|Hard at work in paradise|
Our first mistake was to fly from Colombo to Maldives on the first Friday of Ramadan. Maldivians take their religion seriously and not only is there no food for sale anywhere during the day but no ferries run between the islands either. For a country made up of thousands of tiny coral atolls that's a serious transportation challenge. We were forced to stay in the capital city of Male, a tiny island where skyscrapers appear to jut straight out of the sea.
Our local friend has political ambitions to become the senator for island where he was born. Recent Maldivian political history is a veritable soap opera of tropical intrigue. A very popular young opposition candidate ousted the longtime incumbent from the presidency a couple of years ago. He had big ideas for changing the country, opening up the tourism sector and developing the outlying atolls. But the incumbent wasn't happy losing his throne and organized a coup with the help of the Male police. Our friend was actually alongside the young president during the coup and was on the front-lines of the subsequent riots between police and angry constituents.
|No sex scandals for this little guy|
Luckily we were able to escape the embroiled capital unscathed to the beautiful island of Maafushi. Maldives is best known for its massive, five star, all inclusive resorts. But those were far beyond the reaches of our modest pocketbook. Luckily over the past few years the country legalized 'local guest houses' (thanks to the ousted young president). These are the equivalent of a nice budget hotel in the US. They had relatively spacious rooms with AC and all the amenities but without the attached resort.
|We both felt like this after the Maldives|
It was a wonderful week, all the more so because a week is the perfect amount of time to spend there. It's a great place for a short-term holiday. But our ambitions ran beyond the scope of a short-term holiday, we had our sights set on the smoldering volcanoes, verdant jungles and deserted beaches of Sumatra...
Co-posted on www.dreacastillo.com
|On our way to unspoiled reefs|
|Shade on the Indian Ocean|
|Our home for a week|