The island of Praslin is an unspoiled tropical paradise boasting some of the best beaches in the world. I could spend hours admiring the crystal-clear waters of varying shades of blue.
I also spent hours driving in Praslin though I usually do not like to drive. But the scenic beauty and excellent roads made it all charming to drive around the island. I did not get stuck in traffic anywhere, except a bizarre traffic signal. I will come to know more about it.
After visiting Vallee de Mai Nature Reserve on the first day, me and Akshay, my husband, wanted to drive around Praslin while taking stopovers in between to soak in the exquisite vibes of the island. Our flight back to Mahe was at around 6 pm, which meant we had good 4-5 hours in hand that we chose to spend driving around Praslin.
“Let’s go towards the airport side. That part of the island hasn’t been explored yet, has it?”, I asked Akshay.
Little did I know that I will come across something that I have never seen or heard about.
“We have not. Please open the google maps. I will need directions.”
The maps showed 10 minutes to reach the airport. As I reached there, I drove a little ahead to see what I could explore. I figured out there was nothing much to find there. So, I took a U-turn.
An adventitious discovery
I was changing the song on the music player, wanted to play something French. Akshay slowed down and stopped the car. I looked up and saw 4-5 cars in front of us.
“Are you kidding me? How can there be traffic here? The population of this island is only about 7500 people distributed over the 38-kilometer square” I exclaimed.
“Relax, honey. There must be a car break out or something similar. Let me go and check.”
“It is alright. Let’s wait in the car for some time. Anyway, most people here speak French, which you don’t understand.”
After 5 minutes, I saw an aircraft that seemed to have appeared from nowhere taking off. As soon as it crossed the road, the cars ahead of us started moving. I started driving too.
“What the hell is that?” I ask Akshay while pointing towards a traffic signal. How come I did not observe that?
“Take a U-turn and drive till here.” I excitedly told Akshay. He now knew the reason behind my excitement and was following my driving instructions without asking any questions.
A traffic signal nobody would dare to break
Akshay stopped exactly near a signboard that was placed a few steps before the traffic light. The signal was red. About ten minutes after waiting, I heard the sound of an aircraft. Yes, an inter-island prop plane landed at Praslin airport, the traffic light turned green, meaning I could cross the signal. The cars on the adjacent road (the traffic signal is on both sides of the road) started moving too.
Okay, this isn’t that simple. The planes come in really low and could potentially hit a car if it was going through at the same time. That possibly makes it the only traffic signal that nobody can dare to break.
To conclude, I experienced a traffic jam on the small island of Praslin. It was just not for the usual reasons, you would think.
Written by: Anukrati Dosi
Anukrati is a travel and hotel blogger and the author of the blog www.bulbulonthewing.com. A total hodophile, she spends her free time seeing as much of the world as she can. She has travelled to 10 countries so far. Being an avid reader and researcher, she also designs customized travel itineraries professionally.