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Maldives Travel

Crabs await the turn of the tide at an island resort. Maldives is the lowest nation in the world – the highest point is only about 7 feet. The islands are coral atolls topped by a thin layer of humus, which supports all the vegetation including avenue trees. Since agriculture is virtually impossible, the Maldivians import everything except for coconuts. Fish and a variety of seafood are always on the table. These crabs, being smaller and too plentiful, got lucky.

The Maldives in happier times

The Maldives, an Indian Ocean archipelago of 1,192 coral atolls (of which 200 are inhabited), is the smallest Asian nation. These islands, barely a few meters above sea level, are a magnet for wealthy tourists and scuba-divers: the former flock to their pristine beaches, the latter come to experience their wealth of stunningly beautiful coral reefs and marine wildlife. Over the last week, the Maldives, an Islamic nation, made international headlines for violent street protests culminating in a coup d’état that overthrew its elected president, Mohamed Nasheed, who has held office since 2008. The political situation is worrying for the Maldives’ economy, which is heavily dependent on tourism. Not long ago, the Maldives were the happy isles of the Indian Ocean. Reminiscing on a visit he made to the Maldives in 2010, Yahoo! India’s Travel Editor BIJOY VENUGOPAL presents a dramatic photo-essay of a happy-go-lucky yet strangely troubled island nation