different from the image I had in mind. This is what I wrote back then. An arm grabbed me from behind, trying to strangle me, and before I realized what was happening, I was on the ground, and the only things I could see were a knife and a stick. Two excited voices above my head urged me to give everything I had, and within a few split seconds I realized a lot of things. In all those years of travelling, I always wondered how it would be to be assaulted, and also how I would react - and now that that moment had arrived, it felt very unreal. I also realized that there were some things in the bag which I did not want to lose, and so I tried to convince them that I would give the money I had on me.
But of course the two attackers wanted more, tried to search my pockets, while I tried to remain calm and to hold on to the bag, which in fact was easier since I was lying on my bag while one of the two guys was still lying on my back. In the end, after what seemed at least ten minutes of struggle, they just cut the bag from me after which it was easier to get it away from me. Then, they also went for my watch. Suddenly, I had to realize with a shock that they were running away with everything. I did not even think about it and followed them, confident I would run faster. But when they ran into a small neighbourhood, where locals did not want to help me, I lost them. The only thing left to do was to go to the police. They took pride in solving this criminal act, and even asked when our plane was supposed to leave. Completely unexpectedly, a few hours before leaving, when I had just managed to have new tickets issued (one of the items stolen), a message arrived. The two guys had been arrested, the bag recovered. On the way to the airport, the police handed me the bag from which still a few things were missing, and I also had to identify the two culprits. Probably the most valuable thing that was recovered, was my camera. The most valuable thing that was not, were the pictures I took on the island.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Fort Adelaide (Mauritius). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Fort Adelaide.
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