This is being written from a little city called Can-avid in Eastern Sumar. We are the furthest we will be from the glitz and hubbub of Manila and Cebu on this entire trip. Or from the US. I’m humming “Out in the Boondocks” as I type away. From now on we are on our way back, to Cebu and for our flight to the US on January 16th. Time is 6:00pm on 12/30/2011.
We caught a minibus from Tacloban with 5 of Praxy’s relatives. Very crowded, and made even more crowded because of the luggage situation. It had rained heavily the night before and rain clouds were everywhere around us. And…there were no tarps for sale anywhere in Tacloban;
so all the luggage had to go in the van with us rather than on top in the rack. Nope, even Home Depot didn’t have a tarp. I think that with everyone traveling for the holidays, the tarps were all bought up. So, 15 passengers, two drivers, luggage, carry ons, duffels, and Pickle’s, Donna’s dog, all jammed in and assembled into a human and baggage “Rubic’s Cube”. No one staying to take care of Pickles, so he had to go. He’ll return with the maid on the 4th of Jan. After we figured it out, we put it all back two more times as we stopped once for fuel and once more for a break.
Trying to take pictures in that crowd was impossible, so I’ll describe the trip a bit. Left to right, front to back…The driver, a man and his son. Next row, grandma Pelicano her name is Minea, another lady, and Agah with Pickles on his knees in a carrier. Next row Praxy, me, Praxy’s brother Amado and the relief driver. Next row, Donna and Agah’s mom Maria Anita, a lady, and a man. In the back, a man, his wife and two kids. That makes…17 plus the dog. And luggage in every extra space, large or small. Egad!
But we took off down the road and it all worked. Sumar and Eastern Sumar are quite rural, hardly any large businesses. Lots of farms and small barrios. The people live a much slower lifestyle and it shows by the laid back pace of the traffic. The mountainous areas were not usually steep and everything was green, green. The road was in decent shape, but typhoons have left their toll on the road over the center of the province. Many washouts and rough patches of road.
Down on the flats and into Can-avid, a medium sized town on the ocean in Eastern Sumar. We stopped and dropped off some other people, we were next, and I assume that everyone else stayed in this town, I found the van parked here a few days later. Praxy and I both had flat spots on our butts, so we took off to walk around town. It was very peaceful, a small market and a few stores. Praxy spent her summer vacations in high school and college here with her family and the area has a lot of fond memories. We took in the market.
A typical market, not very large. Not a lot of people in the area. Some noise nearby attracted our attention.
Two local basketball teams duking it out on the court. The green team was the city team and obviously the local favorite. They were taller, better coached, and quicker. Score was kept on the blackboard on the stage. there is an announcer and a scorekeeper/timekeeper on the stage as well. The refs called the game close and well. I’m sure a long way from home, the tallest player was probably in the 6 foot range and no way that he could get up and dunk. That would have probably brought down the rim and perhaps the backboard, if you look close you can see that the rim is sagging. Closer inspection reveals loose bolts holding the rim in place. No problem, the game went on and the spectators and I all enjoyed it. The other rim was no better, so it’s all even. No long rebounds to worry about.
We walked back to Amado and Maria’s house and settled down for dinner. Fried fish, crabs, rice, and fruit; typical fare for this area. Grandma Minea and myself each got a crab, and I sampled a little fish and ate heartily on the rice. Little did I know…
1:00am I got up for a bathroom trip as usual and my stomach felt funny. I drank two glasses of water and returned to bed. 3:00 am and I was definitely up and on the toilet. I had eaten or drank something wrong and had a bad case of the scoots. 5am and 7 am, every two hours back on the pot. Oh boy, just like Mexico. I was sure it was the water and sent Praxy to get some different bottled water. While Praxy was gone, grandma Minea got up complaining of a stomach ache. Wrong about the water, we both got some sort of food poisoning from the crabs. Neither of us could eat much and both of us were exhausted. Minea took off for bed, and I decided that she was wise beyond her years (89). I returned to bed myself. I was only out of bed for 3 hours for the next 20. Briefly up for the bathroom every few hours and an Imodium every 4 hours. No luck, the trots didn’t slow down. In the evening I was up for a while, the scoots had eased off. My temperature, it seemed up as well. Yup, 100.5. At 7pm I was getting a little concerned and decided I was going to break out the Azithromycin if things weren’t getting better by morning.
I was wondering just what I had contracted; your imagination can run wild when you are far from the comfort of a familiar American hospital.
Remember my first post for the Philippine trip? The devil is in the details. It was VERY comforting to know that I had the very best intestinal antibiotic in the world ready to go and sitting in my suitcase. It truly pays to be prepared and I thank the International Travel Clinic at Pullman Regional Hospital in Pullman, Washington for having me ready for the worst.
New Years eve in Can-avid, Eastern Sumar, Philippines. People outside are setting off fireworks, singing karaoke, dancing, laughing, and having a good time. Me? I’m stuck in bed feeling like dogshit and suddenly “poof”, no power. The fan goes off and I start getting very warm and my fever starts making me miserable. Fortunately, Amado had a generator and the fan was back on in 10 minutes. Noise everywhere, I didn’t care. Dogs, fireworks, people, cars, motorcycles; they all lulled me to sleep. However, the din got so loud around midnight, I think Rip van Winkle would have been roused. I noticed then I was feeling better. I was irritated.
5:00am Sunday Jan 1st. I felt a lot better. Very very weak and not much appetite, but I forced myself to eat. My antibiotics were not needed, I was able to shake off the bacteria that had laid me low. Grandma was up as well and nibbling at some breakfast. We now have a common bond. A shared misery.
Everyone took off for church early in the morning, I hung around and did a little writing. Church was over and suddenly the house filled quickly with friends and relatives.
It was a holiday, and that means THE Philippine holiday treat, spaghetti. Six people fussed over the lunch, I sat in the front room and chatted with the visitors to the best of my ability. English is not readily spoken this far away from the big cities. Here came the spaghetti, sweet Filipino style and delicious. It was manna from heaven for my decimated system and I was able to eat a pretty good amount. Things were finally looking up.
Up enough that it was time to go exploring.
Eight of us piled into a motor tricycle for a trip to a local swimming resort near the town of Oro. The tricycle still had room, 3 more would have fit easily. This one was spacious.
We rented a little cabana and then went for a swim. Afterward, the rest of the spaghetti and fruit salad from lunch. It was a very nice facility with good prices. The owner was a Filipino retired from the US Navy. He pays attention to detail and has a popular place.
There were a lot of other people there enjoying the holiday. And every party had a big bowl of spaghetti, along with other foods and plenty of beer. Some people were getting pretty sloshed.
On the way back I shot some pictures of the area…
A typical rice paddy. I would like to see how rice is worked, but the whole idea looks like a muddy mess. I’ll view it from a distance.
Kids playing in a tree. They were having a blast bouncing the very flexible limbs around.
Fishing boats in the harbor at Dolores with the Pacific Ocean breaking in the distance.
I’m caught back up. But not for long. Dinner time, then back to bed for the last night in Can-avid. We are on the move again tomorrow, and this time to Praxy’s home town of Asgad. The resort represented the farthest that we will be from our home in Pomeroy. Every move now brings us closer to home. We are on the return.