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‘Relocation, Relocation’, and the death of a president: Report from the Maldives

November 23, 2008
Dolphins off Iru Fishi island, Maldives

Dolphins off Iru Fushi island, Maldives

So a quick post then from my present location – Iru Fushi, an atoll in the northern region of the Maldives.

It’s a 45-minute seaplane journey from capital Male, and isn’t far from ‘BAA Atoll’ – no relation to the UK’s favourite airport operators group.

Now three days into a trip here, looking at this new resort. It’s my first time here, so it’s been really interesting to chat to the staff here.

One thing I thought I’d ask about was the news we had in the UK about the new president Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives looking to relocate (front page of the Guardian) – which as it turns out is old news.

First – this plan has been around for decades apparently, with Australia always touted as favourite.

Another view here is that, physiclly, these islands always ‘come and go’, with someone who knows this area extremely well telling me that for every two islands that disappear, another 20 new ones are formed. The tectonic plates are constantly shifting, and shifting favourably.

Locals here are also used to relocating. The education system here is fantastically high, and after school many will take other courses/degrees in nearby countries, India and Sri Lanka being the most popular.

But in terms of publicity, to have made the front page during World Travel Market was surely a bit of a scoop?

Meanwhile, the 1,000-plus islands that make up the Maldives will soon enter a period of several days mourning, following the death of a Ibrahim Nasir (the first president since the Maldices gained independence from the British in 1965). It was the topic of conversation last night, and he seems to have been a popular leader.

He was credited with developing tourism in the country, and as I write this the burial ceremony (in capital Male) is being shown on TV, with thousands queueing to pay their respects.

By the way – limited phone access, so was unable to attempt a @Stephen Fry-style Twitter, and no camera lead, so just this photo so far via the mobile… I know, pathetic web 2.0 action!

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