Jan 29, 2011

In to the storm ...


A plane takes off in to the cloudy stormy sky.
One of the planes from the biggest sea plane operation in the world, Maldivian Air Taxi.
Maldivian Air Taxi and competing Trans Maldivian Airways ferries tourist to and from resort hotel islands and Malé International Airport.
Most of the planes rides are less that 40 minutes.

Villingili, Maldives.

Jan 28, 2011

Jog station: Tuning in slowly ...


After months of procrastination, I have taken up going jogging again. Need to get back in shape and lose some weight.

The frequent coffees that we Maldivians keep having everyday is making us carry a few extra kilos. It kind of creeps up on you. So, the last few years, I have tried my best to do some form of exercise, be it jogging, swimming or going to the gym.

First, I tried the gym, but soon realized that it was not for me. I can not seem to stick to the schedule and I did not want to pay the monthly fees if I cannot make it to the gym on time for every session. I have heard that gyms give you huge discounts if you pay for 3 months or more, because statistically, you are not going to show up for all sessions, if at all!

Later, I tried swimming. I went to go to the track area behind STELCO. When I started, I was just clumsily dog paddling across the track. After a few months I learned how to streamline my body, how to keep my head just below the water level and breath by turning my head sideways. Managed to learn all this by watching Total Immersion videos on YouTube. However, I was not able to practice these techniques for long. The track area where everyone in the island goes swimming got so polluted that I started getting rashes. My doctor made me stop when I got my second ear infection. That track area is heavily overused and miserably under-maintained. Not to mentioned all sorts of oils they keep dumping around there.

My latest attempt at exercising is jogging. Actually, I used to go jogging quite regularly about two years ago. I stopped because people kept telling me that swimming would be twice as effective than jogging. Now that swimming is out, I am back jogging, and this time around, I plan to stick to it. One good thing about jogging is that I can listen my "motivational" music when jogging, it kind of gives me the extra boost I frequently seem need. It is nice.

I jog around the outdoor cricket pitch in front of the sports complex. Back in the day, I could easily do at least 11 laps. Nowadays, I can barely do 9, that is on a good day. I am trying to slowly increase my lap count to 13. May be add a lap every week or so. I have it on good authority that 13 laps around the pitch is equivalent to one round around the whole islands of Malé. That is around 5.2 Kilometers. The general idea here is that these runs should whip me back in to shape in no time. I am hopeful, but it is not going to be that easy or that soon. It never is.

I am also contemplating the purchase of some kind of monitoring device to keep track of my runs and workouts. I am researching Nike+iPod and Adidas MiCoach. I want to keep a record of my runs and analyze it in a visually appealing fashion. Those health websites have some good looking graphs showing all sorts of information which I probably will never need, but they sure look good.

Though I have to admit that swimming got me the best results, I am going to keep up jogging. It would be nice if anyone of you decides to takes up jogging, or any form of exercise. Our blogger friend and personal trainer is of the opinion that exercise is good for us. He is usually right about these things.


Jan 26, 2011

Old man B&W ...


Ibrahimbé, a talkative oldtimer I met in Villingili.
He is in Villingili seeking medical attention. Villingili is a satellite of the capital Malé, and the biggest hospital in the country is a few short minutes by boat.
He liked to talk about the past, what it was like growing up in a secluded island community in a far away atoll in Maldives. How life was back then, how girls were, how ladies were treated, and how ladies treated their men. All interesting stories.
I wish I had more time to chat with old man, but I had a ferry to catch.
Maybe we will meet again.

Villingili, Maldives.

Jan 25, 2011

Empty Lane ...


Early morning.
A deserted lane. Must follow the arrow.
We shall see where it leads us! :)

Malé, Maldives.

Jan 24, 2011

The all new Blue Bloods …


Several days ago, a friend introduced to me to Blue Bloods. Not the book, but the TV show. I have watched the first few episodes, and I have grown to like it very much.

Blue Bloods is a bit different from other police procedurals I have seen lately. It does not have over the top technology or animated laboratory works. It does not have dialogue scripted with seldom used police jargons to attempt a sense of reality. What is does have however, is a good cast headed by Tom Selleck, hard grit and a good amount of valor.

The show revolves around the Reagan family. Dad, Tom Selleck is Police Commissioner of New York. His sons Danny is an NYPD detective and Jamie is a rookie police officer fresh out of the academy. Daughter Erin is an Assistant District Attorney. Together they work to make a difference and put the bad guys away, while trying make sense at the dinner table, which does not always go as planned.

As this is the start of the show, a few plots are being set up across the season. While the family is mourning the loss of their brother in an undercover operation, FBI wants to recruit Jamie to investigate a secret club in the Police Force called the Blue Templar. Apparently, the some of the Reagan family are members of the club. Erin is going through a hard divorce and learning the ropes as a single parent. Their grandfather, who was the former police commissioner, now retired, watches over the family and advices them based on his numerous decades of service to the fine city of New York.

Danny does not always stick to the book or rules, but his heart seems to be in the right place. He walks a fine line. His talk, routines, and "enhanced interrogation" techniques makes me think about Jack Bauer. A little too much, actually.

It is a good show. A fresh police drama with a good cast, good dialogue and  a few good action scenes. Recommended.


Jan 23, 2011

Maldives Monetary Authority ...


Maldives Monetary Authority, the central bank of Maldives.

The Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA) was established on 1st July 1981, and is endowed with the regular powers and obligations of a central bank under the mandate provided by the MMA Act (1981). To this effect, the MMA issues currency, regulates the availability of the Maldivian rufiyaa and promotes its stability, licenses, supervises and regulates institutions in the financial sector, formulates and implements monetary policy, and advises the Government on issues relating to the economy and financial system in order to foster an environment conducive to the orderly and balanced economic development of the Maldives.
Malé, Maldives.

Jan 22, 2011

Morning Briefing ...


A foreman talks to a group of construction workers under a tree, in the shade.
Construction business is on the rise, making semi-skilled workers and laborers flock to Maldives to find work.
The problem has grown worse, as some recruitment agencies becoming part of international human trafficking rings.
The government has acknowledged the problem, and are seeking ways to deter the influx of foreigner laborers seeking employment in the country.
There are regular checks conducted by Maldives National Defense Force on proper employment permits and work visa in the country now.

Malé, Maldives.

Jan 19, 2011

Malaysian Airlines ad ...


A Malaysian ad over at Majeedhi Magu and Maaveyo Magu junction. Busy area!
These billboards called Tri-Visions which are able to display 3 ads by rotating their panels, are quite popular now.
Especially in busy roadway near traffic lights.

Malé, Maldives.

Jan 17, 2011

Nescafé Latte ...


Drinking coffee has become the favorite pastime of Maldivians. International brands sell the best I hear.
No meeting, no date, nothing gets by without coffee.
Coffee shops are springing up all over the capital city, and a few in outer atolls as well.
You have something to discuss? Anything? Business? Personal? Romantic? Political?
"Call me for a coffee, we will talk".

Malé, Maldives.

Jan 16, 2011

Bottle on the beach ...


A bottle on the beach. No, there was no message in the bottle. I checked, thoroughly :)
These things do get people excited, eh? Must have been all those romantic novels and movies.

Villingili, Maldives.

Relocated:: Moving homewards …


Happy New year! I know, its a bit late to wish you a Happy New Year, but better late than never, right?

Actually when everyone in the world was celebrating new year, I was busy moving. It is not the best time for a move, I know, but these things cannot seem to be scheduled in your favor! When you got to move, you got to move!

The last week of December and the first week of January was a whirlwind of activities. I had no idea we had accumulated so much stuff over the past years until we started to pack it all. Sourcing empty boxes, categorizing stuff, sorting and packing. The sound of masking tape being unrolled was almost a constant background noise in our homes. Someone was always packing something. The final move was on December 31st and January 1st. Bad timing. Yes, tell me about it!

There was no way that all our old stuff would fit in to our new place, so we had to discuss the fate of each and every piece of furniture we owned. We had to part with several items, and that was, as always, a difficult decision. The furniture you have kind of grows on you and its always disappointing to see it go. Unless of course you get a way better piece to replace it.

After 5 truckloads, 3 to our new place and 2 to the yard, we had everything in our new place. Setting up the new place was easier than I thought, and we had some help. Luckily, everything we wanted here fit almost perfectly. That was a relief, to say the least. All the utilities and services has also been relocated and activated including cable TV and internet.

After living in rented spaces for almost a decade, coming back home felt really good. Lot of stuff has changed in my neighborhood. People have changed, buildings demolished and rebuilt. The old timers remember us, and fondly talk to when we meet on the street. They are as friendly and caring as I remember, asking us how we are, telling us how they missed us, and asking about our family members and how they are doing. Though I have managed to reconnect with some of my childhood friends, most of the people living on my street are unfamiliar to me. To them, I am the newcomer to their neighborhood. It seems around here, even parking spaces have to be earned! Mostly by repetitive usage.

The old mosque, which was a landmark and a favorite hangout when we were kids, has also been rebuilt. It is much bigger now and three stories high. There is no garden and sandy compound anymore. Every square inch has been built upon, and the devotees still overflow on the streets, and way past my  door! I have to walk not towards the mosque, but away from the mosque, when I attend Friday prayers!

Now that I am home, life has taken a new turn. Priorities and responsibilities has changed. I am still trying to settle in, but it is good to be back home. Elated! 


Jan 15, 2011

Yellow building ...


A yellow building in my neighborhood, interesting design, don't you think?
Due to space constraints, most of the building are designed with small space living in mind, and hence has little to no aesthetic appeal.
However, lately, there have been a trend to make those concrete structure a little pleasing to the eye. At least from the outside.
Mostly with choosing good color combination and good quality paint.

Malé, Maldives.

Jan 11, 2011

Comforting ...


A grandma comforts her grandson.
I saw them at the beach in Villingili taking in scenery and enjoying the cool afternoon sea breeze.
Very touching.

Villingili, Maldives.

Jan 10, 2011

Maldives Finance Offices ...


Maldives Finance stuff.
Most of the finance related government offices have been moved to this building, Which was formerly Ministry of Finance and Treasury.
Ministry of Finance and Treasury, Auditor General's Office and Inland Revenue Authority (MIRA).
I'm guessing the new Tax office will also moved here soon, since we are going to be taxed June onwards.
I actually do support the tax bill.

Malé, Maldives.

Jan 9, 2011

Golden Sky ...


A slow boat, probably carrying cargo and passengers to inhabited island, silhouetted against a golden sky.
Can anyone tell me the name of the island in the background? Its Villingili, right?

Malé, Maldives.

Jan 8, 2011

STO building ...


The headquarters of State Trading Organization. One of the oldest companies in the Maldives.

Back in 1964, a fully state-funded business was set up by the Maldivian government with one key mission: strengthening national food security. The main task of this company, then named Athireemaafannu Trading Agency (ATA), was to purchase and import essential food items in bulk to be distributed nationally via local traders and ATA's own retail outlets. ATA expanded to become STO and along with its diverse portfolio of businesses today, STO continues to fulfill this important national responsibility as a top priority.
STO has diversified in to other sectors of business, competitively trading in construction materials, consumer electronics, home appliances, medical supplies and pharmaceuticals, and a range of high quality supermarket products.

STO group, with its subsidiaries, JVs and associates, is a national leader in business. It has significant and focused interests in petroleum, cooking gas, construction materials (including cement and roofing material), medical supplies and pharmaceuticals, home appliances, electronic items, supermarket products and insurance. The company is geographically diverse with operations and developments throughout Maldives and operations in Singapore.
This has been achieved by direct procurement and distribution as well as forming joint ventures to effectively trade in areas where it presents greater opportunity. STO maintains strong government ties, making it their trading partner of choice.

Malé, Maldives.

Jan 6, 2011

Fly fishing ...


A fly on a some drying fish.
Its a Maldivian thing. We have smoked dried fish, sun dried fish and salted fish among others types.
We even export them, but not as much as frozen Maldive tuna. thats more popular.

Malé, Maldives.

Jan 3, 2011

Wataniya building ... Flagship store ...


Wataniya, the second telecommunication company to start operation in Maldives.
I switched from Dhiraagu (the only Telecom provider in Maldives before Wataniya) to Wataniya over a year ago. Its been pretty good.
And Wataniya may not be as popular as Dhiraagu among the younger crowd, but Wataniya definitely has better packages.

Malé, Maldives.

Jan 2, 2011

A shady lane ...


Living in a congested concrete jungle, it is a pleasant surprise to find and walk along a shady street like this.
There have been several past and active programs to plant trees on side of roads since early nineties.
Only a few project were run long enough for the trees to actually mature, and some roads do look good with tall trees lining the sidewalks.

Malé, Maldives.

Graffiti Corner ...


The rebels without a cause? Teen angst? Raging hormones? I don't know.
I even saw a graffiti which read "If graffiti is a crime, let God punish us".
Let me tell you something guys, God is more concerned about sinners than criminals!

Malé, Maldives.