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BLUES BOAT TO TOBO

Hello Meeester

sunny

The sixth largest island in the World. The land of earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, political and religious conflicts, slow internet connections even slower buses and pot hole highways. Home to 40 million people. Home to a huge biodiversity of land and sea creatures including orangutans, King Cobras and the odd tiger. Temporary home to 2 intrepid backpackers. This is Sumatra, Indonesia.

Our Air Asia flight glanced over the jungle topped mountains and verdant plains of palms, skimming over rivers and lakes then landed in Medan, home to 2 million people and a good many cockroaches and rats. Pretty Medan isn't. It's chaotic, and choking with cars. Crossing a road involves more daring do than wrestling with a Komodo Dragon. Walking along the pavement is equally hazardous as missing pathing slabs reveal huge leg braking drops into the vermin infested depths of the drains below.

We arrived on a weekend evening and all the budget hotels seemed to be full. Joe however put his negotiating hat on and secured us a discount in a 3 star hotel. Walking around town however at night we came across a run down semi mini Vegas area of shopping malls and flickering neon lights. The people were very curious of our presence but very friendly. This is when I took an instant liking to Indonesians, possibly placing them as the friendliest people in the world. 10 minutes would be considered a long stretch before the frequent greeting of "Hello Meeeeeeester".

Medan however was merely a wobbly stepping stone for a leap into the Sumatran adventures ahead. First stop was the magnificent Lake Toba which must be one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. It is lake Garda on acid with a tropical tinge, and an imposing mountainous backdrop. It is the biggest lake in SE Asia. Within the lake is an island the size of Singapore. Also jutting out is narrow peninsular of Tuk Tuk. Tuk Tuk has laid back irresistible charm of a low key beach resort, maybe Goa 20 years ago. To reach our destination we took a ferry that stopped off at the actual resort like a boat taxi service. Choice of on board music was some bluesy Eric Clapton tracks.

A few metres from the door of our room and you were in the lake. The lake is a perfect temperature due to thermal heating and although is half a km deep in places is calm and good for swimming. Had a great 3 days here including exploring some of the interior on a bike. The food was excellent including fresh river fish and mushroom omelettes to fly for.

Toba is a place I could leave my clothes on a beach at, change my identity and not return home. Move on we must though. After Toba the lofty peak of a 2km plus high active volcano beckoned This was Brestagi, pleasant little town surrounded by green cultivated fields. The crops booming with a shot of volcanic Viagra. This is one of the most accessible volcanoes in the country. Potentially this is a treacherous walk although we set off early on a day with no rain. We arrived at the peak to witness this hissing of the sulfuric geezers. The rotten egg smell was accentuated after bathing, post trek in the sculpturing springs in the valley below. The smell however lingered on my clothes for a week.

One of the main reasons to go to Sumatra is to rub shoulders with our primate cousins, but not the primates who linger around Stockport Mersey Square on a Saturday afternoon, although not as vicious they are the real deal. I'm talking Orangutans . Bukit Luwang is about 3 hours from Medan. The town was struck by disaster a few years ago when the flood waters carried a large tree that devastated the village killing hundreds of people. The place is recovered and a warm welcome is guaranteed in exchange for spending your tourist Ropupiah (14000 to the pound that is). This was a base for a 2 day trek where we witnessed Orangutans in the wild, one was only a couple of metres away. Aswell as Orangutans. across the river from our campsite I spotted a monitor lizzard the size of a crocodile. We also saw gibbons, punk like monkeys and trees that go on for ever. The trekking element of the trip included climbing and descending very steep inclines of the dense jungle. Think of Tarzan movies complete with vines, monster girth tree trunks and a spaghetti junction of tree routes. The sound of the jungle became more intense the more we trekked. The trip was wrapped up tubing or floating down river on giant inter tubes.

We left the real jungle to take an overnight bus from the urban jungle to Band Ache. Across the waters was the island of Sabang - snorkeling and diving mecca. We stayed at 2 pretty quiet resorts. Despite much of the coral dying in the Tsunami I was able to see turtles and ray fish. One species conspicuously absent though was the beer and alcohol. This rare breed of intoxicating liquid was unfortunately either an absent or highly expensive item due to the deeply religious nature of the place.

Talking of religion............ After Sabang we spent a night at Band Ache, far North of Sumatra. This is a state that has seen political, racial and religious conflict. A form of Sharia law is in place. It is also the site of major Tsunami devastation. 230,000 people lost their life. Many had a story to tell. Most people had lost friends and family. A monument, or tribute to the survivors told the extraordinary tale of a boat carrying 56 Tsunami evacuees was swept a few kilometers inland and ended up on the roof of a house where it remains today as a museum. Rumour has it that all 56 survived as did the owner of the house. A crocodile however had also survived and was lying in wait under the boat.

We bid farewell to the wilds of Sumatra and flew to the urban jungle of Jakarta.

Posted by gavinbose 08:51 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

Pop Push-bike in Pangandaran

Java - Coffee, snakes and canyon shakes

Strangely I didn't feel too scared when the hissing, pissed off cobra swayed in my direction. That was of course until the handler turned his back....................

Reluctantly we left Sumatra, equal parts welcoming, exhilarating and stunning. The Air Mecarno Engine flight took us to Jakarta, capital of Indonesia and principal city of Java Island, the most densely populated island in one of the most densely populated countries in the world.

Despite arriving late in the evening I had read in the "Billy No Mates Planet" the first line on the Jakarta section. "Jakarta is a difficult city to like". This was reason enough to bypass it as soon as we arrived, hence a 90 minute mini bus to Bogor. We arrived after midnight but managed to get a pension that had the battered and bruised appearance of a once prized fighter. Emerging from our 'cauliflower ear' of a room in the morning I was immediately drawn to the awesome sight that befell before me. Dominating the sky line was the 3000 m peak of the volcano Gunung Pangrango. The sheer scale was hypnotising but eventually we drew ourselves away and headed for the most tropical botanic gardens I had ever seen. That evening the night sky was a 3D theatre. The volcano was the leading star although fine support was provided by the cloud formations, the sound of singing, the mosque, children playing and generally people going about their business.

The next day our plans were thwarted when we discovered that the intended 2 1/2 hour bus journey over a scenic pass to the lush paddy field region would have been diverted to gridlock hell and a potential 6 hour plus journey. Quick change of plans then when we took cheap 20 quid flight on "Air Make a Quick Prayer" to Solo town. This is a compact traditional Javanese town with a nice palace and Warungs (cheap food shacks) galore. Our unofficial guide from the guest house name was pronounced Why You? (cant remember correct spelling). His autobiography however should have been called Why Me?. Despite his childlike humour,it masks a sad history. He was abandoned as a baby then brought up buy his grandparents. His mother didn't want to know and his father was too busy with his four other wives and no doubt chronic exhaustion. Anyway he organised a trip for us and some Dutch people to visit some Hindu tables in amidst the atmospheric backdrop of the tea plantations.

A supposed 1 hour train journey took 2 hours to get to the instantly likable Jogjakarta. As you can imagine trains are not too reliable. The hundreds of efficiency obsessed Germans and Swiss backpackers probably inflated the situation by jumping on the tracks in frustration. Anyway Jogya is a place with a lively vibe so worth the hassle. Quirky art, meets history, food, drink, music and the odd "Hello Meester". Its the cultural muscle of the island and you could easily spend days just soaking up the atmosphere.

Jogja is a place of eclectic attractions. There's the impressive Hindu and Buddhist temples of Prambanan and Borobuda and also another palace with life music and dancing displays. Another attraction is a huge Menagerie come morally dubious exotic pet shop. Sod the hamster and go for a 3 metre python (which I held) or perhaps its 6 meter friend. The latter had not eaten so I was not able to hold it.

We had often been told that snake is a delicacy in Indonesia, and Cobra in particular. We got pally with the python owner, come property developer, come businessman. "Want to eat cobra?" "You buy and I will cook Cobra curry". What follows was not your usual trip Tescos to buy a frozen chicken or indeed an M&S meal for a fiver. We jumped on the back of 2 motor bikes to secure our purchase.

A minor detour was to our friends coffee producing friend. He had seen an American movie Bucket List. In that movie the character possibly played by Morgan Freeman or Jack Nicholson (though certainly not Steven "Dutch Elm Disease" Segal) decided to eat Civet (small cat like creature)shit coffee before he died. This creature is fed coffee fruit (note it is a fruit and not a bean) and this natural percolator literally processes the beverage through its back side. After much hesitation we sampled this most expensive type of coffee in the world. Mellow Turds it wasn't and was actually very good. You are better having good shit coffee than merely shit coffee!

Next a trip to the cobra butcher. The catch was that the cobra was not dead when we picked it up from a guy who was essentially a snake handler/catcher who had never heard of Tescos or even M&S for that matter. This guy was apparently a local celebrity who had once met the late Steve Irwin. By all accounts Steve was almost on time. This guy released the angry serpent in front of us as part of the ceremony . The poor teased creature stood tall and edged ever so close for comfort (possibly a metre away from me). Unfortunately for him his demise was met with the swipe of a knife. Traditionally snake blood and red bull (without a twist of lemon or ice shockingly) is presented as a health drink. Some of the innards are usually scraped into this cobra pop. When this aperitif was presented to us, for Joe and I it was a case of when in Rome.............. I must say that the curry which eventually followed was first class although could have done with a 75' Riesling. I must try the rattlesnake aux Vin sometime.

After all this excitement the beach beckoned. Pandangaran is Java's premier beach resort. Its a big sweep of sand with some prime surfing. Its a shame that the main beach is full of litter. It is a bit quiet as resort other than the strange 4 seater bike contraptions that play Indonesian pop as they plod past.

Away from the main beach is national park. This is a mere 5 minute boat ride. You can see all variety of giant lizards, birdlife, even porcupines. The place is dominated by monkeys though. These are pretty hardened, back streets of Moss Side primates though. They will literally mug you for food. They wait at the end of a bridge, poised to ambush passers by. One particularly unsavoury character whom we christened the Colonel, was actually able to unscrew Joe's bottle of water and down it in one. He then proceeded to route through my bag. He even had the audacity to challenge me with barred teeth. Fortunately the giant monitor lizards proved to be more timid. The wild cave dwelling porcupines were shyer still.

As if there was not enough adrenalin inside us we both visited the famed Green Canyon. Joe traveled by motorbike whilst I opted for a bus. Joe somehow managed to get in with a load of Tombstoning Bible Bashers from the US, minus the tambourines of course. Anyway they saved him from Satan's rocks. To get to the caves we both encountered roads that were possibly less potholed than the bombed side streets in Baghdad. The bus was tilting 45 degrees in places. The canyon trip was partially by boat and partially entailed jumping off the boat and swimming against the current. Exhilarating but great fun. Batu Karus, an idyllic fishing visit finished the day off.

After the beach we bayed farewell to our new Dutch friend JP. Aged 66, he married a death and dumb local girl of about 30. A wit and raconteur of the David Niven variety. Her has many tales of knee capping, escaping from the law, divorce, hotels, death threats from Jehovah's etc. After excusing ourselves from the umpteenth (very enjoyable ) anecdote we bid him farewell as we scribbled down the plot synopsis for a dozen Hollywood epics. Maybe Rutger Hauer would play him.

An overnight bus to Jakarta (8 hours) was followed by 2 hours of crawling on local buses through one of the most Gridlocked cities in the world probably. We managed however to seek refuge from the traffic in a quirky (but seedy) little backpacker enclave. Jakarta ain't that bad. The main event in town was a walk up the Monas tower. 130 metres high it was built for the dictator Sukarno who managed to steal power for 31 years. It was dubbed Sukarno's final erection. An air filled version has been partially deflated and dubbed "Sukarno's flaccid fall from grace'. Only joking.

So goodbye to Indonesia. No more repetitive, greasy food, bumpy roads. No more "Hello Meester". I am going to miss the place and the people something rotten.

For now we are Borneo bound.

Posted by gavinbose 03:17 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

A WALK IN THE PARK

Crazy Commando Bus

sunny
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The bus journey to Semporna, the archipelego paradise of Sabah (Malaysian owned Northern province of Borneo) was scenic, comfortable although nothing too eventfull. That was until the man with full barraclava, machine gun, oh yes and sunglasses, jumped on the bus.

The eastern part of Sabah had been an off-limits zone for a few weeks. This was due to the conflict between 250 (alledgedly) Philipino radicals and the army. These Phillipinos apparently were trying to claim sovereignty over Sabah (population 2.5 million). Not really outnumbered then!

Although the area is now pretty safe there is still strong military presence. Anyway I was quite relieved when in true Montypythonesque style, a rather meek but unfalteringly polite voice asked (voice muffled by layers of combat gear) "can I please see your passport?". Then ..."welcome to Semporna". His fellow officer also boarded the bus but withought the faux SAS garb. Partially apologising for his friend all he could declare was "sorry, crazy Commando." Dodging terrorist attacks we proceeded with our jorney.

I declare that Sabah is the adventure capital of Asia or the New Zealand of Asia. We had 2 weeks to explore the rugged terrain of jungle, mountain and coastline. This is however quite achieveable as Malaysia has an efficient and reliable transport network.

We flew into the province capital of Kota Kinanbalu. This is a likeable town with some good see views, great, cheap food and harbour setting. The architecture is uninspiring following much bombing in WW2. Enough stuff to do to bind our time though whilst we planned some trips.

First trip was up the 4095 mountain of Mount Kinabalu. This is the highest mountain in SE Asia. At first this appeared unlikely due to the cost of the fees and the fact that the sole accommodation on the mountain, 80 quid a night dorm bed gets pretty full up. There was one solution however when we spoke to some British trainee doctors. You can always do it in a day.First trip was up the 4095 mountain of Mount Kinabalu. This is the highest mountain in SE Asia. At first this appeared unlikely due to the cost of the fees and the fact that the sole accommodation on the mountain, the 80 quid a night each dorm gets pretty full up. There was one solution however when we spoke to some British trainee doctors. You can always do it in a day.

And do it in a day we did. Ever lung bursting, heart pounding, knee crunching step attested to that. A day ascent only has a 50% success rate. In addition the authorities only let several people up a day with a guide. Even after that strict restraints are imposed. Base camp must be reached by 10.00 am. We got there at 09.53. The summit must be reached by 1 pm. We got there at 12.20. The view from the top was ample reward. The following days soak in a hot spa provided further relief.

A transit stop took us to a non entity of a town. It as this place we almost forcibly befriended by a gang of heavy drinking forestry workers. Their diminutive half Japanese boss was both their social and work based leader. Best way of describing him was Joe Pesci in Gooodfellows. Too many "you think I'm funny" moments for my mind. The evening looked like it was heading into a classic gangster movie direction when we were lead into a dodgy bar. We made our excuses and left. "Oh shit we just realised we have a flight due". The next day we needed to escape from this urban wildlife

The next organized part of our tour was the wildlife element. We had seen various bird life and the biggest moths you are likely to see at Kinabalu national park, although all I could see climbing up the mountain itself were my feet. What followed though was something amazing. The chocolaty brown river Kinabatangan cuts through some pretty dense jungle. This is therefore a good way to see the wildlife. We did this on an organised trip consisting of several boat journeys along the river and walking jungle tours. We saw the lot Crocodiles, Orangutans, snakes, Tarsiers (cute alien like mini primates), Hornbills etc. Even at the accommodation flying things were attracted by the lights in the shower block. This includes bats dipping pretty low, and almost entering the shower cubicles. Also flying stick insects galore. Also common were huge beetles headbutting the light fittings. If you don't like creepy crawlies then not for you. 2 leeches hitched a lift on me on one trek.

South East Asia is all about the sea. Our journey then took us to the Semporna Archipelago. We stayed on this idyllic island of Maybul. It is so small you can walk the circumference of the island in a about 90 minutes. The accommodation is mainly stilted bungalows along the jetties. This replicates the ramshackled housing that the locals and sea gypsies reside in. The area is diving and snorkeling heaven. Barracudas, rays, turtles etc. The lot. Joe was circled by Barracudas on a dive.

Another overnighter took us back to Kota Kinabalu for another island trip and a trip to the flicks to see a typical American action movie by numbers (Olympus has fallen). Now I had not suffered from any ailment since leaving blighty. I was however on the verge of profuse vomiting in the cinema. The bombardment of corny US jingoism can cause acute nausea.

4 am is just about the most sleep depriving time for a flight. The next day we took the red eye to the Philipines.

Posted by gavinbose 18:44 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

Volcanoes and Viagra

Sleaze, more sleaze and sandy knees

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So let's get this right. There is a small island. The small island sits within a lake. The lake sits within a volcano. This volcano is in turn on a small island. The island sits within a bigger lake which in turn sits within (you've guessed it) another volcano (75km circumference). Mind blowing yes???

This is the Philippines. This is the place of Volcanoes, beaches, cock fighting, viagra charged old western men (cock fighting) with young phillipino women. Our journey started within notorious Manila. Not the safest place in the world but its reputation is a bity unfair. OK so there is an armed guard when you visit the local 7/11 food supermarket store. You get greetings with your however. Welcome to the store? How can I help you? It is a very welcoming country. And another thing............... We didn't get shot once!

After traveling through the night on " Air Near Miss Airways" we arrived at an unearthly hour and wound are way into a decent hotel; an oasis on a street of blatant but fascinating seediness. Enough sex on every street corner to make Amsterdam feel as twee as a Cotswold village. Propositions everywhere including the shopping precinct. What way to escape it all but to take in the stunning sunsets on the boulevard or take in a drink at the Hobbit bar, where a midget will serve you a drink ironically at a tall price. Despite the reputation there is some class to the city and the old Spanish fort was a real must see.

A popular escape from Manila was lake Taal within the aforementioned volcano. We took the bus here, a mere km but 3 hours in the traffic. One guy reckons that when the road repairs start the journey will be 8 hours. Our "short: was well worth it though. Traveling along the road on what is essentially the rim of the outer volcano you don't realise the awesome site which befalls you. We took a room on the rim and one on the lake. The most outstanding view was the big wheel (The Philippines biggest) at the local theme park.

Just over 2 weeks in the Philippines. Where to go next? We checked out the lonely planet itinerary round the region of Visayas. This meant a stop in the capital of the island of Cebu. This is yet more sleaze paradise. Though the age different between philippino girl and D.O.M (dirty old man) seemed to have increased. In one bar /restaurant the girls were practially chopping up the food for their western "boyfriend". Ocassionally the old boys would leave their zimmerframes behind and creak their way to the dance floor. Oh dear there goes the knee joint! Ming ming will massage it better!" Some of the Western men (many English) had this conspicous professional demenour about them. They seemed to be forever turning around and making sure nobody recognised them. I can just imagine it. "Hi High Court Judge/headmaster/Reverand. What are you doing in the Philipines. Where's your wife?. Have you just adopted that 18year old girl?"

Our next destination was the tropical island paradise of Malupascu. Gloriously inviting turquoise sea. Great for snorkeling but gritty enough to have a real functioning character beyond tourism. It is possible to walk the length of the island in about 3 hours, walking through villages, across palm beach heaven. At the end point is a slender stretch of sand in which you can straddle your feet on both sides of the island. At this point there is an exclusive property owned by Many Pacquiao's (Philippines most successful boxer) promoter.

Next island on the tour was Bantayan island. More glorious sand but dare I say it a little bland, a little flat. However try telling that to the inmates from the local prison. They would quite happily cope with bland.

Next stop after travelling on a sardine can back to the mainland was the pleasant town of Silay, complete with grand colonial mansions. This is the land of the sugar millionaires as attested by the fields and fields of sugar canes. The towns were punctuated with churches, plaques with christian slogans and also numerous posters for the forthcoming regional elections. It was like polling day in the US deep South. Appropriately I could see that a chap called Earnest Bigot was standing. A religious right republican candidate in the US could perhaps adapt a slogan "Jesus loves a Bigot".

We left the land of Bible and ballot and took a tour of a former sugar baron's mansion. The 75 year old playboy batchelor still lived there but was probably holed up in a store cupboard with one of his bunnie girls as we were shown around.

Back on the mainland. We took a night in the decent town Bacolod for some great cheap and excellent barbecued chicken and oysters. A large plate for 65 p. No kidding.

Back on the road for 5 hours plus it was worth the journey for Sugar beach. Nature has worked hard to create this exclusive low key paradise. I nominate a narrow strip of soft sand surrounded by only several low key resorts as one of my favourite beaches. Nothing much to do there besides swim, read, drink and rock on a hammock. Gaze into the sunset or marvel at the hilly outcrop behind. Or chat to the many characters that drift by. The places has the feel of a mini island as is actually cut off from town by a slender strip of river. A mere 50 metres of waterway seals the paradise in place. Most of the guest houses are for some reason run by Swiss people. Merely breaking even is all that interests some of the proprietors. We stayed in a fun place called Tatatuka. This is a mini resort in which all the rooms have there on warped identity. Ours was captain Pugwash on acid. You could have had a room with barbed wire on the ceiling or one with drills embedded in the walls. What minds the Swiss must have. Must be all the holes in the cheese.

We ripped ourselves away from the beach and headed to the university seaside town of Dumguette. This is a supurb base for many attractions. It is also nice (as we did) to have your feet massaged as you stare into the sunset. We took a day trip out to visit twin lakes and a powerhouse of a waterfall.

Once again the food was fairly good in town although the Philippines have an obsession in their food, they are clearly hypertension and tooth decay junkies. They over salt and over sweeten everything. Fortunately no extra sugar is required for the finest and ripest mangoes in the world.

Time to go then and swim with sharks, as you do.

Posted by gavinbose 01:44 Archived in Philippines Comments (0)

SWIMMING WITH SHARKS

Running against time


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I looked left and right. Nothing in the water but fellow snorkellers. Then all of a sudden I detected another presence in the water. I looked down. This huge several metre shape below brushed me with its dorsal fin. John Williams score evaded my mind inappropriately.

Back on the island of Cebu, a mere 30 minute boat and 1 hour bus journey from Dumaguette is a place that has got marine biologists, conservationists and tourists in a tidal wave of excitement . This is Oslob, a small resort which a year ago became a feeding station for Whale Sharks. So recent this has been that it is not in the guide books yet. Tourists can pay a charge (mainly for conservation and feeding) and actually observe feeding time from am to 12 noon. You can even get up close and personal and swim with them. As we did. You may appear intimidated in their presence, as boat loads of screaming tourists certainly were. They are however harmless to man. They're pretty graceful creatures. They just happen to be the biggest fish in the world. Just because a kid is the tallest in class it doesn't mean he is the school bully.

After tearing ourselves away from our Rhincodon typus friends we settled for a night in the main town of Oslob and ultimately made some new friends. We had just seen several sharks but this was surely a one sea horse town. Not a lot to do other than gaze at the ocean and stroll around the ruins of an old church. We had stayed for one night at a family run guest house. The family's quarters seemed to squeeze a dozen members including brothers, sisters, nephews and nieces. The matriarchal figurehead was 40 year old Annabel. Her father, an 88 year old former policeman was still around and still had his marbles. She has a boyfriend, an overweight American whom she sees every couple of years. He has promised the earth but can only provide the girth.

Her brother was out of work and had plenty of time to escort his guests. Joe had expressed an interest in seeing a cockfight. This is the nations obsession as football is to the English. This is something I had always felt was morally repugnant. Now Annabel's brother Vincent is out of work, broke, as thin as the chicken he perceived would shape his future. Just another sad story of someone with a penchant for gambling and indeed on this occasion he blew about £50. This is probably the equivalent of you or I blowing £200. At least he came off better than the cocks who died in a bitter battle, speeded up by the knives attached to their feet. Joe pointed out that one of the losing birds looked like David Bowie. "Ashes to ashes............etc". He lost! Sick, Sick sick. I will never visit another cock fight again in my life. Alarmingly a family joined us in the airconditioned VIP viewing room. Fun for all the family then. They probably went to church first. They may finish off this Sunday sitting around the TV watching Filipino Country file with Jonnoh Craven. That's entertainment sang the Jam.

We left the family behind and took the Ceres bus to a ghost town of a resort. Lovely beach though and we still managed to find a room in a pension. We also got into a near altercation with a guy over a "picture pie" which he ordered for us. Surely he meant Pizza Pie. Whatever he meant he certainly wanted some Monet from us.

We took a bus to Cebu and then got a flight to Clark (with air "Skyfall"). The airport serviced yet another sleazy city. This time Angeles, which stands choking in the middle of a polluted valley. It emerged following the development of a US airbase which was once the biggest outside the US. The flashing lights and flashing tights lured servicemen in search of entertainment. Many still flock here in search of such adult fun. It is however sleaze that holds no shame, indeed it wears its sleaze on its sleeve. Infact hotel rooms advertise their "hourly rates" quite openly. They also have extended the meaning of 'room service'.

It is an eruption on one of the two neighbuoring volcanoes that caused much devastation in town 20 years ago and sealed the fate of the us airbase. The smaller of the volcanos lies dormant however. I read it afforded a decent and accessible half day walk to its 100m plus peak. Alas despite the starting point being only 25km away the logistics and the traffic meant we had to forgo this day trip that I was so looking forward to. Anyway back to town to play the guessing game. Take a cursory look across the road. Is it a man or a woman, lady bird or lady boy?. Whatever the answer is someone in this town will find out the hard way................

Posted by gavinbose 14:49 Archived in Philippines Comments (0)

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