Maldives Diary Pt. IV: Return journey from hell
Updated: Jan 13, 2022
So let me begin by saying that this was the return journey from hell. A day before we were supposed to leave Huvafen Fushi, we were told that our original flight through Doha via Qatar Airways got cancelled by HK. We then found a flight through Colombo to Hong Kong via Sri Lankan Airways, and booked it. It was cancelled within hours.
Now, in a bit of a panic, we were told the only options left were an Emirates flight that went from Male - Dubai - Bangkok - Hong Kong, and another flight via Sri Lankan Airways that went from Male - Colombo - Dhaka - Hong Kong. We picked the latter via Dhaka, just because we had a feeling the Emirates flight would get cancelled (fast forward 24 hours - we were right). Another reason to stress was because our Hong Kong quarantine hotel stay just wasn't extendable - and to get a decent room above a certain square footage for 2 (or a room at all tbh) is especially hard during the holiday season. If it were more flexible, we would have just hopped off at Colombo and enjoyed the local food, sights, and reefs for a bit - but no, HK's draconian travel restrictions shall not allow such fun!
Not only were we leaving a place that was the actual definition of paradise, we were about to embark upon a sleepless, 30 hours+ travel journey through two different countries (with worryingly low public observance to mask laws), in addition to being unexpectedly slapped with an "80% guarantee" of being able to board the final flight to HKG from Dhaka. Sri Lankan Airways even made us sign a form saying we wouldn't sue the airline if we were rejected for boarding. Thankfully, we were able to board in the end, but the worrying part was fun.
7 horrendous overnight hours in Colombo airport done. Another 11 hours in Dhaka airport done. Successfully boarded flights with the utmost hygienic care and caution so as not to contract COVID. We were utterly exhausted at this point.
DHAKA-HKG: The final leg!
After celebrating the fact that we weren't about to be unceremoniously flown back to Colombo, and juust as we were settling back into comfortingly familiar Cathay seats on our final leg to HKG, we were... attacked by swarms upon swarms of mosquitos that came into the cabin from Dhaka. I'm talking hundreds of mosquitos. On my better, well-rested days, I can't even handle one. Jon and I were somehow the only two sitting business that day, so we were the only flesh and meat for the mozzies to come sucking on. Seeing as the crew were completely unprepared for the mosquito invasion and couldn't kill them/get them out, sitting through that flight took on a whole new unprecedented level of stress that I could hardly spare a thought on COVID above the new and more immediate concern of catching DENGUE.
All of this before arriving to the airport a little past midnight to begin the gruelling 4.5-hour process to get to our 21-day confinement in a hotel. It felt like all the youth and vitality Maldives injected in me over 2 weeks got sucked away by this single experience.
Thank you, HK gov, for making this the most excruciating travel journey that I have ever experienced. Despite this, my final verdict on travel is: do it. Make the trip worth the pain of flying back.
Next up - the final part of the travel diaries: Review of 21 days quarantine at Dorsett Wan Chai :)