Saturday, 2 May 2009

Puerto Princesa

Last night I slept with a young Englishman. But more on this later.

PP has a tiny little airport; not as quaint as Luang Prabang's in Laos, though...nothing matches having the same people greeting you from the plane running back to man the wooden Passport Control huts. But it comes close. The runway is tiny, I'm surprised the pilot wasn't yanking the handbrake as soon as the wheels touched tarmac. You leave the plane, and casually wander over to the single luggage rotundel while a man at a school desk checks your passport. I had a brief panic when the number of baggage carts dwindled and mine wasn't in sight. But it turned up.

A few Westerners had gathered, chatting about plans, where to stay, where to dive. We left together, Rik and Naomi in one tricycle, myself and a lad called Chris in another. Three other trikes followed us in convoy to find somewhere to rest. Of course, we all lost each other in traffic. Chris's auntie owns a lovely guesthouse called Banwa, so we headed there. There was only the room reserved for him left, so he said I could stop with him and share the bed. OK, but don't tell anyone. The staff at Bangwa are a great source of info, and I'd quickly planned my onward journey to Port Barton the next day; there's not a lot going on in Puerto Princesa.

Next stop was a haircut and a beer. We had a wander up the high street. PP's a friendly place, and I'd soon found a decent barber and it was time for a beer. A few games of pool in a darkened bar later (they'd had a power cut, or "brown-out" as they call it) and we found somewhere Rik and Naomi could catch us up. A civilised dinner and a couple of drinks saw the couple taking their leave as they were heading for Sabang early next morning. No such luck for myself and Chris; about to hop a trike back to Banwa, our ears were tortured by a painful wailing from the videoke bar across the road. There were several girls and not-so-girls sat outside. I grinned at Chris, and he nodded. We crossed the road and were welcomed to the upstairs by some excitable trannies. For the next hour we treated them to various Oasis hits, The Door's "Riders On The Storm" (for which I received rapturous applause as soon as I uttered the opening line) and a couple of Elvis numbers. The videos they show in the background have absolutely no relevance, it's just library footage of beaches, girls in bikinis and sights in the Philippines. So I interspersed the singing with questions and comments on these, which the crowd found both bewildering (they take their singing very seriously) and amusing. I was always described as the class clown as a kid, and I see no reason to change the habit of a lifetime.

Pretty leathered, pretty knackered and to many pats on the back, we made our excuses and left. I don't remember my head hitting the pillow, and had the bst drunken sleep in a long time. Either that, or Chris drugged me?

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