Nice to see the improvements since Kerouac was there.
I'm not sure everything has changed for the best:
The Maldives - a recruiting paradise for jihadists It is the most iconic archipelago in the world: famous for its sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters and, as they write in tourist brochures, as close as you can get to “paradise”. But the tiny island chain of the Maldives, with its population of just 345,000, is becoming famous for something rather less attractive: as a fertile recruiting ground for Islamic State (IS) jihadists.
"In last two years the Saudi Arabian embassy has come up in Male, President Yameen has made three trip to the kingdom, and officially the two countries have signed agreements that would allow Riyadh to build mosques, send clerics and Imams to teach and train Maldivians “true” Islam, and spread ideas across the archipelago’s Muslims who follow less restrictive religious and social practices.
Just the way Saudi money has helped indoctrinate millions across South Asia, including in India and across the world, a similar campaign has been unleashed with much zeal by the Saudi government across the Maldives. The recent suicide attacks in Brussels revealed how an innocuous decision by a Belgian government decades ago that laid out a red carpet for Saudi radicalism now threatens to consume that country and rest of Europe."
Frankly, this does not surprise me at all. Even when I went to the Maldives in 1980, I felt there was an extreme tension between the "tourists" and the "residents." We Western visitors represented the total anathema to the values of the local population -- and it was even worse back then. On my flight from Karachi to Colombo, I was sitting next to a Texas oil worker in the region whose immediate question was "you're going on one of those nudie holidays?" And it is true that I had read that tourists to the Maldives back then did whatever they wanted on the various atolls and one of those things was running around naked -- in an Islamic republic. And this was confirmed on Bandos since I walked around the entire island every morning and yes, the Italians were spread out in full naked glory on their little stretch of beach. Interestingly enough, several years later when I was friends with an American-New Zealand couple, I became their baggage storage point while they roamed around Europe. They had just been to Bandos and said "oh, you can look at our photos if you want; they're right here in this bag." Well, the photos were remarkable with all of the sea creatures, but for some reason the thing that I noticed the most was that they were diving naked.
I'm sorry, but when I go to a country called the Islamic Republic of the Maldives, being naked in pubic is not something that seems appropriate to me. Yet I very clearly recall that on the information sheet in my bungalow back then, it was noted that "nudity is not acceptable in any area in view of the reception area or the restaurant." That in itself seemed to imply that it was not a problem anywhere else on the island.
When tourism increased in the country, they became much more strict about the "dress code" and also places where alcohol could be consumed, but I can readily imagine that the local population still felt that their soul had been sold to the devil just to receive foreign revenue.
The fact that Saudi Arabia has taken advantage of this is despicable, but that country always preys on the weaker Muslim countries and cash always seems to work for some reason.