These are the times that try mens’ souls. Women’s souls. Shoe soles (walking from place to place in the airport trying to sort things out).
After two just fabulous weeks on the resort island of Filitheyo, we were contented and ready to continue our adventures in Singapore and Thailand, before returning to the US at the end of March (it’s March 19th, 2005 today). For timing reasons and as an excuse to visit the capital city (in fact, the only city) in the Maldives, we decided to overnight in Male’. Have a look around. Relax.
[image: MaleMosque.jpg] Instead, our transfer back from the resort put us in Male’ around dusk — the time of the evening prayer. New town, its dark, we don’t know our way around — and of course the shops are closed! We wander a bit but aside from getting dragged into too many souvenir shops, we don’t see much interesting. Maybe morning will be better.
We arose early — local construction work began at 7:00am. Take a walk around the the city. It’s [image: MaleWaterfront.jpg] small — you can go from the hotel (“Central Hotel”, located smack in the middle of the city) to the waterfront, in about 10 minutes. So we did; everything was of course closed but the waterfront was waking up, with the morning catch arriving along with deliveries of fruit and produce. Very little aside from coconuts and some other tropical fruits are grown in the Maldives: they export fish and coconut-products, and import tourists.
We’re supposed to meet our travel agent representative at 10;30am so we can get to the flght to Colombo (scheduled time, 1:30pm) in plenty of time. We wonder why we’re leaving quite this early; it’s only 15 minutes to the airport and we don’t need to be there for an hour. “Whatever” we think. Maybe the guide had other things he wanted to do and this was a convenient time for him. Maybe math wasn’t his speciality.
In any case, we’re to the terminal by 11:15 and are pleased to see smiling Sri Lankan Airways check-in agents at their stations (usually you can only check in 2 hours before). Less pleasing, however, is that the sign now says 17:30 (5:30pm) — already a four hour delay, plus the two and a half hours advanced check-in time, means we’ll be spending at least 6 1/2 hours at Male airport. Male airport is not exciting.
They won’t check us in ‘cuz its now 6+ hours before the flight. “When can we check in, then?” we ask, reasonably. “We don’t know. Please have a seat”. Uh oh.
The story continues [SQ.html. It’s a nightmare, but with a practically-fairytale ending.
[Next: SQ to the Rescue]