Philippines Day 8: Maasin… Oops!

“Don’t drink too much”, I told my friend. “we have to get early to catch the ferry to Bohol”. Yet still I am here in Maasin. Apparently I was using old information on when the ferry leaves from Maasin. Instead of leaving at 8:00am it leaves at 7:30pm. That put a huge kink in our plans. But that is fine, since we were late entering Maasin yesterday, we got take the hike up to Hanginan. This is a pilgrimage to a church on the top of a hill. Since it was not planned I hiked using sandals and my backpack stuffed with a laptop and a lot of equipment. It was a hard journey in the heat, but a good challenge. Now to kill some time. Anyone have any suggestions on what to do in Maasin?

Philippines Day 0: SFO and the Airplane

Here I am in Taiwan Airport (TPE) just waiting for my flight to take off. The wait in SFO was not too bad actually. I have been on the same flight over and over again. Every time I go an Asian country I tend to take China Airlines Flight 003, whether it be to Indonesia or to India. I wait at the same gate, I fly into the same airport. So TPE is very familiar to me.

Some new things I have noticed in TPE. There is now a new eLibrary, with lockers and stuff. I did not really check it out, but it is new. Also some new shops, and the best thing, free Wifi at every gate.

Despite the food on China Airlines flight (non-diabetic safe diabetic meals), the trip was not too bad. I think I finally got used to sleeping in economy seats too. I also watched Super8 and Me19 (a Taiwanese Film). I guess I have to count myself lucky to be traveling so much.

Now to wait. In three hours I will be in Manila starting my adventure in Philippines. Anyone have any tips while I am there?

Day 12 – More Cartagena

Two crosses at Cerro la Popa

What to do now, what to do now? That the question we has yesterday morning. We woke up later than usual with no plans. We have breakfast. And then pack up things for the day. We head to the bus and wander off through Cartagena.
First stop, Mercado, or Market. The market here is quite a contrast to the Cartagena we saw before.
I like markets as bustling with interesting people and a lot of energy. Markets also just have more local people to meet and it was a great way to see everyday Colombian culture and foods.
After some good pictures and gawking fruits, we grabbed a taxi that took us to Cerro de Popa, the highest hill in Cartagena. On top of this hill is an old monastery and a great view of the city.
We then made our way down the hill walking and afterwards took a bus back to our hotel. I felt compelled to change before moving on as I was covered in sweat.
Next stop was Central Historic Cartagena. On the bus there we meet two other American females. It was their first day in Colombia, and boy were they pretty green. They looked more like tourists than I did.
Both young ladies were residents (doctors), one from Boston and the other from Philly. They asked what we did, and other countries you say computers, but I forgot in the USA, that means GEEK. We instantly got a weird look. I think we could made ourselves sound cooler if we said who we work for.
We helped the two girls get oriented on to their destination and proceeded to find and an Indian restaurant for dinner. Yes, we went all the way to Colombia to eat Indian food, kind of. After looking for the place for so long, we found it wad closed. So we roamed the downtown area looking for something. After an hour of roaming and some girl trying to flirt Will into eating at their restaurant, we finally settle at a pizza place. We then head back to Bocagrande, eat some more and then head in.
We sure did a lot for not knowing what we were going to do for the day.

Day 11 – Cartegena Is For Rich Old White People

First I want to mention that I told my travel mate that I was going title this entry this way. So I had to live up to my word.

So the yesterday (Saturday) we waited for a female friend that we meet in Santa Marta, who wad going to join us on our trip to Cartagena.

We decided to leave earlier than we had originally planned. In trying to call my new friend, there must have been a communication issue with my broken Spanish over the phone. We waited about 2 hours for her and then we decided to head out with out.
We went 2 1/2 via bus to Barranquilla, famous for giving birth to Edgar Renteria and even the even more famous Shakira. The place did not seem as well glorified as described in Shakira songs.
After waiting 45 minutes for our late bus we made our way to Cartagena. We were there, and made our way to our place to stay.
Now we know that the place was supposed to be out of the way of Cartagena but little did we know how far out. Our poor taxi driver had a tough time trying to find the place. Getting was kind of scary as it is not a place you would want to be at late night… And yet we were there late night. We slept the night and found out we were in a fishing town known as Boquilla, which, when sun was out, an amazing beach area. If we did not already book a place in central Cartagena I would have stayed. the beach here was long and there was a lot to do. Not to mention a lot of touts.
This morning we made our way to our hotel. Afterwards ate something and made some friends of the bartender at a neat by Mexican restaurant.
We made our way to the historical center of Cartagena. I would have thought I was going to see some nice looking Colombian women that I say in Bogotá, but instead, we saw a lot of old rich white tourists. At this point I realized that this city is as far as where most tourists would go to see of Colombia.
After lots of photos we headed back to Bocagrande, where our hotel is, and decided to go grab something to eat. The key was to avoid where all the MANY tourists were and follow the locals. In doing so we found a place frying stuff. We had a potato and egg like sandwich deep fried. It was so bad for us, but so damn good. We had worked so hard to eat it and was tired afterwards.
We decided to take a walk and wanted to sit and relax. We went to a drinking hole with a bunch of locals where some greeted us warmly. We got to know some of the locals. Afterwards we called it a night.
The past few days have been interesting. We don’t want to be with a bunch of tourists, so tomorrow we will make our way outside of Cartagena to see what else is out there.

Day 7 – Nada

Nothing really to say other than had a nice 14 1/2 hour bus ride. It started in San Gil at 6:30am. The bus ride from San Gil to Bucaramanga was slow and we BARELY made our connecting bus to Santa Marta. It was just long. The book says 10 hours, it really took 12. The place here is nice for only being $14 a night. Tomorrow we head to a gringo town called Taganga, a fishing village turned tourist trap, and we are going it check it out. it is really late, time to get some sleep.