The Maldives Maafushi Biyadhoo and fish curry………Part 2
The hotel is positioned right on the beach and I remember what I have read about local island custom and only being able to wear bikinis/swimming consumes on certain parts of the islands which are sectioned off, this particular part being one of them. I notice there is a real mix of nationalities on Maafushi and I do not hear another UK accent at all during my first day here.
I am keen to get into the water and my first snorkelling experience on the Maldives does not disappoint, with me seeing a reef shark within 5 minutes of my first snorkel. A sighting which excites me as this is the moment that I have been so looking forward to since that rainy Saturday evening in the UK back in January. After a couple of hours ‘fish watching’ my hands have turned to prunes and before my ‘middle aged body’ follows suit, I remove my snorkel, I lay on the white sand and pinch myself ‘I am actually in the Maldives…..’
A sense of achievement washes over me in planning this trip, and wonder if I hadn’t fired up the laptop (chardonnay in hand) whether the impulse to move my thoughts of travel towards reality would of come to fruition? Sometime later I shower and head to the restaurant for Dinner.
Dining Solo in the Maldives is no different than dining solo anywhere else. I make small talk with a couple of diners and take a table on the beach. A dinner of seafood is good served with a Diet Coke, followed by some time, I have no idea how long (as time has now left me and I only know that the sun rises and sets) on the beach in a tree swing people watching.
I observe everybody’s interactions with each other in this environment where alcohol is prohibited. I cannot remember another time when I have holidayed where alcohol has not been a factor and find myself thinking about what vices people have, that are alcohol free whilst on holiday ? I go to bed happy.
I wake early and I am snorkelling by 6.30am. I eat, I snorkel, I eat, I snorkel, I eat, I am totally relaxed, now in a ZEN like state. I lie on the beach and people watch, I am aware that some people acknowledge that I am a solo traveller and make efforts to engage in conversation (which is nice) and I also acknowledge that there are couples here holidaying where the female of the two shows caution towards me…………An interesting observation which leads me to thoughts of how people see me and more importantly what their thoughts are towards solo female travellers ?
I snorkel some more, I watch the sun setting, I take a stroll over to the other side of the island and see families sat out on the streets chatting. There is rubble and household rubbish on some of the street corners here on Maafushi and I don’t remember seeing any such images whilst completing my research back in the UK.
There are also unkempt parts of the island’s coastline which resemble run down parts of the West coast of the UK, sights that I hadn’t expected to be met with. I walk back to the Arena Beach Hotel then spend time on the beach with a blank mind and enjoy having no thoughts almost in a state of meditation. I am not hungry so I stay where I am for some time longer before showering and going to bed happy, looking forward to being on Biyadhoo tomorrow. I still need to work out how to get there……