(Republic of the Maldives, ދިވެހިރާއްޖޭގެ ޖުމްހޫރިއްޔާ, Dhivehi Raajjeyge Jumhooriyya)
(Courtesy: John Young, Hong Kong)
(Courtesy: John Young, Hong Kong)
- Location: Indian Ocean (off the coast of India)
- Capital: Malé
- Language(s): Dhivehi
- Population: 400,467
- Total Area: 298 sq km
- Currency: Maldivian Rufiyaa
- Curious Alcohol Fact: Alcohol is strictly prohibited in the country. Tourists are not allowed to bring any liquor into the country and in the few hotels selling alcohol, the prices are astronomical.
- Annual Average Liquor Consumption Per Capita: Not available but a WHO study in 2001 put it at about 1.60 liters.
- Most Popular Drink(s): Raa (local brew sourced from the trunks of palm trees), tea (sai)
If there is a competition for the most beautiful country in the world, my own opinion is that the Maldives will take the crown. Made up of a chain that contains more than 1,200 coral islands, atolls and sandbanks, the Maldives is not just an enchanting island nation, it is one of the most angelic places on our planet. Visit the Maldives once and you would have experienced heaven right here on earth. With an area of less than 300 sq km and a population just a little over 400,000, the Maldives is the smallest country in Asia. But what it does not have in size, it has compensated with sheer beauty and grandeur.
The people of these islands (called Maldivians) are best described as being mixed. They are known as the Dhivehis and speak a language called Dhivehi, which also happens to be the official language. Apart from Dhivehi, there are some other languages spoken too, and these are Arabic, English and Hindi. Over the years, people from other countries such as India and China have settled on the islands. Although the islands run into thousand, just a few hundred of them are inhabited by the people. For most of the Maldivians, the major occupations are tourism, fishing and boatbuilding. Maldivians are really warm and hospitable people, offering you all kinds of foods and refreshments. The predominant religion is Islam.
As expected, the main delicacies on the islands will be made from seafood, and you will surely enjoying lobster soup or octopus stew. There are some dishes that you must taste if you want to savor the fine taste of the island cuisine. One is called telulimas, and is made from fish fried with spices while another is garoodiya, a fish stew that is usually served with steaming rice. Most of the foods prepared on the islands are made from either fish or seafood, and that is quite healthy. There are also various fruits on the islands and you can always get them fresh.
It must be emphasized that the Maldives is a Muslim nation and is one of the few nations where you cannot bring in alcohol (others are Saudi Arabia, Iran and Libya). Alcohol is strictly prohibited in the country and locals do not go near beers and wines. However, the alcoholic drinks are sold in the hotels and resorts. One thing that you must know is that the rates are just too high. Thus, if you are a lover of the bottle, the Maldives will surely dampen your spirit but you can always rejuvenate it with the raa, a local alcoholic drink made from the sap of palm trees.
Story By World By Shotglass
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Special thanks to our contributors:
Adebayo Ahmed Adebola (Ilorin, Nigeria).
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