21 hrs of hard travel - My bum hurts and we stink
Trip Start Feb 26, 2010
371Trip End Feb 26, 2011
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Where I stayed
In mid air
Fortunately it didnt take long and ten minutes later we were at the bus station, our bags were snatched from the cyclo in record speed and thrown on to the roof of one of the vans. Worryingly no one had asked where we were going so we made a few enquiries that this van actually was going to Puerto Princesa and then handed over our 'tickets' that the woman in the huts had hand written and given us when we paid her for the bus ride
We took the last two seats in the van which was good news as vans dont usually leave until they are full, then after the driver had had a couple of cigarettes, chatted to his mates, had a bit of breakfast we hit the road. I was sat next to the window, one pane of glass had ripped tinted film on it the other next to it didnt so I quickly realised that I would have to spend the entire journey leaning forward in my seat to avoid getting third degree burns to my arm. Andrew was sat between me and another woman who seemed to like using Andrews shoulder as a pillow. It was all a bit cosy. Add to this the fact that we were sat above the engine which made the floor 'el scorchio', the air con was nigh on useless and the seats were covered in some kind of fake leather (sweat friendly). So aside from getting melted flip flops we also couldnt put our day sack on the floor with the computer and camera in (we didnt fancy it going on the roof with everything else) so that had to stay firmly on our knees. All adding to a very sweaty and uncomfortable 6 hour journey. Funnily enough a quarter of the way in we were run off the road by a wagon. How the driver kept control driving along an embankment whilst being on two wheels we will never know. Anyway, we didnt lose anything off the roof which was a miracle.
Arriving at Puerto Princesa we had time to kill but werent sure where to go with our huge rucksacks so we agreed to get a cyclo over to the airport. Having been hounded by drivers the minute we stepped out of the van we had fobbed them off but now we needed one
Our flight to Manila ended up being delayed by 2 hours. This was not good news as the airport had very few facilities and not very comfortable chairs. During the long arduous wait the heavens opened and we saw rain like we havent seen it since on Hangzhou Mountain in China, this along with the thunder and lightening made us a little suspicious as to why our flight was late (had it been struck) but then we checked ourselves and realised that we had booked with Cebu Pacific. Eventually the plane arrived at the same time as another one and the airport staff just seemed to go in to a blind panic. For starters there was only one set of steps for people to get off the plane so these were frantically pushed across the tarmac from plane to plane. Next there was only one wheelchair and two ladies who needed it so one poor soul had to run both of them to different planes in quick succession. Bear in mind this was in the pouring down rain (the lad had a bright yellow rain coat on and matching wellies) and he had to run the assault course in the terminal which was all the buckets catching leaks.
Standing in the line ready to get on the plane we were in front of a family of Americans whose children kept saying very loudly "Daddy someone smells of sweat" and going round in turn sniffing all the family members. Andrew and I cringed and tried to edge away knowing it was us.
We got to Manila and had to check in again for our flight to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. We went straight through to departures to a part built terminal building where all they sold seemed to be penis ashtrays which we only just managed to resist the urge from buying (purely for Rorie).
The flight to Vietnam was fairly uneventful and we arrived in Ho Chi Minh City at 1am. We had to pay for our Visa's which went without a hitch and our bags were first of the plane, in fact we had to run after them on the belt. Our airport pick up was waiting for us, a lovely little man who spoke no English who took us straight to the hostel about half an hour away from the airport. The hostel owners were up waiting and showed us to our room which was amazing. En-suite, cable TV, Air-Con, stocked mini fridge and hairdryer all for 5 pounds a night each.....................heaven!!!