Returning from the Land of Beaches | Seychelles
There's nothing quite like a somersault over the handlebars to jolt you back to reality on your last day of vacation. The days of having someone clean my room everyday, chefs cooking all my food, cocktails sipped in the middle of the day, and my only task being to enjoy the scenery that surrounded me would be over in a few short hours and falling on my bike literally slapped me in the face with this reminder.
While biking from Anse Severe to the end of the road on La Digue, the rusted screw that had held my front wire basket onto my rented bike broke off on a downhill bump. Before I fully registered what was happening, I was on the ground, my bike twisted on top of me. Two women who had been sitting on the beach saw the whole accident unfold and rushed over to see if I was okay. Surprisingly, I was. Moments later the rest of my group rushed over (I had been last in our train of four) to see what had happened - they had simply heard the crunch from ahead of me. What had happened was that when the screw broke, the bar holding the basket above my front wheel released and dropped onto my front tire, acting like a brake, and halting my bike to an abrupt stop. I flew over the handlebars and brought the bike with me. Most of the impact hit my right quad and I had some surface scrapes and bruises on my leg, elbow, and hands, but otherwise I was unscathed. Thankfully, I didn't hit my head and nothing outside of the bike basket was broken. The Seychelles, in all its beauty, ranks pretty low on places I'd like to have a medical emergency.
It ranks quite high, however, on length of time I would travel to see some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. When we met our customs agent upon arriving back in the US in San Francisco, he asked the standard, "Where did you travel to?"
"The Seychelles," we replied.
"The Seychelles. They are islands off the coast of Africa." Side note: we had become accustomed to explaining where the Seychelles were to our American friends because at a minimum of 21 hours of flight time and 35+ hours of travel time, it's not a popular destination for us Yanks.
"I've never heard of them. Why did you go there?"
"To lay on the beach."
"Did you travel to any other countries?"
"That's an awful long way to travel to lay on the beach," he said as he handed us back our passports. "Welcome back."
And what he said is true. It was an awful long way to travel to lay on the beach (although we didn't just lay on the beach - we hiked, we snorkeled, we did yoga, we biked). But, visiting the Seychelles was worth the jet lag I'm experiencing now, and the long haul flights in coach, to see the beaches that were unseen by human eyes until Vasco de Gama and crew discovered them in the early 1500s. There aren't enough words to describe the blues, and greens for that matter, present in the Seychelles. Cerulean, aqua, turquoise, royal, navy, peacock, seafoam, mint, deep blue, light blue, dark blue - the water of the many Anses ("cove" in French) reflect all these hues of blue and yet the descriptors still don't capture their essence. And we only visited two of the 115 islands that make up this Creole nation.