Maldives1: Acclimatization

Outside our hotel in Hulhumale.

We arrived last night in Male at 10:30 PM, local time. Door to door, it took us 28 hours of travel time. The 16-hour flight to Singapore wasn’t as bad as we expected; must’ve been all that joyful wellness in the food.

We took a taxi to our beachfront hotel, dropped our luggage, then took a short walk around. The air was tropics-thick and warm, and much of the area around our hotel looked to be under construction or abandoned mid-project.

Construction seen outside our hotel bathroom window.

At dawn I woke to the sound of a long thin whistle, then far-away music. It took me a moment to realize this was the Muslim call to prayer, which is broadcast across the city.

After breakfast, before meeting up with the bigger SwimTrek group and guides, Marni and I took a walk on the beach. Women wearing burkas (as required by Muslim-country law) were swimming with their children. We also saw bikini-clad tourists on the same beach, either ignoring or ignorant of the laws in the Maldives.

A Muslim woman watches her son swim.

I’m uncertain how a Muslim country in a tropical destination, which relies heavily on tourism, can enforce a law requiring women’s bodies to be covered. All I know is we were sweating like rain spouts in our thin long pants and tee shirts. It’s a fascinating conundrum to be sure.

Sign at left says no bikinis allowed on beach.

Excited to meet the swim group and get on the boat! Today is the acclimatization swim, also known as “How Do You Measure Up?” Hoping for middle of the pack. Either way, I’m anxious to be out of the city and to get on that blue blue water.

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