We had a café called Bazaar Bizaar for two years, and it was fun for a long while.
We met most of our friends there, had a delightful girl called Sharonne working for us, and laughed a lot.
We sold Australian-style food, had a second-hand book exchange, and lent DVDs to people we knew (Mauritian TV is pretty bad, so we used to buy hundreds of DVDs – then what do you do with them once you’ve watched them? Take them into the Bazaar and loan them out of course!). I was also going to design and sell clothes from there, but never got around to it.
Anyway, as a foreigner, it’s difficult to run a business here.
So much paperwork to fill out, photocopies to provide, different government departments to notify and deal with, and no central body to tell you what you have to do, and when to do it.
But Sharonne made the daily running of the Bazaar easier for us.
All the Gods of Mauritius (and there are dozens!) must have been smiling on us the day we met her.
Sweet, smart, charming, funny, and most importantly, honest.
And pretty. But that’s not a reason to like someone. That would be plain shallow!
Unlike many business owners, we never had to worry about theft or what was going on when we weren’t there.
I taught her food and drink preparation, and how to deal with clients.
Alf taught her bookkeeping, and we even gave her signing rights to our business cheque account so she could pay the bills.
Once, she called Alf, worried and apologetic because she couldn’t balance the books.
“I’ve got Rs1000 too much!”
If you live here, you’ll understand how incredible that is.
Towards the end we were caught up in a family feud between the building owner and her brother-in-law, and were finally worn down by Mauritian bureaucracy.
So we closed up shop, and decided to take it easy.
Which is so much better than working!
People ask us if we miss it.
We miss the daily interaction with everyone, but we don’t miss the stress.
And we miss Sharonne’s smile.