Today, I was lucky enough to have an amazing encounter with the playful dolphins. I’ve never seen this much and this close. However, I found it hard to get nice pictures of them because they were very fast.
So here are some pictures that I have taken, no (dolphin) jump shots though, I’m such an amateur.
Though the shots aren’t the best ones, I still have to pat myself on the back for the effort and tell myself that I did like some of the photos and here are my favorite shots:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The China-Maldives friendship bridge is in progress. This bridge will connect Malé and Hulhumale (the island where the airport is).
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.
Other Random Photos
And this, my friends is the Philippine flag. This is probably the building where our consulate is.
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.
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.
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.
Sorry for the random photos, I easily get distracted with small things like this magic-ball center piece.
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.
The resort host showed us their rooms and this is how they look like.
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.
And this, is my favorite part of their room. I can imagine myself, reading a book here.
Again, my dear friends, I was distracted by the wall behind the tub. Forgive my photos.
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.
We wrapped up the evening with a few drinks at the bar while we waited for our speedboat to arrive.
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.
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.
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.
In this post, I won’t talk a lot. I will just show you the Maldives through my eyes (and lenses).
5o Shades of Blue
The Maldives is composed of 99% water and 1% percent land. Hence, expect that the country will be so blue. But wait, there’s more to the place than just being blue.
On bright sunny days, I cannot count how many shades of blue can I see. Royal blue, navy blue, cobalt blue, baby blue….name it, Maldives has it.
There are nights when I feel that a blue fairy might have sprinkled some blue dust everywhere. I don’t know how but sometimes, really, even the wooden jetty has a shade of blue on it. And mind you, the pictures in this post have not been filtered nor edited.
This country is also known for its soft and white sand that sparkles like diamonds whenever the sun is up.
So far, I have seen very few species of flowers here in the island. Orchids, gumamela (hibiscus), bougainvillea and santan (ixora) – the tropical ones.
The summer feeling won’t be complete without the coconut trees.
Rumors has it that in the Maldives, there are more cases of death by falling coconuts on the human head than shark attacks. Hence, in my workplace, we have a dedicated team of gardeners who does not only look after the beauty of our resort, but as well ensures that no one gets into trouble due to unidentified flying coconuts.
Everyday, the sun paints a different color to the sky before it finally goes down to a rest. Sometimes I feel like I am looking at a huge painting, it just feels so surreal.
When the sky is not orange during sunset, sometimes it has this baby pink and baby blue color that makes me feel like I am looking at giant cotton candies in the sky.
The official tag line of the country is ‘The sunny side of life” because it is just summer all year round. Though there’s also a monsoon season which is from June to August where we expect a lot of rain. However, rainy season here doesn’t feel really rainy after all. Sometimes it just rains for 10 minutes then the sun is up again. Sometimes it rains the whole day, then the next day you’ll wake up to a whole new world that looks like it never rained the day before. Though, there are tougher days when it really rains for about 3 days straight.
Red as in Red
Red for gumamela and apologies for the bad photography skills. LOL.
If there are few things that I have learned upon living castaway-ingly for almost a month, it’s not how to catch fish using my bare hands nor how to climb a coconut tree. What I learned so far (and I’m still learning) are these two virtues that are very difficult to learn, let alone practice in real life.
Patience and contentment.
Prior to flying to Maldives, I was told by my previous boss, never to take my negative attitude (of screaming or arguing or talking sarcastically to idiots) with me to the island as it won’t help me. I understood what he meant and so far I haven’t breached my patience contract yet, although, I almost did a few days ago, but I did not. I really tried not to because if I did, I would suffer for the rest of the months or years that I’ll be working here and seeing this person’s face in the canteen, in the laundry, by the pathways, in the office and well, everywhere in the island to be exact.
The staff here lives in dormitory like rooms, and we all have room mates, unless those on the higher ranks. I have a room mate. She is very quiet and I like her that way, though it feels so awkward sometimes. Not talking to each other that much means less chances of arguing over small things like who did not turn off the lights or who did not lock the door. There’s just some silent type of understanding between us and I just like it that way. What I was able to do in Dubai, (like cursing at previous flatmates who stole my hotdogs or fruit juice in the fridge or just moving to another apartment whenever I want to if I can’t stand my flatmates anymore) is something I can’t do here so I need to be extra patient even though my roommate still have not shown any signs or symptoms that might set off my patience alarm.
On my first few weeks here, I wasn’t eating dinner. As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, the dinner served daily are mostly local food that is meant for those who have been fasting the whole day since it is Ramadan – though this will change once Ramadan is over. And since I am very picky with food, I’d rather not eat than regret having eaten something I don’t like.
I also mentioned that I have been craving for a lot of food that is not available here (and will never be), and that I have brought with me just a carton of my preferred brand of 3 in 1 coffee which is about to completely disappear from my life within the next week or so.
At one point, I felt very deprived of the “simple” things that I want in life. But lately, maybe because I have adjusted to the lifestyle, I realized that what’s here, what’s been provided to us is really more than enough. That these cravings for food and for preferred brand of coffee are merely human desires, that we can control if we want.
Maybe, mind over matter? Is this just easier said than done? Or is this just easy for me because I don’t have a choice?
You might say it is easy for me to speak about patience and contentment because at the moment I don’t have a choice. But I think I’d like to continue living this lifestyle even after my island life is over and I hope I can really do so. And I hope I could practice this contentment not only on food matters, but also, in my life as a whole.
Reading this, I’m asking myself now if I’m slowly turning into a monk.
Day 2 ko na sa Maldives. Di pa ako nakakaget-over sa fact na dito na ako magtatrabaho. Feeling ko turista lang ako.
Pinag-stay ako as guest dito sa hotel dahil kailangan daw maexperience ng mga staff kung paano maging guest. Siyempre ako masunurin lang naman na empleyado. Naka-stay sa isa sa mga villas dito, kumakain sa resto, yung buffet breakfast may champagne. Diba? Altasushudad talaga ang datingan. May champagne sa breakfast buffet. Tapos yung pag dinner, diba sanay lang tayo sa mga soup and salad or appetizer pero naka Amuse Bouche pa ako. Kaya kahit na melon lang na binudburan ng mint leaves eh sushal talaga ang dating kasi Amuse Bouche ang tawag.
Kaninang hapon, paglabas ko sa office para mag coffee break, naririnig ko talaga yung alon ng dagat. Hindi ako makatiis. Gusto ko talaga tumalon sa dagat. Pero may work ako. Pero kating-kati talaga akong madampian ng tubig dagat. Kaya nagpaalam ako. Kako, ma’am may I go out? Mag-c-cr lang kako ako. Tapos 2 hours ako bago bumalik, nagsnorkeling muna ako. ha ha. Siyempre joke lang yan. Nagpaalam talaga ako na magiisnorkeling lang saglit tapos babalik din sa office later. Pwede naman pala yung ganon ha ha.
Kaso mag-isa lang ako nagiisnorkeling kaya natatakot ako. Ang yabang ko kasing hindi mag life jacket kaya takot akong maanod pag biglang lumakas yung alon. Kaya naghanap ako ng mga ibang snorklers. May nakita ako, isang chekwang kuya. Pasimple akong nagpunta kung nasaan si kuya tapos dun din ako nagsnorkeling. Pero hindi ako lumapit masyado sa kanya. Baka sabihin niya pa eh…. Pero hanggang ngayon, ayaw ko pa rin na nilalapitan ako ng mga isda. Gusto ko lang sila tingnan from afar kasi ewwweee pa rin ang feeling pag nasasagi nila ako. Isa pa may mga isdang nanghahabol at nanunugod. Siyempre lugi ako. Mabilis sila sa tubig. Ha ha ha. Tapos ang ewwweee din pag may naapakan akong sea cucumber.
Tapos speaking of altashushudad, may nakasabay akong isang Pinoy family sa speedboat papunta dito sa isla. Yun talaga alam kong altashushudad ha, kutis pa lang. Bale, yung lalake ah, Congressman ang datingan. Kasi yung itsura niya, para bang yung makikita mo sa mga posters ng tumatakbong Congressman, mistisuhin tapos may manipis na bigote. Tapos sputing talaga. Pero yung pormang alam mong hindi trying hard? Ganun daw talaga pag mayaman. Kahit simple ang suot malalaman mong mayaman talaga. Naka top sider na shoes, plain white top tapos shorts na khaki. Bale si Cong saka yung anak niyang binata, maganda talaga ang lahi. Behave lang sila sa speedboat di gaya ng asawa ni Cong. Sobrang likot at panay ang selfie. Hindi kami nagkikibuan sa speedboat. Kala ata nila hindi ako Pinoy. Pero sila pinapakiramdaman ko lang. Bisaya usapan nila eh. Pero susyal pa rin pakinggan. May conyong Bisaya ba?
Anyway, nung malaman ni Cong na Pinoy ako, nakipagkamay silang mag-ama sa akin pero yung asawa ni Cong, busy pa rin kaka selfie.
Tapos kanina nung nagpipiktyur-piktyur ako ng sunset, nakita ko sila Cong at kumaway ako. Kumaway din siya. Pero di ako lumapit kasi nahihiya ako. Yung totoo, iba talaga ang aura pag mayaman. Kahit makapal na ang mukha ko sa dami ng altashushudad na nakasalamuha ko, nakakaramdam ako ng kaunting inferiority sa mga talagang mayaman. Basta, iba lang ang feels.
Anyway, ayoko na magkwento ng madami. Pictures lang naman ang titingnan niyo. LOL
PS: Mahirap pag walang photographer, but as I said in one of my previous posts, may timer ang camera.