From our very first visit a quarter century ago received all sorts of aboriginal origami creations from staff, but during our visit to Sun Siyam Iru Veli Samaha and Nuhaz actually taught me how to these palm frond are made. They explained that they grew up honing their palm folding skills. Especially, during Eid is a traditional time for youngsters to show off their skills by fashioning the most elaborate designs. Bodu mas are especially popular during this festive holiday. The first item that Samaha made was a “watch” and a “rose” when she was 8 years old and wrote on it with a needle. She taught me how to make the rose during our tutorial and it came out pretty good if I do say so. The resort also offers these lessons to the younger generation of guests at the resort kids club.
If you want to make your own song or if the music of the ocean breeze in the palm trees and the gentle rhythm of seawater lapping the linen white sand inspires your compositional creativity, Cora Cora offers guitar lessons for their guests by resident Mani. In fact, even their staff have taken part including Sam featured here in this sample duet of some cord progressions.
A strong spine is literally the backbone of healthy living. My interest is in sport and I am always struck by how (literally) central the importance of posture was for so many activities. I heard our ballroom dance teacher giving me the exact same tips about “shoulders down and back, pelvis forward, back straight”, that I gave my rowing students. Of course, back pain seems to be the most common affliction of aging which again all boils down to the spine. Ritz Carlton Maldives hosted Lorelei “Yoyi” Bulan who is a spine health expert during our stay. She walked me through a number of demonstrations and exercises (see videos) to gently activate, limber and strengthen my spine. Relieving stress discomfort at the literal “core”.
Mother Language Day today. If you want to delve into Dhivehi for a taste of local culture, it’s often fun to do it with a partner to both learn with as well as to practice with. SAii Lagoon’s Le Be Well spa offers a “Dhivehi for Couples” experience”:
“Love, after all, is one of the classic motivations for picking up a new language. When you learn a new language with your partner, it’s a bonding understand one of the most rewarding aspects of you try to communicate with them in their own language – Dhivehi, while fostering an appreciation for the traditions, religions, arts, and history of the Maldivians.”
You might wonder what would be the use of a relatively obscure language aside from impressing Maldivian staff on your resort visits? One possibility is to have your own personal code back home to converse in. We always remember meeting good friends for dinner years ago who we knew would try to pay for the meal and we wanted to pay. During the meal, they had a chat in Chinese which they said was just a family matter, but it turns out it was them scheming how to get the bill. Another example of such a shared secret language is the “Divine” language in the film “The Fifth Element”. Writer/Director Luc Besson invented the 400-word language for the character Leeloo (played by Milla Jovovich) to speak. Only Beeson and Jovovich learned the language and practiced it regularly to help it become natural for Jovovich. They ended up getting married after the film’s release so maybe a private shared language does have romantic effect.
For all those budding Cousteaus out there, Amilla Maldives offers Junior Marine Biologist Course. In the same way some people wonder why resorts have fitness centres (“who wants to do workouts on holiday?”), you might wonder, what kids want to do schoolwork on holiday. Well, me for one. When I was a tyke (about 9 years old), I used to go away to Camp Belknap in New Hampshire for a fortnight. While other kids signed up for archery, swimming and baseball, I signed up for the nature activities. They taught you flowers, trees, animals, star constellations (which has come in handy one many a star-filled Maldives night). I thoroughly enjoyed walking around exploring the outdoor beauty and learning all about it.
Amilla’s course features a daily 1-hour activity that include a Marine Walk, Mini Marine Bio Programme – comprehensive learning about the ocean. Over 6 days (each day a different topic). It builds. Ocean, plankton, coral reef, parrot fish, sea turtles and sharks. The sessions included showing selected TED talks and National Geographic clips, but the focus is on engaging with the children with puzzles, book creation and other activities to implement the material they have learned:
Monday: 17:00 – 17:30 – Marine Walk (different topics, such as the sea turtle nest, the origin of maldivian islands, some curiosities about Maldives etc.)
Thursday: 10:00 – 11.00 – Introduction to Snorkeling (a short presentation followed by a snorkeling session. Location: Spa Jetty or Dive Centre Jetty, depending on the weather and current conditions). VERY IMPORTANT: Please note that equipment (life jackets, fins, mask) will not be provided, so please make sure they come with equipment and they wear a rash vest. FYI: 10 slots available (for the moment). Only 5 years and above can participate. If younger than 5, they can come accompanied underwater with parents.
Sunday: 10:00 – 11:00 – Marine Biology Presentation and Q&A
The Mini Marine Bio Program is tailored to those kids who are keen to receive a comprehensive learning about the underwater world and its creatures. The program is run 6/7 days, 1 hour a day. Each session is about a different topic:
Sunday: Facts about seas and oceans @15:00 – 16:00
Monday: The plankton and its importance for our lives @10:00 – 11:00
Tuesday: All about coral reefs @11:00 – 12:00
Wednesday: Parrotfish (How to keep a balanced and healthy ecosystem) @16:00 – 17:00
Thursday: Lets discover the sea turtles @15:00 – 16:00
Friday: Sharks and their amazing world @10:00 – 11:00
At the end of the program, participants receive a certificate plus Amilla’s marine badges (see photos at top and bottom)
Happy Halloween. A time for lots of homemade sorcery – carving pumpkins, baking sweets, making costumes. I even crafted my own Halloween montage for a big Halloween party we held last year – “I’m In Love with a Monster”. If you want to make some especially spooky candles, Cora Cora offers a candle making workshop. Perhaps with a pumpkin spice scent.
Various martial arts provide not just a form of fitness to train the body, but also a discipline which trains the mind as well as a provide a range of skills for self-defence. One is particularly timely for the global “Black Lives Matter” movement which has been catalysed by police violence to minorities in recent times. All sorts of political pundits and advocates have weighed in with their analyses, but I was particularly impressed with Sam Harris’ proposition that a large part of the problem is due to inadequate training of officers. In this recent “Making Sense” podcast, “Police Training & Police Misconduct” he talks to Rener Gracie is a third-generation member of the legendary Gracie Family credited with creating the self-defense system known as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu about how the discipline can transform policing.
The art is perhaps also appropriate in the destination of the Maldives where the citizens are of a smaller stature. BFF is distinctive in its ability for a smaller person to neturalise a larger adversary. Jiu-jitsu came to international prominence in martial arts circles when Brazilian jiu-jitsu expert Royce Gracie (Rener’s uncle) won 3 of the first 4 Ultimate Fighting Championships fighting against mostly larger opponents proficient in other fighting styles. BJJ has since become an core aspect o Mixed Martial Arts.
I had never heard of Brazilian Ju-jitsu (or “BJJ”) until I visited Hard Rock Maldives last year and saw “The Red Mat” facility. It is a training area specifically for the BJJ training they have brought to the resort. It was introduced to Hard Rock by its General Manager Tolga Unan who studied the discipline in China. Offering daily jiu-jitsu sessions for staff and guests, Hard Rock is the first 5-star jiu-jitsu resort in the world. All resort instructors are purple belts. If you’re a member of a jiu-jitsu Certified Training Center, then Hard Rock has a special discount package offer.
For a scent that is not just reminiscent of the Maldives experience, but evokes your Maldives experience, Amilla’s Javvu spa features its own “Alchemy Bar”. There you can concoct your own magic potions to conjure up the golden moments from your visit. You are guided by a recipe book that shares its properties and other information about it (see sheet on “Moringa” below). Many of the ingredients are grown right on the island.
“It’s an interactive laboratory where we teach our guests to make their beauty potions and bath products, so it brings a special touch to their experience. During lockdown, the first thing we made was a bath sachet from herbs like lemongrass and neem growing on the island, then we started making our own sea-salt. Then from the dried herbs we realised we could make powders. From there realised can make face masks, teas and more – the possibilities are endless. There were only seven of us ladies working on the island, so we used to have our own girls’ nights with our own homemade face masks, moisturisers, hair masks etc. We even made our own deodorant because we were running out of it in the shop! It’s the best deodorant I’ve ever used, I swear. I’ve been using it since my garden work and it really works, nobody was running away from me!”
Happy International Mermaid Day. From the destination where all the international mermaids migrate to. If you want to join the school of mermaids, then Pullman Maamuta is offering a mermaid school:
“You can live your fantasea of becoming a mermaid too! At Pullman Maldives we like to think outside the box and create unique experiences, that’s why our super talented Diving Center team has created this exclusive opportunity to learn how to become a mermaid while you’re on vacation with us.”
No contracts with sea witches are required either.
World Oceans Day today. While travelling to the ocean to see turtles might still be limited, the Coco Collection has shared a way to bring them right into your own home during lockdown.
I’ve regularly featured striking towel creations, but now Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu and Coco Bodu Hithi have shared an instructional video so you can create these creatures yourself. They’ve started with a quite elaborate turtle construction.