13 janvier 2014

Pink bags and blue boxes

            In Mayotte, people don't fret about big travel bags, careful packaging, luggage straps and padlocks. They don't worry about their big black case being indistinguishable from everybody else's big black cases on the luggage carousel. They don't bother repackaging their stuff so that it all fits nicely together. Quite the contrary. The ideal luggage here is ready to be transported, solid and re-usable upon arrival.                    ... [Lire la suite]
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06 janvier 2014

Overseas Women

                        There was a national photography competition in France not long ago, whose title was: "Overseas Women". As the Mahorese people didn't like the results, saying they weren't representative enough of women in the French overseas territories, they had their very own competition, open only to those who lived in Mayotte. This was the winning photograph. A young Mahorese woman, smartphone in hand and laptop... well, on lap. Busy... [Lire la suite]
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30 décembre 2013

Sleeping Bouéni

            In England or France, shopkeepers and shop assistants are always on their toes. And on yours, half of the time. They're always alert, they're always looking for something to offer you to make you stay a little longer and buy something else. They'll say hello, they'll ask you questions, they'll offer to take your things for you and they'll find stuff you can't. Then, when you've bought whatever it is and are ready to leave, they'll wish you a nice day and request that you come again, as your... [Lire la suite]
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16 décembre 2013

Idiots

           I read an article the other day which began like this : "When you’re driving, everybody else on the road is an idiot and it’s your job to watch out". In Mayotte, driving is more than just a daily occurrence aiming to get a person from point A to point B. It's a full-on, head-to-head, protect-your-teeth rugby match. Everybody else (who shall be termed from now on "the idiots") isn't necessarily aggressive. They don't particularly want to push you off the road or to smash into you, but... [Lire la suite]
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18 novembre 2013

Striking Teachers.

            Before the school holidays, the French authorities started talking about their civil servants. Specifically the civil servants working overseas. As you already know, all French civil servants receive bonuses for working in the French overseas territories such as Mayotte, French Guyana or New Caledonia. These bonuses are calculated according to the civil servant's salary: at the start of your career, you get a 10,000-euro bonus, at the end of your career, you're closer to a 35,000-euro... [Lire la suite]
11 novembre 2013

Breton Rock

                     I've been playing quite a bit of music recently. You see, a group I'd never met and I were hired for a "Breton rock concert" at a bar. We were hired on Sunday. The concert was to be on the following Friday. The group was already formed, and I was supposed to join it just for this concert. This got off the ground because I happened to know one of the musicians. Out of six musicians, only two had ever played rock before. Two others were classical musicians,... [Lire la suite]
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04 novembre 2013

Chicken wings again

           Mayotte is a French department and therefore receives all the French adverts. The TV adverts stay exactly the same, advertising things that haven't made it as far as Mayotte yet, but the paper adverts are tailored to local taste, one might say. You might remember the Ramadan adverts I put on the blog a few months ago. The one above is a current ad by the Orange phone company for a new phone plan. Its slogan is "Pay less, that's more chicken wings".         
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28 octobre 2013

Dipé Chaoula

            A restaurant menu in Mamoudzou's main shopping street.   Kebab Today's Special Panini Sandwich Salad Hamberger (complete with spelling mistake) Round Thing   Find the odd one out. (And no, the restaurant was closed, so we didn't get to taste it).            
28 octobre 2013

Wedding Dances

         Last Saturday, something rather exceptional happened. The Blue Mango, my music group, is followed around by the Dancing Lizards, who are a group of folk dancers who come to all our concerts to dance. One of these dancers is a Comorian lad called Halidi, nicknamed Tony to make him sound Western. And on last Saturday, he invited us all to his cousin's wedding. Weddings in Mayotte aren't as exclusive as weddings in Europe. Generally, the whole village is invited, and each guest is free to invite... [Lire la suite]
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21 octobre 2013

Milatsika

             P arrived last week, which is the main reason why there was no blog post last Monday. I got the Blue Mango to wake up early and three of us came to fetch him at the airport, flower necklace in hand and instruments out. We certainly amused the people who were waiting for the passengers to come out. I think we were quite the attraction, as Dzaoudzi airport is a pretty boring place. Anyway, last Friday, we went to see a music festival on the other side of the island. Its name was... [Lire la suite]