Thursday, 23 May 2013

Mauritius - Arrival

I landed just before 1pm in the afternoon, the heat and humidity hits as soon as you leave the air conditioned luxury of the airplane, and I thought "well Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore".
So, I made my way down to the immigration hall to join the previous flight from France trying to get themselves into Mauritius.
When it was my turn, the officer wanted to know where I was staying as I was going to be on the island for 41 days, but all I knew was it was a place called Mon Choix, and this was not good enough for me to be allowed entry, but luckily I knew that I had someone meeting me, so off we go, through the customs post (me with a bag and duty free) to meet with my taxi driver who called the owner of the B&B to confirm the address and the duration of my stay (I didn't want to say that I was a guest of the EU and working on behalf of the Mauritian Government as I knew I would be teaching delegates from the Immigration Dept later!).
Anyway, address obtained I was ushered back through the customs post, where a Customs officer had some harsh words for the Immigration officer for letting me through to the outside without having my bag checked (more on that later).
My passport was duly stamped with a 60 day entry visa and I was dispatched to pick up my main bag from the baggage carousel and to walk through (for the 3rd time) the Customs post, this time though the same guy who had obviously chastised the Immigration officer nabbed me and I had to undergo "additional security precautions" my main bag being subjected to an x-ray (this would have been the 2nd time on the journey).
This meant that the 300 USB sticks I had in my bag which contained the training materials were bound to be spotted, and spotted they were. So I had to open my bag and retrieve the items and I really thought that I was going to have to have each one scanned and spend even more time in the airport.
But, as soon as the officer saw them he let me through with a smile, "Welcome to Mauritius"
I made my way through to the outside world and saw my friendly taxi driver, we made our way to the car after a crafty smoke and away we went from the south of the island to the capital Port Louis (pronounced with emphasis on the "s" as in Lewis)
An adventure that will be told in the next installment of the Mauritian Blog.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Africa but....

not African, India but not Indian, France but not French, England but not English.
That was my first impression of Mauritius, there was the heat and humidity of Africa, the majority of people I saw were of Indian descent, the language is a version of French, but with Creole phrases and the billboards and posters were in English.
And it is all these, Mauritius has a wonderful richness, a hotch potch of cultures, cuisine, and attitude.
It is a jewel in the Indian Ocean, and I'm here.
I am here to provide the Government of Mauritius, funded by the EU, training courses and capacity building assistance in order to enable them to reduce the energy demand of data centres on the already under pressure energy system, this has entailed to date, 2 Green IT courses and tomorrow we begin the Data Centres element with back to back EUCOC and Energy and Cost Management courses, 3 sessions in total, followed by a report to the EU and the NCB, and some visits to various ministries to meet with senior staff to discuss their involvement in the EUCOC in both endorsement and participation.
I've met some wonderful keen people so far and hope to meet many others, the opportunities to help these people in their quest is simply just too good an opportunity to miss out on.
So, I'll be having discussions with various bodies with a view to providing even more help, and I'll be telling you all via these pages exactly what we're thinking of doing and how we're going to do it.
So, keep coming back!