Footnotes From Maldives with Larasati Silalahi


What makes Maldives interesting also got something to do with the expatriate who come from all over the world, gathered to love nature and make a living in the islands. When I say ‘all over the world’, I really mean it literally! Starting from Australian until European from countries such as UK, Italy, until Greece. Yes, Greece! Seriously, when I hear the word ‘Greek’, all I could think of is the movie, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” which was pretty hilarious (thus, memorable) and nothing else. Here in Maldives, I got the chance to get to know the Greeks better since one of our close friends here, Maria, is a Greek.

The full name is Maria Tsirba, 29 years old girl with curly hair and sexy body, met her a couple of days after I arrived, she’s also a newbie, so it’s good to know that I wasn’t the only clueless creature in the island. She’s a very fun-loving girl, in most nights can be found at the lounge bar, having drinks or busy dancing to the live band music. An interesting personality, I must say. A couple nights back I finally had the chance to have a dinner with Maria, getting to know her better.

In between eating the most amazing pizza in Kandooma and scribbling on the wedges, Maria told me that the Greeks usually enjoy their everyday fellowship during lunch, which came as a surprise for me – come on, it’s good enough for us Indonesian to be able to grab McDonalds at the nearest mal. And when it comes to dinner, most Greek families eat leftover from lunch, whereas in other cultures (like ours too), we eat dinner leftover for breakfast and lunch. Interesting fact, huh?

The other thing that I also noticed that Maria loves to dance and sing (we have karaoke night here in the island – no good voice required), and it seems that is how the typical Greeks would be. Maria shared her experiences in trying to be a part of the traditional group in the weekend, where everyone getting all dressed up, meeting at the bar, singing and dancing to the sound of Bouzouki playing the Greek pop music. Maria’s not really into it but most Greeks love it – especially the drinking-for-fun part.

Other than love to have fun, typical Greek families also have strong bond between parents and kids – similar to most Indonesian family – usually the kids are close to the mom, while the dad’s busy working. Perhaps too busy until they don’t really find the need to be involved in world’s issues such as the go green movement – this is also one of the reasons why Maria moved to Maldives, she really loves the nature and got fed up by the big city life back in Greece. I suddenly felt glad about being an Indonesian, at least we have been doing something to keep our environment ‘green’, and it really did make me feel proud!

For trends and the latest gossips, the Greeks follow what’s on TV, magazine, and internet, though Maria admitted that the broadband has only been around just in recent years – TV has always been playing huge part in their lifestyles as most Greeks see Americans as the ‘role models’. Maria said, they want to look like Americans, sound like Americans, and have the things that Americans do. Oh, so different from us. Or not? Ha-ha.

As I was replying some text messages on my BlackBerry, Maria also checking some missed calls on her Sony Ericsson phone, which happens to be the best selling phone brand in Greece. In second comes Nokia, still humbly connecting people everywhere.

That night during dinner I also did an audio grab using Maria’s voice for the Kandooma Radio morning show, so in the end we also discussed about music in Greece which is dominated by pop, hip hop and R&B. Maria even mentioned some big local musicians who pretty much are dominating the music industry in Greece, they are Sakis Rouvas, and the two ‘divas’ (who constantly be in a cat fight) Despina Vandi and Anna Vissi. You may want to think of the Greek version of Katie Perry and Lilly Allen. See? Now you get the picture.

As we’re finishing our dinner, Maria also mentioned a bit about her favorite Greek food, which is Yemista (which means ‘stuffed’), where vegetable being stuffed with rice, mushroom, and different kind of meats. Listening to that, suddenly the wedges lost its taste.

Before we left the pool bar, I thanked Maria for the wonderful dinner and decided to do a short pop quiz, just for fun. I asked her to yell the first word that comes up in her mind on the things I mention. So here is how it went:

PARIS HILTON! She straightaway said, “Cheap!” (Bless you, Paris.)

iPHONE! She said, “New!”

NIKE! She instantly yelled, “Shoes!” (Well done, Nike.)

FACEBOOK! She said, “Internet!”


Last but not least… KANYE WEST!

This time she asked, “What’s that?”