50 things we’ve learnt during our 29 days in the Maldives. 

1. Male’ has one of the coolest airports ever… you come out of the building and have to get a ferry straight away. 

2. The waters around the jetty are cleaner than most tropical beaches I’ve ever seen, even with water bottles floating around and tyres on the sea bed. 

3. They sell Milo by the can (big cans) – Katherine is very excited. 

4. There is a public swimming pool on the west side of the island where the sea tops up the lagoon. It gets used!

5. There is a full outdoor gym opposite said swimming ‘lagoon’ that would put any gym back home to shame. 

6. We have no idea when you would ever plan to use the equipment in this heat. 

7. We had to turn the air conditioning off during the night – we were too cold with it set at 24*C. 

8. There are no public buses or trains. Although there seems to be bus stops!?

8a. Errata: The buses are pick-up trucks and masquerade as buses. 

8b. Further Errata: There are posh buses and 3 regular bus routes on Hulhumalé. 

9. There is not a single TukTuk driver in sight. Bliss!

10. There seems far too many motorbikes for islands you can walk around in less than an hour. 

11. Nobody beeps their horn, even when you deem it necessary. 

11a. In retrospect and in amendment, if they start beeping their horn, they sit on it until the blockade has been moved. 

12. We saw a shop that sells fleece blankets – how on earth is anyone cold in this weather?!?

13. The park behind the presidents office is full of fake plants and light-up trees as to create some colour and life to the area. 

14. There is mud in the Maldives, contrary to what some would say. 

15. Pedestrians are away with the fairies or glued to their phone, oblivious to their surroundings while walking. 

16. Some tourists walk around like they are in a resort. Shame on them!

17. The women tie their head scarfs in a beautiful fashion. 

18. There is near enough to no shade during the midday sun. Avoid open areas. 

19. They have a ridiculously long lunch break. Coincidence?

20. The only idiots who power walk are tourists trying to get out of said midday heat – we weren’t the only ones. 

21. Some of the locals totally look like video game gangsta’s with their haircuts and aviator glasses, especially driving around on a moped. They are, however, constantly smiling. 

22. They drink more power drinks than water. 

23. Ferries run on time. To the second. 

24. Resort islands look glamorous, we can’t afford looking at them, don’t mind visiting them. 

25. There is such a thing as a prison boat. 

26. It breaks your heart seeing the locals and staff throw litter out the windows of the ferry. 

27. Nappies are called WeeWeeDry. Sanitary towels are washable, reusable and come with a free gift. 

28. Milo doesn’t taste the same in a can. 

29. Bread has a best before date 14months after production???

30. Maldivian women are speed demons on a jet ski. 

31. Some ferry drivers dream of being models in a boxing ring – carrying the destination up and down the boat on a card when approaching the island. 

32. The bikini beach is normally located down wind of the garbage site. Plus, they burn their rubbish just before sunset just to annoy the tourists a little more. 

33. The only hill in the Maldives is the man made one at the driving test centre to teach people how to navigate them… Which seems slightly pointless as its the only hill. 

34. Sometimes the current is just too strong. 

35. Building works in Male’ start at an unsavoury hour (around the same time as the daily tsunami warning siren).

36. You can’t have a comb-over with three strands of greasy hair. Only Homer Simpson can pull that off. 

37. A sarong is not acceptable as a cover up – you can be arrested and/or fined. 

38. “Is this the only shade on the beach?”… is code for, get up off the sunbed and give it to me so that I can sunbathe. 

39. There is a cheap alternative to MoguMogu where the coconut pieces are like chewing rubber tyres. 

40. You should always buy your ticket for the ferry as early as possible, the day before if available. Sold out ferries are not uncommon. 

41. It is better to cook for half an hour on a boat not moving, in the sunshine, than to have a breeze for three hours but the sun blazing on your arm. The wise and experienced will tell which side to sit on, that’s not necessarily the locals. 

42. The woman whom sells the ferry tickets in Malé will remind you of ‘Rose’, the slug lady from Monsters Inc. Rose’ mannerisms, facial expression and drawling accent are based entirely upon this woman. 

43. Berths at the jetty are numbered on 3D Tetris concrete blocks. They are also the wave breakers. The structure would remind the geeks amongst us as a methane molecule. 

44. Trying to tip a Maldivian in seashells is like trying to tip an Innuet in ice cubes. It is however greatly amusing to us to watch the conversation. 

45. Maldivian men are kind of sexy… Especially when they are in board shorts and flip flops.

46. Diving (or snorkelling) within reaching distance of a shark is better than a laxative!!

47. When Katherine says she was directing the Captain’s tiller with her foot, it is not a euphemism, it means she was driving the boat (with a bit of flirting). 🙂

48. Stage props are an acceptable device to use as skate-board ramps, jumps and grinds. 

49. Katherine has the ability to throw away a pair of flip-flops. But only when they’ve melted in the heat. 

50. One should always have a formal outfit in your backpack for that PhD/Job Interview in paradise!

Male’ & travelling – day 167

And so it’s over… A whole month in the Maldives – finished. Know I shouldn’t moan but why did it have to fly past so ridiculously fast?!?   Absolutely brilliant visiting 6 different islands – each one was so different from the others, especially with regards to how the locals interact with the tourists. This morning was spent lounging around in our PJ’s, uploading blogs and checking out travel insurance terms and conditions for trekking in Nepal (our current policy won’t cover us past 3,000m so we have to get a second policy to cover our trek – good job we checked!!). Packed our bags and headed out, organising a late check out with the hotel owner so we didn’t have to drag our stuff around in the heat. Headed to the local cafe for some lunch and milkshakes – Jayne ordered the ‘special’ (having no idea what it was). Turned out to be a khottu roshi but with smoked meat (I want to say beef but it might have been something else…). She also ordered a ‘karumba’ shake (again, no idea). Turned out to be a coconut type drink that constantly needed to be stirred as it kept separating. I opted for the safe option of tuna khottu roshi and milo milkshake!! Decided to get some passport photos done ready for our Nepal visas and cause we needed to get rid of our last bit of Maldivian Rufiyaa. Found a shop with an incredibly efficient passport photo service. Went in after a little girl who kept bursting into tears as soon as they tried to take her photo but then would smile and laugh when she saw us – if only we were allowed in the photo studio with her and dad. With photos in hand (Jayne looking like a convict – me looking like an odd version of the Cheshire Cat), we headed back to the hotel to pick up our stuff and head to the airport. A significantly less giddy and excitable ferry crossing over to the airport although Jayne did literally bounce up and down when she spotted Burger King in the airport terminal. Saw the news of the Belgium terrorist attacks in the arrivals hall so passed through to departures with feelings of dread and sadness. Check in and through passport control before hitting security. Having been told we could take our water through, we were then told to drink it or throw it away. Since we are both stubborn, we sat down and drank the 1.5ltr bottle and watched other passengers come through. One Indian family had a whole suitcase of chilled coffee drinks which they proceeded to share out amongst them whilst spraying themselves sporadically with the deodorant that they were also being forced to leave behind as it was bigger than 100ml. Got something to eat and was boarded onto the plane. A painful hour flight (my ears are really not happy with me) and we landed in Colombo. We visited the Europcar desk (bunch of bastards!!) to enquiry about our supposed refund. Managed to get the head of Sri Lankan Europcar on the phone and we are slightly closer to sorting all this mess out. Out of the arrivals terminal with our luggage and straight into the departures terminal (with an offer for a taxi ride!), waiting to be able to check in for our 4am flight to Doha. 

Tuesday 22nd March 2016