Back "Home" to Maldives

At last I have reached the destination of my Face of Opportunity trip: Male, the capital city of the Maldives. For those new to this blog, I spent four months last year consulting the state-run media here as they prepared for their first multiparty presidential election. The voters elected a former dissident, whose opposition MDP party encouraged supporters to paint their houses yellow. “Anni” is now known by his actual name, President Mohammed Nasheed.There are more than 100,000 people here, crammed into less than one square mile of space, and construction crews toil all night long to make the buildings even higher, even though they are supposed to stop at midnight. Unfortunately my initial room at the Central Hotel was next to one of these all-night projects, so now I’ve moved to a different room and it’s all good. The hotel has a lovely rooftop restaurant and it’s a great place to meet with people.It’s also a great vantage point for the call to prayer which seems to ring out from every direction. You can look down and see the people walking to mosque. Hard to believe I’m only blocks from the ocean in every direction because the development is so intense it blocks the view of the water. I walked down the familiar main street to a cell phone store to get a local mobile number.
From the moment I stepped out of the island airport last night and took the “dhoni” across the water to the city, it felt somewhat like coming “home.”