Monday, 25 August 2014

WHAT TO SEE, EAT AND DO IN MAURITIUS

Yasin De Nmamode at Partout Et Ailleurs.
Name: Yasin De Nmamode
Where are you from?
Mauritius. A small island in the Indian Ocean with a population of 1.2 million; it's capital is Port Louis.
How long have you lived in Mauritius? 
I have lived here for 20 years in all.
Yasin De Nmamode
What do you do?
I am a designer. I have an outlet store in Port Louis. I design and sell half of my collections and import the other half from various parts of Asia, especially India, Malaysia and Thailand. I am also a journalist and blogger.

Where can we see your work?
Facebook : Boy Groove; My dormant blog which hopefully will be active again soon : Candy Lafolle ; Some of my work in newspapers... here 

What is Mauritius famous for — food/music/dance/architecture?
  • If you ever visit Mauritius, you’ll discover that you can cover the whole island in a rather short period of time. The country is famous for its cultural diversity. The population is composed of various ethnicity cohabiting since ever. The Mauritian culture is a mix of Indian and African cultures and traditions with a dash of European here and there. This diversity is very prominent in the local cuisine. All the dishes considered as typically Mauritian are a mix of Indian and African delicacies. Some Chinese dishes are also part of the mix.
  • The local music is the ‘Sega’, a type of music with the rhythms of African beats and instruments. The most famous instrument is the Ravanne. It’s a round wooden support on which a piece of goat leather is stretched. It’s a percussion instrument. Traditionally, Sega was sung around bonfires on the beach by freed slaves. Today, the only Sega shows with the real flavour and typical Sega dresses can be seen in some specific restaurants. The least irritating one is at Café de la Plage on the Sunset Boulevard in Grand Baie.
  • Concerning architecture, the country is a really bad student. We have terrific colonial houses dating back from the French and British periods, but most of them are in ruins. You can see them while strolling across the main artery of Port louis - Rue Deforges. You can see some in the China Town too. 
What are the 3 best kept secrets of Mauritius, which only the locals are aware of?
  • You can go up Albion’s lighthouse if you convince the watch guard. (West of the Island)
  • You can exchange books at Coté Jasmin Restaurant (Rue Saint Georges, Port Louis).
  • There’s a mini replica of the Eiffel Tower near the Botanical Garden of Curepipe.
3 foods that one should taste in Mauritius and where can we find it?
  • Dholl Puri. At the Port Louis market.
  • Rougaille Poisson Salé (salted dry fish in tomato sauce). Unless you have a local contact, this might be tricky to get in restaurants. But it’s DI-VI-NE!
  • Vindaye It’s usually made of fish or octopus in a mixture of saffron and onions. It’s really like pickled fish/octopus and is great.
  • Let me add Gateau Piment to the list. It’s a small fried cake made of dal and herbs. You just get addicted to it.
3 best places to shop?
  • La Rue Pagoda. And yes, my shop too - Boy Groove !
  • Designer’s Avenue, Mont Choisy Mall. Local couture designers have their collections there. Great quality and contrary to public opinion, the prices are quite correct. (Next to La Croisette, on the way to Grand Baie)
  • Endjoy — the only local brand worth wearing. There are a few shops around the island.
3 sights one should definitely see in Mauritius?
  • The Trou aux Cerfs, the dormant volcano in Curepipe.
  • The Pamplemousses Botanical Garden in Pamplemousses.
  • The Chateau de Labourdonnais in Mapou
3 things a traveller should know about Mauritius?
  • Most of the people speak at least English, French or Hindi.
  • Public transportation is very efficient in during the day, but stops at 7 p.m.
  • Healthcare is free, so you can go to any hospital for whatever ailment.
3 things a traveller should do in Mauritius?
  • Go to a local concert. Institut Français de Maurice (Rose Hill) usually hosts good ones.
  • A boat trip to Ile aux cerfs. It’s highly and awfully touristic but the island is beautiful.
  • A Saturday night in the north. If you want to see something special, the place to be is Xindix, a Bollywood night club in Curepipe. It’s a place totally out of this world.
3 things a traveller should not do in Mauritius?
  • Do NOT go to La Croisette, Cascavelle, Bagatelle. These are shopping centres with bland international and mass produced local brands.
  • Do not trust taxis at first go. Check the prices with several ones before choosing. Also, there’s what we call Taxi Marron, which are not taxis but cars that do the shuttle between point A and point B. From Port Louis to Flacq, for example, instead of getting a bus, you can jump into a Taxi Marron (next to the old post office). You travel with several other people going to the same destination and the price is much less than a normal taxi.
  • Do not use the public toilets at the bus stations. Like, really, DO NOT AT ALL!