Sorry for the delay folks! I’ve been away for 3 weeks, but I’m finally back in Beijing where I have unlimited internet access and my own computer so I can upload the long awaited photos from the Maldives.
Like I wrote in my last post, the Republic of Maldives is as close to Paradise as I’ll ever get. There are over 1100 islands of which 800 or so are uninhabited. Many of those that are inhabited, though, are owned by resorts like the Hilton on the island of Iru Fushi where I stayed for 4 days. Before this trip I did not even know where the Maldives were. Now, I’d like to make it an annual trip before the ocean rises and the islands disappear… Besides, my mom could use the vacations. She works hard.
On September 1st, my mom and I arrived at Kunming International Airport with one suitcase and one cardboard box full of ramen noodles, pears, canned ham, moon cakes, candy, crackers, nuts, and spicy pickled vegetables. 6.5 hours later we were in Male, the most densely populated city in the Republic of Maldives, where we stayed overnight.
The next morning, it poured. Monsoon season… no wonder the tickets were cheaper. When the rains cleared, we took a rocky boat ride back to the airport and were transported to the other side of the island where we would hop on this amazing little piece of machinery that would take us to Iru Fushi.
The pilot flew barefoot! In Chinese we would say, “Hao shuang, ah!” (“So coooool!”)
What I saw from overhead was absolutely, breathtakingly beautiful. Here are a few photos, but let me just warn you, they don’t even come close to capturing the true colors and reality of how gorgeous this country is.
Anyway, that was an unforgettable morning, unlike the next one when I didn’t catch any fish. Taking advantage of another honeymoon couple’s deal, my mom and I went on a complimentary fishing trip. Instead of using fishing rods, we just held onto a reel with fresh tuna as bait for 2 hours, like so:
Unfortunately, fish kept eating my tuna faster than I could pull them up. My mom, however, lucky as she is, caught a white snapper.
The next day, that poor thing turned into this:
There is not much to do on a small island, but there is so much to see. Sunrise and sunset, for instance. I’m not one to sap over beautiful things (my mom is), but I swooned over this view (sunrise):
And this one (sunset)…
As beautiful and relaxing as Iru Fushi was, there was some sadness to it as well. It’s a wonderful place to vacation, but when you are one of 3 Chinese people on a tiny island, it can be very lonesome. Shine, my diving instructor, is 25 years old and has been working in the Maldives for over a year. The employees get a 3 week vacation yearly, but 21 days out of 365 to see family and friends is still little time. Shine speaks English so she can communicate with the tourists and her coworkers, but it’s not her native language, thus she remains homesick. But it’s not the language that’s troubling, it’s the fact that she’s basically stuck on an island that she can never call home. Iru Fushi is gorgeous, but even so, when there is limited space for mobility and escape, one can still feel trapped.
Shine is from a small city in China, but I met Hilton employees from all the world, including Russia, Nepal, India and Germany. The local islander employees, however, are much closer to home. They are also some of the friendliest people I have ever met. Perhaps they are trained to be so, but regardless, they are playful, genuinely interested in learning about your language and country, and are always willing to take photos with you.
I made some good memories on this trip, however short it was. To show off my novice photographic eye and my delectable tan, I’d like to leave you with more photos (some credit goes to my mom). Perhaps one day we can visit Maldives together!
Because I am a princess, I have been blessed with the opportunity to visit Paradise (aka the Maldives islands on the Indian Ocean). It is truly the most beautiful place I have ever been and is the closest to Paradise I will ever be. My mom and I are on this little island of Iru Fushi –staying in the Hilton Resort and Spa (consider me spoiled; I’m an only child!)– bonding. Surprisingly, she hasn’t driven me nuts in these close quarters yet, although the never-ending photoshoots…….well, I’m not a model.
We’ve been here for 3 days (1 more left!) and I’ve already snorkeled, open-water dived, saw dolphins (HUNDREDS!) and ate lots of curry and ramen noodles. I will post photos in my next blog since I didn’t bring my camera cord; I came unprepared for this spontaneously planned trip.
I have to admit I am not missing Brooklyn as much as I thought I would. That’s likely because I’m in Paradise. Silly me!
Anyhow, I just wanted to give a brief update of my latest whereabouts!
Well, the rain passed and the sun is shining! Must return to my water villa for a mid-afternoon nap facing the translucent turquoise ocean…