Sepia Dreams in Hong Kong

During my last trip to Asia (in May 2014), I spent 2 days and 1 night in Hong Kong. I was staying at the Sheraton Hotel in Kowloon and was lucky enough to get a harbor view room. I arrived in Hong Kong a bit later than planned on a Saturday (don't recommend driving across the border from China to Hong Kong on a holiday weekend... ridiculous traffic!!)... and did not get a chance to enjoy the room that day (wanted to get out and do some shopping/eating!). When I finally did get back to my room on Saturday evening, I was too tired to even close the shades and passed out. The next morning I awoke to the sunrise. I had been out late the previous evening and was planning to sleep in... so I got out of my bed to close the shades. However, when I got to the window, I could see that the lighting on the city was spectacular. The sun had just peaked above the horizon and it was hitting the buildings at a nice angle. Therefore, I decided to take a few photos from my room before going back to sleep. As I look closer at these photos, I can't help but be amazed at the apartments and townhouses situated on Victoria Peak (the mountain behind Hong Kong City). If you're lucky enough to have 50+ million dollars lying around, you can put your name in the queue to try purchasing one.

Maldives - Conquering the Sea

These are my last photos from the Maldives. It was nice to slowly upload them over the last few weeks and enjoy the moments all over again. The Maldives is an extremely beautiful and unique place... and I hope to visit again. Thank you to The Perfect Wave for helping me to book the trip and thank you to the Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Island for providing luxurious accommodations.

I took these photos from a sandbar that formed between the surrounding islands. During low tide, you could almost walk to the sandbar (just had a deep section surrounding the island)... and during high tide, it was completely covered. The easiest method of navigating to the sliver of sand was by kayak or stand up paddle board (I tried both methods). The feeling of being surrounded by water with only a spec of dry land to rest was a surreal experience.

On this particular afternoon, I decided to paddle out right after lunch. I could see some dark clouds forming in the distance, but was hoping that they would pass to the north. The squalls in the Maldives move incredibly fast... and can form at any minute. If you're caught in the middle of one, you will be drenched in just a few moments and the vast amount of wind makes it difficult to traverse by water (I basically would have been stuck hiding under the kayak until the squall passed). When I started paddling, the sky was bright blue... but as I made it to the sand bar, the dark clouds were getting closer and closer. It turned out that the squall was headed in my direction. So after relaxing for a short time, I decided to pack up and head back to the safety of the lagoon. As I made it back to the shore, I could feel the first few gusts of wind on my back as the torrential downpour followed shortly after.

Maldives - Last Light

An ocean bird enjoying the last few moments of the day as the sun begins set.

Maldives - The Villa

Located on the Eastern edge of Kandoomaa Fushi was the villa I stayed in (while at the Holiday Inn Resort). It was situated directly in front of an amazing surf spot, Kandooma Right.... and provided a beautiful ocean view. The villa was 2 stories... the bottom floor was an open air living space and the top of was an (air conditioned) bedroom. This is the view from the water (just outside of the surf break). 

Where We're Going, We Don't Need Roads...

When I got to the Maldives, I couldn't help but think of the Back to the Future quote: "Where we're going, we don't need roads." From the moment my plane landed on the tiny island next to Male, I did not see a car. In place of standard taxi cabs, boats are waiting to transport you to your final destination (recommend learning how to swim before traveling here).

Life in the Maldives revolves around the ocean. Not only does it act as their super highways... but it also provides them with sustenance and is their primary source of income (tourism, fishing, etc..). What's ironic is that the same thing they cannot live without, may someday destroy their way of life. When talking with the locals, there was a consistent concern about global warming and the rising oceans. I hope that such a beautiful place like the Maldives never goes away... but I am glad I was able to visit the islands while they are still afloat.

Maldives - The Lagoon

Located on the western edge of Kandoomaa Fushi was a beautiful lagoon that connected three islands... the island I stayed on (Kandoomaa Fushi), the local island of Guraidhoo, and the uninhabited island of Lhosfushi. The average depth of the lagoon was only a couple of feet and the water was crystal clear. It was very relaxing to sit at the water's edge and just gaze into the water.

The people living on the local island of Guraidhoo were predominantly Muslim and strictly followed the traditions of that religion. Many of the women were fully covered in black, no alcohol was allowed on the island, and we could hear the call to prayer five times per day. I thought it was interesting to see such a different and unique culture separated by only a shallow lagoon. It was unexpected to look across and see women on the beach that were covered in black robes and veils.