I can sort of identify Mauritians the way I can British people abroad. Maybe it's a kind of sixth sense.
So one morning this lady I'd seen several times stopped outside our tent, talking to another person. Jamie said to me, "I bet she's Mauritian." I told her, "That's exactly what I was thinking."
As she spoke, I recognised certain pronounciations made only by Mauritians when speaking English. So I moved in and struck up a conversation, asking her outright, "Are you from Mauritius?"
She said yes and added, "I was thinking the same of you. I'd seen you around several times."
The conversation went on, me asking her who she knew that I might know. Sure enough, what with Mauritius being a small island, she knew relations of mine, including my second cousin who lives in Melbourne with her kids.
We parted after a great chat. I wrote down her name (Joan), because I was going to mention her to my father, to see if he knew/remembered her. She continued her walk along the beach and then, about an hour later, reappeared.
"Hi Claude," she said. "What's your dad's name?" she asked, as though something had been on her mind. I told her and her face dropped, like she'd been told she had won the lottery.
"My God! You're kidding." Turns out she knew my dad, uncles, aunts, grandparents etc. In fact, her cousin was married to one of my grandmother's brothers. So, through marriage rather than blood, we are related.
Jamie and I went out for the rest of the day and when we returned I went off to do some work on the computer. As I came back to the tent, there she was - with her German husband. She wanted to introduce us.
She was as excited about our meeting as we were. She said after our initial meeting she had jumped on the phone the moment she got home and called her sister to tell her all about it. She also called her cousin in Mauritius, who, as it happened, was celebrating there with my uncle, who had turned 70!
Mauritians are fantastic, believe me - so warm and welcoming. I'm lucky to be half-Mauritian. She wanted us to come to dinner. Not only that, she wanted us to come and stay at her house. She wanted to drive us to the airport. She just wanted to help.
She was so disappointed we had met at the end of our Australian trip. But I get the feeling that somewhere, somehow, we will meet again.