City Life In the Maldives
As we bid farewell to the incredible Sri Lanka where nothing but fond memories were made. An hour an half flight which we never wanted to end. Looking outside the window it soon becomes apparent that we had entered another realm.
We land at sunset and are directed to the local ferry to the mainland, the capital and the heart for the locals which is exactly what we wanted to see. Anybody can go to the Maldives be swept off to their plush resort lounge with seaplane directly to the resort. We wanted to see, learn, eat and understand what life is like for the people of a place of such beauty.
Catching the ferry for a mere 10 minutes for 20pence on plastic garden chairs with dozens of headscarf wearing ladies and religious men it soon became obvious this is a very muslim country. We get invited to a bbq with the locals.
We stayed in an Airbnb for the first night but we weren't so impressed so the next day we were up at the crack of dawn and decided to look into other options, which lead us to the light bulb idea of couch surfing. I mean, why not?
Male has the highest divorce rate in a concentrated space in the world. So high that a local Bakery we had a nosey in actually sells BrideGroom wedding toppers with the Groom doing a runner.
This militantly religious Capital who rarely see tourists live in high rise flats that couldn't be further from the countries natural beauty if they tried. Their saving grace has to be that they paint this concrete jungle all of our favourite colours.
Food was our biggest problem. Maldivian breakfast of fresh grated coconut with tuna and a roti was interesting. As for the tuna curry delicious day 1 by day 3 became stagnant. The best bet by far is the catch of the day by the local fisherman. Reef fish, delicious. The nature of the locals is intriguing and welcoming. They are really gentle humans, although they live encompassed in this high rise hell they seem happy. They enjoy sitting outside and walking around the island, which you can walk around in about 30 minutes.
So off we went on another local ferry to Maafushi, one of the local islands that had been recommended to us for some beach time. There is one 'Bikini beach' here so we were keen to finally get our tan on and dive into the Indian Ocean.
Being first timers we were slightly apprehensive at the idea but having each other we felt confident to make a few calls. And so we meet Paul a seaplane pilot from Poland, 36, gorgeous and it soon became apparent, a kindred spirit. What is life like as a seaplane pilot in honeymoon heaven. He starts at 5am does about 10 flights a day and has even flown the Beckhams.
Life in Male for the ex-pats can be quite lonely so you'll be surprised that there are a few options on Couch Surfing. It's all high rise buildings on the island so the apartments are rather big. We were lucky enough to get our own room with en-suite. Being a strict Muslim capital alcohol is forbidden and the city is pretty quiet at night, so Paul took us over on the shuttle speed boat to the nearest resort where we found ourselves indulging in fishbowl cocktails, singing Karaoke with his fellow sea plane pilot pals at an English style pub. Fun times.
We spent a couple of days in Male exploring the island, seeing what life is like for the locals, lets just say it was definitely eye opening. We definitely recommend visiting the fish market and Hotel Jen for their rooftop pool but don't spend more than a day here or you will be itching to get to the beach. We definitely were.