#Male' #Maldives: Caffeine in the Clubs, Muslims on the Beach

The Maldives are a string of pearls posing as islands floating gracefully over the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea, 1192 nuggets—1000 of them unpopulated—not simply strewn higgeldy-piggledy atoll, but arranged in a double helix and organized into garlands and necklaces and defined by water level as footprints over the ocean surface, any higher the water and they cease to exist as a landmass, demoted like Pluto by science, thereafter to live their life as a mere underwater ridge threatening ships and subs, number three on the international extinction list in fact highest point not much higher than an NBA starting center...

The Maldives must sound like a dream to anyone in Central Asia: Muslims—or me—high up on the hills in the 'stans or the Kush on the steppes in the bush—cold barren steps to righteousness rewards guaranteed only in Heaven and I'd hedge my bets on that if I were you, where virgins must be bound and chained to maintain ritual purity and you need sheesha, shawarma and shish-kebabs to stay warm, curries lacking punch and pungency for lack of spices, so might as well forget them altogether, get your bellyful of gusto from a goat slowly roasting over charcoal and incense...

The Maldives must have been the Islamic paradigm for paradise, pristine waters warm and wonderful, perfectly azure going to like them, gently throbbing surf and all the fish you can eat, French fries and hush-puppies optional, palms gently swaying coconuts bananas and mango for the picking, and a handsome gentle populace, smiles free and willing and a warm island welcome for the tired weary traveler, like Ibn Battutah, the Muslim Marco Polo, way back in the 1300's, he and his four local wives, not counting slaves, blogging it for the future and trying to civilize the natives, trying to get the women to wear clothes...

That's no problem today boohoo many wearing full burqa head to toe, others toeing the line of holy writ with fashion scarves and pseudo-veils still others naked-faced and unafraid sucking face in parks with boyfriends just like back home, but some even wearing full burqa in the surf as custom permits if hubby requires it rules and regulations getting tougher all the time...   

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