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Sunday May 24, 2020 – 10:14 PM
| Last updated :
Sunday May 24, 2020 – 10:14 PM
A few days later, the newlyweds left Dubai for Cancun in Mexico, without the slightest concern: the Coruna virus was a distant danger, and it had not yet spread across the globe.
The couple was careful to avoid crowded places, and they never thought that travel restrictions would affect their flight.
However, with the approaching return date through Turkey on March 19, the scene was different, as the virus began to spread strongly.
“While we were on the plane, we were getting messages from friends asking if we would be able to return to Dubai, where the authorities imposed a new law prohibiting entry to arrivals,” says Perry.
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But Perry and her husband were in the air, thinking that they would not face any obstacles entering the country. When they attempted to board another plane from Istanbul, they were not allowed to travel.
New laws came into force shortly after they left Mexico.
The couple commented at the airport for two days, as there were restrictions even on them entering Istanbul.
The newlyweds did not possess a boarding pass, so they were not even able to purchase personal items from the duty-free shop at the airport and were not allowed to receive their belongings.
With the impossibility of entering the UAE or returning to Egypt, they had to think of an alternative plan.
“We went to Google to search for a country that receives Egyptians without a visa, and to search for a flight that takes us there,” says Berry.
The only option available seemed to be the Maldives. A group of islands with white sand and dark blue water, one of the most beautiful places in the world. Khaled and Berry were initially considering honeymooning there instead of Mexico.
But the beautiful bitches were not what the couple was now occupying.
“Remember the moment we were allowed to enter,” Perry says. “We exchanged looks happily that we would sleep on beds, not on airport seats.”
“We were delighted to see our belongings,” said Khaled, the communications engineer, laughing. But as tension withered from the search for a place, new challenges emerged.
“We are beginning to realize that we have a huge financial burden, we cannot work easily, we have not brought laptops,” said Perry, who works in the field of media and advertising.
When the couple arrived on the island, they realized that they and a small group of tourists were waiting for their flights.
When the others left, the hotel closed, and the couple moved to another island, where the situation was repeated.
They spent the last month in a government-installed isolation center at a resort on Olhuggel Island.
The couple is grateful to the authorities and to the resort management who ask them to pay reduced costs.
“They did not go forcibly”
“They are making efforts to make our stay comfortable,” Khalid says. “In the evenings they play music, and there are DJs every day, and sometimes we feel lonely because the dance floor is empty.”
“There are seventy other guests at the resort, many of whom are couples honeymooners, but the difference between them and us is that they chose the Maldives and did not go there forcibly,” says Perry.
There are nearly 300 tourists in the Maldives, and no new tourists arrive. Although the place is not the worst place to spend isolation, the couple are eager to return to Dubai.
They say that they barely visited the beach a few times, because of the heavy rains, and because they were fasting during Ramadan.
But returning will not be easy. They were not allowed to board aircraft that return citizens to the Emirates because they are not citizens.
They could have gone to Egypt, but that meant staying in emergency isolation for 14 days in a government facility, and not being able to return afterwards to Dubai.
“If I had a choice, that would be my choice.”
The couple appealed to the UAE government for their help and other stranded arrivals. They applied online to be allowed to return, and are now awaiting a response.
In any case, no trips are available now.
“Every time we read about delaying the return of flights, we become more nervous,” says Berry. “We will definitely adhere to the isolation instructions, whether in a hotel or at home.”
As for the increased costs of the trip, the couple decided not to think about it before returning, because they do not know when they will return.
Despite everything they realize that others around the world are in much more difficult situations, but they confirm the trip was not a “long honeymoon” in any way.
“A person feels sad when he is in a community and realizes that he is the last guest, and the staff are waving goodbye to you. You feel sympathy for them as well. This happened to us twice. Places like this should be crowded, but they are not so now,” said Khaled.
“The more people tell us that we are stuck in the Maldives, they laugh, they say, ‘We would have been your place’,” she said. “But the situation is not easy and full of tension. Enjoy your presence at home with the family. If I had a choice, that would be my choice.”