We wanted to get married on the floating kingdom, but unfortunately there was too long a waiting list, however we could book a honeymoon suite in the a choice of hotels there.
The choice the travel agents was able to offer included one in the sea wall, several within the resort area towards the rear of the kingdom and one near to the center that although smaller, we thought looked ideal for us.
The wedding went as planned but we were both delighted to get off, and flew out on a direct flight landing at the floating kingdom.
Our first view was while circling to land, and we could see the triple spiral, islands, sea wall and airport behind, from the air it looked very small, but there again so did the cruise ships, and aircraft at the airport. We came in over the sea to a nice landing and quickly disembarked and got our luggage.
While on the aircraft we had each completed a registration card that was collected as we left the aircraft, and by the time we reached the arrivals gate, names were displayed in two boards identifying different ways out. On the route we were signposted down, which was where most went, we just passed straight out having shown our passports to a computer scanner and rubber stamped. I understand that the people in the other avenue were questioned a bit more and some had to wear special watches for the duration of their stay.
From the airport we went down in a lift and got onto a boat bus that took us to our hotel, stopping at three others on the way. The inside of the kingdom was full of life, loads of water transport some buses, some smaller, some delivery vehicles, but within the route we took, all going in the same direction. The avenues run along side of varied islands in all types of styles and sizes, all with water level landing stages or areas that smaller craft could enter within the island.
We reached the hotel, and put our luggage onto the conveyor that took it from the boat direct to reception. By the time we arrived at reception one of their people had it all on a trolley and had our key waiting for us, and took us straight to our room. He had a pad with him that we completed a few details and he passed them back to reception to complete the registration.
Before he left he showed us how to work the TV and interactive DV player and gave us 2 DV's, one about the hotel and the other about facilities within the floating kingdom. He also showed us where there was a call button we could use if we wanted room service to come to our room for anything and gave us a directory of services and numbers we could use with the phone or interactive TV system, to order whatever we wanted.
There were complimentary flowers, fruit and a bottle of Champagne.
The room was towards the top and had a view over the entire front of the island and the sea wall to the front. We had a lounge, which also had a dining area, a small self service kitchen off, and behind a luxury bedroom with a really nice ensuite bathroom with the best facilities I have seen in any hotel.
We started with the Champagne, and after looking at the view watched a part of the DV on the hotels facilities, which covered everything from the pool, and dining to just about anything you could think of. The DV showed you an overview and at any time you could go to a directory of choices or go to a fuller explanation of the service that was being explained. It was a good idea and fun to play with.
I wont tell you what we did next, but I am sure you will be able to guess, around mid afternoon the following day we decided to get up and go out and explore. It was only at that point that we stopped to think about sitting on top of the ocean. We hadn't spotted any movement while in the hotel, not that we had been thinking about it, being somewhat otherwise occupied.
Having had a look around the hotel, we went to a customer service desk to ask about how to get to see more of the floating kingdom and the girl there suggested we got a guided tour in a water taxi. The taxis that did this offered it at a fixed price and would show you around, answer questions and could tell you where you could go, and even introduce you. We decided to do this, and shortly after set out.
The water taxi driver had been out here for just over a year, and really loved the climate and place generally. He was so enthusiastic and friendly and wanted to show us everything. He showed us many islands, some we stopped at and he showed us around, he knew of show homes that were open and showed us some of these, he also was able to show us the deep inside of one island below the water level, where there were vast numbers or chambers. He showed us the resort area, residential areas, communities the wall and much more.
He explained how things were different out here, and how he had a multiple role as a taxi driver, medic, patrol officer and more and as he helped the community there was no license fee on his water taxi. He showed us his radio link and more. When we were leaving one island, a girl came over and asked if we would mind if she hitched a lift with us to an island a few down, and she knew our guide well. She introduced herself by her first name and said she worked for the government, it was only after she had left, wished us a nice time, and waved us off that we discovered from the guide that she was one of the royal princesses. Here apparently they just move amongst the people and are working people within the government.
That night we had a meal served in our room and the following day went to the resort area. It was all much larger than we had thought, possibly because there is so much development going on. At one point in the week they opened up the sea wall to allow more sub assembled islands to enter and to also add more wall units in. To us it was miraculous, but on the local news it was so routine it only just got a mention. Over our week within the floating kingdom we saw so many things and identified enough for a two week holiday out there again next year.
On our last day, we heard someone calling and found it was the water taxi driver who had been our guide earlier in the week, he just wanted to know how we were enjoying our time within the kingdom. He was about to take a couple to the sharp point at the very front of the kingdom, where you could go outside as it was a very calm day, and see the waves being divided, and they invited us along. The friendly atmosphere you get here is infectious, with no crime and everyone so friendly I can see why they all enjoy it so much.
We got to the front wall, and had to leave the water taxi, were taken through a walkway to an area that allowed us to see the front section of the sea defenses and walked around the edge until we got to the front. Our guide had a key that allowed access through a series of doors and passageways and came out on the very front, some height above the water line. Having looked from this point he opened up a trap floor in the floor to show a series of steps down and this led us via a passage to another trap door that came out just above the level the waves were reaching and within the spray of the waves. Having gone back down at that point we went down and into a compartment below water level that had an extra thick window that allowed us to look out into the sea around 12 feet or so under the water, from here you could see the movement of the waves. He pushed some buttons on the wall and within minutes several dolphins appeared outside the window.
I only had one compliant and that was that we had to go home again after just a week. We have talked about the floating kingdom a lot since and decided that it would be the ideal place to bring up a family, and our plan is now to go out again on holiday for two weeks next year and at that time to look for jobs out there, we have worked out that we will be able to sell our current home and buy one out there for around the same, but have a larger home. We have also worked out that with the tax arrangements there we will be able to look at starting a family far quicker than we could have at home.
Copyright New Atlantis.