Malé, the capital of The Maldives.
In The Maldives one of the highlights of a young boy’s life is being circumcised, then having all his friends and family come around for a party, while he lies in bed smiling wanly. Not my idea of a good time, but different strokes for different folks I suppose.
Malé is exclusively Muslim by law and completely free of alcohol or any ‘nightlife’, so I got quite excited one night when I heard pounding music coming from a doorway and saw some guys inside with long hair and AC/DC t-shirts playing darts. I thought I’d found the elusive party-scene.
They saw me lurking, waved me in and this is what greeted me:
There was a distinct lack of beer but there was entertainment: dancers and a weird gimpy-Spiderman.
That’s when I saw the boys and found out I was at a circumcision party in someone’s house.
Everyone was super-friendly so I was working the room a little.
I was talking to the lady above when she asked me ‘so, who do you know at the party?’
“Uh, no-one. I just wandered in off the street…”
She said “Everyone’s talking about you and asking who you are – we all thought you must be someone’s friend…”
I thought that might be my cue to don my flip-flops and head off, but she insisted I should stay. Then she asked me to dance. Not with her, but on ‘the stage’ in front of everyone. I politely demurred, but she was having none of it. Within seconds the professional dancers had cleared the floor and the whole room was chanting at me to “DANCE! DANCE! DANCE!”. I could see that polite demurral wasn’t going to cut it, so I thought I better grasp the nettle… I took to the floor and went into full-on, over-the-top disco fever. I still had my camera in hand so I managed to record my reception:
I finished with a flourish – more of a flourish than I intended in fact. I dropped down on one knee with my finger pointed triumphantly in the air – and with impeccable (and totally accidental) comic timing, completely split the ass of my trousers. I had to waddle to the back of the room, holding the seam of my trousers together, to the sound of shock, horror, amusement and disgust from the assembly. Most of them looked like this:
I saw gimp-Spiderman heading off into the night and thought it might be a good time for me to make my exit too…