Boracay was the last stop on my trip. Mugs and I spent 5 days there just laying in the sun. I don't think there could be a more relaxing place. The pictures really tell the whole story. We stayed at Friendz resort the whole time and paid about 30 dollars a night for an air conditioned cottage that was about 5 minute walk to the beach. Word to the
So after leaving Donsol we headed to Palawan based on a tip we go from fellow travelers Lee and Helen. A good title for this part of the trip would be "quest for the perfect beach" we got to puerto princessa with no plan and met the horde of tricycle drivers outside the airport. Usually the idea here is not to trust these guys. But against that rule we listened to our guy and he took us to a place called "house of rose" for the night. We booked into a 300 peso a night room (600 combined) with no ...
We left Bangkok on a midnight flight to Manila then had a really tight connection to Legaspi. We made it after skipping to the head of the line in customs and running in the airport. We flew over a couple of volcanos on the way in and when we landed we got off the plane on the runway; no jetways here. Only stairs. Among the coconut trees you could see in the distance the perfect cone of myaon volcano with a wisp of smoke escaping the top. We were here. One problem. We had no idea where we were going. ...
Ok so I just finished less than 24 hours in Manila before getting on a plane to Bangkok, which is where I am now. Manila was so strange and I'll ruin the end of the story right now by saying that I won't be planning on spending my vacation time there any time in the future. Manila for me felt like bizarre Miami. Here's why: the people have the right skin color to look Latino, the weathered is hot and humid, and there is English everywhere on signs and music and even in the language. It's not Miami though for ...
Recently my interest was piqued at a news story I heard on NPR.
Michigan State University has announced that it’s closing its satellite campus in Dubai. The university was one of many that raced to open campuses in the Middle East, but financial troubles are forcing MSU and others to cut back.
It looks like everyone is in a twitter over the iPhone 4. I’m not talking about the cool screen, or the camera, or the ability to record video or even the speed and beauty of the device. I’m talking about the fact that the thing fails at being a phone.
Boracay was the last stop on my trip. Mugs and I spent 5 days there just laying in the sun. I don’t think there could be a more relaxing place. The pictures really tell the whole story. We stayed at Friendz resort the whole time and paid about 30 dollars a night for an air conditioned cottage that was about 5 minute walk to the beach. Word to the
So after leaving Donsol we headed to Palawan based on a tip we go from fellow travelers Lee and Helen. A good title for this part of the trip would be “quest for the perfect beach” we got to puerto princessa with no plan and met the horde of tricycle drivers outside the airport. Usually the idea here is not to trust these guys. But against that rule we listened to our guy and he took us to a place called “house of rose” for the night. We booked into a 300 peso a night room (600 combined) with no AC. It was a rough night. At 6 am we met our tricycle driver and he suggested that we rent motorcycles. This was never in the plan bit here is how we figured it. We would be paying 400 pesos each for the bus and we only had one night. So we rented our motorbikes for 700. There we were on the crazy roads of puerto princessa and I’ve never driven a motorcycle before (thank god it was automatic shift). Before long the city dissolved away into small houses and farms. And we began one of the most beautiful drives I’ve ever taken. 2 hours to Sabang we were passed by military trucks in some really sketchy maneuvers. We saw monkeys in a river from the bridge and giant lizards crossing he road. We came over a ridge and started desending into jungle and dirt roads. Before long the road flattened and there were huge walls of limestone around us. I have to come back to this place for some climbing. Then there it was, the beach we had arrived. There were lots of tourists where the road ended and we needed to find a place off he beaten path. We took to the beach with our motorcycles to the right of the pier and after passing some nice places we found one called “green verde”. How much? 700 for a cottage with 2 beds, no AC. Done. We parked our motorbikes out front and walked to the market for a bottle of rum. One liter: 80 pesos (2 dollars). A few cold cokes and we were on our way. This place only has electriciy from 6 to 11 by generator. But it was still perfect.
We spent the night hangin out on the beach and when the power went off at 11 I could see every star in the sky. After being alone on the beach for a while thinking of live the universe and everything it was time to go to bed. I crawled under my mosquito net and fell asleep to the sound of the waves.
The motorcycle ride home was amazing for the scenery but mostly uneventful. Time to be in Manila for a couple of days to meet mark at. The airport next stop boracay.
-written on my iPhone
We left Bangkok on a midnight flight to Manila then had a really tight connection to Legaspi. We made it after skipping to the head of the line in customs and running in the airport. We flew over a couple of volcanos on the way in and when we landed we got off the plane on the runway; no jetways here. Only stairs. Among the coconut trees you could see in the distance the perfect cone of myaon volcano with a wisp of smoke escaping the top. We were here. One problem. We had no idea where we were going. So we were taking refuge in the airport while trying to figure it out. Keep in mind that it’s one room with a convience store and a single circular belt for baggage. No AC. The lady next to me asked where we were going and offered to give us a ride because it was on her way. We later found out that this was because she didn’t think we would make it. She was worried about us lol. So in that spirit I want to encourage anyone reading this to go out and do a good deed for a stranger today. Pass it forward.
We were dropped off at the Donsol visitor center and it was apparent right away that we weren’t prepared for this. So after some deliberation we booked into one of the most expensive places nearby called giddy’s. The main reason for this is because they had wifi in the rooms. And AC
So we took a nap then met some other travelers. After some discussion we decided to check out the fireflies on the river and more importantly, get out of donsol asap. The fireflys were cool and so were the 25 peso beers we drank. By the end of the trip it wasn’t a firefly cruise but a booze cruise as everyone on the boat had drank a few. Then sleep we had a 2:10 flight and a 7:00 am appointment with the whale sharks.
The whale sharks experience was something else for sure. We showed up and registered. Then we found a boat that needed a couple more passengers. Travel tip here: meet others at the whaleshark center and get in on their boat. The price for the boat is divided among the passangers. I think it’s 6 max. The whole day cost us 685 pesos each.
So there we were motoring in our banka out to the whale shark grounds. Our crew consisted of the captian, an engine man, a pilot and 2 spotters. After about 20 minutes we spotted our first and the captian was down at the launch area saying right side right side. Masks and flippers were donned and the engine was cut. The captian hit the water and we followed. We were swimming towards the shadow in the water and the captian seemed to know he direction. The water was fairly murky and we could only see maybe 10 or 12 feet. Suddenly like coming out of the fog a giant creature appeared in front of us there it was. He world largest fish slowly lumbering along. This one was probably 15 feet long. It was such a rush! By the end of the day we saw 5 the last one being maybe 30 feet long with my fins on I could keep up with it but it was easily 5 times longer than me. See the video.
Ok so I just finished less than 24 hours in Manila before getting on a plane to Bangkok, which is where I am now. Manila was so strange and I’ll ruin the end of the story right now by saying that I won’t be planning on spending my vacation time there any time in the future.
Manila for me felt like bizarre Miami. Here’s why: the people have the right skin color to look Latino, the weathered is hot and humid, and there is English everywhere on signs and music and even in the language. It’s not Miami though for sure. It’s super dirty, and it’s not Spanish that’s being spoken but philipino. The beer is realy cheap and the poverty is really bad. I was fending off children begging all day. Sad actually there were kids walking the streets at 2am asking me for money, while I was watching my pockets.
After checking into the hostel at around 2am Thursday morning we headed out to the local bars somthing about the area around our hostel didn’t rub me the right way. We navigated through the kids, traffic, and drunk philipinos and foreigners. We eventually decided on an outside bar and sat down. One beer into the night another couple of foreigners sat down next to us. This was my chance to find out about the area. After a short conversation we found out we were basically in the red light district of Manila; nearly every woman walking by was for sale and you could go home with them for 1700 pesos(about 40 dollars). Also, one of the guys we were talking to owned a massage parlor, and while we were on the subject, he handed me his card and let us know that we were welcome to drop by. In his words we could get a massage and anything else was negotiable with the girl. Well we finished our beers and headed back to our hostel without a prostitute (I know you’re dissapointed mom) but we did manage to get some 17 peso beers(30 cents). Sleep came easy.
The next day we arranged to leave most of our checked baggage at the hostel for 5 days. I also convinced evan to pack into my bag and a small backpack. We were going to travel light for the next week. Out on the streets of Manila we caught a jeepney (look it up) in the wrong direction but eventually figured it out. He jeepney is like an old ww2 jeep that’s been converted to carry people for super cheap. After some time we walked all around old manila and the intermuros which is the original walled city. We then ate some street food and had lunch for less than a dollar. It was about time to head to the airport so we went to the end of the rail line and found a giant market. This place was defenately sketchy and I felt like a walking ATM. It was a giant market with everyone yelling and trying to get my attention to buy shoes or DVDs or shorts or jackets or pants or knockoff purses and sunglasses. You name it, they had it.
Eventually after asking directions we found a place for taxis. This is where it sortof becomes a blur for me. So there is this scam here that is run in bad parts of town (which apparently this was) where guys try to take credit for getting you a taxi then expect money for doing basically nothing. Anyway we were being cornered by these guys into this scam and trying to walk far enough down the street to get away. When we finally waved down a taxi we were sortof bumrushed by these guys. I had my camera hanging around my neck on it’s camera strap(mistake) and suddenly a guy had a steel grip on it and was yanking trying to break it free. I think at this point I managed to get my hands on his wrists to stop him and after 3 or 4 wicked yanks he let go and ran off Evan was really close to pouncing on him and he was lucky to have gotten away. Us too. We hopped in the taxi and it seemed like there was a gathering croud of beggars and transients. We told to driver to drive quickly and we took off eventhough his passenger door was opened by one of the fake taxi “helpers”. Wild. The driver told us that we were in a bad part of town and that there is alot of drug use there. He also said to watchout for people slashing your bags. Scary. Anyway, I was shaken up and drank a couple beers at the airport bar to calm my nerves.
I won’t be returning to Manila for vacation but if the opportunity arises I will go there to donate my time to it’s people. They need help, the disparity between the middle class and the poor seems really extreme and I think they could use some volunteers, espeically for the children.
Bangkok tomorrow. Goodnight.
Woah spring (?) is here and I couldn’t be happier. I have 2 weeks left here in Korea and then I will be traveling to the philipines and Thailand for 3 weeks. My personal life is going well and there is someone new in my life. Rock climbing next weekend. Back to Florida to see the family in the middle of may. Now here I am at the end if my contract and I’ve only blogged like what 6 times? Ugh well anyway. I’m on a train to gwangju for a weekend of climbing and to see people who I care about. I feel like I should have something to say about my time here. Something profound. This is all I got: to the people who are thinking about traveling: get off you ass and just do it. Korea is a damn good place to go for that kind of adventure. However, if your heart is in south America, then go. If you wonder what china is like in spring, then find out. No one will ever be able to explain it to you. For me it’s all about working with kids. They open your eyes to the world. Somehow by a little Korean boy spilling marbles allover the ground I realized what was a big deal and what wasnt in life. I’m not done traveling and I don’t know where I’ll go next, but I know this. I’m going somewhere that isn’t familiar. You should do the same. In the end if you are asking yourself “what should I take away from this non sensical ramble”, it’s this: I could tell you my stories all day about what I learned about myself, life , and the meaning of things but no matter how hard I try you still won’t fully get it. So go and make an adventure of life then, you will have something that no one else will really be able to understand.
I learned somehing about life today. I thought I should share with my readers (aka mom). A while back I saw a speech given by a professor at carnige Mellon named Randy Pauch it was called “the last lecture” there is a book by he same name. He tells a story in it about when he was picking up his neice and nephew. He pulled up to the house in a new convertable and his sister, his neice, and his nephew all ran out of the house to see the new car. Then before the kids got into the car his sister started telling the kids how important it was that they don’t make a mess, how they don’t spill anything in his new car. Then when his sister was finished Randy got the kids attention and proceded to intentionally pour an entire can of coke into the back seat. He did this because he wanted the kids to know that it was ok even if they spilled inhis car. His sister wasn’t impressed. However, as Randy said, expecting the kids not to spill in the car was like expecting a puppy not to pee on the carpet. They’re kids, they make messes, that’s what they do.
Ok so anyway, back to my classroom. We had an activity today counting marbles. Counting by twos then fives then tens. This involved three big bowls of marbles. Well this class has 3 students, two well behaved girls and Jack. Jack has been described by other teaches as a fearless Spartan. I knew without a doubt that Jack would be spilling the marbles today. Another thing about Jack is that he is really sensitive and I’ve made him cry for repremanding him before. So today when I started class. I took a bowl of marbles and dilebriately poured them on the floor. The girls looked at me like I was nuts and with marbles rolling in every which way, Jack jumped up and went nuts leting out a coo of glee as he picked up all the marbles. Ten minutes later sure enough, Jack spilled all his marbles on the ground. And there was a moment that I felt that thing inside of me growing where I would have said something but instead I just smiled and thought “there are things in life more important than a few spilled marbles” so Jack, this blog post is to you. Thanks for having the spirit that you do.
Nathan’s amazing day: 2:30 the twins show up at school. I spend the next 15 minutes picking them up and throwing them in the air, letting them ride on my back while I jump around and doing other acrobatics. 3:30: I teach some the the best students ever about english then I end by teaching them the “Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear”