Things You Won’t See Going to the Maldives on Your Honeymoon

Marine enthusiasts and couples love the Maldives for its emerald green seas, seaside cottages, cruises, snorkeling and so on. The Maldives are highly popular for honeymoons and overseas weddings. For this domain tour, neither a couple nor a marine enthusiast went to check out the Maldives.

Sponsored by Interlink Co., Ltd. which deals with more than 1,050 Top Level Domains (TLDs) around the world, the Domain Island Tour is currently focused on about 50 types of “Island Domains” in the South Pacific and Caribbean, such as “.cc” “.tv” “.sx”, going to these islands even when it takes 40 hours one way to get there, or when flights are only scheduled one a month.
https://islanddomains.earth/
The ccTLD for the Maldives is “com.mv”.

 

◆Where are the Maldives?
The Maldives consist of 26 atolls and about 1,200 islands, located in the Indian Ocean southwest of Sri Lanka. Of these islands, about 200 are inhabited. The official name is ދިވެ、ދިވެހި ރާއްޖޭގެ ޖުމްހޫރިއްޔާ in Dhivehi.

 

= Table of Contents =

◆Trying to Ride in an Air Taxi Without a Reservation

◆Maldives Bonito

◆Illegal Workers, Lack of Doctors…etc. Things Heard at the Japanese Embassy

◆Artificial Islands for the Capital Malé

◆Cool Postcards of Policemen at the National Museum

◆What to Eat in the Maldives?

◆SIM Speed Test

◆MILO Delivery Trucks & Other Interesting Things in the Maldives

 


◆Trying to Ride in an Air Taxi Without a Reservation

In the Maldives, there’s a “One island one luxury resort” system, so to get to such islands, you need to travel by speed boat or air taxi (seaplane) from the Velana International Airport, near the capital Malé. The air taxis are only available for guests of said resorts or for sightseeing flights. Sightseeing flights allow passengers to take pictures of the islands from the sky. These tours don’t allow passengers to land on any of the islands. For the domain island tour, I’m not staying at a resort, and I don’t have a reservation for a sightseeing flight. But of course, I really want to ride on an air taxi, so I will have to find a way to do so.

Actually, I tried by email to reserve a sightseeing flight with Trans Maldivian Airways, and also with Maldivian Airlines, before I left Japan, but I got no response to my queries, so I will try talking to them directly.

At 9 am, just out of the arrival gate at Malé International Airport, I take a look around for an air taxi counter.

There are many reception counters for restaurants and resorts on isolated islands.

I found one for Jumeirah Hotels, famous for building the first ice-skating rink in the Maldives.

I also found Manta Air, the first to provide regular air taxi services in the Maldives as of November, 2019. Unfortunately, there was no one there. I’m going to give up on this one.

Then I discover Maldivian Airlines. When I asked them: “Can I take a flight even though I don’t have a reservation at a resort?” I was told: “No, you cannot”. When I asked about sightseeing flights, they right away answered: “Private sightseeing flights are available”. When I asked the price: “One flight costs 100,000 JPY”. Although I was shocked at how expensive, I decided to go ahead and do it.

By the way, this company’s official website uses the domain “.aero” which can only be used by members of the aviation industry.

I was told they would arrange my sightseeing flight, and that I should come back at 13:00. There was a lot of time still before 13:00, so I decided to look for the Trans Maldivian Airways counter. I asked the same questions I asked Maldivian Airlines, and got the same answers. Sightseeing flights are possible, but not today. I gave up as there were only flights available tomorrow.

The pilots for Trans Maldivian Airways fly barefoot.

The air taxis basically have no timetables, they seem to make their schedules at the request of the resorts and their guests. As I waited, I passed the time looking outside and I found a pink car, just like the one on the Japanese TV show “Ainori”.

Shortly before 13:00, I return to the Maldivian Airlines counter. As the man I had talked to in the morning was not there, I spoke to another staff: “I have a reservation for a sightseeing flight…” but he answered “The sightseeing flight has already left”. Did I make a mistake? Or did the airline staff miscommunicate? I don’t know, but what is clear is that I won’t be taking an air taxi.

At least there was no financial damage as you pay when you board. If you manage to get on a sightseeing flight in the Maldives, consider yourself lucky.


◆Maldives Bonito

It’s been speculated that Japanese bonito flakes come from the Maldives. So, I will look into the bonito in the Maldives… I need to find out for sure. I head for the fish market in the capital Malé.

Is this a unique design or has the paint just peeled off? I looked closer and it was a taxi.

I stop by to see the landing berth belonging to the President.

There’s a ship moored, but a local guy tells me it’s not the president’s ship.

Another local says to me “That’s the spot exclusively for the President’s ship”. There were two ships at anchor (A555 and A558). The two ships moored looked exactly the same grade.

On either side of those ships were coast guard vessels. The ship in front is the “ISKANDHAR”.
The other has ”NOOR ADHEEN” written on the side. There’s no connection to Japanese “Space Battleship Yamato”.

While walking, I saw many blue pipes on the ground. They seem to be drainage pipes for sewage, coming from buildings and construction sites etc.

The pipes all drain out into the ocean.

I arrive at the fish market. Large letters adorn a blue sign. However, its written in Thaana, so I have no idea what it says. Thaana is the writing system (script) used for the official Maldivian language Dhivehi.

Fresh skipjack tuna (bonito).

Near the back, yellowfin tuna was being cut up. Large fish, such as tuna, are cut and sold according to the needs of the buyer.

The leftover waste of the fish (bones, offal etc.) are collected in a bucket and then once the bucket is full, discarded into the ocean. I waited a little because I wanted to see that part.

Sea birds come out of nowhere and the sea is full of rays. They seem to know that dinner is coming.

Soon enough, a fish monger comes with his bucket of offal. He splashes it into the sea. I imagined it would be like feeding time in the carp pond, but neither the rays nor the seabirds got that excited.

I was happy to see this exciting “offal throwing” event that couples honeymooning in the Maldives are unlikely to be interested in, but my purpose, searching for the dried bonito, still needs to be fulfilled. I decided to check out the fruits and vegetables market down the road from the fish market.

Its crowded with people and bananas.

Ah, there it is. The dried bonito. Locally known as “Maldives fish”, it’s been used in cooking here since ancient times.

I don’t know the type of fish exactly, but this is also a kind of dried bonito. If you try some, its softer than it looks! The texture is like jerky. It’s a little smelly though.


◆Illegal Workers, Lack of Doctors…etc. Things Heard at the Japanese Embassy

To find out more about the Maldives, I visited the Embassy of Japan in Maldives, and JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency). First, the embassy. I asked the staff to tell me little known facts about the Maldives, and any issues they are facing here.

 

・Foreigners cannot start an independent venture here
The Islamic Maldives have no corporate or income taxes. But, it’s not a tax haven. Its ok to have a branch office here, so some Japanese companies are expanding that way. In addition, the Maldives does not give permanent residency to foreigners.

 

・The Maldives are said to be the worst in the world for population density and a lack of doctors
There’s heavy traffic in urban areas due to the population density. Approximately 130,000 people (1/4th-1/3rd of the population of the Maldives) live in Malé, in an area 2.5 km from east to west and 1.5 km from north to south. This city is said to have the highest population density in the world. Also, there are no medical schools in the Maldives. If you want to be a doctor, you must study at a university overseas. Although there are so few doctors in Malé, and fears about whether people are getting appropriate treatment or not, the luxury resorts have their own doctors.

 

・Illegal employment and illegal residents
Since October 2019, illegal foreign workers have been coming to get registered at the Galolhu National Stadium. Speaking of which, when I visited the stadium, I did find some people scattered around the stands, although there was no game on.

 

・Thefts at the Ferries
Ferry staff is supposed to handle larger pieces of luggage, but it seems that items have been stolen from inside the luggage at such times. You can use a taxi to get to the international airport, but its more common to travel by ferry. Ferry tickets costs $3 per person. Its best to be careful not to leave valuables in your luggage.

Next, I visited JICA, and spoke with a lady staff member who was recently transferred to the Maldives. Two things that stand out from the interview are that the seniors in the Maldives are not be able to support society as actively as in other countries, and that it’s not so easy to live in an Islamic country, which has a lot of restrictions.

By the way, it was from the Japanese embassy that I heard about the “offal throwing” event at the fish market. The male staff at the embassy said “My family all think that I am working in a lovely environment in the beautiful Maldives. Sure, sometimes I see sea turtles or dolphins from my office, but it’s not a very lovely environment working in a place that is so overcrowded.” Many thanks to the staff of the Japanese embassy and JICA who kindly answered my questions in spite of the sudden visit.


◆Artificial Islands for the Capital Malé

Hulhumalé is a man-made island located on the south side of the North Malé Atoll, it was built to relieve pressure on the most densely populated island in the world, Malé. The buildings are modern and colorful compared to the ones on Malé.

On the front gate of the preschool, there’s a list of names of the students enrolled there. I can’t imagine it in Japan.

Just before noon, a call for prayer was given from the “Masjid Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani” mosque. I wondered if the people walking around the mosque would stop and offer prayers suddenly, but no one did.


◆Cool Postcards of Policemen at the National Museum

If you want to learn about the history of the Maldives, the place to go is the Maldives National Museum, located in Sultan Park, Malé.

The entrance fee is 100 Rufiyaa (about 700 yen) per adult. If you want to take photos inside the building, you need to pay an additional 10 rufiyaa (about 70 yen). Even if you pay this fee, you can’t use flash when taking pictures. Lockers for luggage are available free of cost.

There are exhibition rooms on two upper floors. But let’s start on the first floor. In the large exhibition hall, there’s a display of small boxes etc. made from coral harvested in the Maldives.

Some of the items are modern artifacts. Two of the first telephone sets used in the Maldives.

“The first computer CPU in the Maldives.” The size really gives you a feel for its age.

A corner of the National Museum had the Philatelic Museum (Stamp Museum).

You can also purchase currently issued stamps at the souvenir shop.

Further along, a mannequin police officer.

This marks the start of the exhibition about the police. This exhibition documents the history of the police in the Maldives.

Of course, there’s a souvenir shop. What really caught my eye was the post-cards with police officers.

The one above is called “Police officers in discussion”. Below I thought it would be titled “Police officer with a handgun, looking into a room”, but actually it was “Police officer collecting fingerprints off a doorknob”. I’ve never seen such cool postcards, so I bought them up quick. I regret not buying a cap too.

Up to the second floor.

Instruments used by the famous Maldivian band the “Olympians” were on display, along with whale bones, ivory, ship models, etc.

The YAMAHA “YC-20” (stage piano)

The YAMAHA “YC-20” (stage piano)

The ELK “VIKING 60” (guitar amplifier head)


◆What to Eat in the Maldives?

Tired of walking, I took a break at a cafe. It’s called the Highway Coffee Shop.

The calm colors give a nice feel to the atmosphere. They prepare the drinks fresh, after taking the order.

The coffee came with milk by default. Another drink I ordered was the iced ginger-lemon tea.

As in other Islamic regions, drinking and selling alcoholic beverages is prohibited in the Maldives. You could buy a bottle of Mojito at the supermarket, but it was non-alcoholic.

I thought: “I could get a beer at the hotel,” but the hotel in Malé where I stayed did not handle alcohol. This one was also a non-alcoholic beer ($ 3.2).

I found a sushi restaurant in Hulhumale called “Oishii” (“Delicious” in Japanese). I ordered ramen and roll sushi. Is it delicious? As the name of the shop indicates?

Chicken ramen (185 MVR)

California roll (150 MVR)

Gold Rush roll (180 MVR)

Everything was delicious. For dessert, I ordered the “Chocolate Miso Lava Cake” (80 MVR). This is fondant chocolate with miso inside, vanilla ice cream and berry sauce on top. Lava means like volcano lava. This was also delicious.

After that I visited the Dhidhoo hotel (Cafe) for some local food.
There were many local people at this restaurant. The windows were open and it seems the air conditioning was not working. However, I was given an air-conditioned private room. Nice to get the VIP treatment. Maybe because I’m a foreigner.

I ordered the mas huni, a standard breakfast in the Maldives. In Dhivehi, “mas” means fish and “huni” means coconut.

A picture of mas huni. Divide in two, with a sausage in between, the taste is slightly different. One side is tuna and the other is bonito. Its eaten wrapped in roshi, a local flatbread. It’s delicious!

I also ordered an onion cake, and a dessert that is somewhat like dorayaki, with a small pancake folded in half. I thoroughly enjoyed the light natural sweetness. As expected, the VIP treatment was included in the bill.

 

I also tried a local restaurant called the Belle Amie Bistro. Here I ordered the Garudhiya.

This kind of home cooked meal is not on the menu, but they will make it if you order it. The taste may differ depending on the shop, but this one was surprisingly sour. It reminds me of Tom Yam soup but “Shrimp and Spice Free”. I wasn’t really feeling the bonito soup. A bit too light for me.


◆How to Purchase a SIM & Test the Internet Speed

This trip, I tried Ooredoo and Dhiraagu SIM cards. You can buy them at the Malé international airport.

Both are $ 15 and 4 GB (for 7 days). Dhiraagu is also has the registry for the domain “.mv”, and if compared to companies in Japan, it is about the size of NTT. The speed was 25Mbps.

The speed of the SIM from Ooredoo (a company based in Qatar), was 14Mbps.


◆MILO Delivery Trucks & Other Interesting Things in the Maldives

Strolling around the city, I head for the “.mv” registry, just like I did to check out the Saint Vincent registry.

I hear a truck saying: “Backing up, be careful” in Japanese. I heard the same sound in Tuvalu (.tv).

The only item on the truck is boxes of “MILO”, piled high. This is a dedicated Milo truck, carrying only Milo. In Japan, Milo is advertised in commercials that feature children playing sports, so I have a strong impression of it being a children’s drink. However, in Latin America and Asia (especially in East Asia and Southeast Asia), it is popular with adults too. Certainly, I saw plenty of it in the Maldives.

I thought that the number of people in the Maldives who could speak Japanese had really increased, but I was blown away to see a shop called “Naoto Takenaka’s shop”. However, it was a souvenir shop that had nothing to do with actor Naoto Takenaka. The story is that the store’s name comes from the fact that the owner looks like Naoto Takenaka.

The “Naoto’s shop” is also a souvenir shop for Japanese people. In this neighborhood, while we were walking around, people frequently came up and tried to “guide” us. Please note that you will be charged if you follow or listen to these “guides”.

Paint company “Nippon Paint” is advertised by a sumo wrestler with a big smile. It says, “Singapore’s Favorite Paint Brand.”

There were many shops selling tools, paint, painting materials etc.

I thought it was a sports brand shop, but actually they are selling very fashionable work clothes and helmets.

In Tonga, I found a counterfeit for sale, but in the Maldives it was an authentic Mikasa volleyball. In the Indian Ocean region, a sports tournament called the “Indian Ocean Island Games” was started by the International Olympic Committee in 1976. Featured sports include volleyball, judo, table tennis etc. In 2019, the Maldives won a gold medal in women’s group table tennis. The local newspaper reported that it was a “historic victory.” The Maldives have been chosen to host the 2023 games.

It seems you don’t need to wear a helmet when driving a motorcycle on these islands.

Finding the Maldives’ domains “.mv” and “.com.mv” around town.

The domain “.mv” is restricted to government and large companies because it cannot be registered online and is expensive to maintain. Non-governmental and other companies tend to use “.com.mv” and “.net.mv”.

By the way, looking at the map, by now I should have arrived at the “.mv” registry, but there was no such place, instead I found the Presidential Palace (Muleeaage). It’s unfortunate that I couldn’t find the registry address (19 Medhuziyaaraiy Magu Male 20-02 Maldives), but I did make it to a tourist spot unexpectedly.

I found a man wearing a T-shirt with the Japanese word “Continue” on it. Underneath it said “To Be Continued!!!”, so when I told him that the meaning was not wrong, he smiled and posed for a shot. The Domain Island Tour continues.


■The following is a summary of the places visited during the Domain Island Tour.

 

■ For Access Details to the Maldives Islands,Click Here

■ For “.com.mv” Domain Details and Application,Click Here

Grenada’s UniqueTourist Attraction: Sculptures in the Sea Overgrown with Corals Makes Both People and Fish Happy!

After flying 40 hours one-way to get to Tuvalu, now the 14th stop on the Domain Island Tour is Grenada. The ccTLD (country code top level domain) for Grenada is “.gd” which is used to represent the word “good”. All dollar notations in thise article are East Caribbean dollars, unless marked otherwise. * 1EC $ = 40.96 yen

◆Where is Grenada?

Grenada is an island nation located south of the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean Sea. Besides the main island, other islands like the Grenadines, Carriacou island, and Petit Martinique etc. are part of Grenada. Grenada is also a member of the Commonwealth of the United Kingdom.

= 目次 =

◆A Smooth Arrival in Grenada

◆Jumping into a Waterfall as a Job

◆Eating Nutmeg, but Too Much Can Cause Hallucinations

◆Grenada Sushi

◆The Beach Mistaken for the Most Beautiful in the World

◆Dropping Sculptures into the Sea Makes People and Fish Happy

◆How to Purchase a SIM & Test the Internet Speed

◆Finding “.gd” Around Town

◆Miscellaneous Grenada – “$100 Reward for a Bee Thief”, and “An Airport Shop You Should be Wary of”


◆A Smooth Arrival in Grenada

It has happened in recent times, that British Airways has sent passengers to Grenada in the Caribbean instead of to their intended destination of Granada, Spain. Fortunately, I traveled from Saint Lucia to Grenada on British Airways, and Saint Lucia has no direct flight to Granada, Spain, so I arrived in Grenada (Caribbean) without any problem.


◆umping into a Waterfall as a Job

I immediately head to Annandale Falls, which is about a 10-min drive from St. George’s. The pathways are well maintained and easy to walk.

At the entrance to Annandale Falls, I looked around for someone I could pay the $ 5.35 (about 220 yen) entrance fee to, but there was no one there. It’s a Sunday, usually a busy day for tourists. My taxi driver, who is also my guide around town, tells me that “today is free!”, so I believe him and head in.

This lady sells necklaces made only of spice nuts / seeds. I have never seen anything like it in Japan.

This is Annandale Falls. The water is clear and beautiful.

I found a young man just near the top of the waterfall.

I was wondering if he was some kind of staff watching over the waterfall, when he suddenly jumped into the water from 10 meters up!

I was stunned, and wondering why, when he came up and talked to me. Apparently, this is a performance, he jumps into the waterfall and gets tips. Afterwards, he climbed up and jumped again, and again. When I left a tip, he gave me thumbs up with both hands. He seemed very happy.

Next, the taxi driver took me to a sports bar. It was closed.
As it turned out, we didn’t stop for the sports bar, but rather for the botanical gardens behind the sports bar.

Gorgeous papayas, and lemongrass which is used in herb teas.

When I looked closely at the ground, it was covered in nutmeg shells, not gravel.

A shop across from the sports bar. It’s a small shop, but the sign says “Tourist Destiny Spice Shop”.

Cacao, the raw material for chocolate and cocoa. You can see the seeds inside; those are cacao beans. The cacao variety of Grenada is a hybrid of Amazon Calabacillo and Criollo from Venezuela, and is popular among chocolate lovers in Japan. Chocolate was sold as a souvenir.

Back in the taxi and on the move, the taxi driver says: “Look at that million-dollar view!” It is a beautiful view, but maybe only worth a million dollars at night-time.


◆Eating Nutmeg, but Too Much Can Cause Hallucinations

Grenada is also known as “Spice Island”. Nutmeg is especially popular
, and well known. Grenada is the 6th largest producer of nutmeg in the world, and Nutmeg even appears on the left side of the national flag.

Nutmeg, which is called “Nikuzuku” in Japanese, is one of the four major spices alongside pepper, cinnamon and cloves, which are said to be effective in promoting digestion, perspiration and preventing anemia. Of course, I wanted to eat nutmeg at its origin. “The Nutmeg” is a restaurant where the food is made with real nutmeg.

When I asked the staff which items have nutmeg in them, he answered with a reassuring: “Everything!” So, I’m glad I came to this restaurant.

Although there is no nutmeg in it, I first ordered the local beer, “Carib Premium,” and then “STAG.” Both are easy to drink lager beers. Both are $6 (about 240 yen). You can see the harbor of St. George’s from the peaceful interior of the restaurant.

Overseas, I’ve found that bottled beer was often served without a glass and had to be drunk as it was, but here, they served me my beer with a chilled beer mug. I feel like there’s an affinity to Japan here.

Grilled chicken legs came. The rice looked like red rice, and sautéed vegetables were served on the side. The white sauce is rich, but you can taste the nutmeg flavor. $ 60 (about 2,400 yen).

This is Spice Island Lobster. It also contains spices other than nutmeg. Every time I took a bite, I enjoyed both the lobster flavor and the aroma of the spices. $ 85 (about 3,400 yen).

Next, breakfast at my accommodations. I ate while looking at a painting of nutmeg on the wall.

Of course, there’s nutmeg jam to put on the bread. It has a spicy flavor, but it’s kind of sweet and sour like apricot.

In the land of nutmeg, many foods contain nutmeg, and taste delicious, so I could have unknowingly eaten a bit too much. The amount of nutmeg that can cause oral poisoning in humans is 5-10 grams. Symptoms such as difficulty breathing, dizziness, vomiting and hallucinations etc. may occur. People usually recover within 24 hours but some take 2 -3 days. So please be careful not to eat too much nutmeg.


◆The Special Menu of Grenada Sushi

I had sushi when I was in the British Virgin Islands, which are famous tax havens, but I also found a sushi restaurant in Grenada. I couldn’t stop myself from going in.

“Carib Sushi” in the Lime district. There’s an open terrace which is full of locals and tourists.

The soy sauce is Kikkoman. A chopstick rest for the chopsticks. The atmosphere is just like a Japanese sushi restaurant.

It was a hot day, so I ordered cold green tea. I had intensely sweet green tea in the United States, but Grenada’s green tea was sugarless. Gum syrup and sliced lemon are also provided. It tastes like lemon tea, so this is good. $ 5 (about 200 yen)

My sushi has arrived. Sushi in any country looks pretty good. Six slices of fresh tuna and white fish. It was better than the sushi in the Virgin Islands. $ 38 (about 1,500 yen)

Next, a dish called “Leo Special Nigiri”. Named for the head chef Leo, this is the most recommended dish in the shop. One of the creative sushi dishes you only find overseas, this one has avocado and tenkasu (leftover tempura bits) on top of tuna. At first glance, it looks like a lively okonomiyaki! You can’t see it, but there were 4 slices of nigiri under the tuna. The sauce on top is like the kind used for Anago (Broiled eel.) $ 32 (about 1,300 yen).

The Tuna Crispy Rolls are sushi rolls topped with negitoro (minced tuna with green onion) and tenkasu. The tenkasu seem to be the “crispy” part. $ 44 (about 1,800 yen).

The Scotch Roll is without vinegared rice, and contains Scottish smoked salmon, avocado and cream cheese rolled in a thin omelet-like egg wrap. Surprisingly good with soy sauce, it also would go very well with Sake. $ 45 (about 1,840 yen).

The menu also had a wide selection of different dishes, such as mozzarella cheese wrapped with white fish and deep fried, etc. Although these were rather creative menu choices made with spices, they were all delicious.


◆The Beach Mistaken for the Most Beautiful in the World

CNN launched a “100 best beaches around the world” list and Grenada came in first place. That means I can go to the most beautiful beach in the world!

We arrive at the Mount Cinnamon Resort. Walk through the gardens of the resort.

I see the beautiful sea. The world’s most beautiful beach is right in front of me.

This is the Grand Anse beach, which won first place in the “100 best beaches around the world.”
The clear water and white sands are suitable for the #1 beach.

There are restaurants and bars on the beach.

Fries are the special at the restaurant on the world’s best beach.

However, when I went home and was organizing my information, I noticed something. The first-place spot in the “100 best beaches around the world” was not “Grand Anse”, Grenada, but “Grande Anse Beach” in the Republic of Seychelles (off East Africa).

What confusing names! I thought Grand Anse was the nickname for Grande Anse Beach.
Grand Anse in Grenada, which impressed me so much, was actually ranked 30th, not first.

So, it was ranked the 30th most beautiful beach in the world, but as you can see from the pictures, it’s not too much to say it is the most beautiful beach in the world.

Grenada’s Grand Anse – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

There was also a travel blog that named Grenada’s Grand Anse as “the best beach in the world.” I guess we all have to be careful not to make this mistake.


◆Dropping Sculptures into the Sea Makes People and Fish Happy

The Underwater Museum, one of Grenada’s most popular spots. With the support of the government of Grenada,
sculptor Jason Taylor started making these underwater sculptures in 2006. You read correctly; the museum is at the bottom of the sea.
I went to the dive shop “DIVE GRENADA” to participate in a tour of the Underwater Museum.


I change into my bathing suit, and get in a boat.

It takes about 10 min by boat at high speeds. The instructor hands me a snorkel and fins, and we get into the water.

The sculptures are scattered in different places so the instructor guides you where to go.

A sculpture lying on the seabed.

Sculptures in a circle etc. A sculpture of only a face on a large rock. Can you tell what this is?

Fish? Bird? A girl on her knees with a fish? Or a bird in her hands?

A circle with more sculptures than before. These sculptures seem so real, as if they are moving!

The tour to enjoy sea sculptures is over in one hour. The instructor took videos for me the whole time. If you are not so great at diving, you can just ask the instructor to take pictures and videos for you. The tour fee is $ 55 US (approx. 6,100 yen) per person and includes the snorkel and all other rental fees. It’s best to make a reservation in advance.

In addition to building costs, a museum built on land requires money for many things, labor, electricity, repairs, security guards etc., but an underwater museum just needs sculptures dropped into the water, then it’s all done. Compared to a museum on land, it’s much easier to maintain. This not only makes a great tourist attraction, but it also provides a place for marine plants such as corals and sponges to grow, which in turn makes the fish happy. If anyone is thinking of making a tourist attraction, this seems like an excellent idea.


◆How to Purchase a SIM & Test the Internet Speed

Although Wi-Fi rental services for going overseas are on the rise, certain areas are not covered. In such situations, you can buy a local SIM. In Grenada communications company “FLOW” seems to be popular. I couldn’t buy a SIM at the airport, so I looked for one in the city. I arrived on a Saturday and couldn’t make it to the store before closing time, and of course the next day was Sunday. So, I couldn’t buy a SIM card in Grenada.

However, in the shopping mall there were dedicated vending machines that can top-up data communication volume to existing SIM cards.

Since I had a SIM card from FLOW that I bought on one of the other islands, I added $ 10 to it (approximately 400 yen).

I got an email confirming my purchase. But it wouldn’t connect. I thought it might have to be activated, but calling the dedicated number didn’t change anything.

When I checked the status of the charge, it said it was already down to $ 7.54. Where did the other $ 2.50 go?

In my struggles to connect, I used up the whole $10, so I purchased additional data. However, I could not connect. But actually, even if you can’t use the SIM, if you have a SIM you can use the “FLOW” Wi-Fi at the airport.


◆Finding “.gd” Around Town

Grenada’s ccTLD is “.gd”. I found it at a taxi company for tourists and on a sign advertising yoga class in the hotel.

The “.gd” domain is under the Grenada branch of “NTRC” (National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission), and it is the same for the Grenadines and Saint Vincent etc. This is the building of the domain name registry. Unfortunately, I couldn’t talk to anyone as it was a Sunday and closed.

I also found the NTRC homepage address and “.gd” at the bus stop in front of the building.


◆Miscellaneous Grenada – “$100 Reward for a Bee Thief”, and “An Airport Shop You Should be Wary of”

St. George’s in the daytime. The scene reminds me of a port city in Europe.

I was bitten by a mosquito, so I went to the local supermarket to buy a mosquito coil.

Truly the spice Kingdom. There are so many spices.

There were no mosquito coils, but I found a little mat thing that seems to be for keeping mosquito away.
The package didn’t lie. It kept the mosquitos away.

On the supermarket bulletin board, I found a notice of a $ 100 reward for a honeybee thief. I pray for a quick resolution to the matter.

Then, while taking a walk through the “Spiceland Mall” I found a shop selling knockoffs of famous brands.

This is the shop. It looks like a nice shop from the outside, but be careful because they are selling knockoffs.

There are also some shops in the airport to watch out for.

This shop sells banana ketchup for $13 (530 yen).

However, another shop in the airport sells it for $ 5.85 (240 yen). Even in the same airport, they were selling it for more than double the price! Be wary of gift shop “KALALOO.”

=List of Places Visited=

■Access to Grenada

■For Domain details, Click here

The True Colors of the Virgin Islands, Tax Haven Islands; and Surprising Uses of the .vg Domain


Rows of PO boxes out in the open. Look at that!?

I went to the British Virgin Islands, which are tax haven islands, in hopes of getting some hints on how to get rich.

The Virgin Islands consist of about 160 volcanic islands and reefs located in the West Indies, Caribbean Sea. The western half (about 50 islands) are U.S territory, while the eastern half (about 60 islands) are British territory. But all these islands use U.S. dollars.

There was a free real estate brochure at the airport.

A luxurious villa for about a hundred forty million yen (1,285,000 US$) was listed.

All the other properties were over a hundred million yen (about 1 million US$)!

Are only millionaires living in these tax haven islands? I am going to head downtown right away and find out.

The road from the airport is bumpy, and I bounce up and down in the car.

I arrive at the Tortola Pier Park after about a 30 minutes shaking.

Tortola Park had souvenir shops, and tour agents, and a small shopping mall.

The toilet is so nice that it surprises me. The toilet is made by TOTO, a proud Japanese company. I think I can live here.

As I walk around downtown I dream of running into rich Arabian oil barons.

But actually…. I see decrepit used cars pass by one after another!

The parking lots also have many cars with broken windows and broken lights.

And the people of the island seem to be, …what? …hitchhiking!?

Something must be going on…

I decided to seriously investigate these supposedly mysterious tax haven islands.

①Investigating at a Sushi Bar
I found a sushi restaurant in the Virgin Islands! I expect there will be Japanese people there, and I can ask them about the tax havens.

However, inside, the staff members were gentle Jamaicans and there were no Japanese in sight.

As this is a tax haven island, I wonder if the high-end sushi is sprinkled with gold powder? Here is the menu.

I was relieved, there was reasonably priced sushi as well. Apparently, the owner is a Filipino. This must be why the sushi rolls are colorful and somehow tropical.

I ordered the mango dragon for 13 dollars. An original sushi roll came made of shrimp tempura wrapped in vinegared rice with mango on top. The sweet mango goes unexpectedly well with the vinegared rice and crispy shrimp tempura.

The sushi was delicious, but I was not able to get any clues for my tax haven investigation. In the restaurant garden, there is a Western style statue, completely opposite to anything Oriental.

②Investigating at a Chinese Restaurant
Near the sushi restaurant I find a Chinese restaurant, so I decide to do some spying here as well.

This cute entrance is at the end of a narrow alleyway.

This is the interior.

Many items on the menu.

Sweet & Garlic Shrimp $17。 It tastes like sweet & sour pork. The shrimp is succulent.

Yakisoba and fried rice, 8 to 12 dollars. There was a lot, but it was good, so I finished it up.

The shop owner here was Chinese, and very kind. There seems to be Chinese people in every country. But here too, I got no information on tax havens.

③A visit to the Electronics Shop
I got a bit down because I couldn’t get any information, so I decided to go back to basics in my investigation and headed for the electronics shop.

This is the shop.

There were plenty of video games and related items, such as PlayStation, Wii, Xbox etc.

The also sell Mac Book Air and iPhones.

I tried buying an Iphone connector, and I could do it without paying any taxes! The receipt has 0 tax.

It seems that some people travel to the British Virgin Islands for the express purpose of buying tax-free items, such as Iphones. Later, when I went through customs in the airport in Puerto Rico, the customs officer was quite persistent when asking if I had made purchases beyond the tax exemption limit.

④Investigating at an Internet Cafe
As I now had confirmation about things being tax-free, I decided next to infiltrate an internet cafe.

Electronic devices are sold in the front, and at the back there is an internet cafe. I searched for addresses of tax haven crime scenes, but I couldn’t find anything…

◆The plot thickens!

While searching for various tax havens on the Internet, I found the address “AKARA BUILDING; 24 DE CASTRO STREET WICKHAMS CAY 1; ROAD TOWN; TORTOLA; BRITISH VIRIGN ISLANDS”, so I decided to head there directly. There’s a building at that address with AKARA written on it. Are these the offices of a shell company!?

And, the mysterious PO boxes are nearby!


In the Virgin Islands, as of June 2016, it became necessary to register tax related personal and corporate information in a government database, making it difficult to establish a shell company. (Source: ZUU online

It seems that the PO boxes I discovered are the ruins of what once belonged to a shell company.

■Near the Airport, Beef Island Beach
Only 5 minutes’ drive from the airport, this is a superb beach. There’s no one here, so I can enjoy it all to myself. However, you can’t rent a beach umbrella, so you must be sure to put on sunscreen.

Some students I met downtown

Staff of the Old Government House Museum

A taxi driver who took good care of me. It was a wonderful visit and everyone was so kind that I got a little teary when it was time to say goodbye.

But, looking at the coast, there is a container ship, so maybe…

Maybe some kind of business deals we don’t know about are happening. Container information was also posted in the real estate catalog distributed at the airport.

■Hurricane Irma

On September 7th, 2017, Hurricane Irma hit the Virgin Islands. Even though a year has passed, there are still scars. I wish full reconstruction for them.

So it turns out that many of the people living in the Virgin Island are African immigrants, including Jamaican people, I couldn’t find any of these rich folk using the tax havens. The local people were gentle and law-abiding, but I often saw run-down second-hand Japanese cars, and some hitchhiking. The beaches are beautiful and excellent for marine activities.

The True Colors of the Virgin Islands; once tax havens islands, but now with an atmosphere a bit short on luxury.

■How to get to the Virgin Islands Click here

By the way, “. vg” is the ccTLD domain (top level country domain) assigned to the British Virgin Islands. With that spelling, it is often used for video game sites.

SEGA
http://www.sega.vg
Impeller Studios
http://itb.vg/
Gamers
https://www.gamers.vg/
MUSH
http://mush.vg/
Play.vg
http://www.play.vg/
LEET
https://www.leet.vg/

Doesn’t it seem a bit unexpected for those living in the Virgin Islands, that their domain is used this way?

■For Domain details, Click here