Woke up feeling slightly better after a good nights rest, despite turning the air conditioning on and off, as well as changing the temperature, so many times it might have been slightly confused!!! I was mid-shower when breakfast turned up so Jayne had to answer the door in her nightie to a slightly embarrassed Maldivian porter/waiter. Ate the ‘American’ breakfast (egg, sausage, jam and toast) before finishing getting ready and heading down to the ferry port to buy our tickets for later on today. Tried to find a quicker and more direct route from hotel to port as carrying our bags in the heat is a little bit more strenuous!! Found a quicker route (past the Maldivian Idol studios, no less) but most of it was in the direct sun so that wasn’t going to work either… Got our tickets for the 15.00 ferry and got chatting to a French couple who had just come back from Guraidhoo – and hated it! As we chatted more to them, it became clear that they were one of those couples who would hate winning the lottery and getting world peace. Think they (she, especially) wanted a 6* resort holiday on a perfect private island for guesthouse prices. Headed back to the hotel, another route, via a supermarket to pick up some essentials for the next few days (read essentials as chocolate spread and peanut butter!!). Clearly the supermarket didn’t want to scrimp on their choice of products and therefore reduced their aisle size down to single person width. So narrow in fact, that you couldn’t pass anyone in the aisle – you had to reverse out of it or force them to do the same to leave if you came across another person. Throw in the fact that the staff were also trying to restock shelves at the same time and I can safely say it was one of the most stressful supermarket visits I’ve ever had (and I’ve taken several autistic children to Tesco on a Saturday!!). Back at the hotel to use and abuse their wifi and air conditioning before the midday check out before heading back to the ferry port with our bags following a third different route. Sat in the ferry terminal waiting for our ferry (with actual Maldivian Idol playing on the tv at the terminal). A little girl asked me what my name was, told me she was 6 years old and then proceeded to have a whole conversation with me in almost perfect English. Really brought out the MFL teacher in me – learning a second language at such a young age is great. She wasn’t embarrassed or shy to speak English to me. Got on a much more crowded ferry heading to Guraidhoo, heading south of Male’. The ferry staff did a brilliant boxing ring show girl impression, holding up the names of each island as we approached.
We were the final stop again so were able to sit back and relax as other tourists struggled to get there bags off the boat at each stop. Sailed past a few more resorts which, again, we could barely afford to look at them, let alone stay there. Arrived at Guraidhoo and were met by our guesthouse owner who walked us to the guest house. Not as nice as Dhiffushi, but significantly cheaper, we had a welcome drink of (very sugary) lemon iced tea before being shown where we could swim in bikinis and where we needed to swim fully clothed and an explanation of the places to snorkel, swim, sunbathe etc. Went for a walk around the island – much bigger than Dhiffushi and with double the amount of inhabitants (at 1,800 people!), it actually feels more claustrophobic.
Managed to find the dive centre that is owned by our Male’ hotel owner so Jayne has booked in to do some diving with them tomorrow. Wandered down the ‘main’ street, stopping to pick up some water before having dinner back at the guest house. Huge portions of fish curry, chicken curry, vegetable rice and noodles which I was only able to eat just over half. Another sulphur smelling shower (the joys of desalinated water!!) before heading to bed.
Monday 29th February 2016