Maldives 20050115

Arrived at our first honeymoon resort. Absolute paradise. Hard to describe how beautiful it is.

It is a long trip to get to the Maldives. The roughest part was the Dubai-Male flight, which included at least a dozen of ill coughing Maldivians. Hard to get any sleep on the overnight flight. I just about managed.

We got through customs without having to open our cases, which was a blessing because they included a full case of relief items for the tsunami victims. I was worried that I would have to pay some import duty and/or have to hand them over to the official tsunami relief collection point (which I didn’t trust). However, I was later charged $18 excess luggage for the sea plane transfer flight (we were 20 pounds over the maximum 50 pounds per person). We paid instead of trying to explain why we were over the limit. Consider it our monetary contribution to the tsunami relief. At least we didn’t have to pay for any excess weight for the Belfast-London Gatwick flight (10 kilos over), or the London-Dubai flight (my backpack was well over the 7 kilos limit). At least we will be travelling much lighter on our return, as the items in our relief case easily weight 15 kilos.

During the sea plane transfers, I had my Xacti camcorder at hand, and captured some great video clips flying over other atolls. Fantastic. This is when we realised we had finally arrived in the Maldives. Definitely recommend taking a sea plane transfer, rather than a long boat journey. Great views and saves so much time and hassle.

The reception at Filitheyo was very warm and friendly. They served us coconut juice in cut coconuts. Explained how the resort works. We like their relaxed but very kind and attentive service.

I unpacked the cases while Madame Oui quickly went for a kip. At Filitheyo, the electric sockets are all 3-prong, so no need for 2-prong adapters. Yet it would be worth brining a 2-prong to 3-prong (UK) adapter for any such appliances, as the provided adapters have a very loose connection. The room stereo does not have input ports for external devices (i.e. left/right stereo input jacks), which disappointingly meant that we couldn’t connect our mp3 player into it. Also, while the room television has a video and audio (mono) input jack, I couldn’t get my camcorder cables to work with it. These were the only shortcomings in our detached villa that is so wonderfully designed with modern materials and much consideration.

They had a fruit basket and bottle of (Italian white) wine on a table in our room, as we are honeymoon guests. The fruit was much appreciated as a late lunch snack after both of us slept off our jet lag. The wine just about fit into the refrigerator, along with the bottled water we brought. It costs less to bring some of your own, but remember that H2O is a heavy compound. They tell you not to drink the desalinated water from the tap, but at Filitheyo it is as good as distilled water, and it didn’t make me ill.

We got up and out at sunset, which was absolutely gorgeous. I managed to take a 360 degree video from our beach front (20 feet in front of the house). We soaked up the sunset atmosphere, being thankful that we were actually here.

Went to dinner, where we met our waiter for the week, Rashid. As we paid for half board, breakfast and dinner are included. Meals are buffet-style all-you-can-eat, but that doesn’t do justice to the high quality of food provided. It is top hotel quality, with a wide selection. There are individual chefs, ready to make a fresh omelette or carve turkey for you.

Thankfully, at Filitheyo they let you eat amongst yourself, and do not seat you with others guests, as they do at some Maldivian resorts. This makes sense, as the bar is a more natural place to meet and converse with others.

We got to chatting with Rashid, in between courses. Madame Oui asked him when would be the busiest time of the year. “Now, but the tsunami has caused people to stay away.” Looking around, there were only about 30 of us in a restaurant capable of holding five times that. I asked him how the tsunami affected Filitheyo. “Hardly

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