Here in Dubai we’re lucky enough to be surrounded by beaches. And we really enjoy them, in every season apart from summer. Right now they’re too hot to go to. So off we went overseas on a family holiday – in search of a beach with seawater cooler than bath temperature, where we wouldn’t get fried and where our feet wouldn’t get burnt by the sand.
And we struck gold. The 115 islands scattered in the Indian Ocean that make up the Seychelles are lapped by topaz waters, with ribbons of white sand for beaches and lush green hills and jungle trails inland.
There’s so much I could write about: the 100-year-old giant tortoise; the vast underwater world just beneath the surface of the turquoise sea that we glimpsed while snorkelling; the perfect temperature and laid-back tempo. Paradise, indeed – with a few surprises here and there:
● Number of mountains directly in front of the airplane as coming down to land: 1 (sharp left turn required at the last minute. Special training provided)
● Taxiways at airport: 0 (planes simply make a U-turn at the end of the runway and trundle back down again)
● Hairpin bends on road over the mountain: 12 (seat belts in the back of our taxi: 0)
● A discovery I made: They rake the beach twice a day to make it look pristine
● Children seen on first day: 2, both ours and both loud. Seemed a bit odd. Wasn’t it meant to be a family resort? Then it dawned on me. Omg, everyone’s on their honeymoon, childless, loved up and enjoying a quiet retreat.
● Beautiful 20-somethings at resort: 100 plus (including bikini models on the beach, European men in speedos and a spandex-clad couple who took photos of each other in interesting poses)
● Boat rides: 6 (alpha male and offspring did not share my interest in sunbathing. We were active, very active. Boats travelled on included a pedallo, kayak, speed boat, sail boat and jet ski, all in 3 days)
● BB’s observations: “Can I watch TV?” (on arriving); “Do they have Boomerang?” (his favourite TV channel); “It’s cold in the Shell-Shells”; “It looks like England” (poor boy, hasn’t seen much greenery recently)
● Buffet meals: 6. Most visits to the buffet at one meal: 9 – DH, not me, but mostly to get food for the kids so he’s let off!
● Cost of a taxi ride: US$50 to anywhere, it seemed. The Seychelles, as we discovered, is expensive (we only managed to pitch up there thanks to our flight benefits and a good deal on the staff website. DH nearly had a heart attack when he picked up the bill for everything we’d signed for)
● Activities laid on I would have loved to have done if it wasn’t for the kids: Rise and shine yoga (if it was a little later); cocktail making; coconut demonstration; spa treatment (any). Activity we did do: tortoise feeding
● Tantrums: 5 plus Me 1; DH 1
● Number of honeymooners put off having kids anytime soon: 15 at least
● Number of times I thought how nice it would be to just laze on the beach, with the kids being looked after at home, perhaps: Censored! (I must be so mean – DH was even really reluctant to leave them in the kids’ club for an hour)
● Magical moments: Watching the kids jumping in the waves; the sheer joy on their faces as they raced around the beach; letting them loose outdoors after being cooped up inside; seeing BB try snorkelling for the first time; marvelling at LB’s sand excavations; sunset over the Indian Ocean.