Olivia and Raul De Freitas left for the Maldives on March 22nd for a six day honeymoon at the Cinnamon Velifushi Maldives,. At the time, they were assured by their travel agent that they would have safe passage back home despite the turmoil happening around the world.
Unfortunately during their trip, the received word that South Africa would be closing their airports within 24 hours and the couple was unsure of their ability to get back to South Africa on such short notice.
They decided to stay at the resort as they were unsure if once they left if they would be able to come back. They were given an option by the South African Embassy in Sri Lanka to charter a jet with the other South Africas also in the Maldives to travel home at a cost of more than $100,000.
The Embassy was unable to reach all of the 40+ South Africans and therefore the De Freitas couple decided to continue to stay at the resort.
All of the other couples had cleared out and therefore this meant they had the resort all to themselves.
They spent a lot of time sleeping, going to the pool, and chilling overall. They get quite a bit of attention from the staff due to the lack of other guests: special candlelit dinners on the beach, an entire performance of a show just for them, nine waiters waiting at their table. Even the diving instructor walks by to plead with them to come on a diving trip.
There’s something forlorn, unsettling even, about wandering an empty space that’s supposed to be full. Reclining alone, amid the silent, abandoned bank of beach chairs, the equatorial sun shimmers off the sea to the horizon, browning skin and bleaching driftwood. “We’ve started playing a lot of table tennis and snooker,” Ms. De Freitas said. Mr. De Freitas has also taken to joining staff soccer games in the afternoons.
With all the messiness of a return flight and quarantine, the couple are just taking the time to relax and enjoy the honeymoon even as the honeymoon debt continues to accumulate with each passing day.
Today they were contacted by the South African embassy and given an hour’s notice to pack their things and were transported to a different five-star resort where the rest of the South Africans stuck in the Maldives have gathered. This will surely be easier for the embassy to help arrange an eventual escape.
Until then, the honeymoon will continue in what is sure to be a memorable trip.
Hat tip to The New York Times
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