So i've been here for almost a month (I ended up extended my plane ticket another week, which ended up being perfect because on my original departure date there was a cyclone so I would not have been able to leave anyways!) Since the hiking and volcano, Philippe took me on a tour 'round the island (220km) so easily done in a day. We passed by many beaches, waterfalls, cascades, lava runnings, and creole villages. We passed by the sugar cane fields in the northeast, then where they grow the 'best vanilla in the world' on the east coast. There is a church 'Notre Dame des laves' which was spared from the lava runnings which took out the whole town of Sainte-Rose in 2007. Literally the lava entered 2/3 meters into the church and just stopped, then the rest of the lava split around the church and ran down to the ocean.
Another day, Virginie and I went up to go on a hike in the Foret de Belouve (which is a primary forest, a cold rainforest) and had a nice 7km hike through la Plaine des Palmistes, with some interesting palm trees. On our way back home, we stopped to find some Indian temples. The cultures are very mixed here, french, creole, indian, indigeneous, chinese, etc. and most everyone gets along. The Tamoule religion is very exciting, they walk on fire and pierce needles through their bodies during festivals. They are very welcoming to people joining celebrations. We found the temple by accident, I saw a boulangerie on the side of the road and we quickly stopped and when we got out of the car, there was the temple! We would have just drove past it. There was a guardian who showed us around and told us about the religion (they cook 500kg rice during celebrations!)
Since then we also went to go visit Salazie, one of the three cirques (Mafate, Cilaos, Salazie) from which the views are just incredible into the cliffs and mountains. with cascades coming out of the side of the mountains themselves. We had a panini in town with a view on the Voile de la Mariee, which is a series of cascades.
Otherwise I've seen some great markets full of fruits and vegetables (fresh passion fruit, mmmm!), seen many sunsets and spent some time at the beaches (black sand, coral reef, rock beaches), enjoyed some local live music.
It's my last day and i'm sad to leave, but excited to head off to Botswana!