Maldives: All over the world, the coronavirus has confined people to their homes or it has left them stranded in foreign countries. However, the NY Times reported that one couple’s honeymoon that commenced on March 22 has turned into a island movie.
Before South African couple Olivia and Raul De Freitas departed for their dream honeymoon in the coveted destination, they checked the with their travel agent whether it would be safe to travel in such conditions. The agent expressed little reservation by assuring them that all citizens would be allowed back into the country regardless of their country’s containment policy.
Little did they know that the coronavirus would hamper their returning home.
Unfortunately, by Wednesday they got word that all of South Africa’s airports would be closed by Thursday. Even via Doha, all routes would not get them back home on time, where two-week long quarantine would await them.
The De Freitas’s also mulled over taking an hour and a half speed boat ride to the island to try their luck at the main island airport. However, that too was tenuous at best. If that did not work out, they would not be allowed back onto the Velifushi Maldives resort.
With a bird in hand being better than two in the bush, the picturesque resort was the best option.
They reached out to the South African Embassy in Sri Lanka for help. A representative told them, via WhatsApp that 40 other South Africans were also in the same predicament as them. They were told that they could hire a chartered jet at their own expense for $104,00 and split the cost amongst themselves. Although not everyone was willing to foot that bill.
Plus, the Maldivian Foreign Ministry and South African authorities are still yet to approve the flight. Although the De Freitas’s were the only ones there as every other vacationer left for home.
Pre-pandemic, Olivia and Raul were paying $750 a night, they then paid a discounted rate as they were basically stranded at the resort. Although their prolonged tryst at paradise at a paltry rate did deplete their savings with they are planning to buy a home.
On Sunday though, the Embassy communicated to them via WhatsApp that they were being moved to another resort where their other countrymen/women were consolidated. The local government said it would subsidize a large part of their stay.
However, whether they get home anytime soon is anyone’s guess.