Is that a pig in the lobby?

Trip Start Feb 20, 2014
Trip End Mar 14, 2014

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Flag of Philippines  , Palawan,
Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Transportation anywhere in southeast Asia can be challenging, and always makes the journey long, never as expected, and one to give you stories to share at another time. Almost always you are challenged with the choice of two options, neither one being one that you want or sounds that great, ha, but you still need to decide on one none the less.
Our choice today was to take an hour ( or so) bus ride in a beat up local bus to a junction, where we get out and wait for the Jeepney( a larger local bus) that looks like something the Partridge Family discarded and the locals decorated it up and are using it for transport.) but I think they're actually decorated old military vehicles. ... to pass by from the main city in Puerto Princesa and pick you up. They usually aren't on time, so you may have to wait.... a while. The ride from there to our destination in Port Barton is 5-7 hours. Im serious, that is the time range they give you. At least they're being honest. And usually you can add two more hours on to their quote.. Yikes.
Our other option is to take a boat. The boats here look like large canoes with side frames that balance them in the water, called Bangkas, withsmall motors to get them moving. They usually seat 6-8 people. We found the one tourist agency in town( a shack with one woman and her cell phone and a sign advertising the best agency in town) of course shes the best!! Shes the only one.
She offered for someone to take us by boat, all we need is 3-4 people to join our group, and the journey would take 2 hours, and the boat is big! Seats 16 people, so you will have plenty of room. " are the seas expected to be calm tomorrow? " i ask. Sara D. Is smiling and laughing right now. Ive been on some rough, crazy boat rides.. My mom is not laughing right now ... "Yes! Perfect day for a boat ride! " yeah okay, it definitely sounded like the better choice. A 7-8 hour, two bus ride , on unpaved , rocky dirt roads, or a 16 passenger boat ride for two hours on beautiful calm seas? The "travel agent" found a charming danish family of 3 to join us, and we were all set for the morning.
The roosters got me up at 4:30 am. The sun doesn't even rise until after 6 am. I should of taken my complimentary earplugs off my united flight , i usually don't wear them, but these philippine roosters have no sense of time obviously.
We took a tricycle cab to the boat dock. Which wasn't a dock at all, just a beach where they anchor the boats up. We walk out to our awaiting boat.. Hmmm, that boat looks like all the rest. " that boat seats 16? " i ask. No english our boat captain smiled. I think we've been had. We tread through the water to reach the boat with our packs securely on our backs, the ocean water reaching to our waists. We climb up the small ladder inside., this boat seats 6.. Wheres the other 10 seats? We all laugh, of course weve been had. That tour agent is long asleep at home, we are on a boat with no one we can communicate with, and we are traveling in a foreign country. You better leave room in your luggage for a whole lot of sense of humor, and patience, , because you're going to need a lot of it traveling in Asia.
Our travel partners for our boat adventure were great. A couple , traveling with their 13 year old son . Europeans love southeast asia, and they are great , patient travelers. Rarely complain, and always laugh when things dont go as planned.. and just go with the flow.. Perfect.
They covered up our packs in the back of the boat with tarp. We sat up on benches in the front, which was covered with an awning to keep the sun off you. And mom you will be happy to hear this.. Everyone must wear a life vest while on the boats.
We start out,, its a nice smooth ride out of the bay. . The danish man asks.. How long is the ride? " 3 - 3 1/2 hours.. Stated our boat captain. That 2 hour quote is long gone. .Ha, he understood that question. Wheres the rest of your boat? He then asked. Ha, i told you i love the europeans sense of humor. The boat captain just smiled. We are in it now as i say.
It was about 20 minutes in our journey when all got sprayed with our first wave. There was no cabin, no hiding place to stay dry. We were all going to sit on those benches for 3 1/2 hours and get soaking wet, and thats just the way it was going to be! We all laughed and shared traveling stories, ringing out our clothes once in a while to keep them from weighing us down too much. At least the water was warm! Always a bright side!
We were dropped off on a sand bar, exactly 3 1/2 hours later, as close as the boat could get to the beach because of low tide., but still required to wade waist deep to shore.
We were staying at Green View Resort. One of the 10 places to stay on this beach, this being one of the nicer, well maintained ones. As we walked into the lobby, soaking wet, a large pig came up to greet us, sniffing and checking us out with 5-6 dogs following behind like they were following their commander.
Yes, the Philippines is a casual place. The pig it turns out "Babe" is the owners wife pet. She loves that pig! The workers tell us, she's like family. Why not.. As long as they keep that pink collar on her to make sure she stands out. Theres a lot of pork on the menus here.
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maureen mason on

"You better leave room in your luggage for a whole lot of sense of humor and patience" is my favorite line on latest blog. Your insight is as perspicacious as ever Elizabeth, as you broaden your cultural horizons. Your readers are so very fortunate to share your intrepid journeys from the comfort of home and laptops. We finally have some desperately needed showers today. Rain goddess that I am, I am out dancing.

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