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Monday, December 17, 2007

Male, Maldives & The National Museum/Old Sultan¡¯s Palace

 
Left India today after a very interesting one month stay & arrived in Male via Indian Airlines business class.  A bit of misadventure since arrival.  Firstly, Customs detected my Indian sculpture of Nataraja, the dancing Lord Shiva which I intended to decorate my living room with.  They said import of non-Islamic statues and idols are banned.  So I had to leave it at airport and collect when I leave. Wasted 1 hour where they scrutinized everything (especially the souvenirs) in my bag to see whether they have non-Islamic significance.  Maybe they think I am a Hindu fundamentalist trying to spread Hinduism in Maldives.
 
Next, I lugged my stuff to the hotel I booked via email but they disclaimed any knowledge and said they were fully booked anyway.  Unfortunately, I didn¡¯t print the email and couldn¡¯t argue further.  In any case, I found another much more conveniently located hotel at half the price but time wasted again. 
 
Even then, Male is so small that I took only 2 hours to finish popping by the main sights, sending myself a postcard and visiting the museum.  I have whole day Tue, then fly to Yemen on Wed via Dubai (2:30am ungodly hour!).
 
BTW, the museum, which has little explanatory captions, display some Buddhist artifacts and photos of ruined stupas on some outer atoll islands.  Unfortunately, I could not find more details on them, nor about Maldives¡¯ swing from sultanate to republic, then to sultanate followed by republic again, all in the 1950s to 1960s.  Maybe I will wiki about these.
 

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