Wednesday, May 20, 2009

At President House...

On Friday 15thMay09, Sameera (an office friend) told me about an open day and vintage car show at the President Residency (used as office these days) of Mauritius on the occasion of International Family day. This show was supposed to be held on Sunday 17thMay 09. I made my mind to go for this that time itself. It had been more than 2 months I went out on any of the weekends. I informed my wife about this and she was ready to join.
Sunday morning she was a bit tied up with few things so I had to move out for this show alone. I was sure about my plan, not to miss the opportunity at any cost. I was very much clear that I’ll get this chance once again.
The house is known as The State House and is about 10 minutes walking from the University of Mauritius, Reduit. I reach the main gate. The residency / building is about 1 Km from the main entrance and the way is full of trees on either sides. It is building of 2 floors… It is made as the old pattern of hut shape which looks quite decent. Only the ground floor or better say one of the conference room was open for public rest all was still restricted. This hall was big enough with some decent decoration and 2 beautiful chandeliers.
As soon as u come out of that room there is a corridor and after that a big garden. A small fountain welcomes you. The house is surrounded by small hills and a small valley on one side in which a river flows. This looks quite good and gives a feeling of botanical garden of Ooty.
Because of the vintage car show I could see few of the old cars there. But it was not well organized. For the information about the car a paper was pasted on the screen having little information about the make and model. Still quite a few people were enjoying it.

Since it was a family day there were quite a few arrangements to amuse kids. A lot of stalls where there for different snacks and a big arrangement for Sega… Yes, this was the first time I saw the live show of Sega. I really enjoyed it and did full video shot. There was a small show about Judo from a club.
I was there for some 2 hours and had a good time there mainly because of Sega and Judo show.

New Year in Mauritius...

X-MAS had passed and now we could see a bit more decoration in the market and on other places as well. Curiosity was at its peak to know how the New Year celebration was going to be here. One obvious reason for the curiosity was we were out of the country for the first time and that to a place which is a famous tourist place. Anyways it was just a day to get all the curtains to be raised.
It was 31 Dec’08, we were in office and had a small celebration here itself. It was started by opening bottle of Champaign, no doubt non-alcoholic one, need to follow office ethics also… it was ended with some snacks. By evening I was at home. By the time I came back I could see quite a few lighting out there.
As a tradition we had some musical programs here on TV to welcome the New Year. It was in local language, English, Hindi and Bhojpuri also. Since we did not have any transport available with us, we did not go out anywhere, but were on TV at home.
Well now clock was show 00:00 hrs and New Year knocked our door. It was up the surprise, when we saw the fire work. Really it was like celebrating Diwali in India. Everywhere we could get the sound of crackers and fire work in sky. This fire work lasted for more than an hour. People were enjoying at it most as they had leaves for coming two days (It is official leave in Mauritius).
Definitely, I would say that the welcome of the New Year was up the expectation as it was told to us.
Just to mention that few of the hotels / club/ pubs had special arrangement of parties for this celebration, entry fee ranging from 1000/- till high. Over all it was a good experience…

Thursday, May 7, 2009

I was on Mauritius Radio...

Few days back one of my friends Vashist (from office) asked me that how much I know about cricket. I simply replied that cricket is in blood of Indians. Let me tell you that in Mauritius Football is the main sport and for last 1 /2 years they are trying to promote cricket there and have made some teams for this. After 3 /4 of our talks he gave me a proposal to go live on Mauritius Radio and participate in a program based on sports. I was shocked for a moment as I never thought to be on Radio even in my dreams and I was out of touch of cricket for long, so denied for this. Next day he called me with his friend Arvind , who is the anchor of the program. After talking to him I had an idea about the program. Still I was a bit nervous so I called him next day to know his expectations from me for this program. My only concern was not to ruin his program. When everything was clear to me, I said yes for this.
On the D-day 18-APR-09 I reached Mauritius Broadcast Center at 6:00 PM and met Arvind. There he told me that this program has some music along with the discussion / talks on sports. He gave me few guidelines that how we would proceed in the program. Now I was not that nervous as I was initially and all set to go for it. Program started at 6:30 PM and he introduced to me first to the listeners and I said “Hello Maurice “to greet the listeners. I was there for almost 45 minutes in the show and we talked about the feelings of Indians associated with cricket and culture of cricket there, about IPL tournament, T-20 cricket and present cricket team. How those 45 minutes passed away , I did not even come to know.
Nitish, Co-Anchor of the show played some of my favorite’s songs and I dedicated “DHEERE DHEERE SE MERI JINDGI MEIN AANA” from movie Ashiqui to my wife… Really it was a strange and pleasant experience for me. Thanks to Vashist and Aravind to give me this chance.

Trip to Mont Choisy...

December 2008 had already said good bye and people were welcoming 2009 and to welcome the New Year our target was Mont Choisy beach. This beach is in the north-west of the capital Port Louis at a drive of about 50-60 minutes by bus. TBS bus service is the one which is running from the second bus terminal of Port Louis, from where you get the buses for north.
Since this beach is quite far from rose hill area so we started early around 8:00 am for the beach. Usually it takes about 50 minutes from our place to reach main bus terminal of Port Luis and then 15 minutes walk to reach the bus terminal for north. Soon we got the bus for the beach. The journey was a bit longer than the expectations and had to ask for the stop 3 /4 times from the conductor.
Here I would like to tell you something… In Mauritius, buses there is a button on each seat which is connected to a bell close to driver. Whenever you want to stop the bus at a bus station just press the button… is it not good? Definitely yes… Second good thing, people waiting down to board the bus will not enter in to the bus till all the people getting down the bus are done… People here are quite helpful in terms of tell you the way and all.

Around 10:15am we reached the beach. As we heard, we found the same, it was fully crowded. This beach is famous for water sport. You can easily see people here having sun bath sitting on a big boat in sea, doing water ski and other water sports. Here water is quite clear to see deep and sand is also white. To resist the sun you have got quite a few trees here and public utilities are also near by. Approach to the snack is quite easy and you can find people sailing such stuff here and there and on permanent shops also.
We spent some 3 /4 hours and had fun in water… Since we don’t know swimming we did not try any adventure J… This time we were there with all preparation done had our brunch there on the sea side itself. It was a first experience of this kind. Since Port Louis closes early so we left from the beach early while we wanted to enjoy there more L… When we reached home it was already 5:30 pm… it was time to have a bath and early dinner… This was a nice day spent on the beach…
Some Facts:
Sand - white, coral based. Medium to fine grain. Some debris.
Facilities - near by.
Shade - mature trees.
Sports - snorkeling, swimming.
Notes - gets crowded on the weekends

X-Mas in Mauritius...

Market and roads were full busy these days... Though decoration was not much or I can say at least in area of rose hill but all the super markets were full of people and were running with lots f saving schemes… And it was quite obvious as X-Mas was approaching. In Mauritius there are about 30% of christen of population. By the way in Mauritius there is a bulk of people who celebrate all the festivals with equal dedication and enjoy them. This is really a good feeling of respecting all religions. Even I heard that X-Mas will be celebrated at a great level.
X-Mas arrived and as I had decided earlier I went to the church in morning after my bath. We have a church “Saint Patrick” nearby so I went there. I was a bit surprised when I reached there… Though it was fully crowded as expected but there was no decoration at or at least at the main entrance and outside. Anyways I spent some 10-15 minutes there and offered my prayers in my own style. Being a Hindu I don’t know their patterns and more over a prayer is a prayer no matter, in which style it is offered.

In after noon around 3:00pm we went outside to have a look of market and some other church. We were outside for about 2 hours and visited few other churches also… As long as we visited we were more surprised. We did not find any special / more decoration on any of the churches. Don’t know why? But it was not expected at all… On top of this all the main markets were closed… very Strange L…
We returned home in some time and started thinking about the new year… It was also heard that new year is also celebrated on a great scale… it was just a week left and all the secretes were about to revel.
I forgot to mention that we went for a lunch from office to a Chinese restaurant. There I could see some decoration which has been shown is the photo attached.

Trip to Flic-en-Flac...

I had the accommodation in guest house just for a week and had to look for a new house during this time. Luckily I got a house on rest soon which was best suitable for us and we shifted there on the first Saturday itself. This house was in Rose Hill area of Mauritius and was not far from office also. Initial 2 /3 days we spent in getting settle in the house and arranging all the required stuff for our kitchen and all. So the first week and weekend spent in getting settle.
Now the next weekend was there and we planned to head out somewhere. Our land lord advised us to go to Flic-en-Flac beach since it was the nearest beach from our location. So we headed towards this beach only.
Flic-en-Flac (it’s meaning in Dutch is Free and Flat land) beach is in west of the Mauritius and not so far from the capital Port Louis. So we took the bus from nearest bus station of Qutre Bornes for the beach. It took some 45 minutes to reach the beach. Surprising, is it not? 45 minutes by bus for closest beach in a small country… Actual in Mauritius usually roads are not broad and cuts and turns are usually sharp, so traffic moves a bit slow with in speed limits.
When we reached there we were amazed by the beauty of beach. We have seen the beach earlier also but this was the first one with blue colored water… Water was also quite clean and clear. Really people don’t praise the beach of the Mauritius like that only; the beaches deserve to be praised. It was fully crowded as it was a weekend and people were enjoying in their own ways. Few were swimming and diving in to it, few were playing in sand, and dirking and few were playing music and doing “Sega” (Mauritian dance and music). We went to the beach without any preparation so we did not spend much time there. But even in that short time we enjoyed at it most.
Some facts about the beach:
Sand - white, coral based, clean
Facilities - full
Shade - Umbrellas, some palms
Sports - Available along the beach. Great for snorkel along the fringes (not in the sand), and diving in the lagoon. Calm surf makes this an excellent swimming beach.
Notes - Can get crowded at holiday peak season.

First Day in Mauritius...

In a 45 minutes drive from Airport we reached to the guest house in “Qutre Bornes”, where the owner Mr. Vodamuttu welcomed us. During this welcome session he told us a little about life style in Mauritius and also about the high cost of living here. I felt he was trying to justify that because of cost of living his guest house is expensive … Any ways it was Monday and I had to report to the office for sure so I asked the Taxi to come back after 2 hours so that I can get ready and report to the office. By lunch time I was in office and met “Gouri”, she was the one who arranged for the taxi and guest house. She was an Indian married to a Mauritian man. After some time “Jack” also came back from lunch. He was the one whom I was supposed to take charge from. After a normal introduction and little chat we started our work and finally at the end of the day I met “Jimut –the DC head”… I returned back to the guest house by 5:30pm and came out with wife just to have a walk there. We were a little surprised when we found almost ever thing was closed by 6:30pm… it was the same as we heard about Mauritius. We were not used to of this environment at all, so felt a bit odd… Any ways we were too tired of the journey so had an early dinner and slept.
I would like to say that the food at the guest house was really good… The wife of the owner used to cook herself. I never expected to have such a food good on the first day itself. The day went like this and I was looking for coming days …

Journey to Mauritius...

We had our flight from Bangalore International Airport at 6:30pm. We reached the airport by 4:00pm and started waiting to board the flight after completing all the formalities at the air port. It was a flight of Emirates Airlines and started from Bangalore on time.
Since it was a stopover flight, first we reach to Dubai. It reached Dubai at 9:00pm (Local time). Our second flight was at 2:30 am. It was a long time to wait and the airport was big enough to spend this time easily. We had a plan to reach our terminal first and then to have a visit of the Dubai airport.
Dubai airport… God it’s too big and very beautiful. Even a smallest thing here reflects the beauty of the airport and is a part of its beauty. The market inside is known as Duty Free and if full of lights and other gadgets. Duty Free is full of the shops for jewelry, cosmetics, electronics, glass items, watches, tobacco and other fancy items. No doubt shopping here would be a really great experience, may be we’ll have this on the way to home …
Now it was the time for the second flight and after the formalities we were in the plane. We were quite tired of the whole day journey so we slept in the flight after some time. When we awaked up it was morning and we were flying in the sky of Mauritius. When we saw outside we could see small island with a blue see all around and was looking very beautiful. Really it is well said that Mauritius has got a very beautiful skyline. It is really a good experience to see Mauritius from sky and I am sure you’ll find it more beauty full from sky…
Forgot to mention that in this flight when Air Hostess was serving dinner they asked many passengers that if they were Mr. & Mrs. Sharma. We were sitting a bit back side when she came close to us, I smiled and she could understand we were the one she was looking for. Actually on that flight only this couple was vegetarian and she had to struggle to search us and told that was the only veg food available in that flight.
It was 10:00 am when we landed and came out in some 30 minutes after completing all the formalities at airport. A taxi was already waiting for us and we started for our guest house. We were enjoying the natural beauty of Mauritius on the way to the guest house.
A long journey was waiting for us as we had to stay here for a year. Hope this will be a good experience …

Those Last days of Mysore...

I ware quite happy, when the talks for an onsite trip to Mauritius started for the first time in August 2008. Reason was obvious that there were very less chance for me to go for an onsite, since in my profile onsite is very limited… Anyways I started collecting information about Mauritius from internet and other people who had been there before and showed my green signal for the trip. There was no update on this for long and I had no other option just to sit quite and wait… how long, nobody knew? But I was told by one of my friends to be ready as if I’ll get the chance it will be informed at last moment, so basic preparation was done from my side.
It was the last week of October 2008 when I got the confirmation to go. It was now high time to pack our bag and baggage and we started doing this at a good speed… The kind of speed and sharpness my wife showed in the packing…wow it was mind blowing… Any how we managed to set out stuff here and there and got ready for the departure.
9 November 2008, was the D day when we had to leave for Mauritius. Our neighbor, Lobo Aunty prepared a nice breakfast for us for that day. We met our close friends (Abhijeet, Vaibhav, Abhishek, Liza and Madhu) for last time and received their good wishes and started our journey… Everybody at home was aware of the trip, but time was too short to meet them… I was a bit sad for this but could not so anything for this… Since this was one of the great opportunities I could not afford to miss it and I was happy because of this...