And neither do I! It’s 5:30am, and I’ve been up since 3:30am. I could try to blame it on the roosters that have been gracing us with their stereotypical calls all night, but I think perhaps jet lag is more to blame.
The journey here was long, but really quite easy despite that. After flight from Calgary to San Francisco, a 14 hour flight to Hong Kong, a “fun” 12 hours in the HK airport overnight, and a quick 2 hour flight to Cebu, we are so happy to arrive in the Philippines! Especially since our bags made it too. I’m kind of grateful for the fact that the journey here was how it was, even though I didn’t necessarily sleep a lot. But it allowed me to completely decompress, stop thinking, stop planning, and just BE. It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to just to that. I was so happy to watch a movie, take some cat naps, read (FOR FUN! Whaaaat) and simply just hang out! It was a good luminal phase between my chaotic life of working a thousand jobs and always being on the go, to what my life is going to be now … chaotic, in an entirely different way, but totally more peaceful, relaxed and unstructured. WHAT A BREATH OF FRESH AIR! (And literally, the air is so freah here.)
So far, Asia is SO GOOD. It’s the crazy, beautiful, bizarre, wonderful, comfortably uncomfortable Asia that I remember. And I am so happy to be here.
Our first taste of Asia was Hong Kong, which honestly was an entirely new experience for me. It kind of like Thailand, but MUCH fancier. Like, we passed by a THREE STOREY Apple Store within minutes of getting off our train. And that was just the beginning! I couldn’t believe how many buildings they were, and how they just seemed to go up, up, up for, well, ever. We made our way to the harbour area and walked out onto one of the piers. Although we weren’t on the right side to see the “iconic skyline of Hong Kong”, we were amazed at what we did see: the horizon of buildings that just didn’t end. We first stepped out onto the pier amazed to see the buildings right in front of us across the water, so densely packed, so uniform, so tall, so bright, so busy! But then we looked right to the buildings that were occupying the island we were on, and then behind us to see some more. But then… we looked left. We looked left and we could literally see these buildings continue down the coast until they were literally so far away that they were too tiny to see. Our jaws dropped. I’ve heard of big cities… but the reality of this ginormous amount of buildings that continue vertically as well as horizontally for what seems to be infinity is seriously mind blowing. We didn’t stay in the city for long, but we are both pretty content with what we were able to see.
Cebu, on the other hand, is not full of crazy tall fancy buildings, but rather… well, I’m not sure how to accurately describe it yet. We did a little bit of driving around yesterday, but only from the airport to the mall (for lunch and boat tickets) and then to the house. Our friend Denise’s gransparents have graciously welcomed us into their home for our time in Cebu. At first I was scared to have them go out of their way for us, but after a very short time I think we’ve come to the conclusion that they are way more than happy to have us! They picked us up from the airport and took us right for lunch (the BEST tofu I’ve ever had) and leant us money to purchase our tickets to the next island (Mr. Max didn’t let me get my wallet from the car because he wanted to pay for lunch, and Bianca had not yet had the chance to go to an ATM). He played translator for us and helped us get the best ticket, while his wife played bingo in the place at the mall. He had us cracking up so much, he kept saying things like “they eat everything that has 4 legs except TABLES …. they eat everything that flies except PLANES!!” I have no idea who he was referring to, but I was laughing.
On the way to their house they were asking us what we like to eat, and as we are both vegetarian/vegan they were SHOCKED to hear that we don’t eat meat. “No bacon?” “Nope, no bacon!” “WHAAAAAAAT?!” “No hot dogs?” “No hot dogs!” “WHAAAAAAAT!!? Your hot dogs must not be like our hot dogs!” And then they pulled up to a fruit stand and we sampled mangosteens and other exotic fruits while we ordered them from the window of the car. No meat for us!
They live up the mountain a little bit, and, as we were told about 8 times, the way to get there is :
“Ask the taxi to take you to Guadelupe. Guad-a-lupe. Don’t forget. Ask them to take you there.
From there get a habal habal to drive you up the mountain. Too hard for the taxis. So get a habal habal for 10 pesos. Maybe 20 for the two of you.
Tell them to take you to Garden Grove Villas. Garden. Grove. Villas. They know. But don’t take a taxi because they don’t. Take a habal habal.
And be sure to close your eyes!”
Within seconds we learned what he was talking about… as we went up the mountain we were all in tears laughing so hard because it was the most ridiculous thing; the road should only be a one-way/single road, but somehow it manages to contain cars squeeeeeezing past each other, people walking along the side and crossing inbetween, and the habal habals (motorcycles) were also weaving through the cars, people, dogs and chickens. Somehow, we did not hit anything and arrived safely to our destination. Where we slept peacefully until now…
Hopefully tonight’s sleep will be better!