Hanging Out at Mad Dog
Trip Start Jun 03, 2006
132Trip End Jun 03, 2009
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Well, he took us to a jetty that wasn't on the map or in the guide book, and of course, there was a boat - a big wooden pump boat with colourful but peeling paint. It looked like it might have been in a circus once. Michelle ducked to the loo and the security guard shouted the guys on the boat to wait for her
We found ourselves in what might have passed for a missionary school - rows of aquamarine benches in the middle of the boat matching the sparkling colours of the Camotes Sea. The boat moved slowly through the water and there was no mistaking that nobody was in a hurry. We were sitting with bags of pig feed, fertiliser, chickens, provisions for the local store which looked like it only sold vacuum packed cake and peanuts, and a rooster who decided to regale the whole boat with his musical abilities. All of these things were the fruit of shopping trips by the Camotes Islands residents in Cebu. We were not headed for a seat of hi-tech, luxury life, and things were certainly going to be slow. That suited us just fine.
As we approached the islands, we could see the strange grey stripe between the vivid blue of the water and the vivid green of the tropical vegetation. I didn't realise at the time but this is caused by the sea gently eroding and cutting into the coral island, so that if you walk to the edge of the island you are always standing on a (solid) overhang. While I puzzled over this Michelle was scanning for beaches - of which there were plenty, scattered in small stretches of empty white sand tipped by rows of coconut palms
The closest our time on the Camotes came to being stressful was in picking a motorbike taxi on arrival
We also came to understand and love that everything was done on trust here: riders waiting for us to find them for a return journey would never ask for money, the local bank was more like a school and contained the most cheerful bank staff I have ever met. They even told us how to get their best exchange rate. Even running up a bill in the Magodlong Rock Resort was all on trust with no mention of a deposit anywhere. The relaxed, cheerful atmosphere was great, but the trust made you feel even warmer. It's what I'll remember most, along with the dazzling smiles that would break from the shyness of the local school children as they watched us.