Among all the breakfasts and coffees I have required to catch up with old and new friends, I have managed to buy assorted supplies: a phone SIM (I was told my old one was probably cancelled but more importantly I had left it at home; but my top-up card from 2010 worked fine), a new SIM and some credit for my mobile broadband modem, a couple of razors (I inadvertently left my washbag in my hand luggage when travelling and my razor blades were confiscated), a pair of nail scissors (ditto), a towel, sunblock, a couple of toilet rolls (they are unavailable in the islands), and a pair of sandals, which are vital, but there are many poor ones and I have plasters where the first two pairs I got rubbed the skin off my feet. Luckily they are fairly cheap and shoe shops plentiful - almost incomprehensibly so in fact. I have also managed to find the Atlas of Maldives, a beautiful and useful book but like all books in this bookless nation hard to find: for reference, it can be had in the Novelty Bookshop on Fareedhee Magu. (Like the two or three other 'bookshops' in town it is mainly a stationery shop.) My old copy was with the gear that I left behind in 2010 (when I was planning to be back shortly); since then I'm told it's all vanished without trace.
On arrival at Male' a standard tourist visa is issued free, lasting 30 days. It can be extended to up to 90 days by the following means. 1. Locate a Maldivian friend who will sponsor your appliation. 2. Download and print the 'Application for permit extension' from http://www.immigration.gov.mv/index.p