Tally marks, Bioluminescence, found rainbows

Trip Start Feb 18, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Kookoo's Nest

Flag of Philippines  , Negros Oriental,
Tuesday, February 23, 2010

We arrive in Cebu at 4:15am and deplane onto the tarmac.  Immigration and customs are easy and we are soon dumped in a cab on our way to the ferry.  We tell the driver we need to go to the OceanJet pier, and although he only has one tooth, ''Steve'' eventually deposits us safely in the right place.  Soon we are seated on the bottom, air conditioned level of the ferry in our assigned seats.  As we pull away from the dock the sun rises and we begin our first day in the Philippines.

When we get off the ferry there is a small Filipino man there to greet us with a sign saying, "Welcome Danielle"!  We hop in the back of a truck with 2 benches facing each other, we crouch down to look out the narrow windows on either side.  With huge smiles on, we cruise through the bustling town of Dumaguete and Jon converts his pants into shorts.  We pass by huts and concrete houses, cows and goats, people on motorcycles and trikes and jeepneys. 

After about an hour on the main road we turn off onto a rocky, dusty, dirt road.  Kids from the elementary school are chasing after the truck yelling "Hello!" and "Good morning" and trying to touch our hands through the window.  Another half hour and we are finished passing by small villages sustained by crafts and fishing and baby-making, and we arrive at the Kookoo's nest.  We walk down about 100 steep steps to the beach front and are greeted by a lovely local staff.  It is a beautiful tropical paradise and we are shown to our huge bamboo cottage on stilts.  It is called the Kingfisher cottage and it is one of only 5 cottages here, and it's situated right on the beach.

We grab a couple beers from the common area, mark off two tally marks for beer next to our names on the chalkboard, go sit in two beach chairs, and cheers to a year of hard work and dedication.  We are finally here.  We are "really very satisfied" and as it turns out, very secluded.  We quickly realize we probably wont be going anywhere for the next week, and decide to take advantage of the owner's dive shop and expertise and become PADI certified open-water scuba divers. (We dove once in the Dominican Republic and loved it.  We're here and there's not much else to do, plus where else can you get certified one on one for this price?!)  Of all the things I thought I would be in my life, a scuba diver was never one of them, but I am so excited!  There will be plenty of time for exploring the culture later, so for now we will focus on underwater exploration.

Dinnertime comes and if you want, you can opt for the buffet of deliciously prepared food. (Or if not, just order from their extensive menu, any time of day)  The owner Nikki used to be a caterer in Europe and the dishes she comes up with are outstanding and the staff of locally employed women are experts in the kitchen.  We eat tuna steaks with mango salsa, shrimp pad thai, potato salad and mixed greens, followed by fresh mango, pineapple and papaya for dessert.  Those eating the buffet sit family style around a large table and dine together.  We meet the other guests and they are all fantastic.  There is Stefan and Thomas, a couple from Switzerland on holiday for 3 weeks; Juris and Sabing, expert divers from Antwerp who have dove and traveled around the world for many years; Diarmuid and Anna, a husband and wife from Ireland on a one year cycling journey.  And last but not least are Nikki and Jamie, a wonderfully spirited couple from the UK and the owners of the Kookoos nest.

We finish our night walking out onto the dock under the stars and moon, running our hands through the water and seeing the bioluminescence, or better known as "fancy lights".

UPDATE:  I found my Rainbows today in the only secret pocket of my backpack!! Yay for flip flops!!

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