The Maldives, an archipelago of atolls, 450 miles west of Sri Lanka, boasts one of the best scuba diving and surf destinations. This is a mecca for wealthy tourists with resorts offering high-end accommodations that offer a private butler and maid. (Our budget would be Motel 6).
The Maldives is economically stable, a side-effect of luxury resorts, shows off its urban-bling with sleek modern buildings in its capital of Male (pronounced mal-lay).
So what were a few scruffy cruisers doing in the Maldives? To surf of course!
The surf was good, the water warm. Yet the government did control our movements within the islands only allowing us two spots to anchor at.
Did I forget to mention this is a nation that is 100% Sunni Muslim. We cruisers, along with the citizens, could not purchase pork or alcohol, unless we obtained a special permit from the government. This expensive permit is reserved by those exclusive resorts, so even if the locals had the money to purchase the permit, I doubt they would be allowed to.
Looking past the small irritants of the government’s rules, we did find the locals to be gracious and helpful. In fact, Kelly and I needed to fill up our water tanks with drinking water. We heard the Mosques offer free drinking water.
So we gathered up our jerrycans and went to the nearest mosque. To be honest, we were a bit nervous taking water from a mosque but no one objected. A local even helped us fill up one of our containers.
What I took away from this experience is that people are decent regardless of their culture, religion, or government. We need to look past our biases and fears of other cultures and countries. I like to approach a culture with an open mind and form my own opinions instead of listening to rhetoric from our media and government.
Our experience with our travels is there have been more people wanting to help us than hurt us. For this reason, I focus on the good we’ve found in the world we share.
Sailing The Waterhouse