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    Posted August 12, 2013 by
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Photo essays: Your stories in pictures

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    "Destination Life", I met Shari! Male, Maldives - Blog 7


    I just could not sleep the night before the 31 of July, 2013, because I was so excited     to meet at last my so wonderful iReporter Friend Shari (Sunethra) from Sri Lanka. I knew that  it will be a hard time for her as well, because she had to travel in midst of the night from Kandy to Colombo, then fly over to the Maldives to see me. It was not easy to organize this meeting. First it looked almost impossible, because both of us encountered  lots of  hardships as well since I began my long journey.  I already traveled from my so beloved Home, from Honolulu ca 18 thousand miles to reach this so meaningful destination; the colorful and interesting City of Male in the Maldives.


    It was again a very hot and humid day and the tender ride from the ship was at least challenging and then a top of everything we landed on the side of a stairway. So for many passengers, especially for the people with walking disabilities  was kind of acrobatic act just set a foot on this so fantastic Island. I was too early on shore,  eager to finally see in person a dear Friend. I started early as well, because it hard to get a place on the tenders and  sometimes we have to wait for hours.


    Even as Julie, (Pixel) was so kind to send me an email that Shari's plane was delayed, on that morning I not checked my emails, because I knew that Shari was already on her way. But I was happy to be on shore anyway in one piece! I landed in Male  around 9 AM and it  was already sizzling hot and it was a challenge to find even a tiny place with a shade.  But then I spotted  a low stone wall where I strategically placed myself, anxiously watching all the people who came from the airport ferries. Then almost two hours went by and it was no sign of Shari!!! I began to worry that she maybe not made the flight, but in my heart somehow I knew that she will come.


    Meanwhile I began to speak to local people who were very friendly. I actually have now a new Friend; a wonderful young man, Mohammed. He brought me with a big smile some ice water as well and we were chatting like old friends as suddenly I heard a familiar voice. As I looked up Shari was suddenly standing a front of me. It was such a special moment in two friend's life who could not be more different. I was almost melted from the heat and more or less impersonating  a well cooked lobster. Shari dressed in heavy jeans and T shirt and she seemed not to be bothered at all by the sizzling heat! But naturally she used to this type of weather in Sri Lanka. We actually never have so hot in Hawaii.  


    I was so relieved to see her and  I truly was overcome with emotions. We are really good friends for ca three years and we gone through many good and also many rough times together. It was just so fantastic to see her in real life. She is just like as you know her from her so wonderful and cheerful reports; a fantastic Lady with a heart of gold! She is beautiful, funny and so kind.


    I was kind of dazed from the incredible heat but right away I came alive and we began to speak to each other as we would met just recently. Unfortunately because the delay we just could spent a short time together. Also because of the Ramadan (Maldives is a Muslim Country) all the coffees and restaurant were closed. I so much hoped for an air conditioned place where we could sit down and get know each other better in real life. We walked around a bit in the hope to find some place to sit and then we got caught in midst of the heavy local traffic, which is much worse (when that is even possible) what I experienced in Phuket, Thailand. But Shari just crossed these "treacherous"  streets with a great confidence. I just tried to keep up with her and we manage to cross these  streets without an accident! She told me, this is nothing, you should see the streets in Sri Lanka. So we just walked, laughing and joking as we took frantically pictures of each other. After a while we found a little park with a fountain where we could sit down in a shade of a beautiful blooming tree.


    Then we tried to speak about all the things which is important in our lives, but we were so eager to communicate that we just cut in each other words. I remember this happened too when I could meet my  Father again after we spent many years separated. I had to escape as a young political writer in 1972 and I could not go home for eighteen long years. The meeting with Shari was also an incredible event in both of our lives, because we live in so different  and far away Countries and in total different cultures as well. But the few hours we had the luck to spend together, we spent it as two  friends without any cultural boundaries.


    All these was truly like a dream! I still cannot believe that I really met her, my dear Friend Shari from the other side of the Globe!  I think because the really hard circumstances  it was such a special event for both of us. I remember when I met dear Funda in Honolulu. That was also such a fantastic meeting, but it was so different with Shari, because I really had to travel so long to finally meet her and also in a very unique place. It was a true adventure. I think it was an adventure also for Shari. We both had to go through a lot to make this so memorable meeting a reality..


    I so much wished that Janie, Julie, Funda and all the good Friends from iReport could be there with us as well. Shari is such an extraordinary human being and great friend. She is just wonderful with such beautiful eyes which displays her so kind soul. I am so honored an privileged to was able to meet her. I think I am still alive because of iReport and all the so wonderful friends who always cheer me on as I try to overcome all the hardships in my life. Like Shari everybody at iReport gives me so much strength and encouragements. The memory of this so fantastic day will be edged in my heart for ever! I know how wonderful is to communicate with friends via Internet, Facebook and so on but to meet in real life is truly a very special even!  Thank you my dear Friend Shari that you came to Male. You gave me so much strength and hope for the future as well.


    The City of Male is very interesting because it has the most dense population of the Planet. The Island is about half of mile wide and 1 miles long and ca 60 thousand people squeezed into it! Sadly these beautiful atolls will disappear when the Arctic Ice will melt further. The Maldives  is one of the most lowest lying Country on the Earth.  But it is a very picturesque place with incredible clean turquoise waters and beautiful  white sandy beaches. But it is truly a furnace especially in the Monsoon times. But I did not mind it because the so wonderful time we could spend together. Thank You; PuakeaJutka


    Photos by Jutka T. Emoke Barabas

    Camera Panasonic Lumix FZ35


    I  do these blogs under very hard circumstances in high and sometimes extremely rough seas on my iPad and with a painfully slow satellite wi fi. Even I have an app that permits me upload files to the iReport site, it takes too long to upload 10 pictures, so I have to use the iMove app to able to show all the ten photos. I apologize for this, but during the ship travel to upload more as 1 picture at the time is a "mission" impossible!


    I  WOULD LIKE TO PLACE THIS REPORT IN THE CATEGORY "PHOTO ESSAYS; YOUR STORIES IN PICTURES"  (I am not able to place a report in the iMove app.)


    Please visit my previous blogs, especially the first one, where I explain why I am sailing around the World.






    ireport.cnn.com docs/DOC-1015999


    ireport.cnn.com docs/DOC-1017301



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