From the public square, I hailed a taxi (25 rufiyaa/$2) to the jetty, the same one that docks boats traveling to Maafushi. Tickets for Villingili costs 3.50 rufiyaa and takes less than 10 minutes to get there. There are trips every 15-20 minutes or so.
Upon arrival, there was obvious rise in activity. There were battery operated carts that service locals, and there were taxis. Last November, at the start of the peak of tourist season, I walked around to deserted roads. Development? I walked through the park with giant trees until I found the new mosque, turned left until I saw “Gooseberry”. Time for lunch. It was chicken fried rice for me, 40 rufiyaas. It was then time to head to the beach, the one that faces Male.
|Local commuters ride the ferry boat to Villingili which is 10 minutes away from Male.|
Aside from the airport island of Hulhule and the newly reclaimed Hulhumale, the most obvious short trip from the capital is Villingili (also "Viligili"), which is a suburban local island 2 kilometera away from the western shores of Male. The atmosphere here is more laidback, with its rows of pastel colored building, mostly residential. There are small shops and restaurants in the vicinity and a couple of small mosques. Locals bathe fully clothed in its beaches and at certain times, the grounds seem deserted. It's easy to get here as there's a boat that leaves and returns every 5 minutes.
Villingili is in an administrative area called "Villimale" probably named as such due to its proximity to the capital. It is considered as the 5th district of Male. There are 3 more islands named "Villingili" all over the Maldives (one in Alif Dhaal atoll, another in Gaafu Alif atoll, and the resort island in Seenu Atoll which has a Shangrila resort) . This particular local island has a population of barely 7,000.
Just before calling it a night, I passed by a grocer, selling fruits. I bought persimmon, a “sugar banana” and jujube (as they're called in Thailand) aka “Stone Nepal” all priced at 9 rufiyaa per 100 kilogram.
The banana didn't look quite ripe, but when you peeled it, the covering tears away like paper – and the flesh inside was actually ripe. Everything cost me 170 rufiyaa. Male is overly taxed. You get charged for sales tax plus a goods-and-services tax on top of the 10%. I wonder why the populace wouldn't even complain.
|Male, the capital, from the slumbering shores of Villingili.|
|Sweet coconut juice at a store beside the port.|
|A year after I first visited Villingili, there are signs of mobility like this "vehicle" and the taxi behind it.|
|Commuters from Male|
|We queue amidst this crowd.|
|Ferry ride back to Male|
|I was going to watch "24:00 Gadi Iru". Posters of this movie are seen pasted on walls all over the capital.|
|Why is a naked Indian actor standing on a rail track?|
|Schweck Cinema, a hit-and-miss affair, is Male's one and only movie house.|
|Jujube or stone nepal|
|Jujube aka "red date" is said to treat anemia or purpura. It's also called "pomme surette" in France, "ber" in Hindi, and "tao tau" in Vietnam. I am thus wondering why this fruit is never seen in the Philippines which is a haven of fruits.|