A quick walk around Puerta Princessa

Trip Start Feb 26, 2010
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Trip End Feb 26, 2011


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Where I stayed
Roses Guest House

Flag of Philippines  , Palawan,
Saturday, May 29, 2010

From what I gather no one tried the door in the night so that was a relief. We got up at about 9am and had breakfast of poached egg on toast over which we tried to hatch a plan for the day.  We settled on the idea that we would take a tricycle in to Puerto Princesa to have a look around and get our barings. After a quick downpour of rain, yes the rainy season has begun, through which we stayed well and truly under cover in the restaurant we ventured in to the capital of Palawan only to be very underwhelmed.  We were told that it was the business hub of the Island with the only ATM's available and it seemed to be just that sum total.  We were dropped off at 'the mall’ and took a look around a department store and a supermarket, Andrew was very impressed. 

We spotted an interesting looking church in the distance so headed towards that only to stumble on the harbour area which we had read was one of the top things to see here.  Walking along the promenade we saw a few fish in the water really close to the shore, even a puffer fish which I was amazed at.  We walked up to the church which was lovely and inevitably had a basketball court outside.  After a long walk in 90% humidity we got a tryke back to the guesthouse and spent the afternoon planning more of the trip, god it takes up a lot of time.  We decided that our next port of call would be Vietnam for a couple of weeks then hopefully we could cross in to Laos then Cambodia and on to Myanmar via Bangkok.  We found that Air Asia were offering FREE flights, how’s that for ‘V’ to Bangkok (as a result of the troubles) so booked our flights to Myanmar via Bangkok where we would only have to stop over at an airport hotel if the problems worsened again (the foreign office has now lifted its total ban on travel to Thailand and just heeds caution). 

By now it was getting later and people were starting to mill in for dinner. (Andrew takes over Erica gives up on the blog again). She also missed out that we have actually booked two flights back from Burma one after 4 days and one after about 7 days. Why not if the flights are free and taxes and bags come to about 4 pounds each. We will copy and paste the lonely planet bit about Burma it sounds fantastic and is not just off the backpacker trail but the British and American governments advice you not to travel there at all due to the Junta having a strict military regime taking all the money from the poor and private business for his own profit.  I initially discussed this with Asia expert Stevie Q in Hong Kong and we agreed that it was absolutely the morally right thing to do in going to Burma. As long as our money goes into the hands of local businesses / Entrepreneurs and not the government hotels it is actually helping not only the people but also the possibility of the people rising up against the regime. Mums, don’t worry the crime stats in Burma are very low and whilst you may get followed by secret police this ensures safety as long as we don’t do anything stupid (ok then worry!!).

Anyway back to PP.  We sat down and starting sinking swigs like there was no tomorrow with Bud and his Girl. Bud was a 60 year old American from the bible belt with a serious drawly accent. His girlfriend was about 19 and Filipino. We chatted to Bud and he kind of grew on me after the initial horror. Erica loved her usual question of "how long have you two been together?", the answer was 4 days. Anyway I have kind of got used to it, Bud explained how he didn’t pay his girlfriends but they got to live a life they couldn’t live normally i.e. a very comfortable life, however his girlfriends don’t seem to last long. Bud had been divorced 4 times and started travelling SE Asia probably in his 40’s or 50’s we discussed his friend who had died and he kept crossing his heart saying “David god rest your soul” as well as breaking down in tears.  He didn’t however know where his ‘best friend’ was from although he may have been English.  It turned out from a 3rd party he was from Hull. He seemed very self obsessed but I suspect is probably catching up on lost teen years.  Anyway his deep sentimental religious attitude to life did not stop him from telling us his last girlfriend left him for a tricycle driver before she became a whore. His ethics and values lived up when he kept calling his girlfriend a ‘dirty bitch’ and asking her if she was a whore.

Within half an hour they were both naked in the pool with her flashing to anyone that would look. She looked more like a little girl than a girlfriend of a 60 year old man. Anyway the owner of the guest house was very kind and gave us a lift into town to get some money.  One of the guys who was there on the first night turned up saying his previous girlfriend wouldn’t do the business and he had to send her back home as she was cuckoo.  I think on our final night (or at least as I write this after leaving) I guess we forgive a lot of the talk over the last few days because if you forget the really crude conversation the people we have met here are actually really generous people who if you are kind and polite they will be very kind back to you.  We are just judgmental I suppose and while we can’t get our heads around the sex tourism business some of these guys are simply out looking for genuine girlfriends who they aren’t paying just for sex. I suspect where it all falls down is the fact that the 20 year old girls who are going out with these guys are probably less interested in 60 year old men and more interested in guys who are 20 – 40 like anywhere else. 
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