I’m lying face down in the Indian Ocean wondering where all the Chinese have gone. To be more precise, I’m in a bungalow on slits lying on a massage table at one end of which is a hole through which you can put your head and through which you can see the remnants of a coral reef and a few fish thanks to a glass plate inserted into part of the wooden floor. Did I mention I’m wearing black nylon women’s underwear? (I’ve had a few massages in my time, but I’ve never before been asked to wear nylon knickers under my towel, which is really pants if you know what I mean).
Anyway, the point of this story is that at the end of the massage the woman leans over and says “Good, but ouch.” I think she was referring to the strength of her massage technique and the fact that I’ve done something to the muscles in one of my arms, but perhaps she was referring to the world economy over the next couple of decades.
I’ll use that line somewhere one of these days.
Other observations. The resort – in the Maldives – is a real melting pot of nationalities, especially Indian’s, Arabs and a few Europeans, but at least one third of visitors are Russians, many of whom are the colour of freshly fallen snow. In the evenings, a local band plays traditional Russian folk songs. There are no American tourists anywhere to be seen.
I spoke to one of the resort staff and he said that before the 2012 coup, 80-85% of tourists were Chinese. I’m probably reading too much into this, but perhaps the Russians are a little more used to political turmoil?
And no, there are no pictures of my knickers.