How to not be a sex tourist but feel like one.
Trip Start Jun 01, 2006
123Trip End Ongoing
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But not to get ahead of myself.
The two weeks prior to leaving to the Philippines I spent back in Manly. Tom and I went our separate ways in Brisbane, he, also having only two weeks left in the country, headed with Lola to some more Northerly climes I had previously seen, so to save money I returned to Sydney to try and earn a quick buck
I spent a few days trawling round Sydney's hostels putting up signs regarding friend Roger's work agency. Adam the American arrived for some fun before his departure back Stateside. The rains came in a big way. Five days straight of heavy storms and flash flooding. Standing at a main junction in just shorts and my rain jacket, push cars out of the knee deep water that had stalled was a very bizarre. Then Tom returned for his last few days minus our lady Lola... a sad time... but with a fist full of dollar having passed her on to some Israeli chaps.... a happy time..
The day came, Tom had gone, I said goodbye to the American and headed of to the airport. Its been a long time since my last long hall flight and things had changed. There is your own TV screen, on demand films and plenty of new security measures. I was excited. I found some of this out when the spiky check-in lady told me to take the toothpaste and deodorant out of my hand luggage, when I asked why she shot back at me 'Its just the same as in Europe'. I explained politely that I haven't be on a plane in a long time she asked a few curious questions and the ice melted
The flight was fairly standard to KL with a quick stop in Brisbane, where we all had to leave the plane and go back through security. I got pulled to one side given an 'explosive' check. Also a new one on me, my clothes were swabbed in certain areas then ran through a machine which, I assume, told them I wasn't in danger of combusting. 5 hours at KL then a 3 hour jaunt to Cebu City.
Cebu, Philippines second city, is gateway to the Visayas, Mindanao and the South. For me it was a stopping point before heading to Palawan. The town itself is large and sprawling backed with mountains, With a chaotic dirty downtown and a chaotic less dirty uptown. Pollution was high and not helped by the 35 degree humid conditions.
I was questioned by the cagey cabbie on my way into the city. 'so, you here to find a women?'. After I replied 'no, I'm here to see the country' he warmed to me and we ended up talking about boxing. Namely Manny 'Pac man' Pacquiao the national sporting hero. Now the question didn't come as a surprise
'Do you have the time?' 'What country are you?' or the more direct 'Hey Joe' were how the advances would commence with persistence until you gave a definitive, No. I took to asking 'How old do you think I am?' As far as I was concerned I was 20 years younger than the numerous white predators strolling around. 'Erm, 35 or 40?!!' I took to stopping asking 'How old do you think I am.'
I like to think of myself as a friendly person. I like to smile, mind my Ps and Qs, pass pleasantries and take time before I passing judgment. So, I decided to sit back and not have an instant loathing for all the men who were blatantly there for a woman or women plural
Important: During my 3 weeks and throughout my life I have met many examples of happy unions between 'western' and 'Asian' cultures . I hope that doesn't need to be said. These men though, these men are different.
Enough of these meanderings and observation. Cebu was great. Three days I spent immersing myself and acclimatizing. Sweating, eating, drinking and seeing the sights. Karaoke is the order of the day. Its everywhere. In the shops, in the bars and clubs, on the parks and at home. On one of my strolls out. I passed a back street bar. Twenty surly Pilipino face stared out at me. This may have been slightly unnerving if it wasn't that one of them was singing Britney's 'Baby one more time' over the PA system. The Basilica Del Santo Nido, home to Magellan's cross and Fuerza Del San Pedro were beautiful reminders of the countries Spanish past and strong Catholicism.
3 days was more than enough however and I boarded the plane excited to be moving on to the island that had caught my eye the most. Palawan, home of the........... well you'll have to go onto the next entry.