Chortau dashboard camera review

Hey people!

After using the A118 for nearly 2 years, I had to look for a new dash cam when I sold my previous car. One of the reasons why I did not want to remove the camera is that I had to remove back the wire running from the cam, across the top of the windshield and under the dashboard till the cigarette lighter. Hence the decision to go for another unit and a newer model. A hell lot of dash cam models are available on the (online) market and it can indeed take much time to go through them, read reviews and assess the pros and the cons. So, if you missed that dash cam introduction and review, do have a look here – Really important stuff that I won’t be discussing in this post.

Today’s post gonna give an overview of the Chortau (yeah, weird name) dash cam and also, the main additional feature to look for.

New dash cam feature – WiFi

When I started looking for a new dash cam, there was one additional criteria to look for : Built in WiFi connectivity in the dash cam. Plenty of new models now allow you to connect directly to the camera to view the clips, download, edit and share them through your mobile (iOS or Android). That’s pretty cool stuff as you don’t need to remove the memory cards or the dash cam itself to copy the videos to your computer. You can still do that if you have to copy the whole set of video clips on the external memory card.

Whenever I have to copy a video, I need to switch on the WiFi on the dash cam, open my mobile app, browse through the cam’s video gallery, select the clip and click the download button.

Overview of the Chortau dash camera

Having a similar wedge form factor as the A118 / B40, the camera is barely visible from the outside and also from the inside since it is well hidden and concealed behind the rear-view mirror.

Other features are quite standard ones, namely:

  • Video : 1080p
  • Photo : 12 MP
  • Sony IMX323 Sensor
  • Novatek
  • Wide angle view (170°)
  • 2 inch screen
  • G Sensor
  • Built in battery
  • and of course, WiFi connectivity

Photo gallery

Points I like :

  • Video quality is very good during the day as well as at night
  • The camera also allows you to zoom in / out so that when you can have the optimal area to record in case your dashboard is largely visible in the video footage.
  • You can switch off the camera’s display screen so that it does not distract you when driving. Very practical feature : My screen is always off.
  • You get 2 extra 3M stickers for the plate which needs to be fixed on the windshield
  • You get a tool (the blue one) to easily install the wiring

I have been using this Chortau dash cam for the past 6 months now and I’m pretty much satisfied despite the areas of improvement mentioned below

Points I don’t like :

  1. WiFi speed
    It literally take ages to download a clip through the WiFi. A 300mb video can take more than 5 minutes
  2. Recording while connected to mobile
    When the camera is connected to your mobile while you are downloading a clip, the camera stops recording. So, you might miss important things.
  3. No emergency lock button
    Unlike the A118 model I owned previously, this Chortau unit does not have a dedicated lock function whereby you can instantly prevent mark a clip so that the camera does not overwrite a specific footage. This lock feature also normally moves that video in another folder. I miss this feature!

Installing the dash cam

No need to look for a technician to install the dash cam. You just stick the camera’s holding plate using the provided 3M sticker glue and then, you run the wire from the camera to your cigarette lighter. So, no wire will be hanging around since it will be neatly hidden on the edge of the windscreen and below your dashboard. It might just take some 15-30 minutes to get this job done.

Built in battery?

Yes, you read it right. I had carefully chosen my previous dash cam because it had a capacitor instead of a battery. This normally means that camera stays on for a few seconds when disconnected from power but the advantage is that the camera should last longer since it doesn’t have a battery whose performance will deteriorate over time. The Chortau’s product specification does mention a lithium battery but strangely, it lasts only a few seconds, just like a camera with a capacitor.

When I reached out the email support recently to clarify this point, they did confirm presence of a battery but of very small capacity.

Video samples

You can watch a short sample file with day and night recordings here :

Photo Sample

Despite that a dash cam’s function is rarely used for taking pictures, nevertheless, here is a sample of picture shot :

My real struggle

I may sound silly but I really struggled with the dash cam for several months.

Going to the menus was really a pain as the menu button did not work. I repeatedly had to use that button for several times, and press everything else before being able to go to those menu to switch on the WiFi or change settings. I even contacted the seller who told me that he does not have such problems and it might probably be a humidity issue.

Then, exactly 2 weeks back, I got in touch with support to figure out if there was an issue. Well, they replied back to tell me that you first need to press the “Ok” button to stop the recording and then, press the “Menu” button to go to those screens. And you know what? It worked! I was like… so stupid for months!

The mobile application

Depending on dash cam models, you might need to use specific free apps in order to connect to the device. This information is normally available in the user manual. I did try numerous apps but none other work except the one specified. This Chortau model connects to an app called RoadCam.

Screenshots of the app :

 

Summing up

Now that I have gone quickly through the main features of the Chortau dashboard camera and also, the dedicated iOS / Android app, RoadCam, it is now time to give a final verdict. Overall, I like the camera despite it lacks the emergency lock button. WiFi speed is also an issue but at the end of the day, it does the job slowly. I guess that we cannot expect much from such devices. I would love to review or get feedback from another similar dashcam with WiFi connectivity. I did not experienced any lag while going through the camera’s menu or even in the mobile RoadCam application. I also loved the responsiveness of the Chortau support through email. They reply to all queries and they are very helpful to clear any doubts you may have regarding the camera.

I did not mention the price yet. I paid the unit GBP 50 + GBP 18, amounting to a total of GBP 68 (Approximately Rs 3200). And it took less than 2 weeks to be delivered after being shipped from the Great Britain. FYI, I paid around $70 for my previous camera 2 years back. I just hope that this Chortau unit will last for some time and it won’t disappoint me.

That’s all for today.

Bye 🙂

 

 

A guide to become lazy with wifi-enabled switches

As promised a few days back, here’s the post which I wanted to write since quite some time.

While browsing on AliExpress several months back for some timer-based lights, I stumbled upon some interesting wifi-enabled switches which allows you to control your lights and any other electrical devices differently. On top of being able to control them from anywhere through the internet, you can easily create schedules to switch them on / off, set repeated timers and even use them through remote controls.

This also means that you don’t need to get off your sofa to switch a light on or off. No need to run to switch off your oven when you feel the burning smell. Seriously, you can do more than that.

That sounded really exciting and I started to look for similar switches on the net. One brand which was constantly popping up in search results was SONOFF. There was a good set of positive feedback around the brand commercialized by a Shenzhen based company named ITEAD.

Range of products

Their official web site gives a very good overview of the different type of devices they sell, ranging from the basic wifi switch up to temperature and humidity sensors or even a bridge device allowing you to register remote control patterns so that the device is able to “mimic” them and make them controllable through internet.

 

Always connected to your wifi router, each of these products communicate constantly to an Amazon cloud server to provide an update of their states and also, to receive instructions to switch on / off according to your planned schedules or whenever you use the dedicated app to switch them. These devices also get firmware updates and installation is done through a single button.

On the basic Sonoff switch and on the light touch switches, there’s a led light which provides feedback on the connectivity state of the device. The light touch switches also have additional led lights corresponding to each light connected. At night, you only have to follow the light… to your switch 🙂

Prices?

 

 

Although you can purchase them through eBay, I prefer going through AliExpress since Sonoff have their official store. Also, watch out for frequent promotional offers. For indicative purposes:

  • Basic Switch – $7 ~ Rs 240
    You can install this switch before or after absolutely any other switch or appliance to control electricity flow.
  • 3 Gang Touch (UK) – $30 ~ Rs 1, 000
    Used to replace any existing typical light switches we have in our homes in Mauritius. Each gang controls 1 light.
  • Remote control (433 Mhz) –  $6 – Rs 200
    You can program a remote control for up to 4 different lights

And yes, if you are planning to buy the touch switch to replace your existing light switch, go for the UK version one. It perfectly suits the existing base you have at home.

A step towards making your home intelligent

 

I have already purchased and installed several of their 3-gang light switches and Sonoff Basic devices, all configured to work over the internet and through remote controls. Working flawlessly for the past months, I’m pretty much satisfied with this concept which easily makes your home more intelligent through

  • Automatic switching of lights at specific times and days
  • Triggering other lights / switches automatically when a specific light is switched on or off
  • Use of sensors to trigger events (Yet to experiment on my side)

A quick guide to install the switches

Depending on what you have purchased, installation will vary but generally, the devices are quite easy to install. For instance, a socket is just plug and play and you should be able to configure it without getting your hands dirty. For other switches, generally, you will need:

  • Time
  • Patience
  • Being able to identify colors in wires
  • Basic electrical knowledge
  • An Android / iOS mobile
  • A wifi internet access and password
  • Finally, some simple tools (screw driver, knife and a hammer in case things do now work correctly)

For example, here’s a shot of a normal 3 gang by a Sonoff 3 gang touch (UK version);

And here’s a Sonoff Basic placed just before a 3 gang switch. So, I’m able to control electricity input to the switch and any physical switch in the “on” position will be switched on / off through a single Sonoff Basic device:

The EWeLink mobile app

Freely available on Android and iOS, the app allows you to register your devices and hence control them from anywhere, as long as you have an internet connection. You can also share your devices to anyone as long as they have a EWeLink account.

The screenshots below will give you a better idea of what to expect.

Other ways of controlling the devices

Google Home and Alexa are 2 additional ways you can easily switch your lights but I can’t test yet.

It is too bad that Siri can’t do that yet natively but it can be achieved using the IFTTT and iOS Shortcut app as per screenshots below

Thanks to Jason who shared a tutorial showing the steps above. Now, it is even more fun.

Just imagine saying

“Siri, switch on the front lights”….

You can replace Siri with Google or Alexa but remember, I’m nearly an Apple fan boy now…

What happens if they unplug their server one day?

I did ask myself this question too…

As mentioned earlier, each of the Sonoff devices are connected to an Amazon cloud server.  So, what if the server is pulled down or the Sonoff company stops providing this service? Well, your devices will still work through their own switches and also through their remotes.

Now, if you are a geek, this will definitely make things more exciting… No need to wait for the server to go down. You can take control of the devices by flashing it and also, doing simple api requests. This opens endless possibilities of doing things…

And what happens if you don’t have electricity?

Huh. You can’t switch on lights without electricity dude!

Silly question!

What’s next?

Before ending this post, it is worth mentioning that there are several other brands doing the same thing or even more. It is your money. You do whatever you want. The choice is yours. As for future plans, I’m very tempted to purchase the bridging device and also the colored led strip lights. And if ever I get bored for some days, I might try to control the devices directly without going through the AWS server.

So, keep tuned to this blog for more updates.

Ciaow…

 

Here ends 2018

2018 has been a very unique year.

Just to quote a few : Taking up a new job with its new challenges, unmasking manager sending anonymous mail, establishing trust and faith among team members, moving to Highlands and surviving our first winter months in the cold and rainy weather, travelling to Johanesburg twice. To make the list even longer, I can also add: office relocation, house renovations, selling the Kia and purchasing another car, two office annual / end of year parties. Lastly, I can’t forget to mention: my dad passing away. As you can imagine, it has been hectic all throughout the whole year. I never took so many critical decisions in a single year.

Unfortunately, the passion for blogging has also been neglected with barely a dozen of posts written during the year. I can blame so many things but at the end, I did not invest myself enough into this activity. Same for taking appropriate steps to maintain a healthy life.  I won’t lie to myself by promising to do better next year but I sincerely hope for a better 2019, not for just myself but for everyone around me.

Along with Dhaneesha and my two sons Dhanvin and Divyansh, I wish all of you a merry xmas and happy new year 2019.

Bless you and your family,

Long live Mauritius!

Cheers,

Yashvin

Anou faire rallye

Avant mo commence mo l’article, anou presente bane figurants dans video ki l’express ine poster :

Sa video la ine faire 1 vraie buzz depi ki li fine poster lo facebook, alors nu bisin remercier sa dimoune la. Sans li, l’ampleur de sa cas la pas ti pu aussi enorme.

Policiers victime d’aggressions

Sa caporal la, c’est pas sel policier ki fine gagne batter. Boukoup lezot ine passe par sa.

Par exemple, imper l’annees de cela, mo loto ti involved dans 1 hit and run, kot 1 policier ti blesser kant p essaye arrete soffer lot machine la. Et lerla, ti met 1 case contre boug la akoz line blesse ene policier pendant so duty. Lire l’article la.

Seki sa solidaritĂ© montrer azordi, c’est aussi ki morisiens pas envie bane la gueles sales kouma sa bane kakes lik* la lo nu simer. Zot 1 danger publik et la polis bisin renforcit zot presence lo simer pu decourage bane rallye illegale. Imagine zot, si sa figir kakes f*sse la ti gagne accrochage r 1 membre publique, b longtemps li batte dimoune la, et consequence pas ti pu pareille. Li ti pu zis ene cas kouma lezot.

Aussi, nu membre publique

Recemment, ene nageur professionel ine passe par sa situation la pres r Jumbo Phoenix. Ene soffer van lecol ine aggresse li ziska disang couler. Malheuresement, pas ti ena videos pu temoigner et dimoune ine fini blier tout. [Lire lo 5Plus.]. Malheuresement, zot tous p nek focalise lo cas sa caporal goodlands la.

 

Rallye illegale fini lo pilone camera excess

Aussi, c’est pas premier fois ki p faire rallye illegal lo nu chemin. Mo encore rappel ene cas kot 1 motocyclette ti batte r bordure chemin et fine truv la mort parti Camp Chapelon, Pailles. C’etait 11 Janvier 2012.

Rallye illegale vs Motards la police

Et tres recemment, En juilliet 2017, ene adolescent accuse bane motards la police d’aggression kant sa bane derniers la ine barre zot la route akoz zot ti p faire rallye illegale lo Ring Road, Pailles. Article ici.

Responsabilités parents? Vo mieux pas kozer. Dans cas ring road, papa la dir, li ti p dormi kant so piti ine prend so moto.

Bane lezot ti bases seryer…

Et pas bisin to ene policier pu remarque bane rallyes illegales. Terre Rouge Verdun, Jin Fei, Bypass Triolet – Ironiquement, pas manque bon chemins dans moris… [Foto defimedia]

La loi?

Ki sentence maximale ki sa piti la cpv gagner? Mo pas truv personne ine koze sa ziska lere, meme pas la gazette. 1 mois prison? 2 mois? 6 mois? Sa montrer ki la loi pas severe ditout.

Update : Max Rs25000 l’amende et ziska 2 ans prison si charged under section 159 of Criminal Code : Assaulting a police officer in the lawful execution of his duty.

Nimporte ki sane la permette zot al attaque policiers kant zot senti zot en groupe.

Policiers, malgres zot uniformes, zot bisin subir bane consequences.

Sa bane pitis ki p faire l’actualitĂ©s la, zot bien koner ki zot fine faire. Batte policier, al craze so lakaaz et lotos… Sa zis montrer 1 sel zaffaire. Zot pena leducation ki bisin. Sorry mo servi sa bane mots la, mais guet zot la guele fini truver ki zot pas eduquer…. [Photo]

Solutions?

  • Dans l’immediat, si vraiememe autoritĂ©s ti decide met fin Ă  bane pratiques similaires, zot nek ena pu poster zot unitĂ©s dans sa bane lendroits la place avoye zot veille metro leger.
  • La piste rallye? Mais eski sa pu solve probleme la? Personnellement mo pas croire. Sa bane la piste la, c’est bane chauffers amateurs, bien equipĂ©es et en regles ki pu servi sa. Bane kakes lik*, kouma mone appelle zot, zot sirement pena meme license pu roule sa bane mobillettes modifiĂ©es la.
    Zot nissa, c’est zot envie roule vite entre zot lo simer, pas dans 1 la piste rallye.
  • Eski bane policiers suffisamment equippĂ©s pu gere bane cas koume sa? Et si sa vilain la guele la ti tire 1 fizi, ki policier la sipposer faire? Gallouper?
  • Faire la loi pli severe? Oui, li forme partie 1 moyen pu decourage bane kk lik*s faire rallyes mais li pas pu resoudre probleme la.

Bon, mo envie mentionne ene zaffaire. Kant ene dimoune ena 1 loto tuned avec so bane gros stickers etc, pas veut dir li gagne droit declare mari lo simin. Seki rappel, ene fois, ti ena ene rallye pu emission MBC Infozen, et kot ene machine avec numero J 2222 ti p prend li pu mari et kot bane motocyclettes ti p prend zot pu motard la polis et arrete loto au milieu simin  pu laisse rallye passer.

Education ! Education ! Education !

Sa ki manquer dans nu sociĂ©tĂ©… Nu system ena boukoup manquements.

Mo pas p denigrer tout dimounes mais parfois kant mo truv 1 soffer taxi, van ou camion p faire zig zag lo simin, p foncer pu rente devant moi, mo calmer mo meme par dir 1 sel pharse :

Si azordi to ti eduqué, to pas ti pu conduire 1 taxi, van ou camion!

Sorry encore 1 fois, mo pas p vise tout soffer van ou camions mais sa evite mwa desan pu al batte dimounes! Et sa solution la marser!

Mo croire poste la imper long, mais mo ti pu dir zot ki mo bien pisse r zot mais comme mo ena ene bon education, mo prefer dir li en anglais: f*ck you! 😛

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!

 

#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 saletĂ© 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!

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!

 

Hundred of passengers trapped in Metro on the first inauguration day

Don’t worry.

We are not talking about Mauritius! 

You probably did not come across this news yesterday and I haven’t seen anyone talking about this neither in my Facebook news feed. I will briefly go through this unexpected incident which will definitely remain in the memories of people. On the first inaugural day of the brand new Metro service in Lucknow, India, approximately hundred persons were trapped inside the second train because of a technical glitch.

This left the people without lights and air-conditioning in the train for about one and a half hour till the arrival of the maintenance team. This caused quite a chaos : people were sick, children and elders were very uncomfortable, some missed their flights. They were eventually evacuated through the emergency door and from what I read, some of them had to walk half a kilometer to reach the next station.

 

Some facts

Now a bit about the Lucknow’s metro service :

  • The first phase of the metro, known as the “Priority Corridor” or LKCC-01, was inaugurated yesterday.
  • The “Priority Corridor” is of a length of 8.5 km while the total planned metro service is of a total of 22kms.
  • The metro will be available from 6am to 10pm everyday
  • Construction started in September 2014 and first trial run was done in December 2016
  • Larsen & Toubro was selected for civil works while the same company has been awarded the construction of further 1 km extension from Transport Nagar station to the proposed Amausi station (LKCC-XX)

That’s all…

Before ending this post, I found an interesting sentence concerning L&T on the Mauritian Metro Express project ( indiatimes.com, dated 2 August 2017) :

“Although the project is scheduled to be completed in 48 months, L&T commits to complete and deliver a priority section of 13 km in 24 months”.

Nothing more to say. Just Google if you want to know more!

Source : indianexpress.com, themetrorailguy.com, thehindubusinessline.com, timesofindia.com,

Best “mine bouille” in town
 euh
 Mauritius

Hi!

I have definitely not eaten every “mine bouille” (boiled noodles) in every snack or restaurant of the island but many of my facebook friends / followers definitely envy me each time I post the pics of noodles from one of my fav snacks in Port Louis. Probably you will too.

Situated in China Town, just a few meters from the burnt game-house named l’Amicale, “Le Pain Maison” is a small snack where you can order noodles (fried / boiled) or stuffed bread along with a choice of fillings at a very affordable price. I especially love the “mine bouille” because they truly have a unique taste and look.

Some shots to water your mouth :

 

Choice of fillings

Among the different menus (fillings) available, you can get the following : Poulet chassive, poulet au miel, sauté poulet, sauté boeuf, oeuf, poulet au tamarin and for vegs : sauté legumes avec teokon.

Some tips :

  • Don’t go there in a big group as there are only around 4-5 “stools”.
  • Girls, you might probably choose not to wear mini-skirts too.
  • And please, when you have finished eating, don’t just sit there and start gossiping. Pay your bill and walk out as other people might be waiting to have lunch.

I should thank A.B for bringing me there for the first time nearly 3 years back (Thanks again Facebook for keeping track of this day). Ever since, I regularly drop in to have a big portion of mine bouille along with some chicken fillings and an egg omelette. And I regularly bring along colleagues / friends there. I have also stopped counting the number of times I have to give directions (or post google maps) to indicate the location of the snack!

To give you an indication of the price you might pay :

Mine Bouille + Chop Soy Poulet + Poulet Chassive + Coca = Rs 100

Map :

Google maps link : https://goo.gl/maps/yWm3uNiezJw

btw, “Le Pain Maison” is open on saturdays too.

Mine bouille saumon gros pois

There’s another place which is worth mentioning too if you want to taste the famous mix “mine bouille saumon gros pois”. Just drive to the back of Champs de Mars (besides the post office) and you will notice the small Green snack on which you can see the words “Tico” and some newspapers hanging along a rope.

Don’t be afraid of the owner Tico or his assistant. Just place your order, grab your noodles / halim and sit on the bench or the side of the street. However, if you are fussy about food, this place might not be for you.

To give you an indication of the price you might pay :

An halim + a mine bouille saumon gros pois for less than Rs100

Map :

Google maps link : https://goo.gl/maps/HREznVeM9Mo

Other “best in town” series :

For those who wish to eat “boulettes”, have a look at my post here and for the best “halim”, head over to this page.

Bon appetit !

Public holidays 2018 for Mauritius

Hi everyone!

As reported in the press late this evening, the list of public holidays for year 2018 has been approved and the list goes as follows :


Interesting facts :

  • Only 2 public holidays will fall on weekends
  • 2 consecutive public holidays for the 31st Jan and 1st Feb.
  • 3 public holidays during the short month of February
  • Many possibilities to have long planned weekends for those who love to “faire pont

Wish you a very good weekend and enjoy yourselves with your close ones,

Cheers!