Day 7 – Mauritius, the land of cashmere

All activities were compromised because of the tornado getting closer and closer to Mauritius, the tornado was still Class 2 and expected to reach Class 3, which means no sailing activities, no school and no work. In a few hours, the roads would probably be closed. So we decided with Lomesh to use the time we had to go shopping before it would be too late. I wanted to buy souvenirs for friends and work colleagues but most of all, I wanted to buy cashmere as Mauritian cashmere is well-reputated world-wide, even Louis Vuitton owns a cashmeer brand and a few factories. We went first to «Nouvelle France» as we saw there was a cashmere warehouse but the people mentioned they were not selling any, they were just provider, but they gave us the address of the main shop. We went there, it was grand and very luxurious, but so touristy… I could smell from miles away the tourist trap… How can I describe?… It looked like a Ralph Lauren flagship but it was called «Riverwalk Cashmere». A beautiful hostess was waiting for us, (everything was well planned) she offered us refreshments and lead us to their «factory» which looked more to me like a sweatshop… She explained us that all the cashmere was imported from Mongolia and the clothes made thanks to their «local» labor using the plans from the European designers. Lomesh told me that the «local workers» were people from Bangladesh paid peanuts. I thought affordable material, cheap labour and what about the final price?? The lady explained us that the cashmere was sold by weight. 60 rupees ($1,75) for 1 gram which is quite expensive but still cheaper than in Europe. Their clothes were absolutely gorgeous, honestly, most of them were masterpieces, but the problem was their weight! It was around 500-850 grams per item, which means the cheapest item you can get is for $875 (for a pullover or a poncho). But the girl was trying to be reassuring saying that if we bought many items, they would grant us a special discount (something like 10%) and there would be tax return at the airport (something like 10-12%) I didn’t mind buying these beautiful clothes, but let’s be honest: I know nothing about cashmere… So over a $875 purchase I could be easily crooked, then in spite of high quality material, this is obviously they take abusive margins not even counting the salesman commission, finally I’m not going to use the pullover everyway, it’s not like using an iPhone XR! I would be using it in winter only and just to show off and then, what if I lose it, or dirty it, or damage it? That’s it! about $1,000 to the trash bag! I decided to leave it and go back to “Trou d’Eau Douce” cashmere shop, with lighter clothes, therefore, more reasonable prices. (Sometimes it worths spending more on petrol than way more on extravaganzas) After browsing for a while, I finally found beautiful 2 pullovers and 2 ponchos for 600 euros. Light but very warm. Fair. Tomorrow it will be about Bois Cheri tea factory.

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