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Monday, August 20, 2007

Palawan and the Asian Las Vegas

Almost back home...

No more Philippines... After Moalboal (which is pretty boring, especially when you don't plan to dive) we went back to Cebu. Spend half a day there and didn't really like the place. Just another big city. The only nice thing we saw was an old Portuguese fortress. However, the next day we went to Palawan, the skinny, long island in the south west. Arrived in Puerta Princesa and transferred via a tricylce to the bus station right away where we took a Jeepney to go to Sabang, home of the longest, navigable underground river in the world.

Sabang itself is a miniature town with no electricity and just a few shops but it does have an absolutely stunning beach. Wide and white with fine sands even when you walk into the sea!! So we spend some time on the beach and in the sea and did a hike to the river. The river is on of the more beautiful things I have seen during this trip. Lots of stalagmites (and -tites of course ;-), swallows, bats and a ceiling that reaches over 60 meters at some places! More than worth going to!! And you have to admit that this picture looks so amazing it looks like it's fake...

When we left I found out just before the Jeepney took off that I left my cell phone in our bungalow... the driver was willing to wait for 10-15 minutes so I ran back to get it. But of course Murphy's Law works just as well in the Philippines and we had a bungalow on the complete opposite side of the beach as the Jeepney was waiting... So I had a great workout, running at noon on my flip-flops for 15 minutes! Whaaa!! But I made it and it just took a few liters of sweat and some heavy breathing ;-)
Besides that, the transfer to Manila went without problems (except for running into the biggest asshole Filipino in the world...) and after a rather sleepless night we got up at 5.00 to make our way to Clark Airport. It was a long and tiresome morning but at around 16.00 we finally arrived in Macau. Macau is a very cool place, it's the Las Vegas of Asia so it has some huge buildings (casino/hotel things...), but you can also still see the Portuguese influence in a lot of buildings. I even found a pair of Adidas running shoes in my size for less than 30 euro! The other nice thing is that Macau is very small, you can go almost everywhere on foot, so no need to figure out difficult bus schedules or something.

On Saturday afternoon Shos went to the Chinese border to catch a bus to Yangshuo and do a trip to some other places, while I took a ferry to Hong Kong to arrange my visa. And that is exactly what I did today :-) I can pick it up tomorrow morning, have a train at 10.32 to Guangzhou and hopefully there are still tickets for the 14.13 overnight train to Kunming. If so, than I will be back "home" on Wednesday afternoon!!!
Here in Hong Kong I am staying at the Ascension House, a guesthouse run by a Scandinavian Christian organization. I know that you all think: That so does NOT sound like something for Ruud! And you are right! But this place is great! Nice people, good beds, yummy food! And it is cheap to stay: for HK$ 125 you can sleep and get 3 meals a day! Try beating that in this expensive place :-) Probably some of the people working there will be in Kunming later this year so we might see each other again.

Pictures will follow asap, but this computer won't let me connect my camera for some reason! (updated on 22 Aug)

Ciao vanuit Hong Kong!

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