Rivers, Beaches, and Motor Bikes

Trip Start Jan 30, 2010
Trip End Apr 06, 2010

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Where I stayed
De Loro

Flag of Philippines  , Palawan,
Thursday, February 11, 2010

Feb 9/10

My love affair with running has not always been full of bliss. I did enjoy beating Danny Boy one out of 10 times in our nightly 10kms many years ago. It was certainly a downer when I could never beat Robineau in a 100 meter sprint. It's been fun to push distances and improve my half marathon time. I did enjoy running Burnaby Mountain in University every morning when the SFU wrestling team would meet at 730am. Except those days when it was cold, pissing down rain, and the warm body in my bed didn’t want me to leave. That being said I was usually shit scared of my coach Mike Jones and the ramifications of missing morning practice. I loved the 800 meter when strong legged freshman put the squeeze on me but never pulled past me. All in all I could not live without such exercise that has been a part of my life since grade five when I won an 800 meter in some mini-elementary school meet. Tonight before we went out for dinner I went for a run. I set out after dark hoping I would not get lost in the streets of Peurto Princessa. Just outside the hotel three boys started to run alongside me with smiles but once they realized I was in it for the long haul they fell back. In the darkness I moved out for a 30 minute run. I cursed myself for not getting that rabies shot every time I passed a stray dog patrolling his territory. I moved out into the neighbourhood and found I was sucking back more exhaust than air at times. Back at the hotel I sat in a sweat for some time before James, Greg, and I headed out to dinner at a nice restaurant where you walk around bare foot.

Yesterday we tric’d around in search of a beach and after a couple of hours found a cool off the beaten path place with huts right on the beach. At first it was not much of a sight but after a while the place grew on us. The water was warm and clear farther out from the shore. The huts were as best as you could expect and we had a few beers and relaxed. That night we ate at a place called Fresh which had a nice menu.

Today we went to the underground river. After a 2 hour hair pinning drive through the mountains and a couple of squashed chickens we came to a marina and rode across the water in a boat. We docked and went into the jungle stopping to wrestle with a few rather tame monitor lizards. The river was cool. It’s very long and we only went a 40 minute ride in. There were birds echolailing through the tunnels while bats lined the cavern ceiling fast asleep. We used our imaginations to see images in the rocks aided by our guide. Back at the beach we watched some monkeys jump about and then headed back to the marina. Tonight we dined on seafood and swilled some beers. Tomorrow we’ll snorkel and then on Thursday we’ll be renting motor bikes to make a day trip north. As our tour guide explained while he looked at Greg and James "there are no girls up there [where you are heading] so it’s best to bring a girl with you. He likes books so he’ll be fine." He said as he saw me entranced by the book Flowers for Algernon.

Feb. 11/10

Yesterday we spent the day on the ocean. The three of us, a guy from Croatia, and a young scholar entering the priesthood from England went on a tour of Hunda Bay. We had a lovely guide that showed us three islands. We crossed the ocean on a sort of catamaran type boat. We snorkelled and relaxed on beaches. To finish the day we docked at a floating shack out in the ocean and swam around a huge coral reef. It was nice and colourful and cool to see. Later that night we had some good food at Fresh in the back under a nice open bar. A group of five women came in and the boys and I discussed how to approach them. I donned Greg’s sunglasses and walked over to their table in search of a female opinion. They were from Norway and Sweden (imagine the blonde). They had a chuckle at my antics. After that we came back to the hotel to find they were staying at the same place as us. Later that night Greg and I went into the city to play some pool. We have befriended the hotel staff; which are a great group of young people. We met them later in the night for some drinks. Jam, the receptionist, has a bday tomorrow and we have been invited to go out with them again tonight to start the celebrations. They are very warm and friendly and I have begun to see these qualities in all the Philippino people I meet.

Today Greg and I rose rather hung over and rented some motor bikes. We cruised off into the countryside. We stopped for a drink in the mountains and when I asked Ma (that’s what they call older women here) to take our picture she had no idea how to work my camera. I quickly showed how to with a smile, which was returned. As we sped along at speeds unknown, due to dismantled speedometers and no calculating mileage, a cat ran from the bushes and slammed into me like a Zero pilot would an aircraft carrier. The thing came out of nowhere and hit me at my gear shift. I could hear the thump of its skull on the bike and it almost knocked me off the road. I squeezed the handle bars and narrowly avoided the gravel. After I recovered and continued riding I wondered about the cat and whether it was still alive even though I was pissed.

Riding a bike on the open road with beautiful scenery gives you lots of time to think. I've tried to be alive in the moment as much as I can so far on this trip. That being said I do drift to the past and plan for the future a lot too. When you’re driving in the smog and chaos in the city it’s important to stay focused but once out of the madness it’s pretty cool, save for dive bombing cats. We rode for an hour and a half into a small village with shanty huts and cheerful children waving at us. Then we headed back to the city.

The city roads seemed to have no real flow. It's a chaotic mess of motor bikes, trics, the odd car, and pedestrians. We returned to the city and had some pizza and returned the bikes. The last three days have been very cool. Greg and I fly to a city called Legaspi tomorrow where we’ll swim with whale sharks. James heads home to China tomorrow to propose to his girl Neno. I have not being wearing my watch lately and it's kind of cool to not know the time or date save for the sun rising and setting. Good times, good times...

Thanks from reading
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Sally on

I'm jealous of you. I really wanna go there!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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