“Male’, the miniscule capital of the Maldives, serves as an antidote to the tourist islands that dot the archipelago, with their buffet of luxury resorts and personalised service. It is in fact the complete antithetical, binary contrast, other,” writes Sonia Nazareth for India’s Daily News and Analysis.
“No sooner than I disembark from the seaplane, as well as from the thrill born of the underwater adventure and barefoot luxury of the resort islands, than my bikini is replaced by a gown that covers my shoulders and knees, to make me somewhat presentable for this Islamic capital.
While the tourist islands resemble a film set waiting for James Bond to speed boat up to it, Male feels like a paragraph from a Roald Dahl short story.
The unexpected always lurking close around the corner. For one thing, unlike many other places in South Asia, Male’ stays awake late into the night.
For another, it is one of the few places in the world where I see clusters of women in burquini, (a swimming costume which comprises of all the woman’s clothing and a headscarf), swimming in public pools created by the state, within the sea.”