Try A Staycation

How often have we said, “We should take a week and just explore our own town.” Well, this summer we finally had a chance to do exactly that. Our friends from Europe came and stayed with us for a week. We were able to take a week off and explore the Twin Cities with them. We did a number of fun activities every day – but there is so much more that we never had a chance to do. Nevertheless, here’s an itinerary of the things we did do. Many of the activities were outside because we had perfect weather, but we had a list of indoor activities for rainy days too. These included museums, movies, theater or day trips to other nearby towns. Some of these ideas cost no money. Others had a small fee. Some were more expensive. Choose ideas that fit your budget. I hope you find it helpful or that it sparks other ideas of things you could do if you decide to staycation in your town.

Monday we took a bike ride around Lake Nokomis. We picnicked by the lake and then headed over to see Minnehaha Falls.

Image result for lake nokomis bike riding
Image result for lake nokomis bike riding

What Mauritians Can Teach Us

Marceline has a large, but very old stone in her kitchen. It’s from her grandmother, who got it from her mother – so it has been passed down through many generations. With this stone and its accompanying stone roller she can quickly grind spices, grains, even make tomato sauce as you can see in the picture. What you can’t see is that this stone is right next to the microwave! It’s an interesting accommodation of old and new.

How to Break Into a Cemetery

One of the places we wanted to visit was the Jewish Cemetery in Mauritius. Raj took us there – but it was later in the day. It was almost sunset – the beginning of a new day in Jewish tradition.

As we arrived we noticed the name of the cemetery – St. Martin’s Jewish Cemetery. But wait – “St. Martin’s” and “Jewish” Cemetery? It turns out that the adjacent village is actually named St. Martin!

Unfortunately the gate was already locked when we arrived. We had driven a long way and couldn’t come back another day. Not to worry – we decided to break in!

Eureka Plantation

In Mauritius we had an opportunity to spend a day with friend, journalist and editor Gilbert learning about the history of Mauritius. We visited both Aapravasi Ghat Memorial and Eureka Plantation.

Mauritius was originally uninhabited. Humans arrived when the Dutch established a small colony in 1638. Mauritius was later controlled by the French and then the British who created their wealth by trafficking slaves (and later indentured servants) to the island exploiting them for free labor on sugar plantations, much like in the United States. Many of the current citizens are descendants of these original slaves and indentured servants (another form of slavery) from India and countries in Africa.

Aapravasi Ghat Memorial is a national monument and memorial site for the travesty of slavery and indentured servitude and its impact on the historical and cultural identity of Mauritius.

Similarly, through its lavish decor, Eureka Plantation highlights the looting of human labor, violence and theft of resources necessary to maintain the opulent plantation house lifestyle. Of course this was no less true in the U.S. Twelve generations of slavery and genocide left its mark of vast poverty, inequality and systemic injustice on both nations.

Hindu Wedding!

IMG_20170411_170137The religions of Mauritius are primarily Hinduism, Christianity and Islam. In the neighborhood where we stayed on our recent visit we notice the Hindu temple, a mosque and St. Anne’s Church all in close proximity. We could hear the call to prayer from the mosque, the bells from the temple and the tolling bell of St. Anne’s throughout the course of any given day.

People of all three religions share a neighborhood, live next door to each other, share in each other’s life events. That is how it happened that we were invited to attend a nearby Hindu wedding by friends of our hosts.