Asalaam alaikum. The big climax to my Maldives experience is going to happen in two and a half weeks, or at least it should in theory. Myself and Jerome are taking 4 students to Hong Kong for a rowing competition to constitute the first ever Maldivian crew to leave the country.
If that isn’t exciting enough, it will also be the first time any of the Maldivians (a mother is coming as well) has ever left the country. In fact, they have, put together, only left the 12km island we live on about 15-20 times between the 5 of them. So perhaps more importantly than just rowing, they will be experiencing life somewhere else for the time.
This trip has been a series of firsts for me. The first time seeing a shark; the first time fishing and catching a shark; the first time living in a Muslim country; the first time seeing what eating nothing but fish does to my digestive system.
BUT, imagine what it is going to be like for the Maldivians going to Hong Kong. All those things we take for granted back in London or any other city will be as alien to them as eating fish for breakfast was to me.
Here are some of the main things I think they are going to be shocked by:
- Toilet paper. Any toilet round here has more resemblance to Alton towers to an actual bathroom. Number two’s are a paperless operation over here, so the Andrex Puppy might have to be rolled out as a quick educational tool.
- Milk. Nuff said.
- Trains. The bus here runs three times a day and the whole route takes about 30-40 minutes to cover the 12k road here. How quickly can a Chinese train do that distance? I don’t know, but it’s probably quicker.
- White and Chinese people. These sorts of people aren’t real people in the Maldives, they are mainly tourists or celebrities.
- Flying in a plane bigger than the coffin-express you get to Male and back.
Apart from these obvious things, we are compiling a bucket list for things for them to do that wouldn’t seem especially out of the ordinary for us:
- Going to the cinema
- Caking their arteries with McDonald’s
- Laser show
- An actual waterpark, not just a very literal “Water Closet”.
- Going up a skyscraper (anything more than 3 stories will do the trick to be honest).
- Going to a mall
- Going to a zoo
- Getting real fried rice, not Bangladeshi-fried rice.
Going to keep my mind peeled for some more in the coming weeks. Suggestions are welcome….