Maldives – Male Town

During my recent travels to the Maldivian islands (read my earlier post here about where I was), I took a tour around the main city of Male. The city is extremely small but it is the most populous city in the Republic of Maldives and it is also it’s capital.

We were provided with a personal guide to walk us through the city and explain to us about it’s rich culture.

Male itself seemed to be a nice and quiet city, filled mainly with motorbikes and a couple of cars about. The streets were busy with children coming back from school and people just going about their daily lives.

One of the cars that I first saw in the city was this little Toyota IQ or what Aston Martin would have called a Cygnet. Was rather surprised that they had a car there in the middle of the ocean.

The citizens of Male are mainly muslims and hence we were brought about to the many mosques here on this island.

I think this was the president’s house or home or home office. Can’t remember exactly but yeah, these are one of those places that we were guided through.

Then there is the Sultan’s Gardens which was a nice patch of garden in the middle of Male.

Last place of visit was the mosque, the largest mosque in Male located very close to the sea front. Then again, because Male is so small, everything is close to the seafront.

Center square located right next to the harbour. One thing about Maldives is that, the country is made up of thousands of islands. Because of that, you can pretty much guess that the fishery industry should be one of it’s key. And you aren’t wrong.

The harbour was filled with huge boats like these. They aren’t the type that trawls along the sea with huge nets behind. No, they are actually huge fishing boats with 20-30 crew members on board who fish using fishing rods. That’s right, FISHING RODS!

Apparently fishing with fishing rods are a better way to sustain the environment and to also prevent them from catching the young fishes hence sustaining the cycle of man catching fish. But according to my guide, they catch fishes with rods almost as effectively as catching with nets.

From the fishes above, I can really believe him. Look at the size of the TUNA! It’s almost as large as the guy squatting by them. If in a weird bizarre world, I would have guessed the guy was bait for the fish instead.

Right next to the harbour was the market which was filled with fruits. So you must be thinking, where do they plant their fruits or are these imported? Well since Maldives is made up of a gazillion islands, some of these islands are used to be agriculture islands where just fruits and vegetables are grown there.

Well lots of bananas and mangoes though. There were these little chilli stuff as well sold there.

And right outside the fruit market was the fish market. Boy, you could actually smell it a mile away.

It was packed, surprisingly with people just staring at the fishes that were sold there. Heck even the guy above was carrying a fish around like his pet.

But the one thing I wasn’t prepared for is that they sold all their fishes on the floors. Huge tunas and marlins were displayed on the floors which I can say doesn’t look too clean but then again they cut the fishes and descale them all on the floor.

Notice the guy wearing his shoes on the same floor where the fishes are sold? 😛

Still, fish there was extremely fresh and I ate raw fish and fresh steamed fish on a daily basis. It was absolutely the bomb.

The guy selling fish above looked like a bouncer, probably pissed off that I was there just taking photos and not buying any fish.

This guy decided to sell his stuff by the entrance of the market instead of being in the market. I could say that is a smart choice considering the stench coming from within the market.

After the whole guided tour, we decided to walk around the place to check out some stores about. Nothing really special, sundry shops and coffee houses littered the place. Till I chanced upon the shop below.

Yes it was a shop selling the iPad! This was the time when the iPad wasn’t even launched in Malaysia. Speaking of which, most of the stuff that we saw at Male was imported from Malaysia. Furniture, computers and heck, even souveniers. If you are there, just look at the souveniers and you can see a price tag behind them in RM.

Anyhow, it was a great 4 hours spent at the capital city of Male. Lovely place and I would say the fish market was one of the highlights of the tour for me. Never seen such huge fishes up close before.

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