Last year about this time two friends and I had decided we wanted to spend our Eid al Adha vacation in the Maldives. We waited until school was in full swing before heading to the Etihad Air office to schedule and discovered to our dismay that it was booked solid. So was our second choice, Cyprus. We ended up booking to Kuala Lumpur (and I further postponed the vacation to Christmas due to illness.) Kuala Lumpur was fabulous, but I really had my heart set on getting to the Maldives before it sank. Okay, it’s not really sinking. The land is staying at the same level. The water is rising. I want that passport stamp before this little paradise vanishes.
So this year we hustled our buns into the Etihad office to see Mohammed before school started to schedule before all the rooms were booked. My friend was set on a room over the water. I didn’t care. From the pictures, you’re never more than 15 steps from water anyway. We set to fly out on October 25th and return October 27th. Short, but enough for Eid.
As I was cleaning up my office for the start of the school year, I discovered the school calendar. We were scheduled to be off on the 24th also. Glory be! One more day in paradise. So we hustled back into the office to change the date. Yes, it was going to entail a small fee, but vanishing paradise beckoned! We talked to a different Mohammed who nearly had heart failure trying to sort out the change. He wanted us to pay then and there before the reservation was confirmed, but I had a bad feeling about it, mostly due to this Mohammed’s nervousness, so we promised to come back the next day.
The next day the school system issued a new official calendar changing the dates of our Eid break to October 26th-28th. During the giant annual rally where this information was given out, the second Mohammed called to say that our confirmation had come through and we could come in and pay. Yeah. Timing is everything.
We decided to take a stab at convincing our principal to give us the time. There is a precedent and we’ve never asked for anything before. Plus, it was only two of us, as our other friend is saving for a cruise next summer. Our principal said to try to change it, but if we couldn’t it would be okay with her.
Off to the mall again. This time a different Mohammed was there. (There are 4 Mohammeds in this office alone with only 6 people working there.) This Mohammed we’ve talked to before and he wasn’t so nervous. He still had to spend about an hour digging around in the computer and making phone calls. Finally he managed to get us both a room and a flight leaving the 25th and returning the 28th. He was flabbergasted that we would be expected to work on the 25th at all because this particular Eid is always a 4-day holiday. Since the room wasn’t officially confirmed he didn’t want to charge our credit cards and could we come back tomorrow?
Our principal was actually pleased that we would only be taking one day and seemed also quite sure that the district would announce a few days before the 25th that we indeed did not have school. I won’t be either. This happens at least once a year. Planning is sort of a mysterious art here.
So, for the fourth day out of six, we headed to the mall again. This time the two of us who were going bought lunch for our other friend who is saving for the cruise because we’d made her go to the mall so much. We paid and lo and behold the price was cheaper than had been quoted before. WooHoo! I used the extra money to buy a pair of shoes.
So watch this space because very soon, there will be pictures of the Maldives.