Government Guest House

We are working for the Ministry of Information and we were honored guests at the government-run guest house on Kulhudhuffushi. At the posted rate of $12 a night it was a real bargain. Especially when you consider that many fancy resorts are $1,000 or more per night. Don’t get any ideas about a cheap vacation here, because it is pretty rare for a foreigner to be invited to an inhabited island that is not a resort, unless you are working for the government or doing a project for an NGO.Clean, comfortable accommodations and delicious meals included. However, they forgot to tell us that for sheets, blankets, towels and toilet paper it’s definitely BYO. We made a trip into town to buy towels and fortunately by now I have learned to carry Charmin-to-go. This is not the type of place where you get fancy toiletries in the bathroom. In fact, there is no hot water in the bathroom. As 10 year-old Zayan put it, “This is a zero-star hotel.” We enjoyed the friendly hospitality. I love the “local breakfast” of small, sweet bananas, tortillas called “roshi” and a tuna/onion/coconut mixture called “masoni.” Dinner consisted of spicy fish and chicken curries and rice, with fruit for dessert.

Most of the buildings are built in the old coral rock style and most people wear the traditional island dress. It is really a step back in time, and time moves in slow motion here.

One big disappointment: with all the concern in the Maldives about environmental issues like climate change, there is relatively little attention to the living environment on the inhabited islands. Trash is everywhere, on the beaches, the forested areas, alongside the roads. However, there were people with handmade brooms keeping the main streets as spotless as the fanciest resort. Too bad they don’t clean up the rest of the island.