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Tips for Mauritians traveling abroad for holidays

Traveling abroad demands a lot of planning and preparation including budgeting. In this blog post, I will share some of my experience and tips whilst traveling abroad especially for holidays or business purposes from Mauritius. Mauritius is an island nation in the Indian Ocean. The strategic location in the Indian Ocean makes it very easy to travel to Europe, Africa, and Asia continents. But it all depends on the number of airlines available. I have been traveling to the United States, South Africa, Tunisia, Reunion island and several other countries. You can check out this link – My Travel which I usually update each time I travel abroad. The first thing before I started planning anything is to know the number of days you want to stay out of Mauritius.

Photo credits: vectorstock.com
Photo credits: vectorstock.com

VISA Requirements

Mauritians are exempted from VISA from many countries. Though there is an exemption, you need to carefully check the number of days you are exempted. Otherwise, if you are staying for more than the allocated number of days, you might need to ask for an extension of the visa once you have reached a particular country. The process which you need to go through when extending the visa can be very time-consuming. This is why planning is important where you can easily apply for the visa before leaving Mauritius territory.

For countries where VISA is needed you need to apply the same before leaving. However, some countries issue a visa upon arrival. But common, no one wants to waste time to apply for a visa upon arrival of a particular country unless you do not have any choice. For instance, it is better to apply for a visa in Mauritius itself before going to Bangkok, Thailand.

Some of the countries where Mauritians can travel freely without a visa are Senegal, Botswana, South Africa, etc.

Tips for Mauritians traveling abroad for holidays 1

An interesting source of information is at Visalist.io/mauritius/visa-policies website which provides clear information by country. However, this should not be a definite decision to check if it is a visa free country. Any country can alter its visa requirement and it is important to verify the information on the official website of the embassy.

Health-related issues and vaccinations

So, now that you are aware of the visa requirements, it is now to question yourself about the vaccines you have received. It is always important to keep records and document all vaccines received. Some months back, the Ministry of health in Mauritius was giving free MMR ( Measles Mump Rubella ) vaccines in Mauritius. They came to the office where I was working and everyone was receiving the MMR booster. Many was not documenting it which I believe is not good. Always keep a vaccination card handy and document it.

There are several recommendations by the ministry of health about the vaccines that one should be given when traveling to other countries. For example, I had to get the Yellow vaccines and malaria prevention pills when traveling to Senegal.

One of the interesting online resources for health-related issues that I would recommend is the CDC – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. One vaccination center in Mauritius is situated at Mutual aid building in Port Louis. There is another private vaccination center in Mauritius too such as Darnee Medical Clinic located at Forest-side Curepipe. Make sure that the vaccinations are available and also if one particular vaccine needs to be administered in two or more shots at different days, make sure that the vaccination is not out of stock. Otherwise, you might end up repeating the whole process again.

Sometimes, border control officers will not allow a passenger to enter its territory if you don’t have the vaccination cards with you. A few months back at the airport of South Africa, I noticed a passenger who was not in possession of the vaccination card. Usually, there is no vaccination required. But it happens that the passenger had traveled during the past weeks to a country where yellow fever vaccine was needed. They wanted to check if the passenger was properly vaccinated. This might, therefore, raise an issue. Always carry your vaccination cards with you when traveling abroad.

Booking a ticket

When it comes to reservation of tickets, I have never been to any agency for ticket booking which can be very expensive and time-consuming. The best to check on the official website of the airline company first. Now, you might question yourself, say you want to go to Bangkok and which airline will you choose. Here is the catch: The ATOL website might be very useful. On the ‘Airline section‘, you will have a list of all airlines that travel to Mauritius. Once, you have spotted the airline company you can compare prices. Another interesting place to purchase ticket more easily is on lastminute.com which makes it fast to choose between the cheapest price to direct flight.

Once a ticket has been booked, make sure you download the mobile app of the airline company so that online checking can be very easy and fast at the same time. Also, if there is any change in the airline time scheduled, it will be updated on the app itself. Choosing your seat to become much faster and you will have a clear map of the plane seats. You might want to consider whether the plane is an Airbus or Boeing at your convenience.

Some people try to delete their cookies and cache from there browser when booking online. Airline companies feed themselves from cookies on your web browser to understand the date you want to travel and might consequently increase the price. You might consider deleting cookies each time you search for a ticket price. Also try to sign out and change the location using proxies as a ticket might be a different price from a different browsing destination.

Some Airline companies provide special meals which might be interesting in case you are allergic or vegetarian. On British Airways, a veggie meal is composed of eggs and other vegetables. Some Vegetarians do not want eggs which you might consider.

Travel and Health Insurance

Some countries insist that people visiting their country are medically insured such as Reunion island and Germany. Always verify this information before traveling abroad. Alternately, there are some credit cards issued by banks that provide free health and travel insurance. You might want to verify with your provider and gather the document to show at the customs when reaching abroad. Some travel agency such as lastminute.com can provide free travel insurance in case your luggage has been damaged or lost during transit.

Choosing a Hotel

If you are a solo traveler, a 5-star hotel can be very expensive. You might probably look for the cheapest place such as Agoda, AirBnB or booking.com. It is always a plus to read the reviews on Trip Advisor or on booking.com itself as you never know what is awaiting you ahead. Several times, I booked with booking.com and most of the time it went well as expected. If you want a 10% discount with booking.com, click on the picture below and register yourself.

Tips for Mauritians traveling abroad for holidays 2

Make sure you check for the basic amenities, including showers, heaters, air conditioning, towels, Internet and/or Wifi access etc.. Sometimes, prices can be very cheap and the pictures shown can be very deceptive. It is always important to read reviews. Also for Mauritians who might want to stay in a cold place, make sure there is a heater. You can always contact the hotel directly via booking.com to clarify anything before paying.

Weather Forecast and Risks related issues

Always check the temperature at day and night before traveling. Weather.com provides good information about that. If you are traveling to China, you might want to check the level of Air pollution. Aqicn.com is a good source of information as air density is also important before booking a hotel. Some mobile app also provides air density information. Another tip and risk related issues can be checked on the US embassy website of that particular country you are visiting. In case, there is no embassy make sure to check local media of that country to be informed of any eventual attacks.

Losing network can be an issue when traveling abroad. I would recommend using maps.me mobile app and download offline maps in case there is an emergency. Also always share your location with a trusted contact.

My handbag checklist items when traveling:

  • Battery bank
  • Laptops and chargers
  • A bag containing all basic electronic items such as universal chargers, cables, Pendrives, etc..
  • Face wipes
  • Toiletries
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Tripod
  • One spare clothing in case my check-in luggage gets lost
  • Earpods / Earpiece
  • Passport / Printed travel documents and other documents if needed.
  • Electronic backups of all documents on my mobile phone.
  • Sunglasses

Some Tips:

  • Online booking will surely cost you cheaper and the online agency will surely take a certain commission for the transaction. Always print your receipt and be careful that the hotel does not double charge you on arrival.
  • Scammers are everywhere whether online or onsite, usually in front of hotels, where some fake tourist guide trying to scam tourist.
  • Make sure you always consume boiled or bottle water to reduce the risks of getting contaminated. A hand sanitizer becomes very important as the level of bacteria is very high in airports, planes, and hotels.
  • An Airplane pillow might also be helpful especially if you are traveling in economy.
  • Always establish a friendly approach with the security personnel, reception staffs, etc.
  • Always pack smartly your luggage.
  • Here is an interesting link on my-anasa.com as a travel guide for dummies.
  • Always inform your bank and Network and Internet service provider that you are outside the country so that you can use your bank debit cards and roaming service without any hassle.
  • Shuttle arrangement when reaching the country. Uber can be very useful in some countries.

I hope you find this blog post interesting and helpful. I will try my best to update it as soon as I come across interesting tips in the future.


My trip to Pension Cargo, Bras-Panon – Reunion Island

I had a splendid time in Reunion Island this week. I stayed at “Pension Cargo” which is owned by Christian, a friend at Bras-Panon, Reunion island in the north-east of the neighbor island thirty minutes away from Roland-Garros, St-Denis Airport. I reached there on Wednesday at around midnight. Christian was waiting for me as I told him that I will reach there by Taxi. I was so tired already and went to sleep.

On the next day, I went for a casual meeting on cybersecurity at a Media-Tech center as well as meeting with another acquaintance who is in the medical field. At St-Marie Media-Tech center, I got the opportunity to discuss Ansible, Automation technologies, Linux and TLS 1.3 for the IETF hackathons by the cyberstorm.mu team. It’s true that in Mauritius there is considerable effort to be made to do better Developers conferences, but, I seized this opportunity to build up the circle on the neighbor island which is also advanced in software development and Automation Engineering. The day was an enriching and successful one, however, time-consuming it was, I have been able to achieve my goal. I reached quite late at “Pension Cargo” and was so tired.

Pension Cargo
Pension Cargo

On Friday, I went for a nature walk near Pension Cargo. That place is still in its natural state with lots of exotic fruits.

Exotic fruits on the beach near Pension Cargo
Exotic fruits on the beach near Pension Cargo

In case you are a fan of the nature walk, I’m sure you would like it. It was indeed a nice time meeting up with several Linux user groups to discuss avenues of collaboration between Reunion and Mauritius. However, there are much more to see in Reunion island.

Random picture taken near Pension Cargo

My trip to Pension Cargo, Bras-Panon - Reunion Island 3
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At “Pension Cargo”, you can never miss the Reunion beer made locally. I got it free too! This is something to never miss at all!

Beer made locally in Reunion island
Beer made locally in Reunion island

As regards to breakfast, lunch and dinner, its always nice and yummy whether it is chicken, duck, and seafood which is always accompanied by salads french style-made.

Lunch with chicken, Seafood, Potatoes and Salads
Lunch with chicken, Seafood, Potatoes, and Salads

In case, you are heading up to Reunion island or in transit, feel free to check out “Pension Cargo” which is always worth the price. As usual, I convinced Christian to join and create a Twitter account as a marketing strategy which worth for where it is located. Pension Cargo can seem to be easily booked on Booking.com and Airbnb. However, you can always contact the Christian and his family who are always there to welcome you with a smile and lots of beers and goodies.

The team at the bar
The team at the bar

I got the opportunity to visit Riviere des Roches which is located a few meters from where I live. I was told that fishermen build up walls on the river with the aim to narrow the passage and by using fishing nets to catch “bisik” fish known as the caviar of the Reunion island which is pretty expensive and delicious. Unfortunately, this can be a problem to the ecology of the island as depending on the curve being built with the wall and the increase of sea water levels might change drastically the width of the river. This is contributing to severe land erosion and inviting sharks close to the river. Obviously, some people in the vicinity are not happy at all. Its all a question of eating the famous caviar of Reunion island!

Walls built on the river
Walls built on the river

Walls built on the river to catch fish

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On the way to Mauritius, the weather was sunny and I seized the opportunity to make a video for my YouTube Channel. I already had so many landings from several countries. Why not add Mauritius to the playlist?


Phishing Attack – Free Travel tickets with Emirates Airline

Today itself, a friend sent me a message about free travel ticket with Emirates airline through WhatsApp. On seeing the URL, I immediately doubt about the authenticity of such kind of strategy spammers are using to make money as well as to harvest data about you. Once you fill in the form, it will prompt you to share the information to 30 people on WhatsApp to get your ticket. Common, this does not make sense at all and I believe that the website should be reported and Emirates Airline to make an official announcement on its website about these scammers.


Phishing Attack - Free Travel tickets with Emirates Airline 4
Photo Credits: Emirates.com

The message sent to me was in French. Since I’m well conversant in French, I could easily read and interpreted it. The message received is as follows:


“Pour le 33° Anniversaire, la compagnie aérienne *Emirates Airline* donne à tout le monde *2 billets d´avion gratuits*. Récupérez votre billets d´avion immédiatement. http://bit.ly/Emirates-airline”

The translation looks like this in English:

“For the 33rd Birthday, the aviation airline “Emirates Airline” is giving a free *2 air travel tickets. Get your airline tickets immediately. http://bit.ly/Emirates-airline”

If you observed carefully the real URL has been shortened on bit.ly. There is nothing wrong when using bit.ly which is a great tool for URL shortener. However, if you try to access the URL, you will be redirected on http://5ack.com/Emirate/ which is well known for attacks.

Let’s see what does the whois tool said about 5ack.com:

1.According to domaintools.com, the IP Address behind is 107.180.59.131 

2. The IP Address 107.180.59.131 is well known for attacks and there is no real information as to who is behind this domain name.

3. Worst, the domain 5ack.com has a history of 55 counts of changed IP addresses.

Phishing Attack - Free Travel tickets with Emirates Airline 5
Extract from domaintools.com

4. On the following link https://chat.stackexchange.com/transcript/65945/2018/11/14/2 we can see someone has blacklisted the IP 107.180.59.131 who at that time was selling health supplement. Of course, it’s fake again.

Please don’t click on the link otherwise you might eat those baits and be a victim of Phishing attacks. I wonder how come those links ended in Mauritius which is probably due to French-speaking people here in Mauritius. Otherwise, several French-speaking countries in Africa is at risk. I wish someone from the security team of Emirates Airline read that blog and made an official announcement soon about those spammers hovering everywhere on the Internet. Let’s work together for a safe and secure Internet and keep on passing the message.


XpressLiteCoin – Your Litecoin payment gateway

As promised days back on my Tunnelix.com Facebook Page, I would blog about setting up a Litecoin button on your website for payment or donation purpose which I did myself. See on the top right corner of the blog. I would strongly suggest using the XpressLiteCoin payment gateway for such type of transaction. Some days back during the operation JASK, I contributed to the LiteCoin repository and I thought why not set up a Litecoin donation button. The funds received will be used to renew my server hosting and tunnelix.com domain. Below are some instructions to start with.

XpressLiteCoin - Your Litecoin payment gateway 6

For some who are not well acquainted to cryptocurrencies, Litecoin is one amongst many and it is a fork from the Bitcoin. Litecoin is an experimental digital currency that enables instant payments to anyone, anywhere in the world. Litecoin uses peer-to-peer technology to operate with no central authority: managing transactions and issuing money are carried out collectively by the network. Litecoin Core is the name of open source software which enables the use of this currency.Litecoin

Imagine, you want to receive payments for your business in a more secure way. Of course, when it comes to cryptocurrencies, no one wants to take the risk. XpressLiteCoin is here to provide merchants with a cheap and convenient way to integrate Litecoin in their business payment process. – XpressLiteCoin

How to start with XpressLiteCoin payment gateway?
1. First, you will need to register yourself on the XpressLiteCoin.com website. This is pretty straightforward. Make sure you received the confirmation email once you have to sign up on the website.

XpressLiteCoin - Your Litecoin payment gateway 7

Create a Litecoin address.

2. You can create a paper-based wallet but the procedures can be lengthy and you will have to secure your key and record all transactions. However, using the online wallet is pretty simple with Jaxx.

3. After installing Jaxx, you will have the option to create a new wallet.

XpressLiteCoin - Your Litecoin payment gateway 8

4. Then, you will have the option to choose the paper-based wallet or an online wallet which is easier.

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You can create your wallet and scan the QR code to use the same wallet on your mobile device such as Android, IOS, etc..

5. After configuration, you will have an LTC Address.

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Merge your Litecoin address with XpressLiteCoin gateway

6. Save your Litecoin address and enter it on the prompt which you received when logging for the first time on the prompt as shown below:

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By this time, you should have been able to access the dashboard as a user. Now it’s time for some basic installation on the server.

Some basic installations on the server

7. On the server, install the “npm” package manager:

yum install npm

8. You can also upgrade your version of npm as follows:

npm install npm -g --ca=""

9. Use known registrars for the current version of npm

npm config set ca ""

10. Some installations with an npm package manager which are required:

npm install express
npm install request
npm install  body-parser

11. You will also need to download the xpresslitecoin.gz at the following link as shown below :

XpressLiteCoin - Your Litecoin payment gateway 12

12. To integrate the XpressLiteCoin on your website, go to the documentation page and/or click on guide. You will notice find the integration.pdf which have a piece of Javascript that will be needed on your application.

13. There are two parameters in the code to tweak: First is the port number your application will be listening and second is the token which you will get from the XpressLiteCoin dashboard on the merchant settings option.

UPDATE: 23/04

The project was scrapped.XpressLiteCoin - Your Litecoin payment gateway 13

14. Copy the token and insert it at line 10 of the code. Example:

const api_token = "XXXX<Token Value here XXXX";

15. By default, the port runs on 8080. In case, you want to change it, feel free.

16. You will also need to run your application. I would, however, recommend you to have a script on autostart for this service :

node xpresslitecoin.js

17. Since the application need to be inserted as a plugin on your website, you can create a ProxyPass on your web server. For Nginx proxy use the following parameter

location /xpresslitecoin/ {

    proxy_set_header HOST $host;

    proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-Proto $scheme;

    proxy_set_header X-Real-IP $remote_addr;

    proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-For $proxy_add_x_forwarded_for;

    proxy_pass http://127.0.0.1:8080/xpresslitecoin/;

}

18. For Apache HTTPD ProxyPass, see the documentation here.

Create the payment button

19. By now, you should be able to run the node service with the XpressLiteCoin application. However, to insert a button your website to received payments through the gateway, you will need to insert a few lines on JavaScript codes.

<script type="text/javascript" src="xpresslitecoin.js">
</script>
<button id="xpl-donate"> <img src="LocationToYourImage.png" alt="Please Donate"> </button>

20. An issue that your might encountered if you have CSP enabled which is a good thing. However, you will need to make sure that you have an exclusion on the plugin.

Facebook friend requests – Fake or Real ?

Fake profiles are raining over the Internet especially when it comes to Facebook social media. Since days, I’m receiving so many friend requests. Common, a guy receiving more than 230 friend requests !! I wonder if it’s because of the cyberstorm.mu worldwide popularity symptoms! Or the haters are going wild against me with this “Facebook Friend request spam mechanism”. LOL!

Whilst some may be genuine and others fake, it is very difficult to manage all these friend requests which consumes much time. It’s probably one of the reason I moved to Twitter and create my own Facebook page – Tunnelix.com. So, give a try and click on the like button on my Facebook page. You can still message me on my page as it is much more under my control. I’m also on Linkedin where you can easily connect with me.

So many Facebook friend requests..

Common!! How do i manage all these friend requests ?
Common!! How do I manage all these friend requests ?

However, I have gone through some profiles which is kinda weird. For example, let’s take a look at this friend request from one “Caroline Jane” who is apparently from New York and lives in United Kingdom. She is single too ^^.

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Use images.google.com

I went on images.google.com and uploaded her profile picture there and made a search by image.Facebook friend requests - Fake or Real ? 15

According to this simple research, she is a porn actress and her name is in fact Alina Li.

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Now, you can use the same tool to check if your profile picture has been stolen and used in another profile picture. Share your comments if you have any ideas how to prevent Facebook friend requests flooding.