More confessions I’m afraid. Quite a while back I pitched up in the Maldives, for those that don’t know where the Maldives are then go to the bottom tip of India and then keep going south for about 500 miles, you’ll hit them eventually – either that or the South Pole. Everyone else was going to boring European destinations at that point and Oz/Thailand but I hate to follow the crowd so the Maldives seem to be ‘quite’ off the beaten track.
Getting there involved the proverbial ‘Trains, Plane and Automobiles’ but also a very very long speed boat trip and donkey and cart (seriously). They were in the process of upgrading their airport so it would take international flights and tourism so I wanted to get there before the hoi polloi ruined the place.
Two interesting bits of trivia about the Maldives for you, it has the worlds lowest ‘high’ point (if that makes sense) at about seven foot, and if the climate keeps changing then that’s going to be a negative number and at Malé International Airport, located next door on Hulhulé Island, they don’t have building more than two stories high and therefore when a large plane lands it’s officially the tallest building on the island.
The other interesting thing is, you know how you look at all those holiday brochures and the water is turquoise and you think that’s been Photoshopped, at the airport the water is literally a stones throw away and I went over to look at it, I was amazed to see not only was it turquoise right up to the edge but also there was loads of fish swimming happily in easy view, no Photoshop required.
I left the main island and started exploring the 1000+ islands, hitching a lift on a boat was easy enough, very few locals spoke any English but pointing at a map and foreign currency seemed to break the language barrier easily.
So I headed off and was dumped on one of the smaller islands. One of the first sights to greet me was what I initially thought was a bloke trying to hammer a sign into the track but then I looked closely and noticed that he actually had pinned down a huge ?rat with the sign and his friend was hammering the top of the sign to try to kill it.. yuck.. I made sure I kept the door of my hut closed that night..
So I spent a few days here and there but the island was alcohol free and there was no night life so after I’d had enough of swimming/sunning/sleeping to mid day and exploring the local village store I thought it was about time to have some fun, so I taught the village children to sing Britney Spears ‘Hit Me Baby, One More Time’ but to the tune of the British National Anthem and ‘American Pie’ to the tune of ‘Teenage Dirtbag” it was actually quite cool and I wondered what others after me thought, did they add their own songs to the list.. I expect them to be on X-Factor one day..
The other thing I did – and I know I’m definitely going to hell for this – was to teach the store owner proper manners by prefacing every item for sale with the word ‘fucking’, his English was rudimentary to say the least but he could say ‘you want water?’ or ‘you want bread’ but I told him that it was considered MUCH more polite to say ‘you want fucking water’ so foreigners would be impressed and spend more money in his store.. He seemed to get the hang of it really quickly and was very grateful for my assistance..