A Day Trip to Kudahuvhadoo Island

Yesterday, I got a chance to visit Kudahuvhadoo Island, though not for a leisure trip. Me and my 15 expat colleagues went there for medical as our work permits are due for renewal.

But even though it wasn’t a leisure trip, I made sure I’ll have photos to bring home.

Kudahuvhadoo Island is located in Dhaalu Atoll and it is way bigger than other islands. When I say bigger, it means you can’t walk around the island – actually you can but it will be a long walk. So there were motorbikes everywhere and I saw a few cars too. This island has bigger medical facilities than the other local islands, I saw an ATM and a bank, and a domestic airport will be opening soon.

I’ve taken some photos which will show you a different side of Maldives, the one that is far different from the usual impression about the country – luxurious resorts, beach vibes, snorkeling, under water restaurants, etc.

A Banyan Tree a.k.a. Balete

My colleagues on cue, this house apparently is a photo studio and we went there for photo shoot (just ID picture)

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My colleague climbed a Macopa Tree

There was a small cafe where we had our lunch. It looked like a carinderia with monobloc chairs and tables with plastic mantle on. I had Bami Goreng for lunch which really looked just like an instant fried noodles mixed with some beef and chicken slices and sausages

But never mind the plastic chairs and tables and the menu with only 15 dishes on it because just look at the amazing view.

View from the small cafe

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I like the color combination of the wall and the flowers ha ha

A phone booth?!

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My colleagues

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I found the color of this so cute

From Russia with Love

One of my tasks here is to take care of Media guests, Bloggers and Travel Agents visiting our resort.

Over the last 10 months of doing so, I’ve met a lot of different people from different countries with different agendas. Most of them are nice but there are some ungrateful bloody b@$=^*s!

Anyway, my recent Russian group was quite different from all the other Russian guests I met earlier. They were a group of 10 people, all well-behaved and a little bit jolly.

I don’t have anything against the Russians here (*disclaimer*disclaimer*disclaimer). It’s just that when you’ve watched too much movies with Russian spies or hardcore mafias (ex. Angelina Jolie’s Salt) you’ll always generalize them as such specially when your imagination goes beyond your control.

I have really met a few rude Russians but I’ve met a lot of friendly people from that part of the planet. They just seem rude because of the way they speak.

So this Russian Group that I was talking about is really a nice bunch and they even gave me a lot of gifts (I really never expect to receive any). And here you go, I’m happily showing them off to you right now!

Matryoshka Doll – Russian National Handcraft

The iconic St. Basil’s Cathedral on the cover of a mirror
and of course, lots of chocolates and Russian sweets

Melancholia

I was browsing through my folders today and saw the photos I took last December when I stayed in Male’ for a day prior to my flight to Manila.

I stayed in a guest house and took some photos of the room while letting the time pass.

I am so used to being alone without feeling lonely, however, the room where I stayed has this melancholic air in it.

Not so sure if the feeling was brought about by the color of the wall paper or the effect of the sun rays dimmed by the curtain.

Sometimes I wonder why I take photos of curtains and windows and wall paper and pillow and other trivial stuff.

But then when I look at these pictures again a few months after taking them, not only do they bring back memories of the day but they also stir up certain feelings, known and unknown.

Maldivian Colors of Serenity

One of the perks of working here in the Maldives is that whenever you get stressed from your daily tasks or routine, you can just go out of your office and look at the stunning view and you’ll be so relaxed when you get back to the office.

And if the view is not enough, you can swim or snorkel or go for cruise or night fishing.

Yesterday, me and my colleagues went out for a fishing trip. The water was so still, the color combination of the sea and the sky and the sunset, oh, I just can’t put into words the magnificence of the view so I just took photos and you decide how you are going to describe these images.

ok, that’s my colleague Jihad and he kinda liked that part of the boat and he almost didn’t leave that place so I had to include him in this picture

Our catch for the night, I was able to catch 3 ha ha – image stolen from my colleague’s fb account

 

and this is me…

 

and this is me again

I Thought of Today

I gate crashed yet another fishing party today.

The boat left the island at 6:45 am. The moon was still up, the sky still dark. Our eyes half awake, our stomachs craving for warm coffee.

I waited for the sun to come out. It’s been a while since I last saw the sunrise.

I sat by the edge of the boat and marvelled at the rising sun, its light taking over this small paradise.

I thought about my past 8 months here and how I have slowly settled into the island life.

I thought about my plans before moving here.

Before signing my contract, I told myself that this will be my last overseas contract, that once this contract is over, I’ll retire and go back home for good. I thought about the island life and how I will miss it once I go back home.

I thought about the days when I stroll down the beach to watch the sunset after a day’s work or swim and mingle with the fish & turtles or gate crash a fishing party. I thought about the luxury of coming to work in flip-flops and of not cooking for myself, of just having to bring myself to the canteen and put the food on my plate.

I thought about the days when my skin smelled of sun and sea, and of days when I won’t be able to smell it anymore. I thought about the days when I would want to swim but would only be able to do so after a five hour drive to the nearest beach.

I thought about all of these and more.

I thought of today and how today will just become a yesterday, a month ago, a year ago or a decade ago.

I thought of all the memories that I will take with me once I leave this paradise for good and how it will stay as vivid as the Maldivian waters or how it will blur out as I age, when I can’t distinguish the difference between a memory and a dream anymore.

I sat by the edge of the boat and marvelled at the rising sun, its light taking over this small paradise, its light taking over me.

 

maldivian-sunrise
today’s sunrise

Cafés in Malé

Whenever I visit a new place, I would always look for a food chain familiar to me. I’m not very adventurous when it comes to food. I’m actually very picky so I’d rather look for food that my tummy knows, rather than experimenting on a new cuisine and later on regretting the money and food wasted.

In Malé, I felt weird to not see any international food chain. Though, I think, this is a good thing. That the locals will have a chance to open up their cafes / restaurants without the fear that business will be diluted by big chains, just like what’s happening in our town back home.

Since I am not very adventurous, once I’ve liked a restaurant, I will always come back to that restaurant and probably eat the same thing. I don’t usually go to Malé because my island is quite far South but whenever I get a chance, I’ll always have a meal at Seahouse, that’s before I discovered Shellbeans. So now, I have two to visit whenever I go to Malé.

seahouse

The first cafe that I discovered is the Seahouse. It’s not very attractive from the outside, you wouldn’t even notice it. It is on the 2nd floor and the signage isn’t really attractive.

I was hesitant at first, I thought they might be serving only local dishes but I was so surprised when I saw Bistek Tagalog and Pancit Bihon on their menu. I was like, SERIOUSLY??? And I was so happy, though the Pancit Bihon wasn’t as authentic and tasty as I was expecting but still, after months of not being able to eat any Filipino dish, I cannot complain!

But more than the Filipino food, I like the vibe of this restaurant. I like the verandah and I like the music that they play. It’s just like a great combination of everything. This is the kind of place where I could stay for hours and hours, just sitting, eating or drinking juice or coffee while looking at the nice view, listening to the waves and the music. And even though the place is always full and noisy, I still feel so relaxed, weird but, I can’t explain.

This place is the inspiration of my post City Lights

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View from the veranda of Seahouse

The second cafe that I discovered, well my boss mentioned about it, is the Shellbeans. My boss said that their pancakes are to die for. And he was right.

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View from Shellbeans

 

shellbeans-pancake
I think I don’t need to say anything more

 

shellbeans-pancake-and-latte

And while eating my pancakes, I saw plates of eggs benedict and other mouth-drooling dishes being served on other tables and I was like – I need to be back for those.

I Gate Crash Fishing Parties

Fishing is my most favorite thing to do here in the Maldives and a lot of my colleagues have noticed my love for this activity. My friend even said, when Aysa hears about fishing, she forgets everything – even me.

Whenever there are fishing trips, I am usually present. Sometimes I get invited, sometimes I gate crash the fishing party.

If you have never tried to go on a fishing trip, you might be wondering why I like fishing.

First of all, I find joy whenever I get on the boat and set sail. I like to be out on the sea. I get to see picturesque sunsets or starry skies. I get to hear the waves and I get to feel the relaxing effect of this natural music.

The second reason why I love fishing is the excitement that I get whenever I feel the movement of my bait, when a fish is biting it. And most especially, I get excited whenever I catch a fish.

But more importantly, I like fishing because it has taught me, and is still teaching me valuable lessons in life.

When one goes out for fishing, one needs the knowledge and skills, good weather, luck and timing (this is according to me).

My colleagues who are really pro in fishing know when and when not to set sail. When it is too windy, the waves will be very strong. Then it is not the time to go out for a trip. But then, it’s not all about the weather nor proficiency.

There was one fishing trip when I was with pro fishers and the weather was really excellent for fishing. The sea was very calm but we caught almost nothing, maybe just 3 to 4 pieces of fish for almost 4hours. No luck.

Then there was one fishing trip when I was with beginners and the waves were a bit rough but we caught tons of fish within one hour. Whenever we put down the line, within seconds we had fish on our baits. But after that said hour, we didn’t get anything anymore. So I can say, it was just pure luck and good timing.

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This is what we call ‘line’ and this is what we use for fishing, not the fishing rod. It is nylon string that is on that circle thing.

Whenever I think about these trips, I think about life. I think about how people can never have everything at the same time. They can have knowledge and skills but never the luck or good timing. Some are so lucky but because they don’t have the knowledge, their luck gets wasted. This applies to job hunting, business management, writing, career advancement, etc., and even just to life in general. Though we can say some did really get lucky to have all these elements in life at once, hence they became successful.

Apart from the different elements of life that I learned and mentioned, fishing has taught me and is still teaching me a very important value in life and that is patience.

Whenever I drop the line into the water, I sit quietly. I listen to the waves while I wait for that movement from underneath the deep sea. I wait till I learn how to feel when the fish is biting my bait. I wait until my luck comes. I wait till the good times come.

I wait. And I wait patiently. In silence.

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That’s a happy Aysa with her catch – a red snapper!

 

Roaming Around Malé

Malé is the capital of the Maldives. It is small and densely populated.

Today, I got a chance to roam around the city and have taken some photos.

Streets

 

balete-trees

road

streets

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Male has narrow streets, of course, what do we expect from a very small place. Hence, people use motor bikes and you’ll see tons of these bikes parked on the roadside. There are taxis though but sometimes, you’ll get stuck in traffic so bikes are more convenient I suppose.

motorbikes

 

Ferry Terminal

ferry-terminal

 

The only way (so far) to go to the airport from Malé is by ferry. The journey is just about 10mins and the fare is about 10 Rufiyaa.

baraabaru

The China-Maldives friendship bridge is in progress. This bridge will connect Malé and Hulhumale (the island where the airport is).

friendship-bridge

ladies

waves

 

Where to Eat

For people like me, who are not so adventurous when it comes to food, I would always look for well known food chains wherever I go  but no luck for me here in Malé. There are no fast food chains, no famous coffee chains or whatsoever. All local cafes. Though I have my two favorite cafes here, a separate post will be published later on. 

cafe

 

Other Random Photos

 

coast-guard

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park

playground

map-of-male

money

sea-ambulance

gov

And this, my friends is the Philippine flag. This is probably the building where our consulate is. 

phil-flag

Walking around Malé (even by yourself) is pretty safe. You won’t see police roaming around, which is a sign that there are no threats of pickpockets etc., You will only see some police by the entrance of the government buildings and that’s about it. The place is also really small, you won’t get lost and even if you do, the people are quite friendly so it’s ok to ask for directions.

Postcards from Maldives

I’ve read somewhere, that photography is not about taking photos of what everyone can see daily. It is about looking for angles that everyone fails to see, unless you point it out to them – by taking photos (these aren’t the exact words but, something along these lines).

I have mentioned several times here already that I live in a small island and you can walk around it for 15mins. Sometimes I ask myself what other angle of the island have I not taken photo of. The trees and the flowers and the beach have been there for the last 6months and though I am not a photographer, sometimes my hands itch to click the camera.

However, a few days ago, I have kept my camera close to me and tried to catch moments that are out of the ordinary (or as I thought so) and here are some of the photos.

seaplane-landing
Seaplane landing while the sun is setting
couple
A couple taking photos of the sunset while on the boat
seaplane-on-air
Seaplane on air
sky
Look at the sun rays and the clouds, so majestic
windsrufing
I saw one of our colleagues wind surfing 
sunset
Can’t think of a caption
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Again, just look at the clouds
windsurfing-2
I am really jealous. I want to learn how to wind surf ha ha

Resort Visit – Sun Aqua Vilu Reef

It is not easy to island hop here, hence in my 6months here in the Maldives, I’ve never visited any other resort except ours (the company that I work for I mean) till last week.

Our department decided to visit a resort nearby, Sun Aqua Vilu Reef to hold our farewell dinner for one of our colleagues. Since that was my first time to visit a resort, I have requested for a site visit as I want to see the rooms and facilities and they willingly obliged.

We arrived at Sun Aqua Vilu Reef via speedboat (gone are my Uber days, we are talking about speedboat now) just after sunset and were warmly welcomed by the General Manager.

He led us to the bar where a long table awaited us and served us their welcome drink. Fresh coconut or Kurumba in local language.

kurumba

After drinking the Kurumba water, a resort host conducted the resort tour and led us to their restaurants first.  He showed us their fine dining restaurant with  a pool-like area where live lobsters chill near the rocks before they get caught and grilled.

What caught my attention is their wine cellar. It looks stunning (at least for me) with the blue lights and glass walls.

Sun Aqua Vilu Reef wine-cellar

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Sorry for the random photos, I easily get distracted with small things like this magic-ball center piece.

centerpiece

The resort has 2 bars and 2 restaurants but I only took photos of what caught my attention. Maybe because I am not a travel blogger, so I am not so into taking pictures just like the photo below of the spa treatment room.

I was amazed by the wooden tray with those powders, hence this is the only photo that I took.

Sun Aqua Viu Reef treatment-room

The resort host showed us their rooms and this is how they look like.

Sun Aqua Vilu Reef Room

They have a lot of pink touches every where as that is their brand color. Each of their rooms has direct access to the beach, and the bed is facing this glass door. The view could be stunning during daytime.

Sun Aqua Vilu Reef Room

And this, is my favorite part of their room. I can imagine myself, reading a book here.

Sun Aqua Vilu Reef Villa

Again, my dear friends, I was distracted by the wall behind the tub. Forgive my photos.

Sun Aqua Vilu Reef Villa

It is sad that we arrived after sunset, we could have seen the hotel in a different light if we came earlier while the sun was still up. I could have taken better photos as well of their water villas. But who knows, there could be a next time. (Hello Sun Aqua Vilu Reef, I can write for free meals! I am one email away! **insert shame here**)

After the resort visit, we headed to the buffet restaurant for dinner and guess what? I don’t have a single photo of the food, but as you can see below, I have a photo of the magic-ball centerpiece.

Sun Aqua Vilu Reef Restaurant

We wrapped up the evening with a few drinks at the bar while we waited for our speedboat to arrive.

centerpiece-2
Just another centerpiece

There was a live performance that night at the bar, Bodu Beru – Maldivian cultural music composed of drumbeats, voices and some sort of tribal dance.

Bodu Beru

And before I end this post, I’ll share our group picture, taken upon our arrival at the resort. In group photos, I can easily be spotted for I am always the wacky one.

group

PS: I think I need a training on travel photography so next time I’ll know how and what are the things I should be taking note and photos of, instead of walls and centerpieces.