Home Columns Anantha Narayan Blue waters, white sand

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    Illustration : Tapas Ranjan

    If you’re a beach bum, share your island name tales with anantha@albertdali.com

    You’ve done enough keyboard crunching, Facebook reading and selfie gaping for the year. It’s time you pulled the plug on Candy Crush Saga and gifted yourself a sweet vacation where you can shoot the breeze over a tequila sunset in a blue lagoon with Pink Floyd for company.

    You should try destinations that won’t cost you an arm and a leg. We recommend islands with interesting name histories. Maldives, for instance. Derived from Maalai Theevu (‘garland of islands’ in Tamil), Maldives is apparently the lowest country in the world with an average ground level that’s just 1.5 metres above sea level. A necklace of 1,900 coral islands, it’s a great holiday spot for snorkelling, windsurfing and coochie-cooing.

    If you’re a cultural gypsy, Bali might pique your curiosity. An ode to Vali, the Vanara prince of Ramayana, who apparently moved to the island with his wife Tara and five hundred others, Bali is a predominantly Hindu region with over 20,000 temples. A volcano mountain, black sand beaches, dolphin tours, and the world’s most expensive coffee (made from cat poop) add to the Balinese charm.
    If you’re the type who likes to mix business with pleasure, Canary Islands is the haven you must head to. Off the northwest coast of Africa, the Spanish archipelago inherited its name from Islas Canarias (Latin for ‘Island of the Dogs’), ostensibly because it contained ‘vast multitudes of dogs of very large size’. Ideal for some leisurely money laundering, Canary Islands also offers thrills such as designer-made salt water swimming pools, aquatic Thai-themed water parks, diving trips to spot the endangered Loggerhead Turtle, and the third largest volcano.

    For the well-heeled, we shall point you to the Venga Boys’ fantasy land, Ibiza. Founded in 654 BC, and originally called Ibossim — as a dedication to Bes, the god of music and dance — the Mediterranean island in eastern Spain is aptly the birth place of rave and the clubbing capital of the globe.

    Then, there’s the Bahamas (Spanish for ‘low sea’), Madagascar (a corrupted form of Mogadishu, as Marco Polo had confused it with the Somali port), and many more azure atolls.

    So set sail free spirit and come back with a great catch of wonderful  memories.

    -Anantha Narayan

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