Friday, June 21, 2013

The efficiency and convenience of lax security and regulations

Today, my alarms went off at 4:30AM. I was not pleased, but I only permitted myself one snooze before I got up and headed toward the road. Romeo, the driver I met when I initially arrived in Siquijor town, met me at the gate. When I first tried to get on, I bashed my knee into the metal frame of the sidecar. It still hurts. Pretty sure I bruised the bone. Anyway, Romeo drove me to the airport. Once we got there, he told me to use the Ocean Jet ferry, since it's faster. I went over to the Ocean Jet kiosk only to discover that their 6AM ferry was *cancelled!*

"Hm," I said. "Well, no matter. This other kiosk is selling ferry tickets as well."

So I go over to the other kiosk, wait until a couple people have finished their transaction, and tell the girl I need a ticket for the 5:50AM ferry. She says I can't because there isn't one. She then tells me there isn't another ferry until 8AM! I give her my "Oh fuck" face, and explain that I have a flight at *9AM*. I ask if there are any other ferries. She may have waffled a bit, then "remembered" (scare quotes may or may not be appropriate) that there is a ferry at 6:30AM. I am suspicious that she was holding a seat for a friend, but I let her think she's tricked me.

Anyway, we eventually boarded, and the ferry ride began. I kept glancing at the mass of land that was our destination, but it seemed to only get marginally larger despite the increasingly significant passage of time. At 7:20, we were still not there. Then, at 7:45, we were still not there. Then, we arrived at the port... at 8:12AM!

"Oh, bother," I said.

With lightning fast speed, I made my way toward the front of the boat and twitched in the queue that formed and slogged its way off the boat. Once I touched land, I jogged toward the trikes I saw in the distance. One man, obviously a local, noticed my haste and asked where I was headed.

"How much to the airport?" I asked.

"120," he replied.

I agreed and he led me to a trike which was to be driven by another man. As I got on, he may have been discussing waiting for other passengers. A man who must have realized the situation asked me what time my flight was. I told him, and they all burst into action. The man kickstarted his bike, two men got on, and the ride started. As we pulled away, he slowed slightly and asked how much I was paying. I told him 120.

"150," he said.

He started to elaborate on the reasons why, but I didn't care. A missed flight was phenomenally more expensive than the extra 30P (.75USD) he wanted. I agreed to his price, and he laid on the gas. As it turned out, that extra 30P earned me what may be coined "Driving as if on fire and/or PCP". The other two passengers, well aware of my predicament, didn't even wait for the trike to stop when they needed to get off. They departed and hit the ground running as the trike continued on its way. He wheeled through traffic, onto sidewalks, past bicycles, and as fast as his motorcycle/sidecar amalgamation could go. I arrived at the airport at approximately 8:22AM. I complimented his driving, paid him with the money I had already retrieved from my wallet, and continued inside.

Once inside, a man checked my large bag for... something. I then proceeded to check in, pay my terminal fee, proceed through a second security section (the metal detector was broken, so they had to check my bags by hand. They missed the 2 liter bottle of water in my daypack), and into the waiting area by 8:32AM.

That's right. Two security stages, check-in, and terminal fee in *less than 10 minutes.*

Another ten minutes later, and boarding was announced. When I walked onto the plane, an attendant plane, an attendant offered me a piece of gum. I think it was from her personal stash.

And that is how my day started. Cheers.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Milky Way, Gecko sex, progress on the book, and so on and so forth.


I've moved around quite a bit since my last post. I'll try to sum it up without much padding. Let's see... In Sabang, I met Jake and Lisa, who I then traveled with for about three weeks. We went from Sabang to Tablas Island, where we stayed at a nice little place (the name of which I cannot remember) with extremely nice hosts. We took a day trip from there to Looc (Pronounced Loh-Ock, roughly) to a fish sanctuary. There were many fish! There was also a clam field, meaning there were basically tons of clams *all big enough to eat my skull.* I also saw seahorses (I've seen a lot of them since then), and a puffer fish who apparently had some sort of serious and probably fatal problem. Not sure exactly what was wrong with him, but normally, if you see a puffer fish, they freak out and puff up (and become spiky) so you don't want to eat them. In my case, I only noticed the puffer when he was 5 feet away (at the surface of the water, no less), and he then "chased" me fifty feet back to the floating dock-thing. It was really cool at first, and then it was scary. Have you ever seen a puffer fish's face? They are a bit hideous. When they're steadily pursuing you, have clouded-over eyes and are only barely managing to swim, it's a bit unnerving. The damn thing came to within probably 8 inches of my face at one point, and I had to perform a very dramatic water maneuver to escape.

Anyway, from there we went to Carabou Island, which was hailed as "the next Borocay". There was pretty much nothing there aside from gorgeous beach, but almost everyone wanted 1500 Pisos ($37) a night for a room. We found a cheaper place and left there for the *actual* Borocay shortly thereafter. Borocay was... interesting. It's basically the place you want to go if you want to go to a lot of bars, do some water activities (boat rides, parasailing, jetskiing, etc), maybe pick up a girl who is definitely not a prostitute, maybe pick up a lady who is definitely not a boy, and maybe get an ending to your massage that is pleasant but definitely not happy. I was offered a happy massage ending, but was robbed that night and left the next day, so I couldn't take part. Oh well, maybe next time!

Anyway, Jake, Lisa and I parted ways (or rather, I parted ways with them), and I came here, to the fabled land of Siquijor. Here, I've seen a bit of waterfall, a great bit of beach and ocean, geckos having sex (pretty serious stuff, geckos don't play nice), and... the milky way. I'm not sure I have ever been able to see the milky way with such clarity. Maybe I never have. It is amazing.

As for the book, I am going to be sending a few questions to my editor, but aside from that almost all fixes have been made. I'm waiting on a sketch from the artist I chose to do the book cover ( ) . Aside from that, just a few other things stand between me and publishing the my first book! Here's to hoping it doesn't flop, stain my fledging reputation, and propel me into a downward spiral that can only end in me laying dead in a gutter, covered with horny geckos and/or ladyboys.