Newly wedded couples do dream of a never ending honeymoon, a world of fantasy that never comes to an end.
For a newly wedded Egyptian couple, 36-year-old Khaled and Peri, 35, resident in Dubai, U.A.E, their story has been a distant opposite of this wish because of the Coronavirus pandemic.
The couple had travelled to Cancún, Mexico for their honeymoon, after wedding in Egypt’s capital Cairo on 6 March.
Their trip to the North American country was little bothered by fears of the Coronavirus pandemic, however their return home would be at stand still because of the pandemic
“While we were on the plane we had access to internet and then we started getting messages from people ‘Are you going to be able to get to Dubai? There’s a new law, they’re banning expats,'” Peri told the BBC.
After leaving Mexico for Turkey, in order to connect to Dubai, they were denied entry due to new travel rules. The couple were left stranded at the airport for two days.
Unable to enter the UAE, and with flights to Egypt suspended, they needed a plan.
“We decided to go on Google and check all the countries that allowed Egyptians without a visa, and then check if they had flights,” Peri said. It appeared they only had one option: the Maldives.
“I remember that moment we were let through immigration,” Peri recalled. “We looked at each other and we were very happy that at least we would be sleeping in a bed as opposed to airport seats!”
But once the immediate stress of finding a place to stay had been resolved, new challenges dawned on them.
“We started realising there is a major financial burden, our jobs – we wouldn’t be able to perform them well. We didn’t pack our laptops,” said Peri, who works in media. “When you’re on honeymoon you don’t expect to be working much.”
They have spent the last month in a special isolation facility set up by the Maldivian government at a resort on the island of Olhuveli.
They are grateful to the authorities, who are charging a reduced rate, and to the resort staff.
There are close to 300 tourists left in the Maldives, which has now stopped new visitors from arriving. But while there may be many worse places to spend in lockdown, the couple are desperate to return to Dubai.
Returning home to Dubai is not straightforward. As residents of the UAE, but not citizens, they say they were not allowed onto flights returning others to the Gulf.
They are calling on the UAE authorities to help them and other residents who are stranded. They have applied for approval to travel from the government’s official portal, but are yet to receive permission.
Their two month trip has been far from what they thought when they left for Mexico
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