When my friend Gail Thompson posted a scrumptious photo of a sea on Facebook I had to make sure I would go all the way around the world for a swim.
“The Maldives, where’s that? The Maldives are below India and above the South Pole and east of Sri Lanka. For those of you who don’t know, like myself, there are 1200 islands set upon a brilliant and bright turquoise sea with white sand banks in the Indian Ocean.
There is nothing much to see but the sea, but oh that sea, is something to see!
I had connected with Ruth from Secret Paradise Travel. She is a young woman from England who fell in love with the Maldives and wants to help people who do not want to spend upward of $600.00 a night at one of the many exclusive resorts of the Maldives, a more inexpensive way.
Since I am one who does not want to spend $600 plus a night, I latched on to Ruth who picked me up at the airport and brought me to a lovely guest house on the Island of Hulhumale.
My room was the penthouse with a terrace and an oversized large shower, My bed was filled with rosebuds strategically placed for my arrival. I went directly for that swim in the warm turquoise water. AHHH! This is what I came for.
There were stretches of white sand on almost deserted beaches. The sea had small ripples, clear sand bottom and the perfect temperature. It was pure and clean.
Everywhere you looked was colored water and white sand.
The inhabited island where the natives lived was laid back almost a replica of South Beach in the late 80’s. The main street running along the sea surely had to be Ocean Drive.
I ate in a small restaurant ordering noodle soup and vegetable rice amongst friendly kind helpful people. There is nothing to do but swim snorkel or dive. There is no shopping or other touristy things to do. This is the Maldives.
The next two days followed the same pattern; an early swim with the women of the town who all gathered at the same time on the same beach reminding me of Miami Beach swimming each morning with a group of fast talking Cuban women.
Next came my visit to Maile the main city where there was not much to mention; the highlight being the ferry boat ride and a sea restaurant overlooking the harbor for a ginger beer. No alcohol what so ever in the Maldives but finally the non-alcholic beer randomly served in US was served everywhere.
Next day I was off to Maafushii an island about 2 hours away arriving with my luggage that was taken to my room in a wagon. The guest house was lovely but the rooms were all dark and on the inside but with the brilliant ceiling fan, AC, the cleanliness and the kind staff, I got to like the seclusion of the room and when the door opened a site to behold, the sea.
I would close my eyes on the beach and then open them and each time I was overwhelmed with the beauty. There were many large rocks before you got into clear water and wished I had not given away my water slippers. Once in the sea there was no reason to come out.
I prided myself on having a staff of my own, carrying my luggage, preparing meals and all with a beautiful smile, my bed filled with rose buds that later fell on the floor and created a rosy mess. There were 2 girls from Malaysa who celebrated a birthday with a chocolate cake and a local band with dancers who danced with us on the sand. Two couples were from Russia traveling the globe and playing Russian roulette on the beach. Another guest was a young Japanese guy quiet and reserved. When I asked him what he had for dinner, his answer was, “Rice.”
What did I eat? Pizza. We laughed about who we are. The night before I was served a mock tuna a whole fish with head and tail and why I switched to pizza.
We visited Picnic Island taking the most fun motor boat rides bouncing on the waves which later threw my back out. Picnic Island was man built each tree designed and placed on the most perfect walks that left me totally bored.
It was Chinese New Year and I found the Chinese interesting to watch, the children screamed, the adults talked loud almost out of control, they smoked like crazy and caught a few spitting. The women were dressed colorfully with large hats one couple had a 10 year old kid who they babied into wearing a wet suit and then covering his head with a towel when he came out of the water, the kid fighting them all the way.
I see a new south beach in the future of Hulhumale. The Radison is coming and an upscale restaurant is already there.
Farewell Maldives, thanks for the swim and now flying over I hope to get the photos of the magnificence of the blue green rims placed around the many islands.