My “processing” begins with the aid of Shiva, a debonair Indian with a lush moustache worthy of writing home about. I suspect he would be better looking sans moustache but I can hardly say that. I imagine I will get around to it, however.
Shiva takes me to stay in the Abalone guest-house. The Abalone is, at best, the distant side of crummy. The bedding is unappealing so I re-jig the sheets and pillows until I find bits that might pass for clean in a blackout. The gaseous odour emanating from the bathroom could annihilate nostril-hairs.
“You are getting the very special treatment. Indian and Sri Lankan teacher ladies are together, eight or ten, in one room. And the hotel is not as good as this one,” Shiva informs. Quite how much less good does not bear thinking about.
Shiva escorts me to various appointments in taxis. But he never gets in with me; instead he follows behind on a motorbike. My own motorcade cruises the teeming mini-metropolis of Malè, where about 130,000 people live on less than two square kilometres.