Reveling in the desolate and breathtaking island of Maldives, the couple found themselves isolated in a 5-star hotel as they were barred from traveling home. Here's their story-
Stranded in the Pristine Islands Maldives, March 22: Olivia and Raul De Freitas arrived on their honeymoon from Johannesburg, South Africa with reassurance from their travel agents that no matter what, all citizens will be allowed to return home. Unaware of the circumstances, the two were rejoicing in the azure blue waters of the state and discovering their better halves.
Within 3 days of their romantic exodus, an unheralded lockdown was announced by their country, starting 26th March. The sudden announcement didn't pull down the spirits of the two.
An Attempt to Retrace StepsWhile they tried to head home, circumstances didn't permit them to hark back. With a one-day buffer to return, it was impossible for them to cover a five-hour journey to Doha, Qatar, followed by a three-hour-layover and a nine-hour flight to Johannesburg.
In two minds, the couple decided to try their luck by heading to the airport but soon after, Maldives called for a lockdown that did not allow any foreign travellers into the borders. It meant that the newlyweds had no guarantee of staying back if they tried to leave.
Making one last attempt, Olivia and Raul De Freitas called the South African Consulate to tell them about their situation. On finding out that they were not the only ones stranded, but there were 40 others, the only option extended to them was taking a private jet home at their own expense which costs no less than a fortune. Even after days of discussion between the South African representatives and the Maldivian Foreign Ministry, no decision was sanctioned.
'Beached' in the Lurch Now that they are left with no option, the couple is beached in the lockdown in a 5-star hotel room. A tourism hotspot around this time of the year, Maldives is surprisingly empty. Due to the government's imposed rule where the staff was not to be dismissed until the last guest disperses during this quarantine, the hotel is running with full-staff.
The hotel has ensured that the couple remains comforted and feels extra special as they are living away from their homes. They have a number of staff members at their disposal, frequent room boys keeping a check on them and more. The hotel has gone over the top to host candlelit dinners for the newlyweds too. Boy! Maldives sure gives new meaning to hospitality even amidst this intensive period.
On how they are passing time, Ms De Freitas said “We’ve started playing a lot of table tennis and snooker,”
The Pocket PinchEven though the couple has been given a massive discount, the cost of living in a 5 star is taking a toll on their pocket. Naturally, the 6-day vacation has turned into an indefinite journey that is draining their savings for a house down-payment. Even though they are living a dream, they can't help but pay a price for it.
The couple was intimated to head to another resort on the 5th of April where all the South-Africans have been housed. However, the date to head home is still uncertain.
Do you think you could survive this extended vacation amidst the lockdown? Tell us in the comments below!