Got lost while Hiking in the Gorges of Mauritius
July 28, 2019
The experience of finding your way back…
My buddy and I got lost on the Trochetia trail while hiking in the beautiful Gorges National park of Mauritius. What was supposed to take us only 30mins to reach the Gorges viewpoint, a short walk literally from the right of the Parakeet trail to the left towards the Gorges viewpoint, ended up in a several hours tough bush walk, with crouching through a wild boar tunnel, climbing big rocks, squeezing through branches, sometimes close like bushwhacking while figuring our way back. Our plan was to hike till the peak of Piton de la Petite Riviere Noire and from there continue on till the parking area in the Gorges. From there we would then walk back up the Parakeet trail and reach the car.
This experience, was an intense one, with many lessons to take home, and ways of looking at how one-selves copes in team under stress and fear. Everything changes when you don’t have a laid out track ahead of you, and you find yourself in unknown risky terrain with cliffs.
On this day, I had for the first time installed the Wikiloc app on my phone to record our hike, so this whole hike, including the part where we got lost is recorded. Before you come to conclusions wondering how could we still loose our path even though we had a GPS on the phone, we only figured out a while later when we started to get stuck that our predicament has been sealed… We also got lost, because at first we thought, we were still on track… see how you can fool yourself with over confidence. We also thought that it’s logically going to be easy to connect with where we were aiming for, because we kind of logically knew, if we were on the correct path, it should have been easy…Continue Reading
How to make your WordPress blog GDPR compliant with a plugin
July 9, 2019
It took me several days to make my self hosted blog, which runs on the CMS based on WordPress, GDPR compliant. I’m sure, that I’m not the only one, who had to go through this and I’ve decided to write this article to help you and save you some time! And maybe headaches 🙂
In this article I will not detail what GDPR exactly is, for this, there is enough documentation out there, click on this link where you can read more about the huge topic of GDPR. We will more look at what you have to do (plugin wise), to make your blog GDPR compliant. Just keep in mind that this article is not any form of legal advise and that I do not cover how to make your privacy statement! The plugin that I will recommend, offers an option to generate a privacy statement in its paid version. For my use, the free options are sufficient and I made my own privacy statement.
How to import your bank statement from MCB into GnuCash
June 18, 2019
GnuCash is a great open source program that you can download for free to do double entry bookkeeping with on your PC or Laptop. It’s fairly easy to use and I also like how easy it is to create various accounts and sub accounts for various categories of your assets, incomes and expenditures. Some basic accounting knowledge will be a plus. Else you can easily get into it by following some tutorials. The GnuCash community is also very helpful, they are accessible via an online forum.
In this article I will write about how you can import your bank statements from MCB (Mauritius Commercial Bank) into GnuCash. This tutorial is meant more for those that already use GnuCash. It is not an introduction into how to use GnuCash from scratch. There are some good resources out there for that on the GnuCash Wiki and forum to begin with. Am also writing this article because in the past I never considered the option of doing a bank statement import and used to do it manually. The copy and paste method, which is quite time consuming!
Fixing cracks on the terrace and servicing the metal roof in Mauritius
June 10, 2019
Now that we are done with the roof, we are moving to the next project which is to fix cracks on the terrace and then service the metal roof to protect it from rust as well as clean it.
The terrace that we will work on, is a part of the whole terrace at the back of the apartment, we will not be working on the whole surface of the whole terrace. Part of the terrace was covered with an additional layer of concrete. However when this job was done, no metal was used nor any membranes which would have probably led to less cracks. I didn’t know that back then, else I could have made suggestions to the mason. Also, new concrete is difficult to make it stick on old concrete directly which I also didn’t know. At any house or family in Mauritius, it would always be good to have someone in the family or a contact for a second advise/opinion and also to pay close attention to what is being done. You or someone must always watch and at least in regular intervals.
If you don’t really know how things at least a little bit should be done, you will in many cases get work delivered that might have a lot of faults. Also, never take the first suggestion provided, always look for a few different solutions to get a problem fixed, especially when the first suggestion always is: Bizin Kass BETON! I constantly hear that from persons I have worked with, and what it means in Kreol is, we must break some concrete to solve the problem – in many cases there have been solutions that didn’t involve the need to break off any concrete. Just my 2c for some hard learned lessons! Please share with me your experiences too in the comments section.
IUGO Apartment & Studio Renovation & Makeover Project
September 16, 2016
IUGO is a term I coined some years ago which I have decided to use for the 2 units that I renovated and redesigned over these last 2 years. The main work has been done on the first floor where those 2 units are located, there is an apartment composed of 1 bedroom, 1 kitchen, 1 bathroom and a big terrace. Then there is the studio which is composed of all in one, 1 bedroom, kitchenette and bathroom with access to a balcony. I was procrastinating the makeover project for various reasons and years, on one side I knew it was going to be a lot of work and then I hadn’t yet met the right persons with whom I could do the artworks, so for several years (it wasn’t a priority as well) it remained a project in the back of the head. You know how it goes with lots of ideas and projects… only some will see the light and not all of them. …Until someday while I was swimming in the lagoon a guy from the neighbourhood approached me and told me he is an artist and he can do various kinds of art work jobs. I asked him for his credentials, checked his Facebook page of previous artworks that he had done and it all looked very promising – exactly what I was looking for!
Little did I and him know then that we would end up collaborating soon going to be 2 years! The main makeover project took a year to complete, it’s a never ending thing where I keep adding new things from time to time. From doing art works on the wall, wood sculpting, paint works, spray works on drums we have already reached like +10 projects. In this way project IUGO is quite unique as it didn’t only involve repainting the walls but giving it all an artistic touch. You will see below from the photos. Since I keep making changes from time to time, I might have to re-update the photos in the future. It keeps getting better! At least you’ll get an idea what we have been up to!
Selling Authentic Mauritius
September 13, 2016
It was once or still isn’t a requirement for Mauritius to be authentic in the sense of what people relate to when this term is mentioned which also requires a definition! The island was who it was or still is who it is… with a changed landscape and personality, I wasn’t around yet in the sixties or seventies but I was there to experience Mauritius in the eighties. And as of today, in 2016, Mauritius definitely has changed a lot in comparison to the eighties, but what makes it authentic? It can’t be unauthentic or a copy anyway – all countries more or less head somewhere and cannot keep the status quo…
However I would have never paid much attention to authenticity until I was in Rodrigues and also noticed that some resorts like Zilwa Attitude (in Mauritius) are including in their premises a series of activities/presentations which reflect how certain things are/were done in Mauritius – that is showcasing a few authentic characteristics of the island to the visitor, though when we live our daily lives with its busy-ness on the island, you get into a routine and the years go by until someone from abroad knocks on your door and asks you numerous questions about the island and why they came to visit Mauritius…
A simple way to reduce your cars maintenance costs and other engines
September 12, 2016
By the moment you might be reading this we will most likely be breaking the barrier of 500 000 registered vehicles on the roads of Mauritius. There seems to be a steady growth of around 2% per year in Mauritius. With a population of around 1.3 Million, chances are that you are owner of a car/s or 2×4, 4×4, van, bus, truck, bike or other type of vehicles.
Privately driven cars will have less tear and wear compared to heavy duty usage of pickups, vans, trucks, buses and other machinery such as excavators, tractors etc, that run on diesel and are built to perform heavy workloads. If your engines run on heavy duty usage or if you drive a lot (including private car owners), your costs of maintenance & fuel consumption will increase with the usage. The bigger the vehicle, the more expensive their spare parts, likewise also the more luxurious the brands the more expensive it gets.
Apart from fuel, wear and tear and maintenance can be a surprisingly heavy cost factor and extending the life of your spare parts and making your engine & gearbox run more efficiently should be your primary concern if you want to have peace of mind and control on your costs. There are basic and efficient ways to reduce or avoid heavy maintenance costs. While the casual driver doing just up to 10 000 Km a year starting off with a brand new or second hand car on low mileage might not be much concerned about what goes on inside his engine, therein lies the most important aspect of cost control and what goes inside the engine is crucial. It is very much in your interest to know if your engine is operating in an optimal environment that is lubricated at its best to reduce the tear & wear and prolong its lifetime to the longest extent possible.
September 9, 2016
Mr Gérard Sanspeur mentioned on Radio Plus on the 07.09.2016 the importance for Mauritius to consider the implications of the blockchain technology. He is currently the Senior Adviser at the Ministry of Finance & Economic Development of Mauritius. Since crypto currencies and the blockchain is a technology I have some passionate interest in, I decided to look up the local media to see if his speech was documented or reported as recorded on defimedia, unfortunately there is nothing to be found. So I can only vaguely recall what was mentioned on the radio and it was a short extract. It was mentioned that Mauritius should consider the important implications of this technology and the country Estonia was also mentioned which is currently a leader in the world of having various public departments running on blockchain. Mauritius being an island with a population of only 1.3 million could leap frog into the future of efficiency by adopting such a technology. Leap frog means that the blockchain is a HORIZONTAL integration vehicle with huge potential. Just like electricity and the internet.
What it was like to sell my (old) car in Mauritius
September 6, 2016
Recently I sold my car. It turned 17 years of metal age. I endured it for 8 years ending with +250 000 Km in its belly which included every year visits to fitness in Port-Louis (very annoying – hope things have improved with the privatisation of these centres, also see my article about → bringing my car to fitness) and there were times were numerous dissapointing repairs were necessary. It was my first car, bought as a second hand vehicle of a German brand. The kind of brand which is supposed to be solid and where spare parts are totally overpriced which I figured out a bit to late. I was a total amateur not having any idea at all of what I was getting into. Of course this article is going to be how I sold it, but the experience I made on a whole is worth a share to. Yet, describing how to buy the right car is also a whole book of its own. In a nutshell the lessons I learnt is don’t buy an old car that has very high mileage, check your budget and what the spare parts cost of the brand you will get, also try to get some history of the car, are you buying the car to get from A to B or also because you are a fan of a particular model? If you want to get from A to B the choice is broad… If you are a fan of a particular type, then you already know what you want. When I bought my car I believed in the myth of the brands image that if it’s that particular brand, it ought to be solid and I’ll get to drive it without worries. If you are getting a second hand vehicle, might be wise to get a mechanic to come along to do your test drive!
Re-engineer your logic to understand the cryptocurrency Bitcoin
May 8, 2016
Your current logic will collide with the logic and concept of how the cryptocurrency Bitcoin works and in order for you to see the light at the end of the tunnel which hopefully will not be a train! Be prepared to learn from scratch and expect a long adventurous and exciting journey of discovery ahead – even if you are not new to Bitcoin. For me Bitcoin would fit well into the analogy of switching from Windows to Linux and the early days of the Internet relating to its still young beginning in the nineties. Tools that we use on the Internet have ripened and become easier to use as these have matured over these last 20 years, Bitcoin is just starting!
Where does the money go when I buy 1 litre of fuel in Mauritius?
March 9, 2016
Recently I came across a communique of the State Trading Coporation in L’express the 04.02.2016 which published the break down of what you are paying for when you buy 1 litre of Gasoil and Diesel. Those figures below will only be valid until the Petroleum Pricing Committee (PPC) and the State Trading Coporation agree to new prices (monthly basis according to here: Petroleum Pricing Systems (PPS)). I’m presenting the figures below out of interest to get an idea how the state invests the money collected on fuel.
State Trading Corporation
|Description||Mogas (Gasoline)||Gas Oil (Diesel)|
|Reference Price – US$ per metric ton||412.0900|
|Reference Price – US$ per barrel||41.7600|
|CIF – US$ / litre||0.3480||0.3129|
|Exchange rate – Rs/US$||36.6500||36.6500|
|Rupees per litre|
|Maurice Ile Durable levy||0.3000||0.3000|
|Contribution to Road Development Authority||1.8500||1.7500|
|Contribution to Rodrigues transportation and storage||0.4100||0.4100|
|Contribution to Build Mauritius Fund||4.0000||4.0000|
|Contribution to the construction of storage facilities for petroleum products||0.1000||0.1000|
|Contribution to subsidy on LPG, Flour and Rice||2.7000||2.7000|
|STCs operational expenses||0.3500||0.4000|
|Fund from Price Stabilisation Account||-3.1156||-2.2136|
|TRANSFER PRICE TO OIL COMPANIES||30.1486||22.2142|
|Oil Companies’ operational expenses and wholesale margin||1.8200||1.6600|
|Retail margin (Filling station’s margin)||1.8140||1.7780|
|RETAIL PRICE (Price at Filling Station)||38.8500||29.5000|
Check here for their retail prices which will be more up to date.
According to their website in the section of Procurement / Distribution
An estimated annual requirement of petroleum products for 2012/2013 is as follows:
|Unleaded Motor Gasoline 95 RON||
|Gas Oil 50 PPM S||
|Gas Oil 2500 PPM S||
|Jet Aviation Fuel||
|Fuel Oil 180 CST Catalytic-Cracked product||
|Fuel 180 CST Straight-Run product||
|Fuel Oil 380 CST Straight-Run Product||
A rough estimate… when selling all stock (These figures will definitely not be precise as the prices constantly change!)
So Gasoline would amount to: 130 000 x 1000 = 130 million litres x Rs.38.85 = Rs.5 billion
Diesel: 225 000 + 130 000 = 355 000 x 1000 = 355 million litres x 29.50 = Rs.10 billion
Then you have jet fuel oil and other oils for which I do not know the prices.
You can break down the prices to get an idea how much different segments are getting.
I was wondering if VAT is to be applied separately on the retail margins by the Filling Stations which of course cannot be the case as there is VAT already on it. I came across this interesting ruling on the MRA website:
M Ltd is a private company incorporated in Mauritius and engaged in the marketing of petroleum goods (i.e. Mogas, Gas oil, fuel oil, Jet A1 & lubricants)in the country. The company has 13 retail outlets which are basically run on two models:
1. Dealers-operated retail outlets, where land is owned by the dealer.
2. Company owned Company operated (COCO) retail outlets, where a contractor is appointed by the company to manage the station.
In the first model, the retail margins on Mogas and Gas oil are fully enjoyed by the dealers as the land on which retail outlet has been developed is contributed by him. In the second model (COCO), the retail margins on Mogas and Gas oil are shared between M Ltd and the contractor on an agreed formula, in accordance with the terms of the contract.
Points in issue
Whether it can be confirmed that
1. No Vat charge should apply on ‘retail margin sharing’ as the retail margin has already suffered VAT;
2. M Ltd is correct in charging VAT on ‘equipment fee’ and that the depiction thereof on the invoice is correct;
3. Arithmetical calculations of both VAT elements (in specimen invoices) as shown in Annexure E are correct.
1. It is confirmed that since the retail margin has already suffered VAT no charge to VAT should apply on the ‘retail margin sharing’ as sharing of retail margin between the lessor and the lessee does not amount to a supply of services.
2. It is confirmed that M Ltd is correct in charging VAT on ‘equipment fee.’ However, the VAT element on the invoice should be shown in such a way that it clearly indicates that it is in respect of both oil and equipment fee.
3. As the VAT is chargeable on the value including the retail margin of liquefied petroleum gas we suggest that the invoice be amended to show : –
The value inclusive of the retail margin but exclusive of VAT ;
The amount of VAT charged and the rate applied.”
Ref: VAT Rulings
Walk & Hiking Spots in Mauritius
February 27, 2016
Find below my videos of walks and hikes I have done in Mauritius. You are welcome to share other nice tracks you have done in the comments section below.
Mauritius Pont Naturel, South, Cliff, Lava Formation, Big Waves, Sightseeing spots
Beautiful sightseeing spot in the south of Mauritius called Pont Naturel. We walked from La Cambuse till Pont Naturel and back. You get to see nice varied sceneries from a lot of green, sea, some beautiful beaches, then cliffs, sugar cane fields and the lava formation that makes up a natural bridge on which you can also walk across.
Updating Ubuntu 14.10 to Ubuntu 15.04 to Ubuntu 15.10 including Mate Desktop
February 10, 2016
恭禧發財 Kung Hei Fat Choi greetings from Mauritius!
We are currently having some very rainy weather and today (08.02.2016) is a public holiday in Mauritius for the Chinese New Year. If you are not familiar with Mauritius, this rainbow nation island has many public holidays for various celebrations of various cultures of this world! You should definitely come for a visit someday, if you need advise, contact me. Therefore for many of us it has been a long week end. I decided to repair a faulty PC and then update Ubuntu on it which hasn’t been done since some years. I usually only update programs and avoid doing big updates, my motto is, if the machine is running stable, am fine with that and if and update goes wrong, in some cases you might need to do a complete new install which can cost you a lot of your time. So keep in mind to do a proper backup before you attempt any Ubuntu version updates.
To do updates in Ubuntu is not like in Microsoft Windows, it doesn’t always run or works out with a few clicks (sometimes neither windows update work out with a few clicks!). And the older your version the less likely you will be able to update with just a few clicks (because of old repository links in your system). Ubuntu is not a system where things just work per click. You must also do some thinking, enquire, research, read blogs and figure out its logic. And in the end, when you managed to make it work, you will be happy and feel a bit smarter 😉
This is definitely not a waste of your time to improve your Ubuntu Linux skills.
How to fix your PC when it doesn’t want to boot and goes on and off
February 7, 2016
I just fixed a PC where I had this issue of; when I switch it on it would sometimes boot and sometimes go on and off till it reached a point where it barely went on. I had several PCs running on the motherboard MSI H61M-P20 for socket LGA 1155 CPUs. I have changed in 2 different PCs this motherboard and upgraded it with an MSI H61M-P31/W8 which is actually not that new any more component configuration wise and difficult to get on the local market. I was happy to get one at the intel agent shop in Grand Baie. Sometimes in small computer shops in villages you can still get older spare parts! Try your luck that way if you need older parts.
I like MSI mainboards when it comes to building Ubuntu Linux office Pcs as I had the least trouble with them except that some of them like the P20 has a short life time, they only last up to 2 years (daily usage implied). The P31 seems or is a bit more robust as I have 3 of them still running and one since 3 years still doing good on i3 cpu with 8GB Ram + graphic card attached to 2 screens. With ASUS unfortunately I have had very bad experiences with Ubuntu but no issues for gaming in Windows.
How to heal your back pain and avoid investing in an expensive office chair
October 6, 2015
Back pain, is affecting more and more people these days. Long ago we use to run, hunt and plant or sit on a throne and die of gluttony and these days we bow in front of the computer while we have to force ourselves to move or even pay to practice sports.
If you are suffering from back pain, please read my story, maybe my life hack might help you reduce your back pain. And if you are just curious, my suggestion might help you avoid getting back pains. I had back pain for over two years and I couldn’t exactly tell what was causing it. I was doing sports regularly, going swimming, doing walks, cycling, basket ball, etc. Yet I had back pain and it didn’t want to go away. So I was starting to accuse my bike, my bed mattress, or my shoes… Since I couldn’t figure out what was causing it, I decided to go to a chiropractor in Grand Baie.
He made me do an x-ray and analysed it and said my back isn’t straight. I then read somewhere that they all tend to say that. Then he said I had some anomalies regarding the bone sizes in my spine, some bones seemed underdeveloped and I needed to strengthen my back with muscles to compensate for the difference. But all these years before I didn’t have back pain!?
He then scheduled with me several meetings where he cracked my bones, and put me in a sort of machine which was supposed to fix the issue. Also applied techniques of coldness. Fast forward into the future, after some months, my issue was still present so I decided to just live with it for a while until someone recommended me another practitioner in Mont Choisy.
I went to see her and she showed me a series of exercises I could do. No cracking and all that sorts. She also recommended swimming on my back. So I started doing all those exercises for several months and swimming on my back a lot. I felt no progression at all. I also followed the advise of raising all my computer screens to a height where I do not have to move my head down or up but watch on it centred.
E-Business Manager recruitment pitfalls Hotels in Mauritius should avoid
July 1, 2015
Recently I came across a job advert that made a short list of requirements and a long list of duties for a person to practice the job of an E Business manager for a renown resort group in Mauritius. It included the terms such as SEO, Social Media, analyse Data, manage booking channels and not least to mention aggregate them with prices… Seriously! SEO?
Looking at the list I had to frown as I was reminded of past experience back in Hamburg when I worked for a media agency that hired me for SEO and later on requested me to also manage their online shop till the point of uploading all their products and writing each products description… I was overloaded to the point that I cracked and had to have a serious discussion with my bosses that I couldn’t continue with such a work load.
Hotels in Mauritius fail to understand that for certain types of jobs, various requirements that you place upon the applicant doesn’t reflect reality or just doesn’t make sense. In theory it does, but in shear reality, a human has limited capacities.
The advert in itself, if all these duties are to be practised in real life time scenarios, is prone to drain the employee if he or she gets employed and is new to this sector without any idea what is waiting ahead to negotiate with you for a better work environment. I would rather say victim to burn out. Both parties will end with deception and bad results. This fact, as hard as it sounds, needs to be raised so that Hotels in Mauritius can review their job positions in this arena. What both of you want to achieve is success for the company and the employee. You do not want to destroy your employee neither your e-marketing strategy. You will also want that person to stay long term once this person is running a successful campaign that leads to an increase in revenue. You need to strive to keep your best assets! Do things right so that you have highly motivated personnel working for you that will bring you long term results.
Let’s talk about SEO for a moment. Especially if you are a HR recruiter for a resort. You need to discern that various duties that are laid out for an E Business Manager often are several jobs of their own and cannot be compressed into just one person. Except if you want that person to oversea various persons practising these duties or collaborate with agencies and has a profound knowledge and understanding of each of these components. Thus more prone to also grasp the limitations of how much one person can handle and better manage a team while acting as a manager and coach.