Paradise on Earth

By Maryam Thani


The cool azure water soothed my skin; the sun soaked my hair; the tranquil sound of the waves steadily colliding with the shore filled my ears as I sat on the velvet-like sand. These memories fill my head when I think of the Maldives. My vacation to the idyllic islands of the Maldives was the start to many exciting adventures and new experiences that will always be special to me. I’ve always been attached to my country and surroundings, and was not used to change. I’ve always been frightened by the idea of traveling to new places and being far away from home. Last summer, I decided to overcome my fear, take chances, and just say “yes” to rare opportunities. Katherine Butler Hathaway once said, “A person needs at intervals to separate from family and companions and go to new places. One must go without familiars in order to be open to influences, to change.” In doing this, I broadened my horizons and changed my outlook on life.

My adventures began on a dull summer afternoon, when I received an unexpected call from my father informing me that we will be going on a short trip to the Maldives. I was very ecstatic since I’ve been told that it is one of the most breathtaking places to visit. The moment I heard the news, I rushed to the nearest shopping mall and splurged my allowance on swimsuits and suitable clothing. The anticipation was almost over as the day had finally come. I woke up a few hours early due to light shining through my window. So, I used this extra time to finish packing my bag that I had forgotten to pack the night before.

A few hours later, we headed off to the airport and checked into our flight on time. I hadn’t been on airplane in a very long time, so I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous. It felt like forever while we sat in the plane waiting to take off. At long last, I heard the pilot say “prepare for take off”. I’ll admit I was frightened, but as the plane lifted off the runway, I started to relax. The five hour long plane ride was slightly bumpy, but other than that everything went well.

Once we landed, we grabbed the bags from the overhead lockers and scrambled our way down the aisle towards the exit. We stepped out of the hot and stuffy plane into the bright, dazzling sunlight, which was gleaming down on my uncovered face and hands, warming and basking my skin in its radiance while the moisture of the air clung to my cheeks.

After going through customs and claiming our luggage, we hopped onto the boat and headed to the island where our resort was located. Upon arrival, a group of men welcomed us by playing drums and handing us some refreshing coconut drinks. I was pleased and overwhelmed by the resort manager’s kind offer to give us a private tour around the unspoiled island. After exploring the island, we were escorted to the villa that we would call our home for the next few days. It felt like entering a tropical haven; we were surrounded by luscious palm trees overlooking a private pool filled with sparkling blue water. There were steps leading down into the pool and mosaics lining the inside. A cobblestone pathway led to the white sand beach, just a few steps away from the clear waters. I felt a tingly sensation as the sparkling soothing water suddenly crashed between my toes. It grew dark and windy as the sun began to set in the distance. I inhaled deeply the crisp wind that blew through the air as I sat by the shore. I began to ponder how surreal it would be to live in a beachfront house, having direct access to the Indian Ocean’s calm azure water. I snapped back to reality after hearing my mom call my name from afar. “Get dressed, we’re going out for dinner,” she uttered. A dining table was fixed under the starlit sky, where I indulged in a flavorful seafood curry that lingered in my memory for the rest of the night.

The next day, I woke up to a thud and the noise of what sounded like thunder. The storm only lasted a few minutes. Before I knew it, the sun rose slowly into the morning sky, making it more radiant as the sun climbed higher into the sky. The ocean danced beneath the sunlight, which was sparkling on the rippling waves. The sea was a rich, deep blue in some spots and in others a bright, aquamarine green. The vibrant coral streaked through it. I ran down to the crystal blue water and stood there under the sun taking it all in. I had the instant urge to jump into the fresh cool water. With that, I took a deep breath and plunged into the silky water. Suddenly, a school of fish began to circle me. The variety of multicolored fish kept multiplying and swimming around me. I floated in place staring at the fish while they cavorted in the crystal clear water. I dazed thinking of how incredible and mesmerizing the scenery underwater is. I could taste the salty water as it ran down my face and trickled over my lips as I steadily walked out of the water.

We spent the last few days relaxing and unwinding under the warm sun. We also visited fishing villages where brightly painted houses were located. We easily conversed with the friendly locals settled there. Lastly, we decided to go on a seaplane flight, which gave us a panoramic view of the spectacular surroundings from above. The pristine islands and the shallow lagoons looked so clear. The day of our flight back to Dubai was extremely upsetting for the reason that I did not want to leave so soon, but I knew that I had to bid the paradise on earth farewell. When our plane took off that afternoon, I pressed my nose to the glass, and sighed deeply. I knew I’d left a part of my heart there.

I will never forget the moments, the beautiful seascape, and the wonderful experiences I had while visiting. I learned to appreciate the little things that put a smile on my face. I also learned that the beautiful things in life are the small things that we tend to overlook.