HULHUMALE, Maldives // I hate wasting time staying in a hotel room on a trip but this is exactly what we did. After finishing the 14 day trek through Annapurna we had a lot of errands to do online, hardly any clean clothes, we were exhausted from hiking, and just kind of felt like watching movies. Because we did all the hiking the past few days, we didn’t feel guilty laying in bed watching movies like: The Incredibles, Monsters Inc, Bruce Almighty, Rocky 4, Ace Ventura, and Terminator Genisys. Sometimes a rest day (or two) just feels amazing and is very fun, especially when we have stuff that we just did that took a lot of energy, and we have something to look forward to in the near future that will take a great deal of time. We stayed in the room and planned our final leg of the trip // Maldives > Dubai > Greece > ? > USA. This is the plan for now, and as we researched our options and logistics we ended up binge watching movie after movie which was very enjoyable.
Our next stop, The Maldives, is a pretty remote country being made up of over 1000 islands. There is not many flights into the capital of Male. It made sense for us to just wait an extra 3 days in Kathmandu and pay a third of the price to fly a few days later. We left Nepal on a 9pm flight and arrived in Kuala Lumpur with 14 hours to kill in the airport. I have never stayed in an airport hotel room but now was the chance, and it was actually really cool. All rooms are super tiny but very clean, with a nice bathroom and shower. You can pay by the hour with a minimum of 6, so we got a room from 6am to noon and just slept. There is something that really puts your mind at ease in a place like this because it eliminated all of the uncertainty of airports. We didn’t have to worry about getting a taxi to the airport, didn’t have to worry about checking our bags, and we were through security already. All we had to do was take 10 minutes to check out and walk through the terminal to the gate. This turned out to be a great choice, but at this moment I felt slightly off and my neck and throat seemed really sore.
My throat was hurting when we left Kathmandu, but when I woke up in the airport hotel of Kuala Lumpur it was difficult to even swallow. I shined a light in my mouth and my one tonsil was swollen like the size of a grape. As we arrived in the Maldives the pain just got worse and worse. When we got to our hotel in the Maldives I took Tylenol, passed out, and woke up in the morning in a fever with my throat now throbbing. We googled a bunch of my symptoms and are pretty sure it was strep throat or tonsillitis. The next 24 hours was probably the lowest point for me on the entire trip so far. We were so far from adequate medical care on this tropical island, and I had no certainty what sickness or disease I even had.
Before we left NYC we had a physical and told our doctor what our travel plans were. She gave us what is called an emergency “Z-pack” or antibiotics azithromycin. I took these at 6 am this morning and slept for the majority of the day. At 6 PM I was ok to move and swallow 3 mango smoothies for dinner. The next morning 24 hours after taking the Z-pack I actually felt a lot better. It was super sunny outside and it felt like I emerged like Dracula from the cave like hotel room I’ve been in, as I was so sensitive to the sun. I couldn’t believe how different this place was from Kathmandu. It was like a complete 180 going from rustic mountain town with a bunch of hippies and hikers to gorgeous beach resort town with honeymooners.
The following day I was back to about 90%, but it's amazing what thoughts go through your mind when you are feeling so ill and scared about your health, and especially when in a place that has questionable healthcare. I had thoughts about having to go home, cancelling our scuba dive boat, cancelling plans with our friend to meet up in Dubai in 2 weeks, should I go to a hospital?, will they accept our travel insurance?, Will the doctors speak English? So many things went through my mind as I laid in this dark hotel room on this paradise like tropical island sweating with a fever and grimacing every time I swallowed. This reinforces how taking care of our health is paramount to so many things in life. You can do a lot in life with very little, but when you can’t use your mind and body on so many levels, you are so limited in life what you can accomplish.