Sunday, September 12, 2010

Ganesha Chaturthi in Mauritius…

We just conquered Le Pouce and had a plan to have dinner at Indian Summer. We were waiting for food and having casual chat. As a great co-incident Prakash (An Other Friend) came to India Summer. It was a surprise only as he lives in Curepipe and having someone in Rose Hill in a restaurant on a public holiday at 8:30pm is a surprise only. Anyways he joined us in chat waiting for his food to come.

While talking to him we came to know that an other Indian friend and his team is organizing the Ganesha Chaturthi puja at a large scale. It was supposed to happen in quatre bornes close to JP’s place. Since we were in mood to go for some puja , but due to time constraints we could not plan any thing, we thought to go for it.

So next day 11 Sep’20, on decided time I met JP and went to the place where the puja was organized. As a great surprise to us we found big enough gathering there and add on to that surprise was that majority of the people were Indians. There were about 200 people in a small place which was next to the company elect system, the organizing company.

Good enough decoration was done for the puja and a beautiful Ganesha idol was kept there. The priest did the puja with all the rituals and told the story behind the special puja of Ganesha Charuthi. A small booklet was also distributed, which was about the symbolism of Lord Ganesha. Finally arti was done and Prasad was distributed.

The puja was followed by a dinner, which was a kind of potluck done by the elect system team. The dinner was not again less than a surprise box. We had more verities of food; we ever had in a Mauritius wedding. We had papad, pickle, daal, puri , chole-curry, rice with samhabr, rasam & curd, lemon rice, pongal , modak , barfi… Food was really tasty…

For some 2 hours of this puja and dinner we were in a different world itself. Later on while talking to organizer we came to know that they are doing it for last 6 yrs. Amazing efforts. This was our luck that we got a chance to attend this puja…

May Lord Ganesha Full Fills The Desires of All !!!

Ganapati Bappa Morya !!! Mangal Murti Morya !!!

Biryani @ Le Pouce ...

Day 10 Sep 2010 (Friday) Time 10:15AM and it is EID today. My phone rings. JP is on the other side. He says we have got a long week end; do we have any plan to go out? Answer was negative but we were ready to go any where. I told him that I would call him in next 15 minutes. I came home as I was enjoying sweets at Riyad’s place, opened map of Mauritius on google and started looking for the place where we could go now… Meanwhile I had a chat with Mahesh and asked for same. River Gorgeous was the first idea which came in mind but was dropped as it was very late for that. Next moment I had in my mind, let’s go to “Le Pouce”. Little India had already denied for this and it was perfect chance for us.

It was 11:00AM when we had our destination. JP asked for food. Fortunately I cooked Biryani and it was good enough for three of us, so food was all set. We decided out meeting point Rose hill bus terminal. Let me tell you about “Le Pouce”. This the second highest mountain of Mauritius and its height is 811M. Le Pouce mountain, located in Moka, offers some very good views over the North West of the island and on a clear day, the coastline of the North and East of the island can be seen.
It is a moderate climb as the route is steep in some places but can be accomplished by any level of climber given enough time to rest. Since the mountain looks like a thumb in sky it is named Le Pouce “The Thumb”.

Time 12:00 Noon: I am at Rose hill terminal and in another 2 /3 minutes JP reaches there and Mahesh. Since we did not know the exact place, where the trek starts we asked the traffic controller about the bus and the place. He boarded us in to the bus and we were dropped on a bus stop from where we took another bus for the right place.

Time 12:48PM: we are at the trek. We did not find any body there so we started the way which was straight. We were lucky another 10 minutes we found few people coming down so sure we are on right trek. The day started as a sunny day but slowly-slowly it was changing its mood. Anyways who cares!!! We were wrong here as another 10 minutes changed our mind and we started thinking about the trek. It was completely slippery and full of mud. Final decision was to carry on since we were already out for it and fully charged.

As we were going high the views were amazing and we were enjoying the trek. But the Sun and the clouds were in full mood to play Hide & Seek with us, the three poor guys. With the height the trek was getting tougher as we were completely in clouds and the way was wet and slippery because of drizzling. More over quite some way of the trek was like 1 or 2 feet wide line of mud and u have got big grass and other forest plants on your both sides. By now our shoes were all gone and we were 60-70% wet. But we were enjoying it as a long time pending desire was coming true, to trek in rain !!!

Time 2:30PM: Hurray !!! we are on the peak of Le Pouce, we conquered it. It was full of black clouds by that time and we were not able to see any thing just 5-6 meters down. The space on the peak was also quite small , even less than the half of the Le’ Morne. Now it was the time to celebrate the victory. We were having the Biryani at the peak, in rain J

Another 10 minutes and it was time to come back, the most difficult part... it was all wet so we had to be much more careful. I know all of us were scared of it but no one talked about that. Slowly-slowly with more careful steps we started back. This time we were the only three guys coming down. No one else was there on the mountain. In some time we cleared the dangerous part of the mountain and came in to the open area. Here the biggest comedy (as well as grace of God) happened. It was full raining now and the area was slippery like any thing. My shoes were dead shoes and the sole was all plans, because of that I was slipping like a drunkard. I say thanks to God it happened in a non dangerous area. This time I was not the only one to slip all of did. But of course I was the champ in that. But now we were more careful and we were walking holding the branches / roots of plants there.

Time 4:30PM: WOW!!! We are back in single piece. By now Sun was teasing as the rain stopped completely and sky was clear. Since we were full dirty with mud and no bus would have allowed us in that condition, we asked a gentle man there to give us some water pipe so that we could come in a better shape to ride a bus.

This was a real adventure this time. Now we think Le Morne was easy to trek as most of the trek it has got rocks and it less dangerous. But Le Pouce was a night mare at some moments of time for us. After all risk and slips it turned out to be an fun and adventures trek…

Here a new phrase for Little India comes in… “ We can trek any time and any where” ~ by great Amit J

Details about the mountain & trek:

Monday, July 19, 2010

Mauritius International School ...

I always believe that every day comes to us with a gift packet for us. It is we, who has to decide to open it and enjoy the gift or to keep it aside and miss the fun.
Day 27 June 2010 also came with a gift to us , which was supposed to be opened at 1:00 PM at the Mauritius International School , in presence of Little India. Yes, we are little India only in Mauritius, having people from North, South and east of India, west is missing but out enthusiasm always bridge that missing part :).

The school had its opening ceremony and started a nice head count of sweet sixteen cute kids and one sweetest kid among them. At the school where we were welcomed by our classmates Chetanya and Neetu. Me and Mahesh, we were the most obedient kids, as we were the first to reach to reach on time followed by another good student JP and we were given a badge on our back. It was a hand expression representing all four colors of Mauritian flag. Then we had a big list of late comers, who were punished by JP.

This was an only school of its kind where the lunch was served before the class and that too with by the classmates J… we all set down on the floor and were given with banana leafs on which food was going to be served. With the smell of the food we felt being in India. Now time was to taste it and be in India. As per the tradition slat was served first followed by Indian mango pickle and Daal Vada. By now only my mouth was watering. But I had to hold till the full food was served…

Again tradition, Hmmm sometimes the traditions are too much. Then Rice and Sambar was there. No I said, obliviously internally, ATTACK… I was not going to hold myself for any long now. Then second round of rice was taken with famous Tamil Rasam. I took thrice (:P) and then the Curd Rice… Though by now we were full but always there is a space for desert. Me , Mahesh and JP, kind of shout when we came to know the desert was Payasam. By now a questions was striking my mind, how to get up??? HMMM… Any how I could manage this :).

It was the games class time now… We started with “Fire In The Forest”, a game to make a group of players based on a number called out and then “Posam Pa”, typical north Indian game J. Loto was kept at last to play and the class was called off by a cup of tea /coffee. We did not come to know how did the time fly, our watches were showing 6:00 PM now. This was happening for the first time we did not want to go back to home from the school but had to or else how we could come again HIHIHIHIHI…

I can bet one thing… none of the students of Mauritius International School, can forget the first day at the school. All the credits to make the first day unforgettable goes to the brilliant students Neetu and Chetanya.
Finally I introduce you to Little India (in alphabetical order): Aashish, Most know guys in the country Me (:P), Ashish, Avidant (sweetest kid), Chetanya, Chitraprakash, JP, Mahesh, Neetu , Pawan, Retika, Ruchika, Spandana , Tarun. Yaju.
Note: Don't forget to read the text on the pics... Did you realize it is a poem (:P) by JP...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

WE Conquered Le’Morne...

Ever since I came to Mauritius two things were always in mind. One was to see life under water and second was trekking, climbing a mountain. Experience of under water life was a great experience, undersea walk was already done, left was trekking.
Le’Morne Mountain at the far south-west of Mauritius was the target for trekking. The mountain is about 585 meters high and has got a history associated with it. During the slavery times in Mauritius a number of slaves run away from the city and climbed up the mountain to escape from slavery. Later on the rulers found their hide out. Then the slaves choose death over slavery and committed mass suicide by jumping from the mountain. The area and mountain has been given the honour of world heritage by UNESCO on 10 July 2008.

The Le’Morne
24 Apr 2010, we (Me, JP, Mahesh & Ashok) planned to go for the trekking and reached there. There we came to know that mountain is in a private area and we need permission to climb up as well as a guide. We were quite upset as we were highly dispread for this. Then we decided to gather all information and book a slot for some other time.
15 May2010 was the D day to do the trekking. Before this we checked with few of our friends to join us for this. No need to say, they all were ready as we talked about this and showed them the photos. Now we were 10 to go for trekking. We had a short meeting to plan and arrange for the other requirements for this event. We were divided in 3 groups and were giving responsibilities for arranging different things.
According to plan we picked everybody and started for Le’Morne at 6:00AM. On given time 7:00 AM we met Yan our guide for this activity. Before the trek we had a light breakfast and then Yan told about the trek. The trek starts from the east of the mountain and we go up high till west and then take the say way back. This full way is about 7 KMs including both sides and normally it takes 3 to 4 hours to finish this.
Based on the difficulties it is divided in to 3 different levels. First 250 meters is easy and the way is wide enough as well. Second level starts from 250 meters till 400 meters which is more technical and difficult as the way goes narrow, slippery and steep. Third was lest 100 meters, the most difficult part of this trek as it is quite steep. We were highly excited to do the go up…
We started well and got more enthusiastic as at 130meters we got to see an amazing view of south coast of the Mauritius… Blue colored water having different shades. This was Le’Morne beach. Next 120 meters were covered easily and again we had a nice view of Le’Morne village and valley and a lagoon and a small island next to it.

Now the trek was going to be a little difficult and we were ready. 250 meters is the height where you and stop and wait for your friends to come back and join you, in case you don’t want to dare to climb up. After this point there is not such place. Next 150meters were technical and we were advised to concentrate more on the taking small steps and use our both hands to hold the rocks. We did the same way and used the few steps which were naturally made on the rocks. The mountain was getting steeps after every meter. Once we reach 400 meters the view was awesome. We could see the Coconut Island, and sea far till Flic-En-Flac.

Now we were 100meters away from our destination and enthusiasm was high to reach top. This part was the most technical and steep of entire trek. Some 10-15 meters of this trek was supposed to be done the help of a rope as the mountain was very steep and way was quite narrow. One by one we cleared it and soon we found our selves on the top of the mountain… WOW… the view was amazing. We could see deep blue sea till horizon. It was amazing and we were full of charge. The entire tiredness was gone as soon as we reach the top.
By a chance one of our troop member Meeta had her birthday same day. We celebrated the same at the top of the mountain and she performed few dance steps with another friend Ruchika at there at 500 meters and at a place where the diagram was hardly 2/3 meters and we 11 people standing were there. Unbelievable courageJ.
Now it was the time to come back and same precautions were supposed to be followed. I would say coming down was little more difficult was way was narrow and slop was high. We hold our hand tight on the rocks and foots on the ground. We took a little long time incoming down the mountain. We were up at the mountain in 1 hour 45 minutes and we could cover complete trek in 4 hours and 10 minutes. Not bad ! The time we reached at out van we all were tired and hungry but we all were very happy as we knew we just Conquered Le’Morne.
I would like to specially mention the efforts done by the gals. Tremendous performance shown by them during the activity. Big hands for them.
Points to Remember:
1. Put on comfortable cloths like shorts, lower etc.
2. Have a better pair of shoes, which don’t slip.
3. Have a back pack.
4. Efficient use of your water bottle.
5. Just concentrate on the present while trekking and keep strict eyes on the way. Key to win.

Our Troop (Appearance wiz):
1st Row: (L-R) Meeta, Ruchika, Yaju, Aashish
2nd Row: (L-R) Mahesh, Me, Ashish, Chitraprakash
3rd Row: (L-R) JP, Tarun

Photo by YAN(Guy behind our victory)...

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Moon from my window...

This is how the moon appeared from my window one evening... You decide it is beautiful or scary...

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Undersea Walk in Mauritius...

Lots of water sport activities cross your mind when think of Mauritius and it is true that the country is full of water sport activities. The two major attractions out of those activities are Scuba Diving (Sub marine dive) and undersea walk. Mauritius is one of very few countries offering undersea walk.
Everybody is always amused by colorful underwater life and always interested to see at least once that what kind of life is there underwater… We were also in the same boat of such people and were thinking about to experience this since the time we landed in Mauritius.
We tried to go for this several time but anyhow it did not work out. Luckily we got a group of friends interested in this too and then started looking for the best deal for this activity. After a close follow up of one week we got a good deal for undersea walk. The price range for this activity varies a lot and it depends on you how much you can bargain and bring down the price. Normally this is MUR 800/- per person.
5-Dec-09, was the day for us to experience this ultimate experience of undersea walk. All of us met on Port Louis as decided and took a bus for Grand Bay. There we contacted the agent and he showed us a speed boat which was supposed to take us in the open sea. After a ride of 10 minutes we were on another boat which was meant for undersea walking. It has got all equipments like helmets to use underwater, shoes, oxygen cylinders etc. The guide gave us some instructions about how to communicate and walk underwater and then he helped us in landing on the sea bed.

Wow… It was awesome. It was strange but a wow feeling. We were walking about 4 / 5 meters underwater. We could see lots of fishes inside and some corals also. The guide gave us some bread to feed the fishes. It was nice to feed them. We just hold the bread in our hands and the fishes came to us and started having bread from our hands. With in no time the whole bread was eaten by them. The guide took some photos and small videos in side (paid separately).
This walk was for about 10 minutes but it was a life time experience, which I can never forget. For people who don’t know swimming /diving, it is a best way to see life under water. This was is 100% safe and all the times an expert guide will be with you. If you are in Mauritius, I’ll advice you to go for it for sure.