Although to the untrained eye, I might appear to be on holiday most of the time, I am always working. For example, while waiting to board my flight to Dubai at Gatwick airport recently. I had 45 minutes to kill so I bought a cup of coffee and spent the 45 minutes on the phone to a mortgage lender, usefully arranging a new buy-to-let mortgage on the flat I’m buying in Hove.
The phone interview and credit check took about 30 minutes, and just as we were about to pull away from the departure gate, I got a call back saying that the mortgage had been agreed, subject to the survey. I honestly never expected it to be that easy, especially in these new, financially foggy climes. Arranging the mortgage with such efficiency took my mind off the fact that, although I had accommodation in Dubai, I had still not managed to book a hotel in the Maldives, my onward destination.
It was not for the want of trying, but every time I attempted to book a certain hotel, as recommended by The Lonely Planet, they started asking for scanned copies of my passport and credit card, which made me deeply suspicious. So complex were the scanned items they required, that I almost expected them to add that they were ‘struggling to pay the hospital fees for their sick grandmother and were wondering if I could help out?’
When I finally arrived in the Maldives (slightly the worse for wear having been upgraded to business where I ransacked the free bar), I went straight to the hotel I’d been trying to book. They had no record of my reservation, which was a bit of a godsend as it was absolutely horrible and would have probably been even worse in the absence of my beer-goggles.
“They resonated diesel engine noises at the decibel level of at least 30 tractors”
I checked into the hotel next door, which was also fairly horrible, but at least $90 per night horrible, in a country where the average nightly room rate is about $500. It had a mini-gym and a postage stamp sized pool on the roof. It even had a sauna, which never seemed to be switched on, which was just as well, as merely being in the room – which I’m sure was positioned directly on the equator – was hotter than a sauna anyway. I had previously been worried about getting to and from Airport Island from Male, but need not have been concerned as ferries, or ‘dhonis’ as they’re known locally, left Male with unremitting frequency. In fact, they left round the clock approximately every three minutes, resonating diesel engine noises at the decibel level of at least 30 tractors. This meant that my lack of sleep was due to the fact that there was too much transport to the airport, rather than too little. One should always be careful what one wishes for.