A long day. It was raining as we went to breakfast. We debated over breakfast how much and in what form any tip should be given to the staff at Giravaru. We had had a very comfortable stay and it was a far cry from Embudhu Village in terms of the standard of service we had received. We decided to tip collectively as our very attentive waiter was not present. In my new role as tipgirl I was handed MRF 300 and sent on my way. I approached who we believed to be the manager, based on little more than that he wore a tie, greeted customers at random and did little else, and offered him the three notes asking that he distributed it between his staff for the excellent service we had received. He looked dumbfounded and disappointed that I handed over Maldivian Rufiyas and not American Dollars... I walked away unsure of what to do because the gift hadn't quite gone as I expected it to.
Tipping the cleaner was far easier. We left some money in the room with a note saying 'for the cleaner, with thanks'. Nice one Ian.
On reflection we spent the day mostly in our room, bored as it continued to rain.
As the sun set it was time to leave Giravaru. The dhoni came to transfer us to Hulhule. Luckily this journey was incredibly more comfortable than any of the speedboat rides which were positively awful and left me thankful to be alive at the journeys end! The dhoni transfer took 40 minutes in the dark which gave us a bit more time to get bored.
At Hulhule I was assisted off of the boat by our skipper and I gratefully offered him USD 2 for his pleasant crossing. Ian had handed the money to tipgirl moments before. This chap gave me the response I was looking for. A big thanks and a bigger smile! The Maldivians really do have incredible smiles!
Having checked in our luggage and ensured that it would join us in our final destination Auckland and not be dumped in Singapore as the guy first thought, we went to the departure lounge to watch a live football match between West Ham and Manchester United. I was sent off with USD 3 in search of chocolate which would act as our dinner, hence the basis on which we could take our anti-malarial pills...
In to the confectionary shop I went. It was heaving with Asian people. As I struggled in to the shop I was greeted by staff, as I obviously stood out, who asked me if I was looking for anything. My African days came to good use. Yes, I said, what can I get for USD 1? USD 1? they asked. Yes, I replied. I was shown to the small selection of bars of chocolate and selected a bar of dairy milk. I made my way to the cash register. The two customers ahead of me in the queue had armfuls of confectionary and spent USD 54 and USD 30 respectively! I placed my single bar of chocolate on the desk and offered the assistant my USD 1. He smiled at me and I smiled back. As I made my exit the original assistant wished me goodbye and a nice flight. I wandered back to Ian, who was watching the football, to present him with my successful purchase. We shared the six pieces of chocolate representing starter, main course and dessert and then dutifully swallowed our anti-malarial pills. The football continued, as did the rain.
Our flight departed 6 minutes ahead of schedule and arrived in Singapore at 06:23 local time, 22:23 GMT, making the flight time 4 hours 24 minutes. It wasn't a particularly comfortable flight although I thankfully didn't have any awkward passengers seated behind me this time. Singapore Airlines don't offer anything close to the luxury that we enjoyed when we flew with Emirates. There are no personal screens for you to choose the movie or on which you can play games. There was also quite a bit of turbulence throughout the flight with some flashes of lightening too. I couldn't sleep a wink but the rest of the passengers didn't seem to have any problems. As I write this journal I am knackered and now we only have fourteen hours to wait until our connecting flight to Auckland departs...
Copyright 2002 Helen Fuller. All rights reserved.