Le Weekend - Port Mathurin, Ile Rodrigues

Le Weekend … after the market and all the shops closed down on Saturday, Port Mathurin eased into the weekend. By 3pm, there was little traffic on the streets and not all that many people. The sidewalks (or lack thereof) were rolled up tight. We were content to stay aboard with our newly acquired freshies and while away the rest of the day with naps, chores and a nice dinner. Sunday morning and we could hear the church bells ringing. Rodrigues has many religious sects, but the most prominent is Catholic. The church is right in the middle of town and the faint strain of singing voices wafted out to the anchorage.




No shops were open. No restaurants. The bakery opened at 0430 (but, of course … people need their daily bread!), but closed right after the church services. There were a few people out and about, but not many. That is, until about 3pm when “Le Nightclub” opened. We had read about the “nightclub” from previous cruisers and thought we'd check it out. The name is a misnomer in that it opens from about 3pm on Sunday afternoons and closes about 8pm. It's more of an afternoon club … a social club for Sunday afternoon get-togethers, a few beers and lots of loud music and dancing.

We showed up at the entry door around 3pm and were immediately turned away. David, and our friend James on Banshee, were in shorts. Long trousers were required along with proper shoes … no flip-flops.


no entry


There was discussion as to whether the men wanted to change. I convinced them that they did, so we walked back to the dock, David dinghied back to the boat to change while I chatted with some other departing cruisers. Properly attired, we walked back to Les Cocotiers, paid our cover charge (125Rps for men; only 75Rps for women), and found a table. The Phoenix beer was cold; the music was loud; the place was dark and stale.


les cocotiers


The locals were dancing up a storm. We sat and watched and enjoyed. I love dancing and was anxious to get out on the floor and strut my stuff, but I wanted to get a feel for the music and dancing first. A DJ kept the momentum going. A huge multi-faceted, mirrored disco ball hung limp, evidently having lost its spin sometime in the past. The music ranged between 1950-60s pop and country. We heard “Please Release Me” several times and “Sad Movies Always Make Me Cry” at least twice. No original artists were recognized, but the tunes were familiar.

All dancing seemed be a simple country two-step to a calypso-type beat ... with a twirl thrown in every once in awhile by the more energetic dancers. Not my kind of music, but it was enjoyable to people watch and check out the dynamics of the local folks. Women outnumbered men and danced unabashedly with each other when no male partners were available. Women were decked out in their Sunday finest. Some wore high heels. All wore lipstick. When a new tune started, the men stood up, checked out the potential field and pointed at a woman, gave her the “come on and dance” high sign and that was it. Not much formality involved. I passed on my opportunity, preferring to watch rather than participate.

After a couple of hours, the music changed to an accordion-based, polka-style of music … still with that pronounced calypso beat. Hard to explain. A younger crowd started walking in and the older crowd dissipated … as did we. Enough nightclubbing for one Sunday afternoon.