National Geographic : 1957 Jun
Similar dresses were noted by travelers to the Maldives, of whom the best known are the famed Arab Ibn Batuta and the French adventurer Fran cois Pyrard de Laval. Both left accounts of their so journ, and both married several Maldivian women, so had a better chance to study them than I had. "I have not seen in the whole world any women whose society is more agree able," Ibn Batuta noted 600 years ago. "The wife entrusts to no one the care of her husband's service: she it is who brings him his food, takes away when he has eaten, washes his hands, presents the water for his ablutions, and covers his feet when he wills to go to sleep.... I married many wives of that country...." Pyrard de Laval's ship was wrecked in the islands in 1602, and he was held there five years. His ac count (published in Eng lish by the Hakluyt Soci ety) is the best I have seen of the Maldives. He noted many features which apply equally today, by my own observation, par ticularly the manner of fishing and of preparing dried fish, and the piety and industry of the Moslem inhabitants. Ibn Batuta made note of the use of rose water and sandalwood as a lotion. When I was rather badly sunburned during my stay in Male, and no lotion or ointment I had was of the slightest benefit, a local bonesetter brought some sandalwood and rose water, mixed them carefully by rubbing the sandalwood end 839 Friday Mosque Dominates Male Like a Lighthouse Five times daily the muezzin climbs this minaret to call for prayers. Ara bic script mentions the year 1085 A.H . (am hegira). The Moslem calendar dates from the Hegira, or flight, of the Prophet from Mecca A.D. 622.