I was up with the chickens today, but the sunrise was a bit of a disappointment. It was certainly beautiful, but there was little color.
A ferry on it’s way to eastern Mindinao.
Rain clouds were hanging around everywhere and as I write this at 2:10pm, it is still cloudy. We’ve seen rain off and on all day long, but nothing really heavy. We were rained on during our afternoon snorkeling, just a little cooler than the ocean. Temperature at the room hovers between 84 and 86F. It might get a little cooler at night. Pleasant once you get used to it.
Shortly after we returned to the room, the lights went out. It is an ongoing problem here, blackouts that the locals call brownouts. The electric company is three large generation barges moored at three different ports around the island. There are NO permanent public electrical generation stations on the entire island. Scott jokingly said he had the only permanently placed generator on the island. I’m sure there are others, but the point was made. He keeps his generator ready so the supplies in the refrigerators and freezers don’t go bad.
We had another nice breakfast, an omelet for me and fruit and toast for Praxy. About the time we were finishing up, the power returned, went out for 5 seconds, then returned for good. I drug my feet about going to the internet café thinking there could be further problems. Several cups of coffee later, all was still well so we took off around nine aboard our “trusty steed”.
I settled in and started uploading blogs. Four entries behind, it was taking awhile. There was a large black man sitting next to me industriously tapping away on the keyboard. After a few minutes, we exchanged “hi”s and I knew instantly he was an American expat. Tommy was a truck driver in Modesto, CA and got his fill a few years ago and retired. He was catching up on internet while his Philippine wife Edna went to the nearby church. Their house sits 300 yards away from the Firefly. He and his wife are coming by later and Tommy and I have some plans for some of the beer that Scott keeps on ice in his kitchen. Scott says he is pleasant and friendly, always a smile and a joke to tell. I’m looking forward to it.
Back to the room, We watched a movie and ate lunch. I had a pretty good pork burger. No beef here. Well, cattle are kept here but the meat is like jerky. What meat they have. They all look emaciated to me. When the movie ended, we took off into the ocean for a last round of snorkeling. I ventured out to the drop-off and looked at large schools of fish that I figure are inedible. The fish get fished hard, anything big enough for dinner is at terrible risk. We finished up and swam in, cleaned up, and put all our gear out to dry. We have to pack for Dumaguete tomorrow morning.
Susan Dyer called yesterday, cell phones are a must around here. We are headed that way on Tuesday. Praxy has a little phone from the last trip, but it is a pain. We are sticking with mine. I doubt if we get separated. I’m keeping a close eye on her and don’t let her much out of my sight. She watches out for me, too.
Around four or so, Tommy and Edna showed up. Tommy, Scott, and I exchanged stories and tall tales, while Praxy and Edna chatted. Tommy was a riot, he tried to mess with my head about dinosaurs having used the water we were drinking and I pointed out to him the we might be drinking dinosaur pee in our beer. Scott joined in, and absurdity ruled the Firefly Cove for over two hours. We will exchange emails and Facebook, and I’d like to keep in touch. It’s hard to keep friendships fresh from several thousand miles away, but I’d like to stay in touch with my new friends from Siquijor.
Next morning we packed and trudged up the walkway for a final time. It was hard to leave, but we have places to go and things to do. Before we left, Scott took us next door to his current project, remodeling and rebuilding two old buildings. One will be for backpackers with four small bedrooms and a common area. Upstairs and part of the downstairs will be an apartment for long term rental. It will be a little spendy, but I have no doubt that it will be one of the nicest places to rent on the island. The second building will be a restaurant and library.
The apartment and packer’s quarters under construction. On the left will be the restaurant. I wouldn’t have written about this but for one thing. The dining area. It will be so cool and it was once a piggery.
Each little pen will have it’s own table and chairs, some will have umbrellas. It will be quite tasteful, I’m sure. Should be done some time next year. The plan is for hamburgers and fast food. Fast food on Siquijor would be anything done in less than two hours time. No one seems to hurry.
But alas, it was time to leave. 10;30 rolled around and got onto a tricycle for the 45 minute trip to the ferry terminal at Siquijor proper. I looked sadly behind me when we pulled away and I hope I get to return some day.
We got to the terminal, bought our tickets and I looked out over the water. It seemed rough, with 6 foot seas or so. Now before you nautical types start laughing, I’ll let you know I had a horrible problem with motion sickness. I say had. The bus trip made me queasy, but the 1 hour rodeo from Siquijor to Dumaguete was no problem for me. But there were two young Americans from Portland, OR that didn’t fare as well as I did. One in particular was quite green.
We got off in Dumaguete and I texted Presco that we were back in town and we didn’t need a ride. Off to a bank for money on a motor tricycle, then off down the road to Ajome and Presco and Lita’s store and house. We arrived and Presco stared in open mouthed shock. He had sent Lita 30 seconds before we got there to go find us and help us get to his house. I keep telling people I can find my way around, and now they finally believed it. Praxy just shakes her head that I can do it. But it’s a breeze. I navigate and she interprets when I need it. A good team. Come to find out my cell phone was out of battery and he never got the text.
One last night with the roosters crowing around the yard. I slept decent until about 2:00am. There was a loud BRRRR, then TO-KO! TO-KO! TO-KO! TO-KO! One of them big geckos had found it’s way into the false ceiling above our heads and was barking through a hole. The din would wake up a corpse at that distance. I opened a sleepy eye to make sure it wasn’t in bed with me, then back to sleep. Five in the morning, and the same thing from a different hole nearby. I jumped up and looked around with camera in hand, but the gecko was in hiding. Grrrr.
Time to leave. We spent the dawn packing, the roosters and Tokos had taken care of any idea we had of sleeping in. One last breakfast in Dumaguete, and we were on our way. As we were getting ready for the bus, Presco’s daughter Darling, nicknamed Pretzel, loaded up the family for a ride to town.
Front to back, Gabby the autistic boy (covering his head because of the noise and movement), Pretzel, little Zach, and Janet. They do this every day, it took me some getting used to. The traffic looks horrendous, but everyone seems to survive.
In fact, I’ve only seen two accidents so far on this trip. There was a jeepney that was stopped in the road near Carcar with several people standing around or sitting around bleeding. I couldn’t tell what happened. And a motor tricycle off the road into some trees on the trip back to the ferry terminal on Siquijor. It looked to me like the wheel broke or fell off on outside of the sidecar. There was a lady that looked hurt pretty good on that one.
Next, we take off for Dick and Susan Dyer’s place on Negros.