By LANA HIRSCHOWITZ (Managing Editor of iVillage Australia)
There are certain memories from our childhood buried deep beneath the recesses of our day to day lives that don’t even surface during our adulthood. Not until something triggers them and suddenly it’s as fresh and exciting and as real as it happened just a minute ago..
For my husband Michael, touch powder evokes such a memory. Stick with me while I give you some background – touch powder is little like gunpowder tightly wrapped in foil that you step on and it “explodes” under your feet causing a huge noise and tiny sparks.
When Michael was young his parents frequently holidayed in Mauritius and when they returned to South Africa where he grew up they would bring him touch powder as a gift. Explosives for a kid. Transported by plane. Perfect. This obviously became the stuff of which childhood memories are made.
Mauritius is an island off the East coast of Africa, it’s a lush tropical paradise and the resort destination of choice for hundreds of thousands of South African, European and increasingly Australian tourists looking for white sands, astonishing blue waters and resort-style opulence.
It is also the place where, according to my husband, they sell touch powder on every street corner.
When I was offered a press trip to Mauritius, the bottle top of Michael’s touch powder memory was released and the explosion with which it came back was bigger than any “pop” his touch powder has actually caused. “GO!” he said, “and bring us back some touch powder.”
The allure of explosions under his feet was enough to make him forget that he would have to be Mr Mum for a week. The thought of not making school lunches, dinner every night and housework was nothing compared to the fantasy of sandy white beaches, turquoise water and an intriguing and exciting cultural destination. I was hooked.
You could be forgiven though for thinking that I had come to Mauritius solely to look for touch powder because here I was some weeks later sitting in the home of a beautiful family watching Big Bang Theory in French and asking three children who had never laid eyes on me where I could buy explosives (relax – I knew their dad).
The kids were not rushing forward with answers but I think that’s credit to their very good education and exemplary manners rather than the fact they didn’t know where to buy explosives. (Fun Fact: education is free in Mauritus as is health care – which, unsurprisingly, makes for a very happy and peaceful population).
The search for explosives, er I mean gun powder, had taken me to some pretty spectacular locations. I stayed in luxury hotels at Longbeach, Angsana, Heritage Le Telfair and Shanti Marice (read more about them here) and had been wined and dined over magnificent meals.