Woke up, showered, dressed and packed the last few bits into our backpacks before getting into the lovely air conditioned car for the final leg of our journey. Headed to the nearby supermarket to pick up something for breakfast. (Un)fortunately, they only had Milo and chocolate Swiss roll as a suitable food item for breakfast… What can you do?!? Headed along the road looking for the signs to direct us to the Southern Expressway. Got about 5km away from our guesthouse when we realised that the expressway is only advertised in the opposite direction!! A speedy u-turn and we were now headed in the right direction. Had been driving up the expressway for about 20 minutes when the front left tyre burst. Having never happened to either of us before, we were both surprisingly calm as Jayne put on the hazard lights and steered the car to the hard shoulder. We got out the spare tyre and started to loosen nuts when we realised that Europcar hadn’t supplied us with a jack… Tried to ask some locals in a house nearby who had obviously heard the wheel pop and came to investigate but they didn’t have one either. Managed, after several failed attempts, to flag down a car that was driving down the expressway (filled with Canadian tourists). Their Sri Lankan driver lent us his jack and gave us a hand to change the wheel over so we could keep going to the airport. He very kindly stayed behind us for about 20km to make sure we were okay as we drove cautiously slowly up the expressway, knowing full well that we didn’t have time for another emergency! Fortunately, the rest of the drive was without incident, although the getting between the outer circular expressway and the airport expressway made us realise how glad we were that the car was going back. Arrived at Europcar to deliver the car and proceeded to have a small heated discussion about the lack of car jack… A quick rummage by one of the mechanics found the jack under the passenger seat (apparently, it is a sensible place to keep it – although I still would go for storing it with the spare wheel and other tools!). As the tyre was not a puncture, we had to pay £20 to replace it but we took Europcar complaint email address as neither of us feel we should have to pay for everyday wear and tear damage… Watch this space! Got to the airport with two hours until our flight was due to take off and felt a bit rushed going through the excessive amounts of security checks just to enter the check in desk area, only to find out our flight was delayed by 1.5hours! Headed through to the departure lounge to find everything priced in dollars and about 3 times the price of anything we have paid in Sri Lanka. Despite this, I felt that Jayne could use a special treat based on today’s stressful drive so we had a sneaky Burger King before heading to our gate. A fairly painless flight with Mihin Lanka and we were in the Maldives. Slightly giddy walking through the airport with our hotel rep to the ferry jetty – we were the only tourists on board and clearly the only ones excited by the mode of transport we were using!! A short walk to the hotel to drop off our bags before heading back out to grab something small to eat and to check out the ferry jetty we need to get for tomorrow to Dhiffushi.
Tuesday 23rd February 2016