This is a much shorter blog as the trip itself was short and it was an official trip, not a holiday. But I did find the time to take some photos, and if only for the sake of discipline of regularly feeding this blog, I assembled this short story.
Last week I had the privilege to attend the annual regional meeting of the South-East Asia region. The region includes 11 countries and each year a different country hosts the meeting. This year it was for the Maldives to host it. The event took place on Paradise Island Resort, some 30 minutes’ drive by speedboat from Velana International Airport in Male, the capital city of Maldives. The photos I took cover five main themes: the flight (experimenting with airplane photography), animal life, the beaches, the bungalows, and the ocean.
I like taking photos from the airplane – the world looks amazing from up in the sky. But the sight of the many islands of the Maldives on arrival and on departure was simply surreal.
On the way back home on second leg, I had a window flight, and the sky was perfectly clear, which made taking photos very enjoyable. The plane flew over Dubai, the Nile river, Adriatic Sea, French Alps, and the Swiss Glaciers, to finally arrive in Geneva.
By far the most impressive experience was watching the stingrays being fed at 6pm. A strong light is put up on the beach and stingrays come to the shore to get their food. Tourist can feed them too and pet them (!), but careful to the tail – it is very dangerous!
The second most exciting thing was watching the sharks at 7am under the bridge that linked the island with the jetty for the speed boats. The baby sharks were accustomed with tourist of course, and they would follow you as you moved along the bridge in a well-organized formation.
Some little friends near the bungalow gave a feel of wilderness.
With their white sand, the blue transparent water and the green palm trees, the beaches are of course breath-taking and invite you to just relax and enjoy the moment.
No wonder the island is the ultimate destination for romantic weddings….
This is not where I stayed. These amazing bungalows on pillars, from which you have direct access into the warm and calm waters of the lagoon were for the high-level officials. The mere mortals stayed in smaller and traditional beach bungalows, with a much crowded view. No complaints though, it was still amazing…
The organizers proposed a night fishing trip at the end of the meeting. Didn’t catch any fish, just took photos of the sunset and the many boats sailing the ocean.
A nice rainbow greeted us on the way back to the airport.
Maldives is a small beautiful country of less than 500,000 people, living on about 150 islands, with 80% of their economy based on tourism and the rest on fishing. Very nice people, and many innovations – some of the islands use solar power to get their electricity, and most of them desalinate the ocean water to make drinking water. Grateful for having the opportunity to see it – and there are still many things to discover.
PS: the official meeting went very well and it’s all in my duty travel report, already done and submitted!