16 March 2011

Skin Color and The Maldives

Before moving to Switzerland, I was told that some Swiss may assume that I am from an African nation.  I have experienced this in China; a few Chinese were shocked when I spoke American English.  But with a sizable African population in Switzerland, especially in the French part, this is understandable.  Since moving here a few people have initiated conversations in French (although, we are in the German part).  Most of these people were of African descent (like me!).  I guess some people believe white skin equals American skin.  And brown skin equals African skin. 

This is where my ignorance comes in.  Before visiting The Maldives I did very little research about the people, The Maldivians.  But according to the brochures they appeared similar to Indonesians.  Same skin complexion and facial structures.  It was of great surprise to my husband and myself that the people are of similar complexions to Sri Lankans; dark brown or dark reddish tones.

Of course, my first thought was "TYPICAL".  Even on the other side of the world skin color plays its part.  Most brochures, even the ones featuring our island displayed lighter-skinned people.  These same brochures also mentioned visitors' surprise about how beautiful The Maldivians are...and they are!  A nation full of attractive people.  But back to my point.  Why does it take a lighter skinned person to sale a destination?  Are the "regulars" not good enough?

I never got into the light-skinned, dark-skinned debate so I'm not going to now.  But what the hell.

It wasn't to long ago that my sister-in-law mentioned the same thing after traveling to Nepal.  She was surprised about the dark complexions of many Nepalese.  You never see that in the magazines nor the brochures.  I wonder why?

My ignorance again...I guess like the American and the European nations there are many countries with multiple complexions of people.  But for some reason I rarely see the darker-skinned ones...

That's me.  I got quite dark.  My skin looked flawless!

Two Maldivians. Including the diving boat captain.

Maldivian workers on the island.

05 March 2011

The White Masai

While I was enjoying my time under the Malediven sun I had time to read a great book, The White Masai by Corinne Hofmann. It's a true story about a Swiss woman who falls in love with a Masai warrior while on vacation in Kenya with her Swiss boyfriend. Within months she leaves her life behind in Europe to marry and live with her warrior in the Kenyan bush.

Here is an editorial review from B&N:

The White Masai combines adventure and the pursuit of passion in a page-turning story of two star-crossed lovers from vastly different backgrounds. Corinne, a European entrepreneur, meets Lketinga, a Samburu warrior, while on vacation in Mombasa on Kenya's glamorous coast. Despite language and cultural barriers, they embark on an impossible love affair. Corinne uproots her life to move to Africa -- not the romantic Africa of popular culture but the Africa of the Masai, in the middle of the isolated bush, where five-foot-tall huts made from cow dung serve as homes. Undaunted by wild animals, hunger, and bouts with tropical diseases, she tries to forge a life with Lketinga. But slowly the dream starts to crumble when she can no longer ignore the chasm between their two vastly different cultures.

 I read the book while relaxing on the beach in Kurumba, The Maldives.

I first learned of this story by watching the movie on a Swiss television channel. It was completely in German, but it totally captivated me. I purchased the book a view days later. Unfortunately, the movie does not do the book justice. Although good, the movie doesn't provide in detail the adventures, heartache, love, and strength the character endures.

So if you have time and are interested in reading a book that is compelling from cover to cover, I suggest The White Masai. Or watch the movie on youtube.  Unfortunately, the trailer (below) is in German.  But you can find the movie on youtube with English subtitles.


01 March 2011

We're Back...ReLaXaTiOn!

Winter in Switzerland has its ups and downs.  The upside is that the snow-covered mountains and landscapes are absolutely breathtaking.  The downside is that it seems to last forever.  Along with the cold temperature and cloudy sky.  Weeks go by in Switzerland without sunshine.  I don't think I will ever get use to that.

But thankfully, my husband and I were able to escape the seemingly endless chill by vacationing in The Maldives (Malediven).  We had such a wonderful time.  Eight days of warmth, fun, relaxation, and romance.

More post coming soon.