Tuesday, February 16, 2010

18,965 Miles Traveled

Feb 12, 2010
Clear, warm, humid
Male, and an Atoll, in the Maldives

As we descended this morning over the Maldives, passengers unbuckled their seatbelts and ran to the other side of the plane to see the turquoise water. It’s absolutely mesmerizing. The water was “gin-clear” as we took a taxi boat to Male and watched the schools of fish swimming beneath us. We then got on a boat for three and half hours to one of the more secluded atolls. It was one of the most rocky and turbulent boat rides I’ve ever taken; at one point my feet slipped out from under me and I went down hard. More than a few of our group got seasick. A tasty but inappropriate snack of fish with spicy tomato mayonnaise was served on buns, with watermelon and bananas picked off a huge bunch hanging on the end of the boat. After two days without a real meal, it was absolutely delicious. At the end of this ride, we were greeted by smiling hosts who led us to a shady circle of chairs on the beach and handed us each a fresh coconut. I knew then that I loved the Maldives.
We got our rooms (some of us are staying on the atoll, some are staying on a boat anchored offshore), and took a dive boat to the home base boat to go snorkeling. By this time, it was getting a late, and we were in the water as the sun set. I was a bit afraid of being eaten by one of the many Maldivian sharks, but it was cool to watch the transition from the blue and yellow fish, to a quiet time during dusk, then the red fish with huge eyes. We got back on the boat, and had the most amazing dinner – fresh red snapper, chicken, pasta with a marinara fish sauce, boat-made cole slaw, pineapple, and more of those bananas.
Now we’re back on the island, about to go to sleep. I’m really exhausted after spending the night in the Sri Lanka airport, waking up at two the morning before, and over twenty-four hours of travel. I didn’t eat until the spicy fish rolls came out around two, and I was very hungry and very thirsty. Something that has changed about me on this trip is definitely my attitude towards discomfort – I keep telling myself that I will be tired, I will be hungry, or thirsty, or sick. I will take many more cold showers, and I will throw up. And I accept that I will have those experiences. And by accepting that those things will happen, by accepting that worse and better will come, it bothers me less and less.

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