Thursday, March 18, 2010

Though this is madness, yet there be method in it.....

After leaving the Rajat Ampats, Pat and I decided to make our way to the Phillippines while Josh elected to return to Thailand. We flew from Palua to Makassar to Jakarta to Singapore (in one day) which allowed us to spend some quality time in the Jakarta airport bar with a Belgium guy who was adamant to explain to us how/why/etc beer from Belgium was by far the most superior of beverages known to mankind. We landed in Singapore around 10pm and were immediately taken aback by the quality of the airport. I'd known Singapore was very modern, English-speaking, exceptionally clean, etc but we just weren't prepared for it. Brilliantly lit corridors led us to baggage claim where our bags were already on the carosel (never happened to me before) and was a stark contrast to arriving in Palua where we were informed that Pat's bags hadn't made the flight because it was too full and that we should return the following day to collect them. This is standard practice when flying to Papua we were told..........

After using the free internet at the airport McDonalds as well the the automatic hand santizer dispenser in the elevator, we grabbed a taxi and headed for town. After a couple tries, we found a small hostel and decided just to crash. By far the worst accomdations we'd stayed in so far as it was simply a room with two small beds and AC but we passed out pretty fast. As an aside, many hotels in Asia will ask you how long you need the room for and are often surprised when you say the whole night due to the prevelance of the sex trade here.

As we had a flight to Manila in the afternoon, we spent our few hours in Sing wandering around by the river the splits the city in two, had lunch with a good friend of mine (Paul Candy) who is currently working for my old company in their Sing office, and Pat finally found an underwater housing for his camera to take some pics of our next dive. Like parts of Indonesia & the Phillippines, Singapore has a large number of malls and is a shopping destination for many tourists as two Swedish girls told us as they were buying an extra bag in order to hold the shoes they were about to buy. Sounds familiar.

Now one of the main reasons for us to visit the Phillippines was to discover (as the guide book said) if they truly did have some of the cheapest beer in the world. Allegdely, San Miguel (the pride of the Filipino Nation) can cost as little as 50 cents US and by God we were going to confirm or deny. The flight in was uneventful except for an hour from arrival in Manila I started getting ridiculously cold chills and began shivering. This was not good. I didn't have anything I could put on as my everything was in my checked bag and so I suffered through the next hour until we landed. Upon landing, I even had difficulty walking as I couldn't control my shivering and luckily was able to pull it together enough to make it through customs where everyone was promptly handed an H1N1 Virus notice which pretty much described my symptoms........awesome.

After putting on a longsleeve and asking the cab driver to turn off the AC, we made it to a decent hotel where I suffered a long night of feverish sleep and awoke in Manila, Phillippines.

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