It hasn't been quite so stupidly cold here recently - it's been fairly mild outside and I'm not freezing all the time at home anymore, either. It looks like spring is coming, and I've already seen some flowers outside (snowdrops, crocuses and some yellow flowers I don't recognise). Still, I wouldn't mind being somewhere like on this card I received from my penpal Sperenza in Seychelles. Doesn't that beach look like paradise?!
Seychelles is an island country spanning an archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, some 1,500 kilometres east of mainland Africa, northeast of the island of Madagascar. Other nearby island countries and territories include Zanzibar to the west, Mauritius and Réunion to the south, Comoros and Mayotte to the southwest. Seychelles, with an estimated population of 84,000, has the smallest population of any African state. (I hadn't realised Seychelles was part of Africa!)
About 90% of the Seychellois people live on the island of Mahé. Most of the rest live on Praslin and La Digue, with the remaining smaller islands either sparsely populated or uninhabited. Most Seychellois are descendants of early French settlers and East Africans who arrived in the 19th century. South Asian and Chinese (1.1% of the population) account for the other permanent inhabitants. About 1,703 (2000) expatriates live and work in Seychelles.
Seychelles culture is a mixture of French and African (Creole) influences. The local Seychellois Creole (Kreol), a creole language derived from French and African tongues, is the native language of 91.8% of the people; but English and French are also commonly used. English remains the language of government and commerce.
The climate is equable although quite humid, as the islands are small. The temperature varies little throughout the year. Temperatures on Mahé vary from 24 to 30 °C, and rainfall ranges from 2,900 mm annually at Victoria to 3,600 mm on the mountain slopes. Precipitation is somewhat less on the other islands. During the coolest months, July and August, it drops to 24 °C.
Sperenza sent this postcard in an envelope with a letter. The stamps on the envelope are so pretty! The stamps at the top are from a set of 7 definitives issued in 2005, depicting fish, this one here being the Picasso Triggerfish. The other stamp is from a set of 7 definitives issued in 2003, also depicting fish, and this one here shows the Seychelles Squirrelfish.