Dolphin Cruise

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.


like, can you spot the dolphin? LOL

As you can see on this picture, the struggle (of yours truly) is real.

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:

FUTSAL

Today, me and my colleagues went to another resort where the FUTSAL league is being held.

FUTSAL is a variation of Football played on a smaller court and to tell you, Maldivians are die hard Foot ball enthusiasts. So this game is a big thing for my Maldivian colleagues and we were there to support them.

Anyway, I’m not here to talk about FUTSAL or Football because I’m not really a big fan of the sport. I’m here to share some photos that I took. Well, taking photos of non-moving objects can be tricky, what more of moving people. Quite tough!

So here are few good ones out of almost a hundred that I rejected. (ha ha) I’m sure none of my colleagues will object to my posting of their photos. (ha ha)

 

 

Birds of Different Feathers

We have tiny parrots here in the island and over the last few days I have fancied taking photos of them. It’s not easy to take photos of them as they keep on moving like little kids playing. Anyway, these tiny parrots don’t talk, they only chirp. They maybe small but they are loud.

Here’s some of the photos I took.

The bird flew away before I got the chance to click

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

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.

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.

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

cellar1

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.

Maldives in Different Colors

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.

blue-1

blue

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.

bluer-than-blue

Wildly White

This country is also known for its soft and white sand that sparkles like diamonds whenever the sun is up.

autumn

So far, I have seen very few species of flowers here in the island. Orchids, gumamela (hibiscus), bougainvillea and santan (ixora) – the tropical ones.

white

Freshly Green

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.

green

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Breathtakingly Orange

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.

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Cutely Pink

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.

pink

 

Lonely Gray

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.

gray
This photo was taken while I was in the speedboat.

 

Red as in Red

Red for gumamela and apologies for the bad photography skills. LOL.

red

That’s all for now folks!

 

Expat Life in the Maldives

It’s been 6 months since I moved here in the Maldives. Time really flies and the next thing I’ll know is that my 2 year-contract has reached its end.

I have written a few things about my snorkeling adventures here as well as my work life issues but I have not written anything about how life is here in the Maldives, for the expats like me I mean.

Since I am an expat living in the Maldives, I’ll take the liberty to tell you about the country, how is it to live here and a lot more. Of course, I won’t be able to elaborate everything in just one post. There will be more to follow.

Male
This is Male, the capital of Maldives

Maldives is a very beautiful place to live in and if I’d be given a chance [and money] to buy a small island here where I could build a small house, I’ll do that. Even though the Maldives is slowly sinking and might be wiped out in 20 years’ time or so, I’d still want to live [peacefully] here  – if given a chance.

Just for your info, Maldives is the lowest country on Earth. The islands are not more than 1.8 meters above sea level.  No hills, no mountains. And also, just for your info, in case you are still clueless as to where Maldives is, this country is located in the Indian Ocean, near Sri Lanka and India.

The Maldives is made up of more than 1000 islands [not so surprising to me though as I came from a country made up of more than 7000 islands, LOL], with around 200 inhabited islands and some 100 islands developed into hotels and resorts.

Most of the time, there’s only one resort per island as the islands are pretty small. Like in this island where I live and work (or work and live), I can walk around the whole island in about 15 minutes. That’s if I walk at a slow pace.

Can you imagine working and living in an island as small as this? Would you be able to survive here?

 

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This is the island where I work and live. I took this photo while on board a seaplane.

People like me, who loves to swim, walk by the beach, sit down and read books or listen to the waves might survive here. But youngsters, shopaholics and party animals – this is not the place for you.

A lot of people have asked me the same question of shock especially upon learning that I lived in Dubai for 10 years prior to moving here, how can you survive this lifestyle?

From a busy, crowded, cosmopolitan life to a very quiet, relaxed and isolated life is a huge change.

It was a bit of a shock for me initially. I can’t go out and eat in fast food chains, I can’t even buy the brand of coffee that I want or the brand of shampoo or soap that I want. There’s a small shop here in our island, and it’s like what you see is what you get. I feel happy whenever I see chocolates and chips, regardless of the brand. Whenever the stock of Milo or coke is over, we have to wait till the stock comes before we can buy and drink some again. Completely shocking, right? But so far I have adjusted and I learned to be happy and contented with what I see, though whenever I get a chance to go out of the island, I hoard important personal stuff and ensure that my supply will last for at least 3 months.

Well, I hope I didn’t bore you to death with this post. And if you will be given a chance to live here, do you think you’d be able to survive this lifestyle?