A Travellerspoint blog

Maldives Republic

THE MALDIVES

Islands struggling to stay above water

sunny 92 °F
View Bill and Hope 2019 on HopeEakins's travel map.

The Maldives are an incredible assortment of too many islands to number. Besides, some of the islands appear and disappear with the tides and rising sea levels. Some places look like picture postcards of tiny tropical islands, some have fabulous resorts, while the capital city crowds onto its island (Malé) so completely that there’s no room left. The Maldives are a strongly Muslim nation with mosques everywhere you look. The primary goal of education is printed on walls and signs everywhere: Practice Islam. It’s hot here; we are almost on the equator, and the women are covered head to toe in black (well, sometimes purple). Each island has glorious beaches. On islands open for tourists, one beach is designated the Bikini Beach and is hidden by screens so that foreign swimwear doesn’t offend or tempt the residents.

Not too many women are visible on the islands we visited; the women are working while many of the men relax in swinging chairs. The metal/wood chair frames are ubiquitous, dangling from trees and planted on every street corner. Hope liked the one that was nearby when she was offered a coconut to drink.

We tendered in to overcrowded Malé and then took a HIGH speed boat to Gulhi. We visited a spiffy school with charming children, appreciated the beach and flowering trees and admired the mysterious Maldivian alphabet, Dhivehi, written right to left like this: ދިވެހިބަސް. We looked in on a large shipyard that builds and repairs fishing boats using a combination of ancient and modern techniques. The job of fisherman is very prestigious, handed down in families and earning more than twice the income of desk jobs.

Then we were off to Maafushi where women cooked our lunch on a grill (red snapper) and in iron pots (eggplant curry). One of our company looks as exotic as the locals. Actually, we have a number of exotic companions. The three pictured below came with eighteen pieces of luggage which apparently include large numbers of costumes and headdresses.

After lunch we went to the Bikini Beach. Hope didn’t have a bikini with her, but it’s hot here (remember) so she went into the beautiful warm Indian Ocean clothed – and almost managed to get dry before we got back to the Whisper.

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As Hope was trying to post this blog (ship’s WiFi service is terrible!), Bill was doing the ship’s crossword puzzle. 40-down was defined as “Ecstatic cry at church” and was five letters long. He thought of Alleluia but it wouldn’t fit, so he kept on working. 40-down turned out to be “Bingo!” Some days proclaiming the Good News is a hard slog.

Posted by HopeEakins 21:38 Archived in Maldives Republic Comments (1)

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