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Maldives Republic

More Exciting Village Life

February 9, 2016

sunny 30 °C
View Sri Lanka, The Maldives and India on katdill's travel map.

Today was pretty much a repeat of our previous days here, except the guys didn't go out in a boat, they just snorkeled around the home reef. But, I have other interesting stories of village life for you.
As we walked around the island, we had noticed some of the palm trees have boards fastened to their trunks to form ladders. Great idea, right? I had Don try one out so I could get a photo. Right after that, we ran into the man who was using them as intended. He climbs the palm, makes a cut across a flower stem? or new leaf? and fastens a plastic bottle to it. Then he covers it all with some cloth wrapping and climbs down. He empties the containers from his previous trip, which maybe is 3 times a day, but for sure twice a day. The sap that he collects is then boiled down to make syrup. Voila! Palm syrup just like maple syrup. We had heard the description of this from Harshi in Colombo, but this was the first time we got to see it in action.
Don demonstrates ladder

Don demonstrates ladder

Man collecting sap

Man collecting sap

Height of palm

Height of palm

Man at top of palm

Man at top of palm

Another interesting bit as we walked past the boatbuilders was one of them was making copper nails to use on the boat. As we stood and watched the process, the man offered Don a turn and he managed to pound down the copper to make the head of the nail fairly successfully. It was pretty cool to see just how they did that.
Don pounding the head of the nail

Don pounding the head of the nail

Posted by katdill 18:35 Archived in Maldives Republic Comments (0)

An Interesting Afternoon

February 8, 2016

sunny 30 °C
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This morning was a repeat of yesterday's, the guys went out on the boat to snorkel and I sat in the shade and stitched and read. But after lunch, when they returned, it got more interesting.
Don and I were sitting in the shade by the ocean, reading, when Rob came by. He was walking around taking pictures and he reported there were a group of women who were weaving. That got me interested and after a little bit, I wandered over to see what they were doing. They were weaving palm leaves to make palapas thatch. They don't seem to use it much on this island, their roofs are all metal or cement it seems, so maybe they are something they sell to other islands. So I took a picture and was asking them about how they use it, but English is pretty limited here. Unless people work in the tourist industry, they never use it, I think. Then one of the women gestured to me and had me sit in her spot and try my hand at weaving thatch. Well, it was hilarious - the young woman who had the best English asked for my camera so she could take a picture of me. I could hardly get down to the little stool the woman was sitting on and I found out later she is just a year younger than I am. Then it was lead me step by step, pretty much doing it for me, until I had added one double row of leaves to the thatch. At that I gave up and let them get back to work. Lots of fun and they had lots of laughs at my expense. Don wasn't with me and I think the woman felt freer without a man watching, they sure had fun!
Making thatch

Making thatch

My turn to try

My turn to try


After I rejoined Don, we walked around the island, Don taking pictures of groups of kids, who like hamming it up for the camera. We helped a couple of women who were working on untangling fishing line. It was very heavy gauge nylon line, wrapped around a detergent bottle.
Kids acting for the camera

Kids acting for the camera

More kids

More kids


Walking along the beach we found a couple of women and 3 boys catching little fish. They had a bottle of water they would put them in. We have no idea what they were going to do with them - sell them? add them to the aquarium? - they seemed too small to eat. They enjoyed our interest and showed us their technique. Once they spot a little fish, the two women quickly hold a piece of fabric against the bottom while the boys drive the fish onto the fabric. We saw more fails than successes, but the number of fish in their bottle shows how successful they were.
Catching tiny fish

Catching tiny fish


Bottle of fish

Bottle of fish


Tune in tomorrow for more stories of exciting island life!

Posted by katdill 18:55 Archived in Maldives Republic Comments (0)

A relaxed day on Omadhoo

February 7, 2016

sunny 30 °C
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Don and Rob went off on a snorkeling trip with another fellow, Tom, from Germany. The trip was about 2 hours and went to a reef away from the island. Apparently, this is called a "thila". "A Thila is an underwater island that can be both, so small that you can dive it all around or so big that you'll manage to see only one side during a dive." They had a good time and enjoyed all the coral and fish they saw there.
After they left I went over to the school to see if they wanted me to speak with any of the students, the way I had on Dhangethi. It turned out the principal was away on leave, and the vice-principal(?) was afraid to do anything out of the ordinary. So I said if you talk to the principal and want me to come just contact the guesthouse.
I walked over to the windy side of the island and found a lazy chair in the shade. As I walked I passed a woman harvesting some fruit from a net-covered tree. I asked her what kind of fruit it was, but her English wasn't up to answering me. However, she gave me a fruit to try and motioned for me to eat it. It was delicious - sort of a pear-apple flavour. We still don't know what it is called...
Mystery fruit - I just found out they call it a wax apple

Mystery fruit - I just found out they call it a wax apple


It is lovely to sit in the shade and stitch, enjoying the breeze and resting my eyes on the ever changing ocean. I got quite a bit done and when I decided to return to the guesthouse I met the guys on their way back. So after they cleaned up we went for lunch at the only restaurant that is not at our guesthouse. The young waiter there said "Come" and led us to a small palapa on a tiny island in a cement pond. Very cute - shaded from the sun, feeling the breeze, and small fish in the moat around us. We had a very cheap and delicious meal.
Tiny palapa at the restaurant

Tiny palapa at the restaurant


Don and I went back to my shady lazy chairs and read during the really hot part of the day and then he went for another snorkel around the island, covering some different territory than they did yesterday.
Don exploring some of the shady island

Don exploring some of the shady island


We had supper here at the guesthouse - it's not served until 7:30 - I'm getting adjusted to eating later, although I often have to have a snack before hand. The Maldives are alcohol free islands, at least the islands that have natives living on them. I guess the islands that are just resorts can do as they wish. So we are having an alcohol detox while staying here, but it's not hard to do at all.
The dining area at our guesthouse

The dining area at our guesthouse

Posted by katdill 18:24 Archived in Maldives Republic Comments (0)

Omadhoo

February 6, 2016

sunny 30 °C
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We packed up this morning and said goodbye to Eric, who was going off on a dive to hopefully see Manta Rays. We went to the dock to wait for the ferry and were entertained by kids swimming off the dock. There were also fish in the water to watch. I saw my first cuttlefish, which is a strange looking fish. A guide caught a couple to use as bait for the dive trip. We also saw a school of eelfish, which travel en masse all the time.
Eelfish school

Eelfish school

Girl on the dock

Girl on the dock

Cuttlefish surrounded by the ink they extrude

Cuttlefish surrounded by the ink they extrude


The public ferry arrived and away we went. It took an hour to get to Mahibadhoo. There was a smaller boat waiting for us there to bring us to Omadhoo. We were met at the dock and brought to the Kuri Inn. On these islands they use two wheeled carts pulled or pushed by a man to carry luggage. It is so hot, I have difficulty imagining the condition we would be in if we had to transport our own luggage!
The public ferry arrives

The public ferry arrives


This is a much smaller guesthouse than the Ariston Inn. However, the ceilings in all the rooms are very ornate. Carved cornices and a central inset section - quite elaborate.
After having a drink and introductory chat with Ishmail, our host, we retired to our rooms until lunch. Everywhere we go, I have to explain my weird diet of no nightshades to the cook or waiter. I have had limited success with that, but at Ariston Inn the chef always had something that was safe for me, and judging by the meals here so far, it will be fine here as well.
We've been admiring the lines of the boats they build here, but we just realized today that the rudder design is so clever. The pilot uses one foot to control the rudder - it's very cool!
Notice where his foot is

Notice where his foot is

Making a sharp turn to get out of the harbour

Making a sharp turn to get out of the harbour

More steering

More steering


Don and Rob went off to check out the snorkeling around the island reef and a bit later, as the sun got lower, I walked around the island - doesn't take very long - and met up with them as they came in from snorkeling.
We had a good supper - apparently all the guests from the 3 guesthouses owned by Ishmael and his family come to this one for meals.
Ishmael has 6 brothers and 7 sisters, and most of them still live on this island.

Posted by katdill 18:35 Archived in Maldives Republic Comments (0)

Whale Shark Success

February 5, 2016

sunny 30 °C
View Sri Lanka, The Maldives and India on katdill's travel map.

This morning, Rob, Don and Eric went out with Nish on a speedboat to go snorkeling with the whale sharks. They just found one, but they are so huge and impressive that one is enough. They said they had to swim as hard as they could to keep up to the shark. It is so large that even though it was hardly moving, it was hard to keep up. The boat had a rope hanging off the back that they could hang on to and get a ride farther along to catch up. They were all pretty pumped when they got back, just before noon.
Nish and Eric on the whale shark trip

Nish and Eric on the whale shark trip


I spent the morning sitting in the shade at the beach, stitching on my leaf project. I have drawn different tree leaves on a piece of fabric and am embroidering them. I've tried to get a leaf from each location we've been at, but because I insist I must know the name of the tree it's not always been possible. But it's a start...
For those of you who know me as Kathy the Water Nazi, you will enjoy the irony of Nish lecturing me on how we must drink lots of water when we are in the tropics. I managed to keep a straight face throughout this and just agreed with him, but I knew some of you would of enjoyed hearing him.
Today was Friday, which is the Muslim holy day, so routines were changed a little. We had to wait until a bit later for lunch, because everyone had been to the mosque to pray. We ate at beach restaurant number 1, because that was the only one that was open.
Later in the afternoon, Nish took us back to the restaurant for "tea". We had cups of tea, of course, and a selection of tasty pastries that are sort of appetizers. I got him to tell us the name of each of them, but because they were in the local language, I had no hope of remembering them.
Tea at the beach

Tea at the beach


Our supper back at the hotel was a little different as well. There were only the four of us for supper, and Nish ate with us outside at the picnic table. Very nice to eat outside, but there are mosquitoes here of course.
Tomorrow we go off to stay on a different island, Omadhoo, for another four nights.

Posted by katdill 17:42 Archived in Maldives Republic Comments (0)

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