When we planned our holiday in the Maldives with one week on a live aboard and the other at a resort island we thought we’d be totally cut off from all genuine Maldivian life and culture. Luckily we were wrong. Looking back on our trip we realize we got to see and experience quiet a lot, and are very grateful that the opportunity came along. Twice during our live aboard week we were offered to step ashore on islands to visit local villages. First there was Guraidhoo, totally buzzing with life. Girls and boys, men and women of all ages were out and about, playing football, fishing, bicycling, swinging, collecting fruits or just hanging around, talking, chilling. People we met all looked healthy and happy, living simple lives, but not in poverty. Everybody had nice clothes and the latest iphones. As tourists we were greeted politely and with discreet curiosity. Dhangethi on the other had was quiet upon our arrival. The sun was about to set and the prayer had started which left the streets empty. The village had one colorful shopping street with about ten tourist shops selling ”I Love Maldives” T-shirts and shells along a 200 meter long sand road. On the last day of our Live aboard week we got to spend a couple of hours in Malé, the capitol of the Maldives. This was a very interesting but also quiet exhausting experience. Little over 100.000 people, about one third of all Maldivians live here and this is quiet obviously too many for this small sand dune. In recent years the island has been considerably expanded through land-filling operations, but so far it’s still very crowded. To approach Male from the sky and watch the compact skyline rise from the blue ocean is quiet a spectacular sight. The Maldives is a Muslim country and quiet a strict one. This is pretty clear from the moment you arrive. Alcohol is only served at resorts with permits, and women can’t wear bikini on the public beaches. There are also signs banning kissing in public as ”inappropriate behavior”. However nothing of this was even nearly noticeably during our stay at the resort or live aboard. Apparently it’s quiet common that the staff is non muslims from Sri Lanka who don’t have a problem serving cocktails to girls in bathing suits.
Maldives Istanbul
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Ola & Maria are full time workers and part time adventurers, follow for photos around the world, over and under water. © sixweeks 2018