Wednesday, September 12, 2007


On Tuesday Sept 11th we chartered a van for $75, including fuel and driver, which took 11 of us to two views of Chocolate Hills and then to the Loboc River Cruise. The chocolate hills look about like I imagined from all the photos already on the web. Still the drive was enjoyable.
Some parts of the drive had heavy downpour of rain, and some parts of this "main highway" is still a dirt road. The van driver below through a 30kph school district at about 90kph as a policeman went past the other way. I thought "we are busted" but the driver didn't even look in the mirror to see if cop would turn around.
This was one of the locations to see a Tarsier - the world's smallest monkey - that only exists in Bohol and is nearly extinct.
The Loboc River Cruise is a popular tourist destination with several boats operating.
They serve a buffet while it goes up and back down the river for about 45 minutes.
As our boat went by, some kids jumped from a coconut tree at an angle over the river and climbed aboard. Tess' Mom secretly handed one kid a stick of barbecue and sliced fruits. It was unclear whether they were seeking handouts, free food, or just having fun. The river is brown due to all of the recent heavy rain.
Riding in the van gave me a chance to take more photos of traffic. This is what I have been driving in. Oncoming cars - and buses and large trucks - pull out to pass and the motorcyle driver has to be alert to allow them room to pass through in the middle of the road. Many intersections are uncontrolled. The rules are like pushing a shopping cart in a crowded store. So far I have not seen any accidents.
My last traffic ticket in the USA was a "sting" where the principal of an elementary school would step into the crosswalk on the opposite side of the road just a few seconds before I was going through, as the police on a motorcycle was hidden. Here cars keep going and pedestrians have to be agressive to get the vehicles to slow down for them.
Prior to sundown Tess said she wanted to go out at low tide to gather shells. I thought she meant shells for decorations, but she meant shells to boil and eat for dinner. We went out in a small outrigger (Palm Boat) about a mile offshore to a "sandbar" where Tess and her family gathered shells. It was well after sunset, nearly dark, when we returned to dock. After dark Kim and Eric swam in the ocean for about 30 minutes. There is very little "light pollution" here, so many stars and the milky way were visible, and there was lightening off in the distance.
When we returned Tess and Tito boiled the shells and made vegetable soup.

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