it's sunny!!! well, not sunny exactly but toasty warm and not raining. there are more people showing their faces now and the island is buzzing. After a walk around, we headed for the beach. It's fenced off so that the bikni bodies cant be seen by the locals. I actully quite like that. Behind the fence are a few rows of palm trees providing much needed shade in the sand white sand and clear turquise water. The beach isn't that big but it is quiet and there are plenty of loungers. to kep cool we waded out into the shallows, plonked ourselves down and floated for a few hours. The sun came out and we stayed put, it was a lot cooler than sitting on the beach.
I love me a bit of people watching, and today it was both rewarding and amusing. As we floated a large family turned up, and started laughing and joking, and generally enjoying themselves, which when youre on holidays is the law I believe. As we waqtched the one lady made use of the bannana chair. A lounger, that has no legs but is moulded to a sort of body shape. Well she sat down in it, and it rocked backwqards which it was supposed to do. the hilaroity came when she came to get out of it ... or rather when she couldnt get out of it. The whole family were around laughing and filming her efforts. She resembled an upside down turtle arms and legs allover the place and all we could see were a pair of black shoe clad feet wiggling around and hear hysterical laughter . Since it is contagious, both Si and I were chuckling along from our seats in the water.
Next up came a family of four, the one boy in flo orange shorts the other in flo green. They waded into the water with their masks and snorkels, at that point every fish in the area rushed home to get their sunglasses. I dont know if they all could find theirs because there were far fewer after the boys entered the water than before they got in.
In the shallows there are loads of little fishes, and also reef sharks, there were two circiling in our area for quite a while. They were only little ones, about half a metre long with black tipped fins. I don't care what size they are, they are still goddamn sharks, and it was in my part of the sea. Luckily the tide was going out, so the shallows in which we were sitting were getting shallower. Honestly though they were only babies.
The beach isn't yet officially classified a tourist beach, but the fact its fenced off and is called the bikini beach makes it one for visitors. There is a sign outside asking visitors to refrain from certain things, and because its a residential Island rather than a resort then I have no issues with abiding by their rquests. That said there are still people wandering around with not many clothes on. Granted, not many of them but they're still about.
Just opposite the Bikini beach is a cafe called Fun Place, and it serves a nice chai ginger latte, and also cake, which we haven't yet sampled! We went for some liquid refreshment as it was a bit warm and we'd drank all our water on the beach. Its quite a modern little cafe, with massive air con units on wheels, a reasonable menu and nice staff. Its quite close to the beach hotel and I would like to think they get a lot of tourist custom. Above it is a hair and beauty salon, which looks very nice and another space that is currently empty.
There are push bikes for hire to get around the Island, but bcause its not far, "we" walk wherever we want to go. The bikes have the really wide handle bars, and one brake ... although I have seen a pink tricycle, but I think that may belong to a child, it seemed small to me. There is also a medical centre, with ambulance and pharmacy a souveneir shop, indian restaraunt, chinease, and a few othe eating establishments, all reasonably priced. However none so far look anything like what we've been having in the Molar Wave, so i think well stick to eating there.
When we got back to the Hotel, we had another brew, well it was hot! and Ali came by, he sat down with us and we chatted for a while about the Island. He was telling us he used to be a fisherman and loved the life. He gave it up when he had children so he could be around for them. They used to load the boat full of ice, their food supplies, drinking water, fuel for the boat and then go out and watch for the sea birds to indicate where a shoal of fish were. They would then catch as many as they could for bait for the Yellow Fin tuna. Once that was done they made for open sea for 10 days, travelling hundreds of miles untill the boat was full of massive Tuna. There were about 15 crew on the boat all working and living in very close proximity to each other.
Because the Maldives are such small Islands they have no goods to export and everything they have has to imported from abroad. This makes it very expensive, and also explains the cost of the resort Islands. Almost every Inhabited Island has a fish processing plant, and HImmafushi also has water desalinaton plant. It takes sea water, removes the salt and then adds minerals before bottling it and shipping out to the other Islands. Until 15 years or so ago the water supply was from rain water, and every house had huge water collection tanks. Its now used for grey water, it comes from the roof collection point, into a clay pot in the ground and is then pumped around the building for showers etc. There is one nationally supplied pipe for drinking water in every home but its only one tap and is yet to be plumbed in throughout the houses. However, we have been told not to drink the tap water under any circumstances, and there is unlimited bottled water available at the hotel. To buy a 1.5 litre bottle in the cafe it costs a dollar, it's cheaper again in the shop.
Ali is very much a free spirit, with dark curly hair and beard, and was saying that working on a resort Island wouldnt be good for him. He'd have to cut his hair and shave every day ... I love that! He's very much his own person, although he has cut his hair shorter as it was right down his back, which I imagine was impressive. He's left the Maldives twice, each time to go to Sri Lanka, because it is much cheaper there to buy childrens clothes in particular, than it is to buy them on Male. Even with the flight costs, which is crazy isnt it?
Himmafushi is home to 300 prisioners in the Jail. It used to be the largest prison in the Islands but that title has been handed over to another island now. Today, Ali was using his truck to transport water and gasoleine to the prison so the prisoners can shower. In water, not the gasolene! He had two little helpers with him in his truck, his children. They both shook Simons hand and asked his name. so cute! The prisoners are allowed to work outside, in the garden, and also in the kitchens. There is also a drug treatment and rehabilitation centre here. Last year 146 people were treated at the centre.
He's arranged for us to go swimming and snorkelling tomorrow with another couple who are staying at The Molar Wave, which I am kind of looking forward to.
Happy Christmas Eve Eve!