Travelling around the islands was always going to be filled with interesting challenges. Finding stories and travelling between isolated islands can be tricky, but not, it turns out, as tricky as finding a cool and quiet place to compile our findings and get them onto the blog.
Reliable internet would seem like the biggest problem, but we’ve been able to solve this through our newest partnership (announcement coming soon). Beyond this, a couple of smartphones and a laptop are all we really need to do our office ‘work’…but where’s the office?
Dreams of working from the beach or the joali don’t account for the fact that, if it’s cool enough for you (and it’s never cool enough for an Englishman by the Equator), it’s also cool enough for the mosquitoes. In Fuvahmulah we were fortunate to be given access to a friend’s office, enjoying warm wifi and cool A/C at proper desks while working on our stories.
Elsewhere, however, more often than not we’ve found ourselves colonising the kitchen tables of our generous hosts. While not ideal, this workstation does put you right in the middle of a Maldivian home. It also causes some confusion, as plonking yourself down at the kitchen table will usually give the lady of the house the impression that you want to be fed; so gadgets and books are soon clashing with garudiya and baiy (Apple and rihaakuru don’t mix particularly well).
This workspace is definitely a good way to see life in the house pass by, as people return from the office, the school, or the dhoni to take it in turns at the 24/7 buffet of roshi, riha and tea so sweet it makes your dentist’s teeth hurt. Other times, however, you run the risk of obstructing a quran class or two.
Working in a coffee-shops and cafes, if the island has them, has also been a good option. Ordering something seems fairly unimportant as people just seem to spend the days socialising over empty XL cans and betel nuts, but it’s not an office without coffee.
With ramadan is on its way, the kitchen tables will be busy with breakfast prep most of the day and the coffee shops will be closed during the daylight hours. Maybe it’s time to load up with the mosquito repellant and start really living the dream (or partner up with the local council offices).