A friend of mine works in the aircraft maintenance industry, and has just pulled the dream gig of his life. He’s going to be away from home for two weeks, which is a bit of a drag. Or it might be, if he weren’t working in the Maldives, on a job that will take a mere two days, and that he and his wife will be staying full board in a swanky resort, all paid for by the client.

I was congratulating him on this piece of luck/chicanery when he ruined it and had me clutching my head in despair. He was really jazzed that said swanky resort has wi-fi.

I’ve been to the Maldives twice, back in the 90s, and it was pleasingly low tech. Most of the islands didn’t even have a telephone for starters. You didn’t get an air-conditioned mansion, you got a hut with woven walls, a thatched roof, and a ceiling fan. No hot water in the shower, but given the steady 35 Celsius ambient temperature, day and night, the water came out tepid anyway.

No selection of bars and restaurants, either. You got a central restaurant with an attached bar, and that was it. The floors in the public areas  were just sand*, though the bar had a concrete apron round it**. The motto back then was, ‘No news. No shoes.’ I loved it. Now look where he’s staying.

Who the hell needs a swimming pool when the Arabian Sea is right there?

sun island

And as for the restaurant…

posh

Why the hell you need wi-fi when you’re on holiday is beyond me. The whole point of the Maldives is to spend your time doing bugger all apart from sunbathing, snorkelling or scuba diving (which back when I went was ludicrously cheap). My friend reckons he will be using it for his Kindle, but I merely retorted, ‘Take the real thing. Raid the charity shops and but paper. That way you won’t be tempted to keep calling the office.’

He will call the office. I know he will. He’s never off duty from his point of view. It doesn’t matter that I told him that if he were laid up in a coma for two weeks they’d just have to get by without him. He’ll be on the phone, and I doubt his wife will be too please about that.

*The sand is lovely and white, the consistency of finely granulated sugar, and consists of parrot fish crap. They eat the corals on the reefs, and then crap out the crunched up hard bits.

**I was once inadvertently standing with my toes on the apron and the rest of my foot on the sand. This was painful when my mate Fronk accidentally stood on my foot. He’s a Frieslander, and they make them big where he comes from. Two broken toes later…

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