My sincerest and warmest (and I mean warm) greetings from 3deg of lattitude. Getting here was a hell of an adventure and now that I’m here I’m actually rather bored.
Where am I you might ask, specifically I’m on the island of Fulidhoo, the Maldives
So what was the trip here like. Its the familiar story to some of you. I get on the plane, no problem. I connect in Saudi Arabia for 8 hours, I think, no problem I’ll get a hotel for the evening. BIG problem, aparently you have to have a visa to get into Saudi Arabia.. hmm.. who knew.. I should have.
I guess its old school sleeping in the airport time for me. Luckily since I’m traveling with a Sky Team partner (think Delta partner) my status gets me into the travel lounge for free. I manage to find a small cubicle room with a small couch and I’m able to catch a handfull of hours of sleep. Why only a handful? Becuase every half hour or so another flight would leave and an announcement so loud that I could feel it in my belly, would come on and ramble for about two minutes telling me about it in Arabic.
Finally, flight time to the Maldives, I’m pretty excited at this point, no problems boarding. No problems with my seat. No problems with the flight.
Oh should I mention that the best meal Ive had in the past week came at the airport lounge.. not exactly a rousing endorsement of Egyptian cuisine.
Well, I get off the plane in Male, and the humidity is thick like a sauna.. the weather app says 86 feels like 104.. yup.. I start sweating immediately. But I sail right through customs and immigration and I’m thinking things are cool.
Nope, first problem, I try to get money from the ATM. Put in the card, type my PIN, sorry charlie. Try the machine next to it. Wont even accept my card. Wander the airport and find another ATM, nope rejects me off hand without even letting me put in my PIN.
Well shit! I have about $40 in Egyptian money left lets try and change that.. Nope, we don’t take that currency.
So I’m down to credit cards and $80 in US cash, my emergency stash. Well this is getting close to emergency time.
But first lets get a SIM card for my phone becuase of course Verizon’s international plan doesn’t work here!! I am able to charge the SIM, get something like 20GB of data for 7 days.
Then I figure lets start a chat with the ETRADE folks to solve my ATM problem. They get on the chat (from my phone) and eventurally tell me that I have to call into the number and talk to someone. OK fine…
NOT FINE! I cannot call outbound. They can’t seem to call inbound. I try to have them call the information desk number but no dice there either.
At this point I’m just pissed off. Two and a half weeks of traveling and ETRADE cuts me off in the most inconveinient spot again (remember Madagascar).
Then my speedboat driver shows up and tells me its time to go and he cannot spare any time. Well its stay in the airport for another night or head with him and hope it works out.
So far I’ve made it to the island and had my first nights dinner and snacks for $12 and I could have gone cheaper. So lets see how I hold out.
I suppose needless to say I’m tired, upset, and a little concerned about cash (my least favorite thing ever).
The next morning I wake up after a nice long sleep, get a PBJ on toast for breakfast and wunderbar life is good again. I head out for my first two dives, pull away from the dock and find I left the mounding bolts for my new strobe lights in my room.
The boat kindly pulls back in, I dash up to my room and I cannot get the lock unlocked. Neither can the front desk guy. So I just leave without my strobes,… not a good start.
First dive, poor visibility and not a lot to see other than a clownfish. Second dive was great, lots of sharks and eagle rays right off the bat and they kept coming the whole dive.
So I am back at the hotel by noon and I’m exhausted so I take a couple hour nap. Well there is not much at all to do on this island and I am the ONLY tourist on the island. Anime the Maldivians are very friendly, I find it hard to strike up a conversation with them. But for the most part I’m just a bit bored and lonely. With three more days I’m not sure what I’m going to do.
I’ll keep y’all posted, I’m going to try and watch a movie now.
Oh.. but before I got I forgot to mention that I discovered this morning that I left my tablet on the plane in my seat… so all my raw photos from the first half of my trip.. gone.. I still have the JPG but the RAW files were much better quality.
So for those of you keeping a tally, I hadn’t until today. I’ve lost, a souviner bedouin scarff somewhere between Morocco and Egypt, a bathing suit in Tel Aviv and now a tablet in Male. At this rate I will come home with nothing.