Gooseberries can fly

On to the third and final leg of my trip in bullish mood after some positive meetings with colleagues in Abu Dhabi and Dubai but still feeling the effects of my Bangladesh food poisoning. Over the last two years, when I’ve mentioned I’m visiting Bangladesh I don’t think a single person has offered to take my place or looked at me enviously and expressed a wish that they could come with me.
But that has all changed with my latest venture. I’ve had so many offers to carry my bags that if I’d accepted them all I wouldn’t have needed any suitcases, I could just give everybody a single item of clothing to carry. I mean, what is it about the Maldives that makes you all go weak -at-the-knees with envy?

Is it the fact it’s 32 degrees Celsius?
Or is it the soft white sands?
Or maybe the crystal-clear blue water?

Make no mistake, this is not a holiday, we are here to work. Judging by the plane I flew in on, I’m in a minority of one. The plane was full of couples: old couples, young newlyweds and couples of every shape size, colour and sexual orientation in between. All kissing, cuddling and whispering in anticipation and excitement of their romantic break. Oh, and me, the world’s biggest gooseberry, third wheel or whatever your preferred phrase is. I didn’t even have my colleague with me as we had gone our separate ways over t he weekend and planned to meet up in Male.

We are here for the first stage of a new project funded by the Asian Development Bank looking to divert construction and demolition waste and the residue from Municipal Waste Incinerators from landfill to more productive purposes. So, while the aforementioned couples dreamily headed off to those beautiful islands, the highlight of my day was visiting the capital’s waste transfer station.

Tomorrow we catch a ferry in the morning and head off to one of those neighbouring islands, Thilafushi, also known as the waste island. Maybe it’s the attraction of a large landfill site at 32°C that appeals to you or is it that nobody mentions Brexit?

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