Maldives part 1 -Oh to murder a Tiger
I am in the Maldives; the most perfect place on earth. Perfectly glorious. Perfectly pristine. Perfectly sober. That's one thing they don't tell you in the brochures... the entire country is dry.
Unless you are kicking back in one of the fancy pants resorts that reek of the aristocracy and stink of Euros (rather than stale carpet beer), the alcohol restrictions are real, they are strict and breaking the law could get you in Schapelle kind of trouble.
I am not here on honeymoon, although I am tragically (and unexpectedly) breaking up from a long term fling with wine. She doesn't talkback, she's cheap, she's there when I need her and together with her mates, beer, cider & shots, we make a nice (completely functioning and subdued) gang. Well, we did. Until I touched down in paradise.
I broke it to her gently... “Wine, sweetie, we're taking some time apart."
They get around their laws with a very clever facility called the 'drinking safari'. The drinking safari is a boat that sits in international waters and just a short speed boat ride away from Maafushi (a popular tourist island) one can board a luxury yacht and pay luxury prices for practically any beverage one desperately craves. The mirage of a floating bar made real is a welcomed relief to western tourists. I witnessed two females, Australian and German, murder their Tiger beer like Jack the Ripper to a stripper.
"Safari" it is aptly named for one feels like one is on the hunt for an untamed endangered beast that hides in the shadows. Some locals say the animal is as rare to find as jabbawaki himself. By this stage I'd be happy with a jab-of-voddy straight in to the veins.
If the Maldivian are to truly expand their amazing territory to tourists and capitalise on their heavenly assets, particularly for Australians with our drinking culture as it is, the laws will need diluting. At present you can be arrested for holding a can of beer in the street. (Where did that beer come from in the first place?)
This is not a case of a Maldivian underworld: underground distilleries and international Chardonnay smuggling rackets. If there is one thing I know, it's how to sniff out a date with a gin, but that ain't happening here, sweet cheeks.
The European contingent dominates the social structure and as a result this is not a "drag up your chair and let's have a chat" kind of vibe. I doubt you will make life long friends here if, like I, you let wine do the talking in a social setting. This is a place for holiday and solitude, not parties, music and dancing.
Don't get me wrong, this is the most amazing location on earth and after 30 countries to compare it with first hand, I've done my research so it's a big call. (More shall support this epic statement in my coming blogs.)
Brochures for the Maldives should come with a footnote: "perfect for a detox". Bring on the heeling Shaka gel, yoga mats and pedicurist toe separators. Match it with a picnic on a secluded deserted beach island and wear a suntan that never fades (airbrushing not needed), your new clear complexion and cleansed persona will be the envy of your alcoholic friends worldwide.
For me, the Maldives is the perfect place to get over my fling... but I'll be hitting 'er up on Tuesday for a quickie!