Jun 032012

I had looked online earlier in the day, and had seen the 15:35 flight was seriously delayed, and since I had to be out of my hotel room by 4pm anyways decided to go to the airport a bit early and see about getting on it. The check-in agent wasn’t too sure how to do it, and had to wait “for a supervisor” which took nearly 45 minutes…and 15 minutes before the door was set to close. Eventually, I got personally escorted through immigration and security by this supervisor, and ended up being one of only two people in business class on the flight! Of course, there was still plenty of time for the obligatory champers before departure:

…and a quick look at the menu.

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Jun 022012

This is going to be mainly a picture post, with a few thoughts thrown in. My decision to come to Maldives was basically based on two things: 1) I had to get to Colombo anyways to catch my onward ticket, and 2) I’ve spent 20+ days in Sri Lanka already, so a short detour (even though it was only 24 hours) to Maldives to count another country seemed well worth it to me. Add in the fact the Sheraton was a mere 20 minute boat ride from the airport…and I was sold. Despite the cost.

Cost? Oh yeah…the Sheraton requires a boat transfer from the airport to the island the Sheraton is on at the cost of $100 per person roundtrip. I figure in many cities I pay $30 each way for a taxi, so this wasn’t THAT awful, and I’d likely have my own boat…which I did in one direction. It wasn’t so bad. Except for the fact that when I landed, the Sheraton rep was nowhere to be found. It took me nearly 30 minutes to locate him, in shabby shorts and a stained t-shirt, no sign, he simply noticed me wandering around looking lost and came up to me. Major service fail.

That said, a picture from the airport boat jetty as we departed:

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Jun 012012

This post is just plain full of travel and plane geekery – feel free to skip if you don’t want to see what to expect on some slightly less common airlines. Paro to Male is only 3,070 kilometers as the crow flies (about 1,910 miles) but that would be too easy…and expecting two relatively out of the way places to be connected by such a straight line would be way too much to ask for…so, roundabout routing it was, involving no less than three tickets and four flights. I wasn’t really thinking ahead that in this part of the world, there’s no such thing as an easy transit, and almost got myself in trouble.

Despite my early flight, the hotel insisted that breakfast would be served. Breakfast is included, and they were going to make sure I had it. They suggested 5am, and when I went to the restaurant the overnight front desk guy was working, and happy to make me anything I wanted. He wouldn’t take no for an answer, so boiled eggs, coffee, toast, and a bit of fruit it was! Then off for the short ride to the airport where I arrived just before 6am…way too early for a 7am flight out of this tiny airport! After killing time waiting (check-in, immigration, and security took maybe 10 minutes total) we were waiting…and then I realised why I wasn’t able to book business class on this segment: it was operated by an ATR! I’d read so much about Druk Air carefully selecting A319s because they were about the only plane that could navigate the tricky mountain approach into Bhutan…and now I was going to try and fly out on a prop plane? Time to start hoping that karma I earned paid off!

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