33 is a special number! Happy birthday to me!

I’m getting older. It is so weird to say that I’m 33 years old but that’s life, let’s face it. The remaining hair is getting white, skin rids are not here yet but the most important is having a good health. While I agree that my weighting scale will soon refuse giving me any readings, I promise that I will try to lose some extra kilos (if I have time). Just have a look at how young (& cute) ( & less chubby) ( & free ) we were years back! btw, the photo looks great in a key chain, isn’t it? lol

The photo selfie project

Without losing more time of my precious life, I’m again uploading my daily ageing project which started back in 2013 :

Yeps, pictures don’t lie, especially when you have hundreds of them!

Some additional numbers :

  • 5 years of daily selfies
  • Roughly 1,800 pictures
  • Face time-lapse using the retired Google Picasa
  • Speed of 1/24 seconds per picture

Happy birthday to me!

Cheers!

The best thing for the 50th anniversary of the independence of Mauritius

This is communiqué from Yashvinblogs…

Far from the Metro / Tramway Express project or all the fuss around the President of the Republic of Mauritius, the best thing that happened for the 50th Independence anniversary of Mauritius is the launch of the new 50cl Phoenix beer can some time back 🙂

For sale at Rs50 each ( add Rs4 to Rs5 for a chilled one), the new can remains affordable for anyone who wants some beer(s). Lots of fun guaranteed!

Before ending the post, let me with a Happy Independence & Republic anniversary my dear country. Hope that you get well soon from all those sick politicians.

Hip Hip Hip Hourray!!!

As you noticed, this is not an advert. It is simply a communiqué from Yashvinblogs. As we all know, that’s the only way you can talk about any product banned from advertising. Fin de communiqué.

Cheers!

One week in Johannesburg

Sawubona everyone!

I’m back to our paradise island after spending a wonderful week in Johannesburg, one of the biggest cities of South Africa. Known as the “City of Gold” after the discovery of the precious metal in the 1880s, the city seems to be a great country to live in, with loads of places to discover and many things to learn about the history of its people.

In case you are wondering the language used to greet you, it is called Zulu, one of the 11 official languages of South Africa. And yes, it is important to mention that black & white people live altogether peacefully thanks to their hero, Nelson Mandela who fought against apartheid / racism. As far as I witnessed, your skin color does not matter. Also, worth mentioning : I noticed loads of people of Indian origin with huge resemblance to Mauritians.

A bit more about the travel & stay

After spending endless minutes (in fact, nearly 2 hours) in our airport and 4 hours flight time in Air Mauritius’ new A350, named Le Morne Brabant, I landed in Joburg which has a 2 hours’ time zone difference from Mauritius. Again spent another 2 hours in the OR Tambo International airport before riding to the my final destination.

My first impressions : Sometimes it is difficult to grasp what some people there say because I’m not used to the accent. However, most people are nice and welcoming. Travelling around the country is great during weekends but however, there are considerable traffic jams during working days. Unlike in Mauritius, you can have 5 lanes going in the same direction, without any emergency or crawler lane. Despite those 5 lanes, traffic jams are a normal thing. Also, maximum speed limits on some highways are 120km/hr and from what I understood, there’s a minimum speed limit of 60km/hr on some roads.

I can say that I’ve been pretty busy there with sightseeing during the weekend, work during office hours and wandering in the huge malls late every evening. With a booking of 7 nights in a guest house on a bed and breakfast package, I enjoyed my stay in the one of the wealthiest regions, known as Sandton. On top of being a secure area, most shopping malls are easily accessible within less than 30 minutes’ drive while the office was only 5 minutes’ drive.

Situated at around 1,700m above sea level, the temperature is quite good in this region of the world. For the month of February, it is roughly 26 degrees during the day and the temperature can drop down to around 16 degrees at night. Very comfortable climate in Johannesburg right now but however, important to mention that there’s a severe drought in Cape Town right now. So severe that people need to live with under 50L of water per day (for every possible usage – bathing, toilet, cooking, drinking etc) as the city is running out of water supplies.

Currency

The currency used is in the South African Rand, often abbreviated by ZAR or R.

For indicative purposes :

  • 1 rand is approximately 3 Mauritian rupees
  • 1 US dollar is approximately 11 rands

The open-top bus tour

Still remember the big bus tour I mentioned in my Dubai’s post? Well, the open-top bus tour has the same concept whereby you buy your ticket valid for the whole day and you can hop in and out of the red bus any number of times you want. However, if you really want to visit each place along the bus route, I will advise you to book for a 2-days ticket. It can also be a tiring journey, so be fully prepared and careful with small kids.

For less than R200 (roughly MUR600), you get to visit the best tourist attractions of Joburg in one day. You might also need to pay keep some additional cash to pay for entrances at some attractions along the bus routes.

A few places to visit absolutely

The open bus tour allowed me to get to several places along their route but I chose to get off at the few mentioned places only because of lack of time:

Johannesburg Zoo

The first time ever I saw an impressive real gorilla of 1m80 and an elephant.

Carlton Center

Being the tallest building in Africa, Carlton Center is a skyscraper of 50 storeys also known as “Top of Africa”. From the 50th floor, you can have a panoramic bird’s eye view of Johannesburg

Gold Reef City

If you follow me on Facebook, you probably saw the video of the “Tower of Terror” I uploaded a few days back. I still feel goose bumps when I think about the wagon plunging 90degrees downwards from a height of 50m! With several other rides in the park, you can easily spend the whole day there with you family and the prices are very affordable. So, to the left below is a photo of the entrance of Gold Reef City and to the right, a selfie in one of the glamorous toilet of the Gold Reef City 🙂

Additionally, you might want to visit an ancient gold mine and go to Level 2, found 75m deep into the earth. It was an enriching visit, especially when you think that people might not have the same opportunity as water is flooding the old gold mine.

Some years back, visitors were able to go even deeper, but they had to close the access because of natural water flooding. During the visit, you also get to hold a pure 12.5 kg gold bar! And to the right of the picture below, you can find an indication of the depth of the mine.

Downtown Joburg

A place to avoid as a tourist, especially if you are alone but however, you are quite safe if you are driving through the region in the bus tour. Here, you can find shops, small snacks and etc., just like you will find in Port Louis or other towns of Mauritius.

SAB World of Beer

It is some sort of museum for beer. Yeah, the first part of the visit consists of videos showing the history of beer, how it is made etc. You also get to taste “Sorghum”, the traditional beer made by women in the Zulu culture. As per their culture, the “Sorghum” is drank in a special vessel pictured below. Very different from the commercial beer we all know; beer lovers would probably have never be fans of beer if the taste was kept the same lol.

During the visit, you also get a can of chocolate flavored beer along with 2 vouchers for tap beer in their bar. So, at the end of the visit, you are nearly drunk! So, please make sure that this place is last in your list!

Monte Casino

I also loved my visit to Monte Casino. If I had to describe it : It is a large mall building in which there is practically a village built inside, with fake streets, fake rivers, fake sky ceiling and an enormous open-air casino in the center. Everything is so real inside that you might think that you are actually walking on real streets and entering real shops found outside on the streets :

My first experience with Uber

For those who don’t know, Uber is a service whereby you can request a car to travel to your destination using the Uber application on your smartphone. Available in over 600 countries around the world, Uber has a large network of vehicles whereby practically anyone can become an Uber driver and earn a living. Using the mobile application, you just choose your destination and request a ride to the first Uber driver responding to your request. The mobile app also shows the position of Uber drivers in real time, as pictured in the left picture below. On the right side, you can see the estimated fare for the chosen destination :

Here in Johannesburg (and in many other countries), you can add your credit card to your Uber account. From there, you don’t even need to bother about payments. The moment you get off the vehicle, your credit card is charged accordingly automatically! You also get to rate your driver from 1 to 5 stars.

Other means of transport in Johannesburg include

  • GauTrain
    It is a rapid rail service covering over 80km and stopping at around 10 main stations in the city.
  • Uber
    As explained above, Uber remains a very convenient method of travel at a fairly good rate
  • Taxi
    More expensive than Uber rides, taxis operate differently from Uber as they normally require special license etc. just like in any other country. Because of the competition with Uber, sometimes taxi drivers might not appreciate if Uber drivers pick passengers near their taxi stands etc.
  • Taxi vans/minibus
    Available throughout the country and easily recognizable by the thin yellow reflective bands around the vehicles, the 15-seater vans offer a very convenient and cheap way for locals to commute around the country or to their place of work. One interesting thing about these taxi vans; The drivers and passengers communicate through hand signs to indicate where they are going or need to go as the destination is not written on the van itself.

Security

 

Although the first concern of people at the mere mention of “Johannesburg” or “South Africa” is insecurity, I have not felt being in danger at any time, but you need to be careful, especially when you realize that every house or building in regions with the high-income population are protected by electric fences and armed security services ready to intervene anytime. When you drive in regions whereby you can’t find any of these fences or security signs, you know that you are in less wealthy regions inhabited by the middle-class and even low-class population. You can also find slums in regions far away from the main wealthy regions.

Some basic rules are

  • Avoid travelling alone in unknown regions or roads
  • Avoid wearing jewelries or walking around with big cameras
  • DO NOT VENTURE in markets you might find in some regions.

As you can notice, these rules are applicable to any other country (exceptions do exist) but the rate of criminality in Johannesburg (as well as other cities in South Africa) is very high, hence the need to be careful and avoid taking any risks.

To give you another example, it is not advisable for tourists to be on their own in downtown Johannesburg whereby you can find shops and probably very good deals. However, shopping malls are generally safe but as you can guess, prices are quite high because you will find mainly big brands out there.

Shopping

There are tons of shopping malls around Joburg, easily reachable by the vast road network. And in some of these malls, you can find craft markets where you can grab good deals while enjoying a safe and sound environment. For example, I’ve been to Rosebank’s Art & Craft market to buy souvenirs but remember, always bargain!

 

 

I have been constantly comparing prices in Mauritius / Johannesburg and I can say that there isn’t a huge difference whether you are buying food, drinks, clothes or even petrol.

Poverty

Like in any other country, the society is divided into different classes depending on your income and social status. Joburg has beggars too unfortunately. You can see them around shopping malls or near traffic lights. While some of them carry a garbage bag so that you can throw your rubbish into them when you are at traffic lights, others might do some show to entertain you. The reason behind is to get some money from you while they entertain you or help you to get rid of your unwanted stuffs.

Summing up

If I need to come to Joburg again, I will gladly do so. Additionally, I even feel ready to hire a car and drive around here as I have been able to look around and observe the behavior of people in general. Vehicles are right-hand driven, just like in Mauritius. Roads are also in very good conditions and drivers are courteous in general. People don’t drive aggressively or don’t horn unnecessarily. Affordable to live in as a tourist, Joburg seems to be a good place for sight-seeing with your family as long as you don’t take any risks. The only unpleasant surprise I got here is that I had to pay a 10% gratuity fee (tip) of my total bill to the waiter in one of the restaurants. Well, it seems that this is the normal percentage to pay here in the region. I need to read more about my destination before flying next time!

A last thing : Some extra kilos are expected to show up because for the past week, whatever I ate was very bad for health : Oily, fatty food. And beer practically every single day!

Ngiyabonga (Thank you in Zulu language) for keeping tuned to the blog!

Take care!

 

Canal+ Contact / Mediacall , ce n’est qu’un au revoir

Ça y est !

On est enfin arrivé au jour des adieux. Aussi, le dernier jour que je porte le polo shirt. Les six dernières années passées au sein de la boite ont été définitivement très enrichissantes et ce sera certes pénible de se séparer des collègues avec lesquels on a tissé des liens. Des liens d’amitiés solides qui dureront toute la vie. D’ailleurs, ça a déjà été difficile pour moi de me séparer de mon décodeur Canal+ et de l’abonnement toutes les chaines gratos, mais bon, j’y arriverai à m’y faire au fil du temps.

Je remercie sincèrement tout mon équipe pour la merveilleuse entente et le bon travail accompli ensemble. Et merci encore pour le farewell party emouvant de cet après-midi. Bonne continuation à tous!

Quant à moi, je suis prêt pour une nouvelle aventure… A +

Petite coïncidence : A ce qu’il parait, je suis un peu allergique à Ebène. J’avais démissionné de DCDM Consulting (désormais Agileum) à peine après le déménagement à Ebène et maintenant, je quitte Canal+ Contact (initialement Mediacall avant le rachat par le groupe) quelques mois après que la boite aménage nos locaux à Ebène.

Yashvinblogs Awards 2017

Ladies and gentlemen,

The whole team behind the most prestigious and most awaited awards of the Mauritian Web has the utmost pleasure to welcome you for the 6th consecutive year to our in-house awards ceremony, the Yashvinblogs Awards 2017. Held annually, this ultimate aim of this ceremony is to recognize the immense contribution of the various political personalities of the island in different fields and areas of expertise. Like each year, the members of the jury had a very tough time to go through the performances of all the nominees in order to pick up the best choice.

To avoid losing any more time, let’s announce the winners for the different categories :

Best Actor : Kalyan ( Movie : Erotism in Parliament – Visa X)

Best Actress : Ameenah mina ( Movie : Sobrino au paradis )

Best Actor in a comedy role : Anil ( Movie : Les dents de la mer  )

Best Actress in a comedy role : Nandinee ( Movie : Intervista di cotomilie donna in italia)

Best Actor in a supporting role : Etienne ( Movie : La tete touni)

Best Actress in a supporting role : Roubinaa ( Movie : Behind the bars)

Best Actor in a villain role : Roshi ( Movie : Le reveil des dinosaures de la 18eme )

Best Actress in a villain role : Maya ( Movie : Chaos in the parliament )

Best Shooting location : Belle Rose / Quatre Bornes

Most Promising new-comer Actor : Dhanraj ( Movie : Le reveil des dinosaures de la 18eme )

Most Promising new-comer Actress : Tania ( Movie : Le reveil des dinosaures de la 18eme )

Most awaited release : Tramway to Hell

Best Director : Pravind ( Movie : Premier Ministe Par L’imposte )

Best Song : Mo pas pu kilé ( Chanteur : Soudane)

Best Movie : Menteur Menteur

Best Dialogue : ” I order you out!” (Maya) / “Mo ti pou touye li” ( Soudane)

Best Profit-making : BetaMaxiProfit

Best Thriller : Bet365

Outstanding Performance : Arvind ( Movie : Le reveil des dinosaures de la 18eme )

Lifetime Achievement Award : Bhai Aneerood ( Movie : The Invisible Man)

A big round  of applause to all of the winners who have been entertaining the population even more since their live broadcast on the television, the Mauritius Beze Cass Coorporation.

Dear friends, that’s all for the awards ceremony. This year, we have the pleasure to provide you with snacks cooked in our La Cuisine : Samoussas, bajias and gato piments are available near the exit doors. For those who don’t want to get dirty with the oily cakes, high quality Essko biscuits can be found near Maya’s table. And before concluding, drivers taking alcoholic drinks, please get in touch with Thierrie et Boygaa for tips.

See you next year!

Take care!

Further reading :Yashvinblogs awards -> 2012201320142015 and 2016

Why is Ebene so over-rated?

Its been nearly 4 months since I’m back in Ebene after an office relocation from the capital of the island. Although it really suits me to be here for the time being for personal reasons, I still don’t understand the hype around this savagely-developed region. Many companies move over here for several reasons, including its strategic position at the center of the island, thus, easily accessible from all over the island. Also, the word “Ebene” gives a completely different perception when mentioned as a workplace. However, I have personally always considered Ebene as an industrial zone.

We can’t even use the term cyber because you can find a wide range of companies doing business here. Just to mention  a few : banks, loads of call centers, an eye clinic, a private university and of course, hundreds of software development companies. I also know a few companies which have moved their administrative offices over here.

Road infrastructure

With traffic jams at the entrance of the ‘city’ in the morning and again, traffic jams when leaving in the afternoon, the roads simply can’t handle so many vehicles. On top of that, we can be thankful that a good majority of companies work in shift systems and flexi-time or else, there would probably be a much greater flow of vehicles and people. Very often, especially in Fridays and also during heavy rainfall, the traffic simply comes to a stand-still.

The road infrastructure is a complete failure with the few roundabouts contributing to traffic jams, lack of pedestrian crossings and pavements alongside roads. Although the decision to connect the Terre Rouge Verdun road to Ebene has been a very good one, this has significantly increased the number of vehicles at that point. The different entry points in the region become bottlenecks during peak hours with a direct impact on other surrounding road networks and even, on the motorway. Without police officers regulating the traffic, many would start their day with a hell time in the traffic jam.

Parking

Although I could have mentioned the parking issue above, I believe that it really deserves a section. It is probably the biggest problem in the industrial zone. With buildings capable of hosting offices for thousands of people, only a portion of employees are eligible for parking spaces available, leaving thousands of vehicles parked on the roads which were never made to cater for parking areas. Despite road markings prohibiting people to park on a majority of the road network in Ebene, people simply have no other choice than leave their vehicles in those forbidden areas. Any unoccupied space is transformed to a parking space, whether on the road sides, on roundabouts, on pavements and even in remote regions surrounding the offices. With vehicles parked whenever possible, this savage parking is not only inconvenient but also dangerous for road users, including pedestrians.

The lack of (legal) parking space is not the only reason behind the daily headache for hundred of drivers. A simple look at the monthly parking fees can explain a lot of things. For instance, the lowest price I came across is Rs 1700 per month for a parking area located in a remote end of Ebene while parking spaces near buildings can cost up to Rs 3000 per month.

Food

 

Without (mostly illegal) food hawkers operating practically everywhere in the region, a large majority of people working in Ebene can probably starve to death since there’s only one commercial food court and a few smaller food courts in some of the buildings. At noon, you can easily find a large variety of food including dholl puris, stuffed bread, khebab, briani, fruit salads, boullettes among others. With probably no need to pay for any location, permits or extra expenses, hawkers are able to sell food at fair prices, thus encouraging people to buy food from the hawkers instead of food courts. Fortunately, I have witnessed good hygene around the people selling food but I wonder how many among them actually have a food handling certification and a hawker permit.

A tip :

Be careful when standing by your car’s trunk at noon :
People might think that you are selling food! And I am not joking!

What’s in for the future?

Despite the existing known problems faced, there’s no proper development plan for the region. While remaining scarce trees are being cut down, some parking areas will very soon disappear to make space for new buildings which are way much more profitable. Normally, there should be a multi-storey building for parking purposes but the project has been frozen for some political or administrative reason. This won’t change a big deal as monthly parking fees are constantly on the rise. New parking spaces will only allow more people to come in their vehicles if they can afford to pay the price.

Next, with no metro (tramway or whatever) station in this highly dense region, those choosing this transport medium will need to travel to and from the nearest station in Rose Hill by bus. For those planning to leave their cars in the dedicated car parking near those stations, as promised by the authorities, I wish all of you good luck! I personally don’t see any additional parking space there as Rose Hill already has a dense population with large number of vehicles flowing throughout the town..

To summarize : Ebene was never designed to accommodate so many offices and people. Ebene is just about you commuting to your work space, spend your day or night in your office and travel back to your home. No one cares how you travel to your office, park your vehicle, move to and from basic services, eat your lunch or find a few minutes to relax from the stressful industrial zone.

What’s next? Keep tuned to the blog for a personal announcement in some weeks…

#Dashcam : My first video of someone throwing trash outside a vehicle

As promised in my dashcam review back in April 2016, I have finally a video footage of someone throwing her litter outside a car’s window, as shown above. While driving from Rose Hill towards Ebene, I noticed the woman sitting in the rear left seat of the car throwing a piece of paper (which looked like toilet or tissue paper) outside of the window.

I immediately pressed the “lock” button on my dash cam so that this specific video is protected and saved in a different folder.

Some 100m away, the same passenger threw a second item, much larger than the first one. This time, I decided to take some action : I drove closer to the car and started horning madly.

Unaware of what was happening, the driver waived his hand at me as he thought that I wanted to overtake his vehicle and making unnecessarily noise at the same time. He also showed some signs of aggressiveness as he braked immediately. At that point of time, I guess that he literally meant :

“Ki to presser ta couyon, envoler!!!”

I then got even closer to his vehicle and shouted

“Ta macr*, sa fam derriere twa la p zette saleté par la fenetre”…

As shown in the video, he immediately turned towards his rear passenger to probably shout at her or to confirm what I just said. The man calmed down, steered his car slightly to the left and courteously showed me a thumbs up with his hand :

Sorry driver of the car Nissan Sunny EF 231, please educate your passengers next time.

I know that you are not to be blamed but I needed a video to post. Right?

Another similar video

It took more than one and a half year to capture someone red-handed with a solid video footage but however, my dashcam did witness another similar case back in August 2016 : Fortunately for the driver of the Hyundai 4527JU12, it was only a small plastic wrapping.

Dashcams to fight against indiscipline

As mentioned in my previous post about road accidents, the usage of dash cams can indeed make people more alert on the roads as they will  keep in mind that they are constantly being watched. Just like people automatically show an irreproachable behavior in the presence of the police, dash cams will contribute to making our roads safer too : No more overtaking on solid while lines, no more parking on  double yellow lines, no more vehicles taking wrong lanes in order to escape traffic.

Bref, less irresponsible drivers, less accidents. Isn’t this what we want?

And again, you don’t need to be a highly paid road security adviser to suggest such ideas!

How to reduce the number of accidents on our roads?

Welcome to the 1501th post 🙂

I am definitely not a road security adviser to the Prime Minister’s Office but when I come across articles whereby there are suggestions to decrease the speed limit to 30 km / hr in towns to reduce the number of accidents, that makes me ponder a lot about the efficiency of the people making decisions and providing (paid) advice… For indicative purposes, there have been already approximately 139 deaths caused by road accidents for the period Jan-November 2017 while for the same period in 2016, there were approximately 123 deaths.

According to me, here are some measures / actions to be taken to decrease number of accidents on our roads :

Enforce existing laws

I recently posted a video whereby a police officer only waived his hand at a driver who committed an offense. That was simply outrageous because just imagine if that specific police officer only waives his hand all day long! Is he really doing his job? I also wrote a blog article about this specific case which my dash cam recorded!

Another example : Just drive along the motorway. You will definitely come across a**holes continuously driving on the fast lane even though the other normal lanes are free. You don’t need to wear a police uniform to see that. I don’t feel that the police really give fine to these drivers.

Increase presence of the police force on our roads and specifically near night clubs!

Very often, we have noticed that the mere sight of a police officer completely changes the behavior of a driver (or any other person). For instance, police should not wait for the end of year celebration period to drive their specialized Alco-Test lorry on the roads or put frequent road checks in every corner of the street.

Just have a look at the number of accidents involving people on their way back from night clubs!

Review our road infrastructure

Sometimes, confusing road signs can lead to accidents. Authorities should also sanction people who damage the public infrastructure set up for the protection of the citizens.

Just take a look at those fencing along the motorway at Camp Chapelon. The number of accidents in that particular region hasn’t still discouraged people to use the 2 flyovers!

Incorrect location of bus stops, frequent malfunctions of certain road traffic lights, inadequate lightning are some areas of improvement in our existing road infrastructure.

Education

Electric Scooters

The authorities must constantly be close to the public, through the radio, TV shows, fairs, road shows and demos. On top of educating the population in general, a special attention should be given to cyclists and motorcycle drivers. I am aware that the police frequently organizes road blocks for motorcycles but there are still probably thousands of illegal motorcycles and riders on our roads.

The authorities should also regulate the use of electric scooters as very often, you can find kids driving them!

Reporting road infractions

Authorities should create a nation-wide campaign to encourage people to report road infractions. The citizen portal is a very good  platform whereby people can post such cases and the police should show that they are taking appropriate actions.

For example, encouraging the use of dash cams in vehicles can make drivers more discipline as they know that people are recording them.

Fighting against illegal racing and modification of vehicles

I don’t know about the present situation but there are definitely illegal racing along motorways and other roads such as the Triolet by-pass. In most cases, participants barely change a few pieces of their vehicles, without really having any technical knowledge or training for road-racing. Putting aggressive or rally-style stickers do not make you a rally driver nor makes your vehicle a sports car. Neither does changing your vehicle’s stock exhaust pipe to a noisy one transform your car or motorcycle into a racing vehicle. Far from that!

Taking this above specific example into consideration, there’s a hell lot of motorcycles with modified exhaust pipes creating enormous inconvenience to the ears.  I wonder when authorities will take appropriate actions against such owners.

Also, did you know that you need to inform the National Transport Authority if you bring any changes to your vehicle (For instance, color, engine, etc)?

Traffic jams make people rush!

This is a fact. When driving to work everyday, any minute lost in traffic jam is precious and very often, you need to catch up in order to reach on time. Of course, people can leave home earlier in order to reach their destination safer but very often, these unpredictable traffic jams make things worse.

Some traffic jams are unnecessary too, very often caused by bad planning or when ministers need to travel a specific area. Those travelling from the north to Port Louis know what I’m talking about!

I grab this opportunity to briefly mention the new daily hassle caused by the new deviation along the broken part of the Terre Rouge Verdun road. I heard that the first road deviation has now been replaced by another one on the other side of the road. The new road deviation (with loads of speed humps) is creating even more traffic jams since the past few days!

Further reading : My blog post on solving traffic jams.

You don’t need to be a road security adviser!

As you can see, I did not suggest to bring down the speed limits. Existing 50 km / hr or 60 km / hr in towns and villages are acceptable as long as

  • Drivers respect the speed limit, slow down near pedestrian crossings and follow other road indications
  • People use pedestrian crossings and pavements (where applicable)
  • Authorities install roadside rail guards to prevent people from walking on the roads
  • Police officers sanction road users when needed to prevent road accidents

Appointing new road advisers did not change anything in the number of fatalities on our roads this year. Instead, the number is dangerously increasing. However, if the authorities showed a strong determination to use their existing work-force to enforce existing laws and regulations, the number of accidents will automatically decrease…

Wish all of you a safe journey!

Cheers!

Things to know about sending your kid to kindergarten / preschool / garderie

 

Hello everyone!

If you are a big fan of the blog, you will probably remember the series of posts talking about “Parenthood“, namely with the articles about getting married, and then, getting pregnant and finally, the first days of parenthood. Following the same logic, I find that the next part of life is all about your kid stepping into the educational system. I am publishing this article today to share my experience acquired the past 3 months, ever since I’ve been sending my son to a kindergarten.

As usual, grab some pop-corn or chips if you want to read the rest of the article but if you haven’t come to this parenthood stage of life, please come back later 🙂

How do we call them exactly?

First of all, I need to point out something : There are different terms used in Mauritius and sometimes everything is mixed up. To put everything simple, we can talk about 2 categories :

  1. Nursery / Creche / Day-Care / Garderie
    Normally, you can find nearly new-born babies up to the age of 3 years old
  2. Kindergarten / Pre-primary school / Maternelle
    3 year old kids up to 5 year old kids (inclusive)

Some private institutions offer both of these 2 categories under one roof and depending on their internal organisation, the kids are further separated into classes based on their ages. You can for instance have a class with kids from 18 up to 21 months and another class with kids from 21 month up to 24 months.

Do I need to send my kid over there?

Now, you need to understand the cycle of life. You probably don’t remember the first time you got slapped because your were still a young kid but you definitely remember the different times of your adolescence life whereby you went against your parents decision to meet some friends or go to a specific place without their consent? Or perhaps, getting  married against their will?

Well, I have a bad news for you. Your ‘baby’ might make you go through some similar phases of parenthood too. This is to make you realize that you can’t keep your baby with you all the time. Sooner or later, you need to send your kid to school. Under the Mauritian educational system, in general, it starts with

  • Nursery / Creche / Kindergarten – From 0 months to 3 years
  • Pre-primary school – For a period of 2 years, normally from 4 to 5 years old (inclusive)
  • Primary school – For a period of 6 years, normally  from 6 to 11 years old (inclusive)
  • College – For a period of 7 years, normally  from 12 to 19 years old (inclusive)
  • University – Starts at the age of 19-20, for an indefinite period, depending on your desire to learn…

I have purposely not mentioned the new 9-year schooling system because I don’t know a shi*t about it and given the dirty political games in Mauritius, it won’t be a surprise if another government decides to do things differently.

When to send your kid to kindergarten?

Depending on the parents or your family configuration, the decision to send your kid to a kindergarten might largely vary. For working parents without any grand-parent support, it is very common for the baby to join a kindergarten as soon as the maternity leave is over, that is, at 3 months old. Although it does hurt to hear that, some parents go through this reality as none of them can afford to stay at home to look after the baby. However, some mothers sometimes take the tough decision to stay at home if this is financially possible.

Fortunately most young parents are able to keep the baby at home for longer period of time with the support of the grand-parents, whether maternal, paternal or both. Indeed, the latter can lend their extremely helpful hands and experience to the whole family and generally, this is the best thing you can do for your kid. But when at a certain point of time, you find your toddler getting bored at home alone (especially if he / she is the only kid around), I advise you to send him to some kindergarten. This will enable him / her to get some friends, interact with other people and also, develop his skills instead of playing with the same toys over and over again.

What to look for?

 

Once you take the decision to send your kid to kindergarten, you now need to choose one which suits your location, budget and expectations. You need to know that public government schools do not offer kindergarten facilities but some of them do have free pre-primary classes available.

Criteria to look for will definitely vary for each one of us. An in-exhaustive list which I can think of right now is

  • Reputation of the school
  • Ease of access to the location
  • School infrastructure, size and playground
  • Condition of classes
  • Hygiene in the classes and the surrounding environment
  • Price ( includes registration fees, monthly fees and other extra fees charged to the parent)
  • Ratio of students to teacher in  each class
  • Availability of services providing  lunch (optional breakfast, tea-time) to the kid
  • Extra facilities for leaving kid earlier and picking him up outside normal school hours
  • Activities during school holidays
  • Availability of school’s own van or any other third party

It is always a good thing to ask for advise from parents around you so that you know their own choice and experience. This allows you to gather information beforehand making a final decision.

How much does it cost?

 

As briefly mentioned above, there are different costs associated, especially when we talk about famous institutions.
Some of these fees are

  • One-time Registration fee
  • Monthly course fee
  • Annual insurance fee
  • Annual materials fee
  • Any extra activities fee ( for example, if there are swimming sessions, educational outings, or even if you need to pay for your child’s costume when he is participating in any school shows)

Please note that points mentioned might not be applicable to smaller kindergarten and pre-primary schools.

Now, things that I did not know :

  • The government pays the school a monthly fee of Rs 200 when you child reaches 3 years old. So, you will need to re-adjust your monthly fee in that case
  • The school might demand that standing orders should be made for payment of monthly fees
  • Registration fees for renown schools start from Rs 5, 000 up to Rs 15, 000!
  • Monthly fees can start as from Rs 1500 up to Rs 7000!
  • Insurance might be compulsory for all students (unless prior arrangement)
  • Materials fee varies from school but it might be equivalent to the monthly fee
  • School van owners might also ask for the payment of months during which the kid is not travelling.

The most surprising facts that I came across was :

(1) Although holidays might start the 31st October for example, parents are required to pay for the month of November and December. Yes, you pay for the school while the kid is at home. Some schools might even ask for the 13th month! They need to pay for their staff and make their normal profits, even when not working!

(2) Now, if you want to send your kid to the school during the holidays, you might be asked to pay for another fee, equivalent to the monthly fee, even though you are already paying for the normal monthly fee!

The first days might be tough for everyone

Imagine having to leave all your toys behind, the cuddles of everyone at home and be in a new environment whereby you have to follow rules, as instructed by someone you never saw before. I still think that this is not a pleasant experience but we have all gone through this. While some of us gladly get ready every morning to get to school, others might be more reluctant to go to school again.

When sending a kid to school, it is important that everyone in the house show their enthusiasm and encourage the child to go to school. Without a complete support of the family, some kids might show some fear every morning or even, simulate fake pains. Just like we did when we did not want to go to tuition  or college!

Not in the genes

Well, let me tell you, I am among those who absolutely hated going to school.

Just to give you an  idea :

At some point of time, my parents gave me my bath at night and I was put to bed, sometimes with my uniform. The next day, I had my breakfast and then put on a motorcycle or cycle which drove me to the pre-school. Later on, another person came to school with my  bag and lunch! I am not kidding!

Driving him to school has been an adventure every single day and sometimes the outcome was disastrous. I remember that I had once to hold him in my arms, besides the school premises to reassure him while he was constantly sobbing during 10 long minutes! If my car could speak, it will certainly complain about the number of vomits it has gone through. Sometimes, I had to drive back home to change his clothes or simply, drop him home and then, drive to office.

That’s why, I can’t blame my son for not loving school at the beginning.

Fortunately, this is now a thing of the past.

The choice is yours

 

Make sure to personally visit different schools before taking a decision. Don’t do anything in a haste because your kid will be spending his whole days there. Also, at the end of the day, you will be the one paying, so make sure that you can afford the school your kid will be going to. However, paying a huge sum of money to the school does not guarantee that your kid will be a laureate. Every kid has his / her own potential, thus working at his / her own pace. Some might be slow learners while others might grasp very quickly. So, never compare your child’s ability with his friends and expect the same learning curve.

Do not wait for him to start learning at school. Education starts at home and you should continually monitor your kid and meet teachers to ask for his progress regularly.

I hope that this post will be helpful to some of you. This said, I wonder if the next post in this “Parenthood” series will be about joining college or university. Only time will tell 🙂

Take care,

Cheers!

I tried the KFC Chizza…

Today, I tested the new KFC Chizza for you!

Well, while scrolling my Facebook news-feed this morning, I came across the KFC’s post about their new item, the KFC Chizza. The nearest KFC outlet being only 2 mins from my office, I drove directly there after work. I absolutely wanted to grab one, take some pictures, eat it and then write this blog post 🙂

As you can guess from its box, the Chizza (Chicken-Pizza) seems to be the KFC’s own version of the pizza. It consists of 2 pieces of chicken filet (the same you find in the KFC Boxmaster), each sliced into two smaller pieces and topped up with a mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, sweet peppers, and pineapple. Being a deep fried product, you can expect to see good amount of oil but it is definitely less oily than the Double Down launched some time ago.

My verdict

Much better than their last products such as the Double Down or the popcorn chicken, the KFC Chizza has better chances to win the heart of KFC and pizza lovers. However, the Rs199 price tag might make the product out of reach of students and other KFC fans who might prefer the Zinger Meal which also includes a drink and chips. Being a limited edition product, I think that the marketing strategy of KFC is to create a buzz around the product, make each and everyone buy at least one of them, without aiming to maintain the product on the shelf for a long period of time.

KFC Chizza is once again definitely something to try out. However, KFC totally ignored a fact when launching this product at this specific point of time. Many Hindus are actually fasting for the forthcoming Divali festival and in general, brands avoid launching new products during such periods.

Anyway, those who can’t have one right now, you can always catch up later on!

Cheers!