Luxury in the Maldives...and then some reality too

 Viceroy Maldives seen from the seaplane
We spent a week at Viceroy Maldives over spring break.  It wouldn't have been my first destination for spring break, but it was indeed warmer than Wisconsin, and it had a beach.  I thought I would be more excited about going there, as it always looks so perfect in the photos.  If you want to see what I mean, go to flickr or Google Images and type in Maldives.  You'll come up with the most gorgeous turquoise water and photos of huts in paradise.

It's quite a long way for us to get there.  We flew from Milwaukee to New York, stayed overnight.  Flew 12 hours from New York to Dubai.  The best part of this journey was flying on the new A380.  WOW!  What a nice plane!  My husband was using points to get us there.  He had a seat in first class and my son and I sat in business.  Incredible service with more movies than you could watch in 20 flights.  All the snacks you could eat (which included chips so my son was happy).  You even get slippers, and a kit to refresh onboard.  The upstairs had a bar area with unlimited snacks like olives, sandwiches, and nuts.  Then it was another 4 hours to Male, where we caught a sea plane to our final destination island which took another hour.  And there were layovers on the way, of course.  Our son didn't know when he should sleep or be awake, and has finally gotten over jet lag on our return, but it took a week.
Aboard the A380 with Emirates there is a nice bar area

Once we got to the resort, we were greeted by staff and taken to a fantastic villa with a private pool right on the beach.  It was huge!  Each villa has 3 bathrooms so you never have to fight over a sink.  Dinner was a lobster dinner on the beach.  They bought lobster from local fishermen and we saw them when we got there.  Our week was full of snorkeling, kayaking, yoga, walks on the beach, and lots of great food.  Nothing to complain about as far as service.  When we couldn't sleep at night, we just took a dip in the pool or went out to the beach to look at the stars.  It was a dream vacation in almost every sense of the word.  
Lobster are much more colorful than I've seen in North America
Kayaking in the turquoise ocean
The problem with vacationing in the Maldives is that if you're at all interested in the earth, it leaves you thinking about problems that can't be solved by one person.  It was incredibly expensive to be there, and then meals were about $100 per person on top of that.  The buffets had nearly anything you could ever want though- everything from miso soup to croissants.  Every nationality got their typical dishes, especially at breakfast.  You have to expect high prices since they have a host of staff, living on the island with you, who need wages for working all day to make your dreams come true.  These people only see their families for a few weeks or months during the year.  They have no recreation to speak of.  The island is just about a mile long. They live in dormitories and you see them from breakfast until bedtime.  They are glad to have jobs.  Some come from the Maldives, but there were others from Europe and Asia.

Water is another issue.  Drinking water comes from desalination or rainwater that is caught in large containers.  Bottled water is the norm.  Every day when we'd walk the beach, there would be lots of plastic bottles washing up on the shore.  Wastewater is used to water the plants.  Landscaping is a mix of native and non-native plants with lots of flowering shrubs. They say in less than 100 years, the Maldives won't exist anymore because of rising water levels, which has placed it on many lists of things to see before they disappear, leading to over tourism.

While we were there, we had an opportunity to see a nearby island where there is no tourism.  It was a chance to see how the locals live.   In my opinion, it was like stepping back to a place in time where there were no modern conveniences.  Life is so simple.  Women tend to children.  Men go off in fishing boats for months at a time.  Bicycle or scooter is the mode of transportation.  Children play with balls.  The park is just a few handmade swings in the shade.  Movies are shown on a screen in the park for entertainment.  Most Americans wouldn't enjoy this lifestyle.  There is no waste.  If rice is left over from a meal, it's put out in the sun to dry up and be used again for another meal.  Few people wear shoes.  Large holding tanks collect rainwater during the rainy season, and it's distributed by hoses to the houses, or people fill containers.  There are few shops.  Nearly everything is imported that isn't able to be grown there.  The population is 100% Muslim so there are some simple buildings for prayer.  It's a shock to the system for anyone who lives in a country so materialistic as the US.  It definitely made me think of how wasteful we are.  These are just the things that make you go hmmmm....
Our guide said this would be leftover rice from a meal being dried out for reuse
Fish put out in the sun to dry

Simple swings at a park

A couple biking through the sandy streets

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