Victoria, Mahé, Seychelles

From Francophone “Establishment” to the Creole Capital of Seychelles

"If you can"
Reflection of Victoria's life in a city van.
Victoria Cathedral
Students walk at the base of Victoria Cathedral.
Golden Boy Marcus
Marcus Hollanda, in a semi-golden style of dress.
Jivan Imports
Resident walks in front of Jivan Imports store.
Victoria saleswomen next to the children's clothing store.
Way to Victoria Market
Sign indicates Sir Selwyn Selwyn Clarke market.
Capital Life
Passersby wait for a green light in historic downtown Victoria.
Rastafarian Fruit
Seller dressed in Jamaican fashion at Selwyn Selwyn Clarke Market
Silver Clock Tower
Silver replica of the existing Clock Tower at Vauxhall, London.
egg seller
Customers stock up on eggs from a street vendor.
Islamic seller takes care of a stall of spices and other Seychellois specialties.
Arul Mihu Navasakthi Vinaygar Temple
Gopuram tower of the largest Hindu temple in the capital of Seychelles.
Priests & Go Pro
Hindu priests examine an action camera.
Hindu Deities
Detail of the gopuram of the Arul Mihu Navasakthi Vinaygar Temple temple.
Offering Board
Flame of faith on a board of the Arul Mihu Navasakthi Vinaygar temple.
The French populated their “Etablissement” with European, African and Indian settlers. Two centuries later, British rivals took over the archipelago and renamed the city in honor of their Queen Victoria. When we visit it, the Seychelles capital remains as multiethnic as it is tiny.

The fact that it is one of the smallest capitals in the world is often underlined.

If so, it should only surprise anyone who does not know that, even spread across 115 islands of the western Indian Ocean, the Seychelles is the smallest country in Africa.

Still, in its 20km2, Victoria is home to upwards of twenty thousand inhabitants, a third of the nation's population. It's enough to see you fall victim to one or another bottling sample. We see the first example around the local Clock Tower, a gleaming silver replica of the one that dictates time over London's Vauxhall Bridge.

Victoria, capital, Seychelles islands, Mahé, Clock TowerDeciding to photograph the centuries-old monument, we crossed Independence Avenue. About. One time. Other. And another one. We abused and stopped on the middle of the asphalt, among drivers eager to get out of there, albeit without the almost angry eagerness of other parts.

For some time, the signalman on duty tolerates the crossings he considers to be extemporaneous. Moments later, fed up with seeing us spoiling his work, he leaves the post, decomposes us and warns us that if we repeat the shuttles again, he will fine us.

We submit to authority. We installed ourselves on one side of the avenue. We admire the ethnic and religious diversity of pedestrians, for some reason, especially women, plump, with assorted and uncompromising clothes that reveal different golden skins.

And, clumsily, a young mother who almost drags her daughter, outraged by our photographic approach.

The girl's indisposition, in keeping with her mother's elegant, much more reserved Muslim look, molded into a long hijab, partially covered by a pale red blouse.

Victoria, capital, Seychelles islands, Mahé, Clock Tower, passerbySir Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke and the Market Economy of Victoria

We continued to wander. We walk to Sir Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke Market, the city's central market, named after the military doctor and colonial governor of the Seychelles from 1947 to 1951.

At that hour, we found him in great hustle.

Those who don't have a place inside work next to the railing, as does Jeffe, an egg trader who sells them to boxes from the box of his truck.

Victoria, capital, Seychelles Islands, Mahé, egg seller

We give market entry. We confirm the coexistence of the expected areas. Fruit, fish, drinks, spices and other regional products. In each of them, once again, an ethnic assortment of vendors.

Christopher, a fruit seller, is distinguished by his Rastafarian fashion, the pointed beard and the red, green and yellow tones of the striped bonnet, the strap t-shirt and the necklace around the neck.

Nearby, Bah Dalanda, with origins in Guinea Conakry, treat us with sympathy and open-mindedness for the portraits we ask of you.

Not that it was necessary, but in exchange we bought a kilo of their grapes. Already in the fishmonger, with a shy smile, Marcel Santache tries to foist us a scarlet grouper.

Admiral Vasco da Gama's Ignored Islands and Navigators That Followed

South of the Seychelles, the Reunion Island it bears the name that best reflects the meeting of peoples in the Indian Ocean. The Seychelles and Victoria in particular are not far behind.

Victoria, capital, Seychelles islands, Mahé, fruit seller

In 1502, during the second expedition to India, Vasco de Gama passed through the archipelago. He named it the Admiral Islands.

Despite the honor (their own honor), neither the navigator nor the Portuguese Crown considered them a priority.

Throughout the XNUMXth century, they remained unclaimed for the European colonial powers that already disputed the world.

In 1609, a disoriented English ship docked for a few days on the North Island. Once again, the Admirals continued to complain. Only Indian pirates considered them theirs and from there attacked the wealthy European ships that traveled between Africa and Asia.

In the middle of the XNUMXth century, the French, who had already colonized the neighbors Mauritius (then Île de France), landed on the island that navigator Lazare Picault called Île de L'Abundance (now Mahe). From that base, they explored the surrounding archipelago.

Shortly thereafter, the Admirals finally complained. As a tribute to the Minister of Finance of Louis XV, Jean Moreau de Séchelles, they were called Séchelles.

Finally, the Pioneer Seychelles Settlement Attempt

In 1770, Brayer du Barré, an entrepreneur validated by the French Crown, set sail from the Île de France at the head of a retinue of fifteen white settlers, seven African slaves, five Indians, and a black woman.

Victoria, capital, Seychelles islands, Mahé, Capital LifeBarré left the settlers on the island of St. Anne, opposite the present city of Victoria, in charge of consolidating the settlement and returned to the Île de France with the mission of obtaining more funds.

In vain. In the meantime, the island's authorities had concluded that it would be impossible to supply the new colony with the necessary regularity or obtain provisions from it.

Barré returned to St. Anne. In desperation, he tried to resolve the Crown's blockade. Frustrated, he decided to abandon the project. He left for India, where, shortly thereafter, he died.

The people who landed in St. Anne, these, were left for two years to their fate.

In 1772, a part had left the island. Another had moved to the coast opposite St. Anne, to the northeast coast of the largest of the Seychelles islands, Mahe.

Etablissement  Repopulated with Slaves from Mauritius

Informed that, despite the abandonment, the colony survived, emerging colonialists took up Brayer du Barré's project. They arrived with ships laden with Creole slaves from the Île de France and consolidated what they would come to call the Etablissement.

The newly arrived slaves became the genesis of the present almost one hundred thousand Seychellois, gradually anglicized from 1798, when the English took over the almost defenseless archipelago.

Victoria, capital, Seychelles Islands, Mahé,

Today, more than 90% of the population of Seychelles remains Creole or creole.

Even if the natives abhor the term they consider pejorative and do everything to make them consider them only and only Seychellois (Seychellois). The rest are British, French, Chinese and Indian migrants.

Instead of Seychelles or Séchelles, the natives call their nation Sesel.

Since 1976, Citizens of the vast Commonwealth of nations but independent, they express themselves in the dialect seselwa, a prolific mix of French, English, Swahili, Indian and even Malagasy.

Even aware of the colonial hardships suffered by their ancestors, they have an untouchable esteem for their tropical and paradisiacal nation.

The Francophone Anthem of the Band “Dezil”

That's how we felt when, a few years ago, we were dazzled by an almost artisanal and unpretentious video clip on the French music channel MCM. It was “Sans Ou (La Riviere)” by the band, at the time, little more than a teenager, Dezil, who is like saying “from the islands”.

The theme, which has a French refrain, sung with a thick accent kreol

“One minute je suis à la rivière
Une heure et je pleure la mer
Un jour sans toi baby c'est trop beaucoup
Je will pleurer un ocean
Toi que j'aime infiniment "

it can apply both to any flirtation and to the relationship of the Seychelles with your homeland. Oddly enough, the heart of the Seychelles is in the tiny and peculiar capital that the British were quick to rename Victoria.

We stayed there, wandering its streets and alleys, discovering a little of everything, places and characters, some of which were unlikely.

Through the streets and alleys of Diminuta Victoria

In the vicinity of the garish colonial building, almost made of Lego, which houses the Jivan Imports business, we come across a native taken from some cartoon: Marcus Hollanda long ago, with his leg bent back, against a wall crowned by a Refreshing hedge.

Victoria, capital, Seychelles islands, Mahé, golden

It has one of the smoothest black skins we've found in Victoria.

His complexion highlights the gold of the cap and the yellow of the polo that he wears to match, with a thick Argentine thread hanging from his neck.

At first intimidated by our sudden interest, Marcus quickly assimilates the reasons we explain to him. Poses proud, haughty to match. For some reason, we still call him Golden Boy.

Temples Serving the Faiths of the Seychelles Capital

Also nearby, Victoria Cathedral fulfills its functions of Christian evangelization, reinforced by an Anglican ally. Despite their imposing architecture, both temples lack the tropical and Indian exoticism we were looking for.

Victoria, capital, Seychelles Islands, Mahé, Victoria Cathedral

We walked, from one end to the other, to the Arul Mihu Navasakthi Vinaygar Hindu temple, the unavoidable and unmistakable place of worship for the Hindu inhabitants of Victoria and the surrounding area of ​​Mahé.

Built in Dravidian style, its ornate tower (gopuram) groups dozens of figures of deities in a bright communion, above the faithful in sari and other typical costumes of the Subcontinent.

Victoria, capital, Seychelles Islands, Mahe, Arul Mihu Navasakthi Vinaygar Temple

We took off our shoes. We entered.

We examined the distinct details of faith inside, under the gaze of two priests clad in orange dhotis with bare trunks, one with his chest, arms, and forehead adorned with a white-streaked sacred painting.

Welcome us. They invite us to sit down to talk and examine some of the equipment we were carrying. Ten minutes later, armed with a small action camera that we lent them, they rehearse rounded selfies.

They discuss the benefits and artifices of the device.

Victoria, capital, Seychelles Islands, Mahe, Arul Mihu Navasakthi Vinaygar Temple, priests

When we return to them, still on the fringes of any expected spirituality, they ask us technical questions that we have fun clarifying.

We took pictures together.

Again, as it had been for days, in the multi-ethnic coziness of Victoria and the Seychelles.

Praslin, Seychelles


The Eden of the Enigmatic Coco-de-Mer

For centuries, Arab and European sailors believed that the largest seed in the world, which they found on the coasts of the Indian Ocean in the shape of a woman's voluptuous hips, came from a mythical tree at the bottom of the oceans. The sensual island that always generated them left us ecstatic.
La Digue, Seychelles

Monumental Tropical Granite

Beaches hidden by lush jungle, made of coral sand washed by a turquoise-emerald sea are anything but rare in the Indian Ocean. La Digue recreated itself. Around its coastline, massive boulders sprout that erosion has carved as an eccentric and solid tribute of time to the Nature.
Mahé, Seychelles

The Big Island of the Small Seychelles

Mahé is the largest of the islands of the smallest country in Africa. It's home to the nation's capital and most of the Seychellois. But not only. In its relative smallness, it hides a stunning tropical world, made of mountainous jungle that merges with the Indian Ocean in coves of all sea tones.

A Mini India in the Southwest of the Indian Ocean

In the XNUMXth century, the French and the British disputed an archipelago east of Madagascar previously discovered by the Portuguese. The British triumphed, re-colonized the islands with sugar cane cutters from the subcontinent, and both conceded previous Francophone language, law and ways. From this mix came the exotic Mauritius.
Reunion Island

The Bathing Melodrama of Reunion

Not all tropical coastlines are pleasurable and refreshing retreats. Beaten by violent surf, undermined by treacherous currents and, worse, the scene of the most frequent shark attacks on the face of the Earth, that of the Reunion Island he fails to grant his bathers the peace and delight they crave from him.
Cilaos, Reunion Island

Refuge under the roof of the Indian Ocean

Cilaos appears in one of the old green boilers on the island of Réunion. It was initially inhabited by outlaw slaves who believed they were safe at that end of the world. Once made accessible, nor did the remote location of the crater prevent the shelter of a village that is now peculiar and flattered.
Zanzibar, Tanzania

The African Spice Islands

Vasco da Gama opened the Indian Ocean to the Portuguese empire. In the XNUMXth century, the Zanzibar archipelago became the largest producer of cloves and the available spices diversified, as did the people who disputed them.
Fianarantsoa, Madagascar

The Malagasy City of Good Education

Fianarantsoa was founded in 1831 by Ranavalona Iª, a queen of the then predominant Merina ethnic group. Ranavalona Iª was seen by European contemporaries as isolationist, tyrant and cruel. The monarch's reputation aside, when we enter it, its old southern capital remains as the academic, intellectual and religious center of Madagascar.
Morondava, Avenue of Baobabs, Madagascar

The Malagasy Way to Dazzle

Out of nowhere, a colony of baobab trees 30 meters high and 800 years old flanks a section of the clayey and ocher road parallel to the Mozambique Channel and the fishing coast of Morondava. The natives consider these colossal trees the mothers of their forest. Travelers venerate them as a kind of initiatory corridor.
Fianarantsoa-Manakara, Madagascar

On board the Malagasy TGV

We depart Fianarantsoa at 7a.m. It wasn't until 3am the following morning that we completed the 170km to Manakara. The natives call this almost secular train Train Great Vibrations. During the long journey, we felt, very strongly, those of the heart of Madagascar.
Felicité Island and Curieuse Island, Seychelles

From Leprosarium to Giant Turtles Home

In the middle of the XNUMXth century, it remained uninhabited and ignored by Europeans. The French Ship Expedition “La Curieuse” revealed it and inspired his baptism. The British kept it a leper colony until 1968. Today, Île Curieuse is home to hundreds of Aldabra tortoises, the longest-lived land animal.
savuti, botswana, elephant-eating lions
Savuti, Botswana

Savuti's Elephant-Eating Lions

A patch of the Kalahari Desert dries up or is irrigated depending on the region's tectonic whims. In Savuti, lions have become used to depending on themselves and prey on the largest animals in the savannah.
Prayer flags in Ghyaru, Nepal
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 4th – Upper Banana to Ngawal, Nepal

From Nightmare to Dazzle

Unbeknownst to us, we are faced with an ascent that leads us to despair. We pulled our strength as far as possible and reached Ghyaru where we felt closer than ever to the Annapurnas. The rest of the way to Ngawal felt like a kind of extension of the reward.
shadow vs light
Architecture & Design
Kyoto, Japan

The Kyoto Temple Reborn from the Ashes

The Golden Pavilion has been spared destruction several times throughout history, including that of US-dropped bombs, but it did not withstand the mental disturbance of Hayashi Yoken. When we admired him, he looked like never before.
The small lighthouse at Kallur, highlighted in the capricious northern relief of the island of Kalsoy.
Kalsoy, Faroe Islands

A Lighthouse at the End of the Faroese World

Kalsoy is one of the most isolated islands in the Faroe archipelago. Also known as “the flute” due to its long shape and the many tunnels that serve it, a mere 75 inhabitants inhabit it. Much less than the outsiders who visit it every year, attracted by the boreal wonder of its Kallur lighthouse.
The Crucifixion in Helsinki
Ceremonies and Festivities
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A Frigid-Scholarly Via Crucis

When Holy Week arrives, Helsinki shows its belief. Despite the freezing cold, little dressed actors star in a sophisticated re-enactment of Via Crucis through streets full of spectators.
Whale Hunting with Bubbles, Juneau the Little Capital of Great Alaska
Juneau, Alaska

The Little Capital of Greater Alaska

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Obese resident of Tupola Tapaau, a small island in Western Samoa.
Tonga, Western Samoa, Polynesia

XXL Pacific

For centuries, the natives of the Polynesian islands subsisted on land and sea. Until the intrusion of colonial powers and the subsequent introduction of fatty pieces of meat, fast food and sugary drinks have spawned a plague of diabetes and obesity. Today, while much of Tonga's national GDP, Western Samoa and neighbors is wasted on these “western poisons”, fishermen barely manage to sell their fish.
Impressions Lijiang Show, Yangshuo, China, Red Enthusiasm
Lijiang e Yangshuo, China

An Impressive China

One of the most respected Asian filmmakers, Zhang Yimou dedicated himself to large outdoor productions and co-authored the media ceremonies of the Beijing OG. But Yimou is also responsible for “Impressions”, a series of no less controversial stagings with stages in emblematic places.
Reindeer Racing, Kings Cup, Inari, Finland
Inari, Finland

The Wackiest Race on the Top of the World

Finland's Lapps have been competing in the tow of their reindeer for centuries. In the final of the Kings Cup - Porokuninkuusajot - , they face each other at great speed, well above the Arctic Circle and well below zero.
Chiang Khong to Luang Prabang, Laos, Through the Mekong Below
Chiang Khong - Luang Prabang, Laos

Slow Boat, Down the Mekong River

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Intha rowers on a channel of Lake Inlé
Inle Lake, Myanmar

The Dazzling Lakustrine Burma

With an area of ​​116km2, Inle Lake is the second largest lake in Myanmar. It's much more than that. The ethnic diversity of its population, the profusion of Buddhist temples and the exoticism of local life make it an unmissable stronghold of Southeast Asia.
ice tunnel, black gold route, Valdez, Alaska, USA
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Got2Globe Portfolio

Sensations vs Impressions

patriot march

Formosa but Unsafe

Portuguese navigators could not imagine the imbroglio reserved for the Formosa they baptized. Nearly 500 years later, even though it is uncertain of its future, Taiwan still prospers. Somewhere between independence and integration in greater China.
Moa on a beach in Rapa Nui/Easter Island
Easter Island, Chile

The Take-off and Fall of the Bird-Man Cult

Until the XNUMXth century, the natives of Easter Island they carved and worshiped great stone gods. All of a sudden, they started to drop their moai. The veneration of tanatu manu, a half-human, half-sacred leader, decreed after a dramatic competition for an egg.
Horses under a snow, Iceland Never Ending Snow Island Fire
Winter White
Husavik a Myvatn, Iceland

Endless Snow on the Island of Fire

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Cove, Big Sur, California, United States
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The Coast of All Refuges

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Pitões das Junias, Montalegre, Portugal
Montalegre, Portugal

Through Alto do Barroso, Top of Trás-os-Montes

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Mother Armenia Statue, Yerevan, Armenia
Yerevan, Armenia

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Heiress of the Soviet civilization, aligned with the great Russia, Armenia allows itself to be seduced by the most democratic and sophisticated ways of Western Europe. In recent times, the two worlds have collided in the streets of your capital. From popular and political dispute, Yerevan will dictate the new course of the nation.
Hikers on the Ice Lake Trail, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal
Natural Parks
Annapurna Circuit: 7th - Braga - Ice Lake, Nepal

Annapurna Circuit – The Painful Acclimatization of the Ice Lake

On the way up to the Ghyaru village, we had a first and unexpected show of how ecstatic the Annapurna Circuit can be tasted. Nine kilometers later, in Braga, due to the need to acclimatize, we climbed from 3.470m from Braga to 4.600m from Lake Kicho Tal. We only felt some expected tiredness and the increase in the wonder of the Annapurna Mountains.
Leisure Channel
UNESCO World Heritage
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

From Channel to Channel in a Surreal Holland

Liberal when it comes to drugs and sex, Amsterdam welcomes a crowd of outsiders. Among canals, bicycles, coffee shops and brothel windows, we search, in vain, for its quieter side.
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Saint Petersburg e Mikhaylovkoe, Russia

The Writer Who Succumbed to His Own Plot

Alexander Pushkin is hailed by many as the greatest Russian poet and the founder of modern Russian literature. But Pushkin also dictated an almost tragicomic epilogue to his prolific life.
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Boracay, Philippines

The Philippine Beach of All Dreams

It was revealed by Western backpackers and the film crew of “Thus Heroes are Born”. Hundreds of resorts and thousands of eastern vacationers followed, whiter than the chalky sand.
Ice cream, Moriones Festival, Marinduque, Philippines
Marinduque, Philippines

When the Romans Invade the Philippines

Even the Eastern Empire didn't get that far. In Holy Week, thousands of centurions seize Marinduque. There, the last days of Longinus, a legionary converted to Christianity, are re-enacted.
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On Rails
Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo's Hypno-Passengers

Japan is served by millions of executives slaughtered with infernal work rates and sparse vacations. Every minute of respite on the way to work or home serves them for their inemuri, napping in public.
Tombola, street bingo-Campeche, Mexico
Campeche, Mexico

200 Years of Playing with Luck

At the end of the XNUMXth century, the peasants surrendered to a game introduced to cool the fever of cash cards. Today, played almost only for Abuelites, lottery little more than a fun place.
Saksun, Faroe Islands, Streymoy, warning
Daily life
Saksun, streymoyFaroe Islands

The Faroese Village That Doesn't Want to be Disneyland

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hippopotami, chobe national park, botswana
Chobe NP, Botswana

Chobe: A River on the Border of Life with Death

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The Sounds, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand
Scenic Flights
Fiordland, New Zealand

The Fjords of the Antipodes

A geological quirk made the Fiordland region the rawest and most imposing in New Zealand. Year after year, many thousands of visitors worship the sub-domain slashed between Te Anau and Milford Sound.