My Mauritian Experience

My visit to Mauritius was uneventful to put it simply. I just went there and did what I supposed to do and came back. Didn’t get a chance to wander around, as I spent almost all my time working.

I was able to over the area that I had to cover on this project in a day and spent another 2 days writing up the spec for it, I spent more than a week understanding the whole project including the parts that our partner company was doing. Then I spent a few days preparing the final documents, formatting them and proof reading them voluntarily, as I had nothing much else to do.

I could have spent this time exploring Mauritius but I didn’t do so for a couple of reasons. First, I didn’t think it would be nice of me to be exploring the place when the others were hard at work. Second, I didn’t feel like exploring all by myself. If Lushi was around I would have been more than happy to wander around with her. But not all by my self.

Then there is nothing much to explore in Mauritius. Coming from Sri Lanka you get plenty of beaches and sea sports over there. So I was not so thrilled about spending time on a beach. There is not much of wild life to speak about there. None I think, I didn’t see any literature promoting wild life tourism. There were not many historically significant places to visit. Nothing spectacular to see.

Work-wise I think the trip was very successful. I clearly defined the scope of the modules that we are to deliver. There were some fancy requirements, but I managed to define them clearly and to bring them within the scope of our existing product. This reduced the amount of work we have to do significantly. The time I spent understanding the whole business process of the customer and out partners product will help significantly when our two products have to be integrated.

Coming on this trip by myself and handling the client and two partner companies that we are working with, one in Mauritius and and the other in Sri Lanka was a good confidence booster for me. Also I think I built a good rapport with your partners, about whom I was skeptical at first will help me in the long run on this project. And to top it all off, I think I worked with some really awesome people, and forged a few friendships that will last a long time. So from a human angle it was a good trip.

I like doing this kind of work. And I would actually do this kind of a job readily of not for the fact that I miss home like crazy when I am away. I missed Lushi and Dinara to the point where I felt like dropping everything and going home. Dinara specially had made some significant progress while I was away. I am now impatient to go back home to them. I just have to hang on a bit more for that!

PS: I wrote this post while waiting for my flight out of Mauritius at teh waiting lounge of the SSR Airport. But since there was no Internet connectivity I could not post it. And I had totally forgotten about it. But in any case I am editing the timestamp to reflect the date it was written

Mauritian travel update 2 – Visit to Ile Aux Cerfs

My only sight seeing in Mauritius happened on the 9th September Sunday, when I traveled up to Ile Aux Cerfs to visit an island and to do para-sailing. I was staying in Port Louise and Ile Aux Cerfs is on the east of the island. But the journey didn’t take more than an hour and a half! Not all of it on highways either. Most of it was on normal single lane roads, but I guess it is the beauty of a small island with less traffic on the roads.

Ile Aux Cerfs is an island off the coast, which is about a 10 minute ride on a slow boat. On a speed boat it will be less than 5 minutes. We were supposed to go on a speed boat, but by the time we got to the jetty, all speed boats were gone and had to settle for a slow boat.

Ile Aux Cerfs is a beautiful small island which is nested between a few more islands. The other islands are either private islands belonging to hotels or inhabitant, Ile Aux Cerfs is maintained as a public location with excellent infrastructure for tourists both local and foreign on-site. It is also a hub of activity to go para-sailing as well as other water sports. Well I didn’t see anyone doing jet skiing or water skiing, para-sailing seems to be the popular activity. Then there are activities like banana boat rides and the like and excursions to the nearby islands. Then there’s a mini golf course on the island.

What thrilled me most was the para-sailing part. Basically, they take you to a platform on the sea, and there they hook a parachute on to you. The parachute is tied to a boat and the boat takes off and you take off to the sky. Just like a fighter jet takes off from a carrier craft! then they take you on a round, then the boat slows down, gently landing you to the water. As you touch the water and dip your feet into the water, the boat takes off taking you up with the parachute. Then the boat takes you around the platform and gently lands you on the platform itself! No need to swim, unless something goes wrong!

It was first experience I had with parachuting. And it was a thrilling experience. Well, at least with that, my Mauritius trip was not all work! Thank god!

PS:  Thanks Nirmal for finding out about Ile Aux Cerfs and organizing the trip. And thank you Shailendra and his friend, for taking us there and also for carrying out all the negotiations on behalf of us!

Mauritius Travel Update – 1

It’s been a week since I landed in Mauritius. I have been in Port Louis since the day that I landed here.

I have heard that this is one of the most beautiful places on earth. But since I have been stuck in Port Louis, I haven’t had a chance to go out to the beaches or to see the country. My typical day has been confined to my hotel room, restaurant (for breakfast), to the office (office of our partner company) which is down the street about a 150 meters and the clients office which is about a 5 minutes walk from my hotel and the office.

I had walked about the surrounding areas to the office and the clients’ office during lunch time, in search of lunch. But since people here take very quick lunch breaks, these wanderings have been confined to areas that you can cover in about 30 minutes.

Apart from these places I had been to the harbor front, last Sunday. It was a nice place, especially, in Sri Lanka the harbor front is out of bounds for civilians for security reasons. Sipping a coffee at the harbor front, made me realize the value of peace. If peace prevailed back home, we could have had the opportunity to have a coffee at the harbor front on a Sunday evening.

From what I have heard, Port Louis is not a safe place after dark. I was strictly advised to not to wander out on my own after the sun sets off. So for every day of the last week, since I was working till pretty late, I was dropped back to my hotel in a cab although it was just a two minute walk. This basically ruled out me ever going out of the hotel after I came in.

And the other thing is Port Louis shuts off after 5.30 PM, as a town. Shops and offices close and around 6.00 – 6.30, you hardly find any people on the roads. I think people just retire to their homes. Good for the citizens, the whole country has a pretty good setup for a work life balance. But for a visitor, this rules out any activity after 6.30 PM. There is no active and vibrant night life as such. Maybe on the beach resorts things may be happening late into the night. Since I am not a night clubbing kind of a person, I have no options. I hear the only place that is open till late is the harbor front.

There are only three TV channels. And I have not managed to find a good English program on either of them. They are either in French, Creole or Hindi/Tamil. The hotel room has no cable TV, so there’s nothing on TV to watch.

Even on a Sunday, its the same scene. I want to go out for lunch, but I think my only option is the harbor front. Not that I mind though, its a nice view. Food seems all right. You have the choice of quite a few cafes / restaurants. Food is slightly expensive though. But its better than the food at the hotel.