Fun in the Maldives

www.talkingthailand.co.uk/maldives
Source: https://www.villahotels.com/en/resort/fun-island

Bodufinolhu, or Fun Island, is the most idyllic island I have ever stayed on. I will always remember my trip there because I went on my honeymoon many years ago.

Located on the South Male Atoll, Fun Island is 37 km from Male International Airport. You can chose a 45 minute ride by speed boat, or an hour and a half by the local dhoni boat, if you prefer a more leisurely way to travel. We chose the slower route, so we could really appreciate just how beautiful this part of the world is.

Our room came with its own private beach area, with our own little piece of the Indian Ocean lapping peacefully onto the pristine white sand. It really felt like there was no one else there, which makes it perfect for honeymooners and romantic getaways.

Even though the island is just 700m long and 168m wide, there was loads of stuff to do like diving, beach volleyball and canoeing. For the less active, there was fishing, sunset cruising, or dolphin safaris, or simply relaxing on the beach or swimming in the warm, crystal clear water. My husband and I went on the dolphin safari which was fabulous, made even more so when a pod of around thirty dolphins showed up and surfed in the bow of the boat for a while. It was so tempting to jump in with them and join in their fun, although they might have had other ideas.

We spent a lot of our time in the water snorkeling. The water was so clear and very shallow, but as we swam further out we approached the drop off which is where shallow turns to very deep, very blue water. We went snorkeling along the drop off a few times and, I have to admit, it was a little nerve racking because we didn’t know what was going to come out of the abyss. In fact, one day a huge manta ray appeared from the depths below and silently swam right by us. Another time, we saw a shark in the distance, but we soon realised that it was circling us. I screamed “shark!” into my snorkel and decided that would be a good time to get out of the water for a while. I am sure the shark was just being nosy and it wouldn’t have bothered us, but we were in its territory, so we weren’t taking any chances! Back on the beach, we were so excited and a little terrified at what had just happened.

Near to Fun Island was a much smaller, uninhabited atoll, so one day we decided to wade our way across to investigate. The two islands didn’t seem that far apart, so we thought it would be a piece of cake. Luckily, it was fairly shallow which gave us the confidence to continue. As we splished and splashed our way across, we realised that this was not going to be as easy as we had first thought because the current between the two islands was very, very strong. We kept getting knocked off our feet and, to add to that, rays and sharks were swimming swiftly passed us, inches away from our ankles. Our splashing must have been attracting them! We didn’t make it to the atoll the first day, we thought it best to give up. It was exhausting! We weren’t giving up though, we tried again the next day and we finally made it. We were the only two people stupid enough to try, but we were rewarded for our efforts and we spent a glorious hour or so on the little atoll with no one else around.

The dining facilities were excellent and there was a great range of delicious local and international food on offer. The one thing that put me off was the fact that we had to share tables with complete strangers, but they weren’t strangers for long I am happy to say. It was actually a good way to meet other people there, and we spent the evenings with our new found friends in the bar enjoying the nightly entertainment with the usual drinks and cocktails.

During the evenings, we walked to the end of the jetty with bread, leftover from dinner, to feed the fish. I think they had cottoned on to the fact that this was where they got extra food, because no sooner as we had thrown the first piece in, hundreds of beautiful fish congregated until the bread had all gone. Then they buggered off when they knew there was no more. Actually, I don’t think fish are capable of thinking such things, but it was still a sight to see. I realised then, that it’s the simple things that can give you the most enjoyment. We walked to the end of the jetty most days as well and one day we saw bubbles breaking the surface of the water. At first, we thought it was a group of divers, but it was a small pod of dolphins coming up for air. It was so thrilling! The best part was, they graced us with their presence every single day. It was such a pleasure watching them when they were so close to us.

The summer season in the Maldives is from December to April during the dry season, which means that during this time it’s also high season, so things may get packed out quickly. We visited the Maldives in November when there can be rainfall due to the northeast monsoons. But, apart from a few cloudy days we still enjoyed ourselves there and it was still hot. So never let the rainy season put you off and if you’re a diver, it’s the perfect time because the water is clearer and there is better visibility.

I said at the start, I visited the Maldives many years ago, a time before smartphones and Facebook. I don’t have any photographs of my time there, but it’s stuck in my head forever. I’d love to go back one day, it’s on my list of places to go. It’s a stunning destination, a romantic getaway, a place to gather your thoughts. The Maldives could be anything you want it to be. It really is the stuff of dreams.

Versatile Blogger Award

Versatile Blogger Award

Thank you so much to Imageearthtravel for this award. I feel very honoured that Nilla took the time to do this. It is an inspiration and gives me the motivation to continue with my own blogging venture.

My nominees are:

www.kmihran.wordpress.com A blog with wonderful words and music

www.ceesshowcase.com Stunning photography

www.thewallgalleryblog.wordpress.com A creative art and photography blog

www.skip22037.com Wonderful walks which make you feel like you are there

www.clare-n-dean.com Thoughts and creativity from Australia

www.latitudesandattitudes.net Travel, photography and life from South East Asia

www.jdubqca.com Wonderful words in the form of poetry

www.aaronjoelsantos.wordpress.com Awesome photography

www.paintdigi.com Artistic creations and ideas

www.enchantedforests.wordpress.com Discovering the magic of forests

www.aquileana.wordpress.com Lessons from mythology

www.utesmile.wordpress.com Inspirational thoughts and positive thinking

www.theinsatiabletraveler.com Adventure, photography and inspiration

www.secretartexpedition.wordpress.com A personal exhibition of an artist

www.spardhak.wordpress.com Health, fitness, quotations and random life

7 Facts About Me:

  1. I won a bronze medal at tap-dancing when I was a child.
  2. At 17, I was a model and one of my jobs was to promote fireworks. I got my photographs in the Daily Express and Torquay Times.
  3. I came second in a body-building competition (when I used to have abs!)
  4. My favourite food is Indian and pizza. I could eat it every day.
  5. I love all things to do with nature and the natural world. One of my heroes is David Attenborough.
  6. I love wine, but I hate hangovers.
  7. I exercise most days. I love to run, swim, and work out in the gym.

🙂

 

 

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Stupid in Lust

Always wanting to try new things, Alex was chatting to her friend one day about on-line dating.

“So, how did you and John meet again?” she asked.

Her friend, Tanya, replied, “I registered on a dating site. I started chatting to this guy, and we arranged to meet. It was that easy.”

“But weren’t you nervous about meeting someone you didn’t know?” Alex asked quizzically.

“Yes, of course I was, but it was exciting at the same time,” Tanya chuckled, “And look at us, we are still together.”

So Alex, being Alex, thought she would give it a go. She had been single for a while and she needed some excitement in her life. So, she set up an account with the on-line dating website and waited.

Now, Alex was normally a smart girl and not at all up front about such things, but she thought it would be even more exciting to specify that she wanted an intimate encounter.

She started chatting to this guy, who lived in London. They chatted for a few weeks and one day he told Alex that he was going to be in her vicinity for a meeting. They arranged to meet at his hotel, a five-star place on the outskirts of town.

Nervous, and excited at the same time, Alex arrived at the luxurious five-star hotel, called him and told him she was downstairs waiting. He told her what he was wearing, brown jeans and sweater, and that he would be down in a few minutes. A few minutes later he was in reception, in brown jeans and sweater, they said hello and went up to his hotel room. He told Alex that he had to finish some work, but it would only take about thirty minutes for him to finish, after which they could go out.

Great! she thought, it’s the first time I have met him and he has to finish work, not exactly romantic! But then she reminded herself that they were both there for an intimate encounter, not exactly wine and roses in itself. Anyway, he offered her a beer and she sat watching TV while he carried on working.

After about an hour he said, “OK, I am done, let’s go eat.”

“Great,” she replied, “Where shall we go?”

They left the room and went downstairs and walked towards the exit.

“I don’t really know this area” he said.

“I do, but all the restaurants will be closed” she replied.

“OK, no problem, let’s go to one of the hotel’s restaurants” he suggested.

So they made their way back inside the hotel. However, by this time it was close to midnight and all the restaurants in the hotel were closed. Even five star hotels have their closing times.

“Never mind,” he said, “we can get room service.”

“Er, OK,” was her tentative reply. Alex wasn’t feeling quite as excited as before. In fact she was rather wishing that she hadn’t put that she was up for an intimate encounter.

But not one to give up, she followed him up to his room and sat down. He offered her another beer and they looked at the menu. They settled on a tuna sandwich each. Not exactly the meal she had had in mind.

They sat there chatting and Alex thought to herself that, after all the weeks they had been chatting, it was very nice to meet him in person. And he seemed like the perfect gentleman, so she started to relax a bit, although she did get a little bored when he kept referring to how much money he made, how much the hotel room cost, how many this he had, how many that he had. Those things held no interest for Alex whatsoever. But who was she to complain? They were both after an intimate encounter, this should not be forgotten.

After a while he blurted out “Do you want a bath?”

Alex nearly choked on her tuna sandwich “A bath?” “Er, no!”

“Oh, it can be quite nice” he replied.

“Oh,” she didn’t want to hurt his feelings, “I don’t really like baths.”

With that he got up and said “OK, am gonna take a shower.” And off he went.

When he had gone, Alex’s courage started to wane. She started to think what on earth she was doing in this random guy’s hotel room. One who she had never met before, and one she certainly didn’t know. So she started having a conversation with herself practising what she was going to say. But then… on the promise of an intimate encounter…What if he didn’t let her go? What if…? What if…?

Alex could feel panic rising.

When he appeared from the bathroom towel in hand saying,  “There are towels on the bed.” She very quickly and calmly said “You know what, I’m gonna go.”

He asked “Oh, why?”

“This thing is just not me.”

“You put on your profile that you wanted an intimate encounter” he stated.

“I know.”

She told him about her friends and how it had worked for them. “But this is just not me” she repeated, and continued with the “It’s not you, it’s me,” line.

She needn’t have worried about anything, because he accepted what she said and, being the gentleman he was, he walked her to the lift, gave her a peck on the cheek, and said, “Am sorry that you have to leave.”

“I’m sorry too” she lied.

And with that, she left the hotel feeling like the hotel staff knew exactly what she had been up to, after all they had seen her arriving, and now departing in less than two hours.

On the way home, Alex realised that what she had done was such a stupid thing to do. To go to someone’s hotel, someone she had never met before.

“Really Alex?” she said aloud.

But, she was one of those people who likes to put her trust in people and, thankfully, this guy turned out to be a gentleman. The night ended happily, sheepishly, but happily. However, it could have gone a different, less than pleasant, way, and she didn’t relish that thought.

Once home, Alex called Tanya and told her about the whole episode. Tanya burst out laughing.

“I’m sorry,“ she giggled, “ I know I shouldn’t laugh, but you ate tuna sandwiches, and he gave you towels?” Not much of an intimate encounter!”

Alex saw the funny side, and even though she could laugh about it, she knew then that it would be something that this smart girl would never repeat.

Author
Gill Morris

MOTIVATIONAL MUSINGS

BE THE BEST YOU CAN BE

If only we had the power of seeing into the future and seeing what our lives would be like. Then we could empower ourselves to be the best from an early age. Whatever you do, whether you’re in the school volleyball team, or you’re striving to climb the ladder in your career, always try to do the best you can. Don’t be afraid of what others might think. Their thoughts are their own business, not yours.

LIFE’S TOO SHORT

Why wait until the kids are grown up or the mortgage is paid off? Life is far too short to wait until…what? The right time? Before you know it, you might not be able to do whatever it is you want to do. Learn a new language. Travel the world. Get a degree. Start a new hobby. If there is something that you long to do, GO FOR IT! Take hold of the reins and just do it!  Don’t Wait!

BE POSITIVE

It’s easy being positive when your life is going well and you’re happy with your lot. Even so, sometimes negative thoughts and feelings come into play.
Being positive is a choice. Even if your life sucks, it’s still your choice to stay positive. Negativity breeds negativity. Don’t surround yourself with negative people, don’t let them bring you down. Concentrate on you! It’s your life and you only get one, so it’s up to you to choose.

CHOOSE HAPPINESS

Choose to be happy. People with a happy disposition won’t be moping around, letting negative thoughts hold them back. Happiness creates power. If you’re happy, you’re much more prepared to face the trials and tribulations that life may throw at you. Happy people can be the scorn of others, so remember people who make snide comments, or bitch about you are only saying these things because it is a reflection of who they are.

FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS

When I was younger, I wanted to be a vet, an air hostess, a soldier, work with animals, the list is endless. None of these came to fruition maybe I didn’t dream big enough. In actual fact, in the end, I realised that these careers were not for me. However, one day, I decided that I was going to leave the safety of my comfort zone, travel around part of the world, and get a teaching qualification in Thailand. I dreamed of living there, so I did what I could to get there. And that’s where I am today. I dreamed of writing a book, I accomplished that, and now I’m writing another one. It’s not foolish to have dreams. If you have a dream, maybe a job you want, a place you want to visit, anything at all, do everything you can to accomplish the things you want in life. If it is what you want, and you dream big, success will be yours. Just don’t stop chasing your dreams.

KEEP WORKING HARD AND SUCCESS WILL COME LOOKING FOR YOU

Not my quote, but this speaks for itself. It is amazing how many people think they will be successful without working hard. No-one in this world gets something for nothing. A friend follows this motto in his working life, and his success has come in the form of many honours and awards. Why? Because he works hard every minute of every day. It’s not rocket science and it may be tough, but the effort will be more than worth it.

LIVE YOUR OWN LIFE

Live your own life, don’t worry about what anyone else is doing. The older you get the less time you spend trying to please others, or worrying about what others think of you. Who cares what anyone else thinks? Whatever someone might say about you, or whatever they think about you, it’s none of your business. Keep that in mind. Let them waste energy on being negative. YOU are in charge of your own life, not theirs. YOU can do whatever you want to do in life, so go and LIVE IT!

March on. Do not tarry. To go forward is to move towards perfection. March on, and fear not the thorns, or the sharp stones on life’s path. Khalil Gibran.

Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. Lao Tzu

 It always seems impossible until it’s done. Nelson Mandela

The secret of getting ahead is getting started. Mark Twain

 

Two Sights for the Price of One

On my travels in Australia a few years ago, one of the places I visited was Noosa Heads, in the Sunshine Coast region of South East Queensland. It’s small town, but there are many boutiques and restaurants which run parallel to the calm waters of Noosa Main Beach. But I wasn’t there to go shopping, I wanted to spend the day exploring the hiking trails for the chance of seeing local wildlife and wonderful views of the ocean. Plus it was the right time of the year for migrating humpback whales to be passing through.

Alexandria Beach, Noosa, Australia

 

I followed the trails until I reached Alexandria Beach, a popular nudist beach. I wasn’t going there to get naked myself, I went there because it is one of the most stunning beaches I have ever seen. The beach was almost empty, so it wasn’t hard to find a spot to relax.

Alexandria Beach, Noosa, Australia

 

So, there I was, not naked, and looking out to sea, when, suddenly, I spotted a humpback whale breaching out of the water. It was quite far out, but they are huge animals, so it was easy to see. How fantastic, at that very moment, with no one around me, I got to witness this spectacular event. I just sat there, so excited, my heart pumping, hoping it would happen again.

Alexandria Beach, Noosa, Australia

Then, from apparently nowhere, came a naked guy who appeared at my side and asked if he could sit next to me. I told him he could, and he proceeded to ask me a billion questions;

“What’s your name?”

”Where have you been?”

“Where do you live?”

It went on, this question and answer session!

Believe me, it’s very off putting having a normal conversation with a naked guy, especially when he sits face on with his legs open. Nothing was left to the imagination. I didn’t know where to look.

Alexandria Beach, Noosa, Australia

Don’t forget about the whale, it was still there, having a jolly old time. And, there I was, being quizzed by a naked man. I am no prude, however, I felt slightly uncomfortable at this tete-a-tete. I don’t know about anyone else, but give me the whale any day. Eventually, after realising I was more interested in the larger mammal, he left.

It wasn’t just one sight I will never forget, I got two for the price of one that day! 😉

A Trip to Paihia

When I was in New Zealand, I caught up with a friend of mine, Triona, who I had met in Thailand. When we met for the first time, we hit it off straight away and became good friends in a short space of time. When we parted to go our separate ways, we were so upset but we knew we would see each other again.

Paihia, New Zealand

After Thailand, Triona went to Australia and I to New Zealand, but she was coming my way, so we arranged to meet in Auckland. On the day, I remember it so well, I was so happy to see her again, so much so, that I arrived at the airport to meet her way too early. I sat there fidgeting in my seat, standing up to look at the arrivals board countless times, and trying to contain my excitement. I think I had a huge smile on my face even before she came through, but, finally, after what seemed like a hundred years, there she was, running towards me, actually more like leaping and bounding, I was the same. We hugged and squealed like we hadn’t seen each other for years, it had only been about a month or so! Everything was good in the world.

Our first night back together consisted of walking down K Road to see if there was anything exciting happening, nearly falling over laughing because I said “I need a pew,” talking about a seat, but Tri thought I said “I need a poo!” and returning to the hostel and drinking vodka until 3.00am. The sort of things long lost buddies do when they get reunited.

After a couple of nights in Auckland, we boarded the Magic Bus for Paihia, in the far north of the North Island of New Zealand.

We checked into an average hostel and set off to explore, by renting two kayaks. We kayaked to a small island not far offshore, took a few photographs, did some beachcombing and generally had fun. It was easy to row on the way there, but on the way back it was a different story because the current was against us. We panicked a bit, we thought we were going to be stranded on the island unless we managed to row as hard as we could. But, we were strong and we eventually made it back and took ourselves off to the local bar to recover from our afternoon at sea.

 

At the bar, we were in for the treat of our lives. We met the locals! Two ageing gents, who went by the names of Fred and Alf. Fred was 76 and Alf was 80 years old. I thought I could drink, but, then, I had never met these two before. They kept buying us shots and matched us drink for drink. I hope I am still as sprightly as them when I get to that age. We had a lot of fun with them even though Alf kept calling me a pom bitch! His way of flirting I believe!

Paihia, New Zealand

The following day, we travelled up to Cape Reinga which is not quite at the northwestern-most tip of the Aupouri Peninsula, but far enough that the road ends and much of the journey was travelled along 90 Mile Beach. Reinga, in Maori, means the underworld, and legends have it that this is the place where the spirits of the dead enter the underworld. It’s a place of, not just, rugged coastlines and huge sand dunes, but it’s also the place where the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea meet, causing huge swellings in the sea. Nature at its most spectacular.

Cape Reinga, New Zealand
Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Meeting_point_of_Tasman_Sea_and_Pacific_Ocean.jpg

In the evening, back in Paihia, we met Fred, Alf and a new crony, Rose and we repeated the shenanigans of the previous night. Our trip to Paihia was made all the more memorable by having the privilege to meet these three wonderful people who, although they literally drank us under the table, made us feel so welcome. I really hope they are still there enjoying themselves.

 

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A Walk Around Thonburi

From the 14th century to the mid-18th century, Thonburi was an important garrison town due to its location on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River. It only became part of Bangkok in the 1970s, but has kept its name; Thon means wealth and buri means fort. Its full name is City of Treasures Gracing the Ocean. Indeed, there are many treasures there today and I set out in search of some of them. Plus it gave me a chance of getting there by boat on the Chao Phraya River, which is one of my favourite ways to travel in Bangkok.

I took the boat from Saphan Taksin and got off at Yodpiman Pier. The ferry from there across the river to Thonburi costs around 5 baht and it takes no more than five minutes. The first place I wanted to see was the Kuan An Keng Shrine, a wonderfully rustic looking building, said to be one of the oldest shrines in Bangkok.

Next was Santa Cruz Church, which I have visited before, but it always pleases me when I see the cream and brown colours of this Italian designed building against the blue sky.

Santa Cruz Church, Thonburi

I walked up Arun Amirin Road, and turned down one of the many narrow lanes that run alongside the canals, which are very much still in use in this part of Bangkok. I was looking for Bang Luang Mosque, but it was quite hard to find, so I asked a kindly gent and he told me where to go. This mosque is the only one in Thailand which doesn’t have a dome.

Back to the main road, the next place that I came across was Tonson Mosque. Dating from the 17th century, this mosque was the first in Bangkok. Outside, there is a cemetery where high ranking individuals from the Ayutthaya period are interred.

Over the road from Tonson mosque is Wat Kalayanamit which was established in 1825 and donated to King Rama III. There is a poem on the side of the temple which says “True friend temple was built by a close friend of the King, as glorious, beautiful, and prominent as the city of heaven, it is respected and worshiped by all people, because it is cherished by the Chakri Dynasty King.”

I continued my walk up Arun Amarin Road and found Wat Arun, also known as Temple of the Dawn. Its name comes from the Hindu god Aruna, who was embodied as rays of the morning sun. The central tower has been in the process of being renovated for the last few months, and is covered in scaffolding, but the seashells and pieces of porcelain, which were previously used as ship’s ballast, can still be seen.

I doubled back on myself and went to Wat Prayoon which was built in the 19th century by King Rama III. As I was wandering around, a friendly monk said hello and he told me that when the large white chedi was reconstructed, many amulets and Buddha statues were discovered. They are now on display at the museum there.

In the grounds, there is a large mound which is covered with shrines and spirit houses. Surrounding the mound, is a pool which is home to turtles which like to sun themselves in the quiet surroundings.

There were two places where I wanted to go. Baan Kudichin Museum, where you can learn about the history of the Thai-Portuguese who still live in the area. The second was Thanusingha Bakery House, which has some nice coffee and cakes on offer. But, could I find them? I had google maps and I knew I wasn’t very far away, but there are so many little lanes that twist and turn I just couldn’t fathom how to get there. So, I gave up. They can wait for another day’s exploring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Clouds

www.talkingthailand.co.uk/clouds

Looking out from a plane window the clouds are a sight to see

They look like huge ice formations sticking up from a flat, white landscape

Huge marshmallows, to eat

What if you could jump and bounce around on them? Laughter abound. What joy!

Next, mud-pools, bubbling away

And the tops of many mountains, all towering over the sky

So majestic

So calm

So serene

Clouds are beautiful

Above the layer that covers the land, it seems like a different world

It is the in-between part between earth and space.

Author
Gill Morris

Bang Poo Nature Reserve

If you’re in Bangkok and fancy a day out head to Bang Poo Nature Reserve. It’s not that far, and it’s great for bird-watching.

Bang Poo Nature Reserve, Bangkok

I went there with a friend in September and, to be honest, it isn’t the most attractive places and, apart from a jetty with a restaurant at the far end, there isn’t much there. Nevertheless, we enjoyed a few hours tramping around the mangroves and pathways. In parts, there are elevated walkways that take you through the mangroves and end with views of the Gulf of Thailand.

There are a fair few species of birds and, although this area may not be an obvious birding location, over a 100 different species have been spotted there.

 

It’s a great day out. Enjoy the birds and the nature 🙂

 

 

 

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