Trip to Rainy Paradise

Time flies when you have a baby. Before we realised it, it had already been 3 years since we were last in Maldives. Life was simple back then, with just the two of us, and the trip was our delayed honeymoon destination.  We decided to go back to Maldives this year given how much we liked it last time. Somehow we justified/rationalised it with an excuse that went something along the lines of celebrating my birthday, with the added significance of  ‘the last trip’ before baby turns 2 after which we have to pay for his air flight going forward. Well.. the last time he could sleep like this in a basinet…

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Given the plethora of resorts available in Maldives, we made sure we chose a different one this time with focus on good child facility. Wifey did the research, and landed with Per Aquum Niyama located somewhere south west of Male. It’s quite the opposite to where we were last time (which was the same distance north west of Male). Apparently it opened just 3 years ago, so it’s a relatively new resort and with ‘the biggest kids club’ and one of the largest islands, so we went there with plenty of expectations! Intention was definitely there to ‘dump’ Ethan at the kids club while the 2 of us have some time to ourselves to explore the ‘big’ islands.

What we perhaps didn’t plan too well this time, was underestimating the impact of the monsoon season. The timing of our trip was such that it was right in the middle of it! Apart from the mornings, our stay essentially consisted of heavy rain and dark clouds right from day we arrived to the day we left. Pretty disappointing really, but it didn’t bother me too much though. For example, our seaplane ride took MUCH much longer than the usual 40 minutes that it should take. It ended up being almost 2 hours when the pilot realised we could not land at our resort given the heavy cloud and bad visibility, so we had to stop at another resort to wait for the cloud to clear! On the positive side, being so close behind the cockpit, I did learn quite a few things about flying a seaplane. I swear by the end of the 2 hours, I could fly that thing myself 🙂

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By the time we reached Per Aquum Niyama, wifey was a bit airsick, and Ethan was getting very restless. I was probably the only one left smiling. Having said that we were all glad to be out of the plane on stable ground again. Things improved once we were greeted by Yoosuf at the jetty, who was our personal butler for the stay. We were finally able to checkin to our so called ‘Water Studio with a pool’..

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It probably had the biggest bath tub I’ve ever seen. Ethan certainly didn’t complain and screamed as he usually does at home begging not to go take a shower. None of that here!

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A nice feature of the room that Ethan particularly loved had to be the popcorn machine! It was definitely used just about every single day of our stay! One cute little behaviour he showed us was just how comfy he gets himself in a chair/bed/pillow to enjoy the popcorn, along with TV!

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As I said, the weather didn’t co-operate with us at all, so quite a bit of the time spent this trip were indoors, which was sad. We did get some sun, and had some brief period of time (mostly mornings) where we did get to experience what typical postcard Maldives look like!

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Apart from that.. it was cloudy most of time..

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So lots of photo posing time near the pool in our room…

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And hey.. Ethan had to get in the action too..

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We did manage to use the pool itself, although it was way under-utilised given it was a bit cold with the lack of sunshine to warm up the water. Ethan was super happy with his float that wifey brought long, but he just didn’t get to spend much time in it, with rain pouring soon after this…

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We did more massages and facials this trip than our last Maldives trip. Massages and facial isn’t really my thing at all, but I have to say this time I had nothing but praises for Lime Spa. It does sport a super nice view of the ocean as well, if only the dark clouds didn’t keep hanging over it!

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Pity that Ethan didn’t get to spend more time at the Kid’s Explorer Club, which is suppose to be the biggest of all resorts in Maldives. He absolutely loved being there and had no trouble with the caretakers that took care of him while we were away at Lime Spa.

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By the third day of the trip (4th July), the birthday celebration for me began. I am definitely not one who celebrates birthday in a big way. This year is probably the most extravagant for no particular reason. We had lunch at Subsix, which is an underwater dining/night-club. It wasn’t on the island itself, and can only be reached by a short ride by boat to the restaurant. The best feature of it was perhaps this view…

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Wifey was certainly super impressed by the place, given it feels like we are in a mini version of Underwater World, except there’s restaurant tables and chairs in it! Not that the corals looked all that colourful, but still! You would think this place would be packed during lunch. But NO! We almost had the whole restaurant to ourselves for a good half an hour, until we had to share the restaurant with the hotel general manager and his family who came along to have lunch there as well! Food was nice although it wasn’t cheap! For USD$200 per person for lunch, I can tell you the food was a little bit hard to swallow.. 🙂

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The hotel did make quite an effort to make me feel special and surprised me with a cake, nicely decorated desserts, and even the bed in our studio was decorated with birthday wishes!

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Too bad the nice weather started to go south by the afternoon. So we were back in the room most of the evening. We were suppose to have our sunset photo shoot with the onsite photographer on my birthday which had to be rescheduled. That was a bummer. You might wonder why there’s a photo of instant noodle above? That’s what we ended up eating for dinner that night… 🙂

For the next day, we were smart to have the photo shoot scheduled for the morning while there was a brief period of sunshine. Now, I personally did not have good experiences with past photo shoots including our wedding, so my expectations were pretty low. Surprisingly, with SNAP (the onsite resort photographer), it turned out much better than I thought..

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Having said that, one lesson we did learn is that don’t expect too many good photos with a soon-to-be 2 years old. Ethan hated the sun, and screamed and cried most of the time..

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Eventually he fell asleep on us as well..

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Nevertheless, we had some good photos. I definitely regained my faith in professional photographers, after our session with Chris. It was only an hour session though, and with dark clouds hanging over the sky, we thought we would make the most of it with a bicycle ride as well (provided as part of the accommodation). It just did not include a child seat!!! So, we had to improvise..

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Again.. it didn’t last very long with rain soon coming down forcing us to go back indoors. Thinking back, I do want to mention that perhaps the biggest difference between this resort and the last one we stayed at was the staff of this resort, especially our personal butler, Yoosuf. He is far too helpful than what I’m comfortable with at times and that’s perhaps because I lived in Singapore for too long with far too many crap service experiences! The guy was always finding ways to make sure our needs are taken care of, from mosquito creams for wifey, offering dolphin ride, delivering birthday cake, booking restaurants, taking Ethan to kids club for us, showing us around the places … the list goes on. You might say it’s his job. What I can say is that, I certainly can’t recall the butler I had at our last Maldives resort at Iru Fushi, but I will definitely remember Yoosuf!

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The trip had to come to an end, and frankly the weather won. I told my wife, the seaplane was arguably what I most looked forward to, given my side interest in aviation. So I was happy to be able to jump on the seaplane on the last day when it arrived to pick us up, even though it was time to leave! For wifey, the holiday probably wasn’t what she had in mind..

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Funnily though, Yoosuf (our butler) told us that we came exactly on the day the weather turned bad. On the day we left, the weather seemed well and I did not dare ask after our return, whether the weather turned good again. I would hate to know that it did! If we ever come back to Maldives again, we definitely need to remember to book outside of the monsoon season! We didn’t even get to snorkel this trip!

 

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