French bureaucrats! Once in Serbia we were co-sponsoring a seminar on Internet regulation. Each speaker had a time limit. The French Bureaucrat stood up and said “I am a French Bureaucrat. I cannot possibly be bound by a time limit.” So he said in 20 minutes what he could have said in 5. The saving grace was that we were posting live tweets on on the screen behind the speaker. The bureaucrat never turned around to see the insults hurled at him as he went over and over and over his time limit.
The annoying French Bureaucrat in Reunion was the guy checking credentials at port severity. At several other ports the officials have come on the bus and walked down the aisle checking our Holland America key cards. In Reunion each time the bus returned to port the French Bureaucrat made everyone get off the bus with ALL of our stuff to pass by him, showing him our key cards. He never looked into a single bag. He just stood there and flicked each of us through. This cruise has a lot of elderly people with impaired movement. That didn’t matter. Out from the luggage compartment came wheel chairs and walkers, so each of us passed the bureaucrat, even the impaired. Some struggled to get down from the bus and then to climb back up again, canes rattling. French bureaucrats!
I’m mobile so, for me, Reunion was worth dealing with the bureaucrats. Reunion is an overseas department of France and, despite its high unemployment its standard of living is high. Reunion has the feel of Western Europe but dropped into the tropics. The volcanic island is lush and beautiful. With nice beaches (where you are not allowed to swim, see the post of sharks) steep mountains and high waterfalls.
During the morning it was sunny at the beach, in the afternoon the rains came, but mostly to the side of the island where the capital, St. Denis sits. We sat in a delightful café under an awning during the worst of the storm, I had a double espresso and local beer, Suzi a white wine. When the rain let up we walked along the seaside corniche, enjoy the fresh, post storm, air and post storm greening of the park.
Back on the ship the dissipating storm clouds gave us a memorable send off at sunset.