For some official reason, we were not allowed to be moored off Uligamu after 6:00 pm so we moved 20 miles to Utheemu, which is a larger village on another atoll. I didn’t mention in the last post that the Maldives is a strictly Islamic state, with Islamic law having higher precedence than the constitution.
According to the Constitution of Maldives, “the judges are independent, and subject only to the Constitution and the law. When deciding matters on which the Constitution or the law is silent, judges must consider Islamic Shari’ah“. Among the other offenses for which one might be imprisoned is public display of affection, including holding hands. I was not arrested for helping Doré on and off the boat or in and out of chairs. The people were without exception friendly and helpful and far less aggressive in their marketing than any place we’ve been in several weeks.
The island, the beaches, and the water were beautiful. I spent a couple very pleasant hours bobbing around. Snorkeling was more interesting than snorkeling in the pool; there was always the hope that something would swim by. Nothing did but I didn’t venture far from the beach. Air and water temperatures were both in the low 30’s C, a bit of a sea breeze, plenty of shade on the edge of the jungle; no mosquitoes; I’m not complaining. The sun is very different here on the equator than on the 45th parallel where we live.
The island and the village were almost trash free and the islanders seem to have a better grasp of free enterprise. There were some offering coconut milk and assorted fruits that did not look or taste at all familiar and have names I could not repeat.
There is a lot of building going on; much of it is still repairing the damage from the tsunami 12 years ago. There are lingering questions about what the economy is based on and how the building is being paid for.
Interestingly, we saw a number of women in fully covered head to foot in black pushing wheel barrows in and out of construction sites but no men doing it. There was a school for girls in one of nicest compounds in the center of the village; most of girls were dressed in white, of course full length. We saw no cars or trucks, a few motor scooters, and many bikes.
These bikes are in front of the school. Almost all the bikes were this style and in this near new condition. While there was electricity all over the village and satellite dishes, there were no overhead wires anywhere.