Eleven years and going strong. Still the second most frequently asked question I get is “Why do you do it?” (or you could say, “Why do I KEEP doing it?” It’s a big expense with no income. Well, George Orwell penned a piece “Why I Write” (thanks Isley) which highlighted a number of points which I think do apply to my 2000+ post (and going) writing…
- Sheer egoism – Desire to seem clever, to be talked about, to be remembered after death, to get your own back on the grown-ups who snubbed you in childhood, etc., etc. It is humbug to pretend this is not a motive, and a strong one. Writers share this characteristic with scientists, artists, politicians, lawyers, soldiers, successful businessmen — in short, with the whole top crust of humanity. The great mass of human beings are not acutely selfish. After the age of about thirty they almost abandon the sense of being individuals at all — and live chiefly for others, or are simply smothered under drudgery. But there is also the minority of gifted, wilful people who are determined to live their own lives to the end, and writers belong in this class. Serious writers, I should say, are on the whole more vain and self-centered than journalists, though less interested in money.
- Aesthetic enthusiasm – Perception of beauty in the external world, or, on the other hand, in words and their right arrangement. Pleasure in the impact of one sound on another, in the firmness of good prose or the rhythm of a good story. Desire to share an experience which one feels is valuable and ought not to be missed. The aesthetic motive is very feeble in a lot of writers, but even a pamphleteer or writer of textbooks will have pet words and phrases which appeal to him for non-utilitarian reasons; or he may feel strongly about typography, width of margins, etc. Above the level of a railway guide, no book is quite free from aesthetic considerations.
- Historical impulse – Desire to see things as they are, to find out true facts and store them up for the use of posterity.
Happy 11th Anniversary to Maldives Complete. Time for another taking stock of where we have been.
The big milestone of the year was being the first people ever to stay at 100 Maldives resorts. We have also visited every atoll which has more than 2 resorts (the resort atolls that we have not yet hit are Vaavu, Shaviyani, Thaa and Laamu).
In many ways, it is the culmination of years of striving for a complete compendium of useful and accessible information about the Maldives resorts underpinned by before assiduous regular research as well as expansive first hand experience.
Another year has passed without the addition of any significant functionality. That implies to me that the site is pretty “feature complete” (as they say in the software sector). On one hand, I haven’t had to dig into major overhaul work of new capability. On the other hand, more resorts than ever (and opening faster than ever with a record 13 new openings) which means more details to keep up with. Also, having written 1,574 “Best of the Maldives” posts, it is a bit harder identifying distinctive, new features (though with 283 of my “Not Yet Seens” still not yet seen, there’s plenty of possibilities and still the innovation keeps flowing bringing more and more creative aspects to this destination of superlatives).
Another two things I love in the Maldives are logging apps (with maps) and whale sharks. Now the Maldives Whale Shark Research Organisation has brought these two great things together in their mobile whale shark tracking app:
- “Since 2016, we’ve worked with the team at Critter to develop a mobile app built on their Track system, and in 2019 we’re proud to release the next generation full of exciting new features. ‘Whale Shark Network Maldives’ now takes technology that has long been the preserve of scientists at desktop computers and puts it into the hands of anyone with a mobile device. This innovative approach representing a huge leap for efficiency in citizen science engagement caught the attention of Apple, who selected the app from over 2.5 million others on the app store and championed it in the Keynote of Apple’s annual World.”
Whale Shark Spotter on steroids. They’ve also merged two general features of Maldives Complete – (a) a spotting tracker, and (b) a database lookup (with individual profiles). Add a blog and you have Whale Shark Complete!
Two of my favourite features – island maps and bed decorating. Both are quite distinctive in the Maldives with their “all on one island” resort properties and their tradition of elaborate blossom bed creations. Kudafushi has merged the two together for a mattress-based map of the island’s landscape (thanks Paola). One of the most exquisite works of bed decorating I’ve seen.
While most Maldives aficionados seek out the best house reefs (with their plummeting walls of coral), the Maldives lagoons are equally as distinctive. They might not make for the finest snorkelling adventures since they are essentially just shallow pools of water with sandy bottoms. Typically, not much marine life to see except for a few foraging sting rays and the wandering couple of goat fishes. But the lagoons are what give the Maldives its distinctive palette of soft blues and provide ocean swimming that is as calm as a backyard pool.
Rahaa’s “salt water” lake is one of the most distinctive resort bodies of water in the Maldives (thanks Francisco). Other resorts feature “lakes”, but none so front and center. None with villas on the shores and none you can swim in. Now whether Rahaa’s “lake” is really and lake or a totally landlocked lagoon is a bit of a semantic fine point. It is as notable a water feature as you’ll find in a destination that epitomises water features.
Sometimes you are the one polluted by toxins Joali features its own ingestible cure with a wide range of breakfast elixirs served in the breakfast buffet. The Ayurvedic tonics treat a variety of conditions including:
- Aches & Pain
- Purification Blood
- Liver Tonic
When most of what there is to do all day is savour pina coladas in the sun (or whatever your favourite tropical tipple is), plastic straws can pile up. Most resorts are moving away from plastic to a variety of sipping tools (so much so that with this post I have introduced the “Straws” tag). LUX south Ari Atoll has introduced another variety of edible straws:
- “The biodegradable straws, made from cooked rice flour, tapioca starch and water, can last up to one hour before they soften and eventually dissolve.”
Black Friday! The biggest shopping day of the year. Of course you will need something to carry all those purchases and you don’t want to be adding to the landfill with shopping bags. If you do your early Christmas shopping at Conrad Rangali you not only get a useful and stylish bag for your shopping and more, but the bag itself doesn’t just stop added plastic consumption, but it actually removes waste plastic from the ocean. The bag is made from recycled plastic removed from the ocean. Parley’s website describes
- “The bags are made with Ocean Plastic® — a premium material created from upcycled plastic waste recovered from remote islands, waters and coastlines by our growing global cleanup network. Each Parley Ocean Bag in the artist series is made from approximately 5 intercepted plastic bottles and funds the removal of another 20 pounds of marine plastic waste by the Parley Global Cleanup Network.”
Bag for Sea Life!
No matter how many toppings or how exotic the flavours, I have not come across any item on the menu as exotic as You & Me’s underwater restaurant H2O – plankton! More for a whale shark’s palette than appetite as it was presented in an eye-dropper bottle as part of the seafood platter. You sprinkle the “plankton” on the delicacies for that extra bit of taste of the sea. It didn’t really taste of anything other than just some seawater, but I guess that for mantas and other filter feeders, to them its all just sea water to them too. Something small (actually microscopic) before the big feast of Thanksgiving tomorrow.