I read Mr Urling’s letter about preserving one’s heritage and celebrating foreign traditions.
The world is indeed getting smaller, not only via television and the internet, but because people tend to travel more, often to distant lands. Earlier in the year I went on holiday to Mauritius and was struck by the similarities, in several areas, with Guyana. First of all, the mix of people – Indians, Africans, Chinese, people of mixed race, etc. They all had the same sunny, friendly personality and seemed to get along well together – they certainly worked in harmony, side by side, at the hotel where I stayed.
Perhaps, not surprisingly, at tourist attractions people often approached me, speaking in ‘local French’, in the mistaken belief that I was Mauritian. I visited the market at Port Louis. It reminded me of Stabroek and La Penitence – the same sort of produce on sale, displayed in the same way, the same market smell. And, of course, the almost obligatory pavement glass case of hot snacks – roti and curry, potato balls, channa, etc. Very nostalgic.
We drove through streets off the normal tourist track. There were shops, stores, stalls and people that ‘looked Caribbean’. I was taken by surprise that an island in the Indian Ocean could be so similar in appearance and character to places the other side of the world. The world is indeed shrinking – and good luck to it.