Next stop is the Maldives on this adventure. If you’re wondering where these islands are that Mark picked for his birthday celebration, find India, go all the way south, and look to the west. You’ll find this tiny country of about 550,000 people made up of about 1000 islands.
We flew Turkish Air from Munich with a 5 hour stopover in Istanbul followed by an 8 hour flight leaving at 00:40 – as in 40 minutes after midnight – and arriving about 10:30 AM in Male, capital city. Flight went well after we survived the totally unGerman-chaos of checking in and boarding. Turkish Air had flights leaving at 1:30 and 2:30 with 3 hour in advance check-in. Lines were everywhere with no one and no signs to direct traffic. It took us about an hour to get checked in but the security line was short although inconsistent. Mark had to take off his Nikes but Susan didn’t.
Then there was boarding lack of organization, mainly caused by being in the old terminal 1 which has some issues with space to wait and line up. Again, some people giving directions would have helped.
Arriving in the Maldives was WAY easier than we expected after reading the country’s tourist website. Every tourist has to have a paid reservation at a hotel, enough money to pay for accommodations and food while we are here, proof of onward passage, and a Travel Declaration “card” (electronically done either 72 hours or 96 hours ahead of time, depending on which website you read). We had proof of all this printed out and on our phones but would we have cell reception? Since Susan never trusts phone reception, she had the paper forms.
Were we asked for any of this??? Just in Munich did we have to show the Travel Declaration and hotel confirmation before we got our boarding passes In Male, the immigration guy just wanted to see a passport and we were good to go.
Our luggage showed up – yeah! – since the trackers in the suitcases showed the bags still in Istanbul and Munich, causing a momentary panic! When we exited customs into the open air terminal, hotel and resort greeters were lined up holding boards with the names of the tourists they were meeting. If your hotel was not there, you get to go to a large greeting area (open air) full of hotel and resort stalls and search for your hotel greeter there. It’s all very organized. We found our Hard Rock Hotel stall with a little help from a nice Maldivian.
We’re staying the first week at the Hard Rock Hotel which is just a 15 minute boat ride across the lagoon from Male. We waited about 45 minutes for some other arriving passengers before we boarded the boat and whisked our way to the Hard Rock Island.
BTW … my hair is growing back after I “shed” some during chemo and it’s coming in a bit curly. The humidity here makes it even more curly or fuzzy.