Sunday July 3 – Alarm set for 5:30 but up at 5am. Made sure all was packed, did some internetting, took a tablet for sea-sickness (well, to prevent it) and at 6:15 I headed down to reception. When I left my room there was a guy from the hotel just there. I think he was checking to see if I owed anything from the minibar. (I didn’t). They gave me a little breakfast sandwich for the journey (this is like one-eighth of what I normally ate for breakfast there, but probably a normal human portion size).
The weather looked good online (cloudy but not raining) and it looked that way heading to the boat as well. I got a good seat and watched person after person step on after me. I don’t know where they went, but it felt like a clown car. I read a book for almost the whole two hours. It was a good journey.
I arrived at the airport a little before 9am where I would catch my next boat. (What a weird thing to say). I went to the F3 meeting counter to let them know I was there and the guy showed up
about 10 minutes later. He told me to come back at 10:20 for the 10:30 boat. Despite internet info to the contrary, I found that the Male airport does have free wifi, so I was able to occupy myself until it was time to meet again. I also ate my little sandwich.
At 10:20, there were several people standing and they slowly started to get antsy as it got closer to 10:30. Since this was not my first rodeo, I knew it would be fine, but most of these people had just gotten off the plane and were likely sleep-deprived. One woman ran off towards the boats with her two kids (and then came back) and a guy was pointing out the time to the representative. The boat was just a little late. Normal. Island time.
Then it was time to make our move and everyone was rushing to get on the boat. Everyone was getting on but the rep was only letting people go in turns. No stress. But then the boat was getting full and it should have been my turn and he said he’d call the hotel to check. To check what? His coworker had
already shown me my own name on his phone to confirm more than an hour earlier. I saw there was a second boat and he confirmed this too was going to Ukulhas. And there was a third boat. But they were still not letting me board. But they also weren’t telling me anything. I don’t know if this poor communication is the normal process or a woman thing, but I started to get frustrated. Finally the rep told me to get on this boat and the captain said it would be $50. I told him the hotel said it would be $40. He said he would check (!!!) but then they confirmed my hotel name again and it was different than they’d thought. So then they told me to get on the other boat. It ended up fine and there was a seat for me and no seats on this boat faced backward, which was a relief. I really didn’t think I wanted to sail that way.
We got underway and right away it felt choppier than the last boat. It slowly got worse. I did not read for long and just hoped that my anti- seasickness pill held
out. Then it was raining quite a lot, with ocean water sloshing around all sides of the boat. Up and down, I can still feel it hours later. The boat was closed off from the rain with plastic but water was still splashing into some seats. We kept slamming into the sea and rocking around a lot. The lady is front of me finally needed one of the many bags that hang within arm’s reach. I, fortunately, did not but it was a struggle. I put on a podcast and closed my eyes and tried to ignore it. I was actually falling asleep but the head jerking and boat slamming kept me awake.
We finally came to a stop in Rashdoo, and the next island, Ukulhas, was my destination. It took an age to get there, which might have been only 30 minutes. I got off the boat in the rain and was given an umbrella by the hotel rep and walked inside a building where I had a minute to put my rain cover on the big pack. Then we got into this little vehicle. I saw by the driver – barely enough room for 2 – and
another couple sat in the back with luggage under their umbrellas. I am staying at Paguro Villas and we stopped first at their main location to check in, get a welcome drink, be given some information, etc. I had chosen to include breakfast and dinner when I booked because the dinner seemed quite cheap. Now I know the dinners are just cheap, so it wasn’t really necessary, but it does make it easier. I was asked to choose my dinner at check-in which seemed a bit much, but it was better than the other option of coming back later in the rain. I let the guy choose my meal based on what he thought was good. Salad with tuna and grilled fish it would be.
Next we walked in the rain a street and a half down (no paved roads here either) to my room. The streets are currently about 50-90% puddles due to all the rain today. Not ideal, but what can you do? My room is smaller and not as nice as the last, though it is not bad. A bit old-fashioned, like maybe your grandparents would stay here. I just stayed inside while it continued to
rain, chatted with Jeroen, etc.
When the rain stopped, I went out for a walk. This island is much smaller than the last – 1 km by 300 m. So only 15 minutes to walk from end to end and the same width. But it is much more built up. I walked the perimeter and a couple of other streets. I did not get a clear sense of where people live but I did notice there are a lot of restaurants and guesthouses and there is not much vegetation at all, in comparison to Dhigurah. At least it feels that way. There are still plenty of trees but mostly just on the perimeter. But what they DO have is a much healthier number of flying foxes! I saw so many and finally saw them in the trees like I’m used to. It was early evening and many were flying around and then landing to eat some fruit. Dang they are cute.
Several tables were set for dinner when I got there, including another for just one, but it was clear I was the first. And unlike the last hotel, I was the only person there the whole time!
It was great. Just me and my book and some wordless tunes. The last hotel played power ballads during every dinner. I still can’t get Debbie Gibson out of my head. Nor could I read well while also singing all these songs from my youth. Dinner here is from 7-9:30pm, and I was there at 6:57. It’s so weird walking around in the dark at that time since Basel’s sunset is close to 9:30pm and it stays light for ages. I brought a headlamp for the walk, but it turns out there are plenty of streetlamps. Another unexpected. Dinner was quite tasty – a good choice.
After dinner brought a shower – better than the last place, water heats up much faster – and some half-assed “prep” for the Camino. Hoping for nicer weather tomorrow, but also a little sad at the realization that there are many more tourists on this island and it will be difficult to find a quiet place on the beach during the day.
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