Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sea Woes, Bad Meat, and Russian Cinema

First off, let me apologize for the lack of photos in my recent posts. There's a lot of pitfalls on the road to getting photos online when traveling. I won't bore you with the details. I'll be going back and adding them to the posts at a later date.

I awoke to the sounds of chickens. It must be morning, I thought. But no, outside it was still dark. Where was I? The swaying motion brought it rushing back. I'm on a boat. Why are there chickens on the boat? I hadn't noticed them the night before. Maybe they're coming from some distance, somewhere outside, a nearby island. No, they're too loud. My head was groggy. Shouldn't have had that beer. I had to pee. I'm too lazy to pee. I struggled to get back to sleep, ignoring the pleas of my bladder. Why do they leave the bright florescent lighting on all night? I expertly positioned a sheet over my eyes.

Suddenly, we were docking. Must be the Cuyo islands. We're gonna be here for 7 hours, until 3 P.M. What are we supposed to do all day? The ticket vendor had said they had to unload a lot of goods. But 7 hours? At least this will get us to Puerto Princessa in the morning rather than at night.

Maybe the Cuyo islands are nice. I can do some sightseeing. Check out the town. Eat real food. My bowels ached. I'd had nothing but MSG-laden snacks all the day before, not out of choice but because I hadn't had any time. I'd planned to have plenty of time. Where did I go wrong? I barely made the boat. It was the traffic in Ilo Ilo city on the way to the port. There was a festival starting. It had thrown my calculations off.

So here we are in the middle of the Sulu sea, on a rural little island. All I want is some nice food. There has to be something good to eat here. It's sometimes hard to find good food in the Philippines. They're big on the buffet-which-has-been-sitting-out-all-day style of restaurant, and big into meat too. It scares me. My mission this afternoon will be to find a good, wholesome meal. I will reward my stomach for 25 years of good service, overlooking the 6 weeks in India last year. I'm a generous employer. I want to eat fresh vegetables, sanitary protein sources, and rice without rocks in it - is that too much to ask? The boat has food, but it's buffet style and scary. I am a Russian soldier from Battleship Potemkin. Take back your rotting, maggot ridden meat! This is a mutiny! Throw the captain overboard! Storm the palaces! We won't take it anymore!

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