Between my last political gig and finishing my book manuscript Governing Climate Induced Migration and Displacement (due out this November), I’ve had no time time to update my blog. However, as I began to sketch out my next book chapter about my work in the Maldives, I thought it time for a (belated) installment to The Sunny Side of Life.
My second trip to the Maldives began in October of 2013, right before/in between elections. After a the 2011/2012 political unrest, multiple elections had recently been taking place. President Nasheed would win and then his opposition would find a way to void the results, make his next election more difficult, and he would win the popular vote again. I got a SURPRISE upgrade to Qatar Airways first class on my way from Qatar to Male and sat next to an European Commission election monitor being sent back (again) to keep tabs on things. We decided that is was best for me, as an American, to make sure that people knew that I was NOT there to participate in these elections in any way since there had been incidences of political violence where I was going and for me to stay as far away from this as possible. Considering I was a fundraising consultant for a sitting US Congressman and a Congressional candidate at the time, I agreed. Besides, I was there to conduct surveys on a totally different topic and happy to take my political hat off for a few weeks.
This trip, my island of investigation was Dhuvafaaaru, in the Raa Atoll, much farther North than I was previously. I had to take a short shuttle bus ride to the other side of the airport for my next leg: a sea plane.
You can’t really beat the view from a sea plane when in the Maldives. Granted, you have to NOT be prone to motion sickness and can handle being with tourists who are. Oh, and the thought of landing on water versus land also cannot scare you, and finally, that sometimes your pilot will not be wearing any shoes. I do enjoy a good adventure, but it was a far cry from the 20 yr old port I had been sipping on my previous flight. I arrived at the Aadaran Meedhupparu, after a weather delay and apparently an hour late(r) than I had anticipated because this island is one hour ahead of the rest of the islands in the same atoll- go figure.
Check in took entirely too long and I had to prep for a conference call in short order. From the start, I had a feeling that this trip was not going to be as smooth as my last one; I hate being right. I needed to report some information from my computer on the call- this is when I was informed that I could only get WiFi in the open air lobby where it was 97 degrees and I had no privacy; and its a 12 minute walk from my room. Ok, not ideal, but I had my headphones. Which was helpful for about ten minutes, until the first staffer interrupted my call to tell me that I should be “relaxing”. Trust me, its all down hill from there.