Click here to return to Home Page
Report No 3 - 27 November 2006
Well we are in our new accommodation at last. (There are some photos
on the Photos Page.) Not perfect by a long way but a quantum leap from
our previous house and better than many places we've lived in in more
developed countries.
The photos make it look very nice, and it is by local standards, but
there are so many things we take for granted that either weren't
thought of or it was planned to put them in later.
I think the owner planned it for himself as it was started about five
years ago, long before the tsunami and any thoughts of 'rich expats'.
There are quite a lot of Indian doctors and teachers in Ungoofaru but
he couldn't have expected to get such a high rent from them as they
are paid local wages.
So perhaps he was planning to add things as he found he needed them
once he had moved in.
Anyway, he has been very good to us so far and has provided most of
what we have asked for. The main outstanding item is curtains (we have
large garbage bag and bedsheet curtains at the moment) but there are
still a few adjustments that he has to make. Such as the size of the
electrical fuses so that Viv can shower while I am watching rugby on
TV, and vice versa, without tripping the switches!
Rugby on TV in the Maldives?! Well we could be the only household in
the Maldives watching it but we discovered that the local provider (a
very small cable system with mostly Indian soapy channels) was able to
get a South African sports channel. They showed it almost exclusively
for soccer but the advertisements showed that they also had a channel
devoted  to Rugby. With a check of the internet and a little 'gentle
persuasion' I managed to get him to switch over to the rugby channel
for all the internationals played in Europe over the past few weeks.
The only dark spots in this arrangement were the performances of
England and (my adopted) Australia. I'm sure Australia will bounce back
for the World Cup but can England do anything in time?
I feel that a major reason for the strength of the southern hemisphere
sides is that the major domestic competitions are amongst teams that
are somewhere between the club and international levels. Watching the
Super Fourteen games is like watching internationals. So many of the
international players play together at this level that I'm sure it gives
them an edge in international matches.
But I digress from the Maldives where it is very unlikely that rugby
will ever be played, thought they do take their soccer very seriously
and they know far more than I do about European soccer. On one recent
Sunday I counted no less than five TV channels showing European
soccer at the same time!
They also show a little cricket though I am purposely not watching
during the Ashes! (Even though I can't really lose being both English
and Australian!)
The weather, which the tourist posters show as idyllic, has still not
settled into a pattern that I would like for my holidays. We are still
getting sudden, quite heavy showers without warning and a lot more
cloud that it normally expected at this time of year. In fact, as I
write, we are in the longest continuous rain we've experienced since
arriving in April. Still, I can't help feeling that we might be in for  
quite the opposite, a long, dry spell, very soon.
We use well water for bathing and domestic chores but our drinking
water is rainwater. We only have a small tank, which has served us well
as one short, sharp shower fills it in no time, but if that runs out I
will be able to take containers of desalinated water home from the
work site each evening, but what the other people living on Ungoofaru
will do I really don't know.
The project is beginning to look like a housing site at last now that the
contractor has finally got approval for his roof trusses and roofs are
beginning to appear on the forlorn looking blockwork. However he is
still struggling to get concrete blocks as the Maldives supplier can't
keep up with the building in Male let alone these 600 houses as well.
Foundations are well ahead of schedule but that won't help the overall
programme if we can't get concrete blocks in a hurry.
The contractor has just submitted a revised programme showing
completion next September. Of course that doesn't mean that we will
automatically be here until then as we will have to get our contract
extended as well.
However, there is a distinct possibility that our contract will go on a
little longer than originally planned as the other projects, three
schools, the administration building, the community centre/guest house,
the sports facility and the electricity distribution system are not
expected to start until January and the longest of those will probably
take about nine months to complete.
We have no plans for Christmas and the New Year as yet.  That will
depend pretty much on the contractor's programme for that period.
There are so many religions represented on this site that I think the
only guaranteed celebration will be Chinese New Year!
However we won't be able to go very far away from the project so we
might be lucky enough to get another trip, maybe an overnight this time,
to one of the (relatively) nearby resorts.
We expect our next break away from the Maldives will not be until the
end of January or mid-February and will most likely be a week or so
back in Australia for the usual 'repairs' and to see the girls.
But I'll keep you posted ........................