We awoke unsure of our transfer time which was to be confirmed this morning (Maldivian arrangements ) but we had left ourselves plenty of time only needing to get to Colombo tomorrow so we weren’t stressing all that much.
We decide to open some of our presents now and keep one or two for this afternoon when we arrived at Male. Everyone faired very well with Claire getting all items on Santa’s list including a few surprises such as some additional T-Shirts which were a hit. An Apple Watch came my way which was perfect timing given that the Fit Bit was starting to ‘die’ and Philip finished off his Christmas present list with a polo and pair of shorts (on top of the lenses, rashie and shorts he received earlier).
Now before we leave the Maldives island, Claire wants us to mention the crabs. Yep big ticket items in the Maldives. There are crabs everywhere ranging from hermits that bob up and then hide as you get close, tiny little ones that skimmer along the ground and then the granddaddy ones that leave holes in the ground and then just as you are about the walk past them nonchalantly they spring out of their hole scaring the beejibbies out of people like Claire who gets caught out every time. Yes, sometimes it’s the little things that create unexpected life memories.
We returned to Maamagili where the airport terminal is located by our ‘usual’ private speedboat transfer (sounds exotic but really just a fast little boat!) and then boarded the FlyMe plane back to Male. Another Maldives exclusive is that planes here leave when they want to even if it is twenty minutes ahead of schedule – no wonder the plane was only half full!
Upon arriving at Male there was no transfer pick up in sight. The lovely lady at the Information Desk tried three times to ring the hotel but each time said that the line was engaged. Now it wouldn’t generally be a problem as we’d jump in a taxi and make our own way there, however in a Male there are no airport taxis; in fact road transport is not able to park at the airport making for an interesting dilemma. Do we organise our own transport which needed to be a bus to Male and then a taxi to wherever the hotel was or wait and see what happens?
In the end we decided to wait a little longer whilst scouring the documentation to find an alternative number to call. We also checked out the international part of the airport in case someone was waiting there. Finally after about thirty minutes, a person came towards us showing the hotel name on his board – yep relief!
We had booked the penthouse suite as a Christmas treat and arrived to find that they were doing work on the deck surrounding our room. Therefore we went out for a bit of a look around and returned only to find the work continuing. Now this was extremely frustrating given what we’d paid and what we had hoped our room would be but hey it’s Christmas and we’re in the Maldives so one can suck it up a little.
To describe this place would be interesting. The beach is once again beautiful – a long strip like a St. Kilda type style but without boat harbours or piers. There is a small reef spanning the strip and then about 100 metres out from the shore, rocks that create the buffer between the reef and the ocean. The sand is yellow and soft, what you’d expect of a place like this. The town itself however looks like it’s struggling to catch up with the fact that the tourists are here. There is construction going on in abundance and building materials and debris everywhere you look. OHS hmm now that’s something not really enforced. Rubbish is a huge factor and seems to be an accepted part of living in the Maldives. The airport is small (but being upgraded by the Chinese) and public transportation limited. The footpaths are non existent or made up of large tiles some with holes in them and not always of an even level. Even when sitting down at a beach side cafe to have something to eat we had to wait an hour and twenty minutes for food (hey there are worse places in the world to wait). Let’s just say that if we had come here first we would have found it incredible. Coming here second, direct from the island we were glad that we didn’t leave thinking that Male was the Maldives!
Despite that the food was good and there were many worse places in the world for Claire to have a five km run and myself a four km walk (yep committed we are – well Claire was more the instigator of this one and I was the bodyguard – blonde woman in running shorts running isn’t really very common here!)
With construction still occurring after 6pm, the project manager of the site apologised for the continued work and offered us a free meal at the sister hotel. We took up this offer thinking why not given that it was an inconvenience. We were driven there to find that we had another beachside location private dinner. Of yes Elliot tours you are good!
We finished our free dinner on the sand, whilst hearing the waves only 20 metres away and headed back to the hotel – workmen finished. Tomorrow we leave the Maldives which will be hard. An incredible place to visit.
Off to Sri Lanka – let’s see what this country brings. Hard act to follow!