It rains a lot here, despite all of the sunny photos I have been uploading. Once it has started raining, there is very little that can be done outside, as when it rains, it….pours!…. Ok, but references to my brilliant puns aside, finding something to do in inclement weather here becomes something of a chore.
Most people find themselves housebound, in which case they just watch hours and hours of Indian Soap Operas- Breaking Bad hasn’t hit this part of the world yet. Thankfully I don’t speak any Hindi, so I am impervious to the addictive nature of third-rate sub continental television. Or, especially amongst the younger generations, you watch downloaded American television series for hours on end. I have seen some of the download collections around here and it is safe to say that you could run Dave for at least a month with the amount of stuff each person has stored on their hard drives.
But I always become self-loathing and agitated when I have spent a considerable amount of time vegetating before a screen. That is not to say I don’t do it a lot. But for me, boredom is not something that is solved by pixels, but only intensified. Once you sit down to watch something you feel even more desperate because often you will be watching people actually doing interesting things. Apart from Gogglebox, which is a show which shows you people watching TV shows. Show show show.
One activity is sitting in cafés for a long time. Service over here is incredibly quick and waiters have not quite got the knack of waiting even one minute before whisking away your plate. Often you will be stared down as you wipe up the last few morsels of curry and rice with your chapatti and then the flowery-shirted waiter will pounce upon you as soon as you have swallowed. But no one here feels obliged to leave a café once they have paid. Sitting and chewing on betel nuts, which every Maldivian does without exception, is a genuine bona fide pastime; they are nuts for those nuts. All the kids who row walk around chewing on Supari, a small thimbleful of these nuts which come in wrappers that make them look at condoms. I have to be honest I was very concerned when I thought all these 13 year olds were whipping out condoms at rowing, but my stresses were soon alleviated once I saw them eat the contents (some might be even more worried by that, had they not cottoned on). They cost 25 laari each, so about 0.5 pence. The chewing of these betel nuts has been linked to mouth cancer, but boy are they cheaper than cigarettes.
Chewing nuts is not the only way to entertain yourself, believe you me. Hours of well spent days in cafes taught Roba some cocktail-stick-party-tricks. See if you can do them for yourselves! Who says this blog isn’t interactive?!
Amongst other things you can also fill your day with utterly pointless and self-defeating chores. Such as this one by Roba to make the kids clear the beach where we row of rocks… I’ll do that one again tomorrow as well….