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Boracay, Part I

Puka Beach, BoracaySo far on our vacation to the Philippines, we’ve left Seattle, spent one night in Manila and arrived in Davao.

I’m currently still narrating  mostly in the first person, still scrambling my tenses and I’m still in bed in Davao with a mysterious stabbing pain just south of my groin in my right thigh.

We’re booked with Cebu Airlines to fly to Boracay on the 21st. It’s the 19th and I’m in bed, basically unable to move my right leg without it hurting. So that’s what I do. I stay in bed as much as possible.

Trips to the bathroom are nearly comical. I have to lower myself onto the bowl by holding onto the bathroom doorjamb with my right hand, wedging a foot against the baseboard of the wall in front of me to bear almost all of my weight, and holding onto the sink to my left with my left hand.

Like I said, I stay in bed as much as possible.

Menchu, my wife, is just the best person in the world. She goes to the mall, waits in the line at Watson’s pharmacy and buys me Advil. She keeps me fed, she brings me water. This is a vacation for her, too, but she doesn’t complain about me being so mysteriously injured. I love that woman.

Thanks to the Intertubes, I figure out that the pain is most likely from my pectineus muscle or one of the other adductor muscles. Sitting for long periods, especially on the bricks they put in airline seats these days, puts strain on those muscles and when they’re strained, lifting heavy things like luggage and pushing a load like a luggage cart can make things worse.

Fine. I know what the problem is. How do I get better fast enough to enjoy Boracay? Answer: nothing. I take Advil, I lay in bed. I rest, sleep and rest. After two solid days of nothing, I actually feel better.

Kalibo tricycle, before BoracayThis is a good thing because I’m about to have to fold myself into a narrow Cebu Airlines seat, followed by a tricycle’s sidecar, followed by a bus seat, followed by a pump boat seat in order to get to Boracay.

That’s the tricycle over there in the photo. That’s our friend Michelle’s cousin’s husband, tying our bags to the awning top. Such is life in the Philippines. Your network helps you and when they ask, you help them. This man took the four of us from the airport in Kalibo to the bus terminal where we boarded an air conditioned bus for an almost three-hour ride to the port at Caticlan where the pump boats and ferries are that go to Boracay.

It all works out. We find a bus quickly enough. Porters haul our bags for tips like they do the world over and we board the bus. It’s kind of strange for a westerner who is used to buying a ticket for a bus ride that wold normally go straight through to its destination or stop only in specific terminals but in the Philippines, many buses will stop for any passenger that waves them down as long as the bus isn’t full. We stopped a few times but the ride is nice. There is plenty of scenery to look at out the windows.

We arrive at the port and secure our tickets. Menchu just told me a great story that gives a little insight to how life in the Philippines will be. She said that when she went to get our boat tickets, she saw three windows. Windows one and two had lines but for window three there was no line. Assuming that she’d lucked out, she quickly went to window three and bought our tickets. On the way back to the waiting area, she showed the tickets to the guard to get in and he told her that she still needed to go to the windows. perplexed, she went back and found out that window one was where you paid the environmental fee, window two was where you paid the terminal fee and window three was where you got the actual ticket.

OK. We’re going on a pump boat. I’ve been on one of these boats before, characterized by the outriggers on each side. We took one across the strait from Davao to Samal Island. The water here is pretty wavy and while I got up the gangway surprisingly well, I damn near pitched head-first into the Pacific when, anticipating wrong, the boat went one way and my legs went the other.

I made it to my seat after stepping on a fellow tourist. I apologized and he accepted.

Getting off of the boat at Boracay was much less dramatic (clumsy) because the water is much calmer there. e got our bags from the mates on the boat and walked down the longish pier to a waiting herd of tricycles. This time, though, we took one of the multicabs, a small truck that’s been converted for carrying passengers. See one at this link.

We make it to the Boracay Lodge Inn (is it a lodge, or is it an inn? It’s BOTH foor the same low price!) What happens next is super exciting (probably not) but continued in the next entry…

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