Other than marine life and baking under the sun, the educational side of The Maldives is not adequately covered. In one day at JOALI BEING Girlahead learned how to survive in -87 degrees, how to listen to an orchestra of unusual sounds, how to create a bespoke natural perfume and how to understand the finesse of tea (above).
First, cryotherapy. Any heart attacks, pacemakers or the like, asked Miss Cape Town? No. Strip down? No, ubiquitous shocking pink miniskirt wanted to experience this. OK, don two pairs of thick socks, one pair of thick mittens, and a headband with inbuilt speakers. The glass door of a shower-sized cabinet is opened and breathing momentarily stops. IT’S MINUS 87 DEGREES.. the atmosphere and the mind clear, music encourages movement, tango or whatever. Breath comes out in big solid-looking white puffs. Watch a lighted vertical tube move up to the ceiling. Made it. Three minutes. Done. What’s next?
Lie on a bed surrounded by gongs, vertical xylophones and so on. It’s warm, under a blanket. A lavender mask covers the eyes. Listen to a carcophony of unrelated sounds, sink into sleep for an hour. It was certainly sounds, it is definitely therapy, or whatever.
Escorted along yet more pristine white sand paths flanked by four metre-tall vivid-green mangrove. In an oval taupe room, taupe aroma specialists hold court. Asma, a long-time pharmacist in her native algeria, ‘has’ Girlahead. Winetasting style, a light wood tray has scientific testtubes, a tasting/testing sheet and an off-white pen. Every aroma must be rated Hate, Dislike, Maybe, Like, Love. Start with three Top Notes, sweet orange peel from Italy, grapefruit from Mexico, petit grain from Provence. Next come Middle Notes, Croatian clary sage, Turkish geranium, Italian neroli. Finale is Base Notes, American tuber root, Indonesian patchouli (a known aphrodisiac), Haitian vetiver. Top marks went to grapefruit and petit grain, neroli and patchouli. Two drops of each go into a Liliputian glass tumbler. A rose base oil is poured up to the 9ml marker on a miniscule test tube, and blended in. The final touch is a drop of vitamin E. More blending, and the whole Original Perfume is poured into a wooden cased phial with a roller top. Oh what an experience, thanks Asma!
But there was one more educational, a tea-tasting from Master Tea Sommelier Polina, from the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad (above). She showed how white tea from Nepal, her favourite, should be brewed precisely for three minutes, and black tea from Georgia needs five minutes. She does not eat with white tea, but black tea goes with spicy and oily foods. For Japanese food she would choose green tea… Girlahead was by now completely overwhelmed and went to sample Danish sparkling tea. Yes really. In her gorgeous villa, of which more tomorrow.