Sunday, March 11, 2012

Port Louis, Mauritius

After three long, rocky days at sea, we were looking forward to our stop in Mauritius on March 6. However, we were all disappointed when, over the loudspeaker, the assistant dean told us we weren’t going to be able to stop in Mauritius. He later explained that due to the weather, we were way behind and there would be no way to stop there and make it to India on time. After two days of complaining, spoiled, rich kids, I guess the staff decided that we needed to have at least a little time in Mauritius. They allowed us to stop in Port Louis on March 7 for just four or five hours, from the time the ship cleared immigration at 7 a.m. until noon. I was a little satisfied with this agreement, but there isn’t much you can do for just a few hours. And since we didn’t want to get dock time (punishment for getting on the ship after on ship time, which means you aren’t allowed to leave the ship at the next port for a certain period of time), we decided to get back a little before 11 to be safe. So we just went to a beach and hung out for a little while. A lot of the shops weren’t open that early so we just relaxed and walked around until they opened, and then we went to one shop to gather our souvenirs. However, not everyone spent their short time in Mauritius like my group. Apparently, many people just drank for five hours straight and then returned to the ship completely intoxicated at 12 p.m. Needless to say, there was a large amount of students (around 40) that got in trouble and went into the “drunk tank.” This is just a room where the really drunk people have to stay until they sober up. But they weren’t in the clear after that. We had a Mauritius reflection where a lot of the students and faculty got together and talked about their experiences. But that turned in to a lot of people yelling at the people who got drunk. They said that their behavior reflected badly on the community, that they set a horrible example for the dependent children on the ship, that they were wasting their experience and time in these countries, along with many other things. And I agree with everything they are saying, but I think the way in which some statements were said didn’t help the situation. It’s one of those things where you really had to be there, but it was a very interesting hour. I’ve been saying all along that getting wasted is a dumb way to spend this voyage but nobody said anything until after this specific port. The thing is, we’ve had this problem in every single port but just because this was such a short time in which these kids got drunk that they decided to bring up the issue. I have to say that I’m extremely disappointed in some of the types of students on this voyage. I thought a lot of people would be like me: trying to do well in school, trying to experience the countries, not trying to get drunk, etc. But a lot of the “rich kids” here are just spending their parents’ money and using this time as a vacation, a “booze cruise,” and a “party boat.” All of those rumors that people say about Semester at Sea are completely true, but there are a few who spend their time the way the program was intended. So for the future SASers, if you want to just get drunk and waste your money then you’re not alone. But if you really want an education and an experience, you might have some difficulties being surrounded by partiers and drunks. It’s a little disappointing and had I known that I’m not sure if I would’ve come on the voyage.

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