Christchurch, New Zealand and the sky: another chapter in my book of unfortunate happenings
Townsville, Cloncurry, Middle of nowhere, Australia: Trying to get to a rock we apparently can’t pronounce the name of. And failing.
That big, red rock in the middle of nowhere in Australia? I’ve always wanted to see it in person. For us, it means we have to drive back to Townville, before moving inlands. Since we have a late start because of the mechanic, we only do the around 4-hour drive to Townsville that day and stay at Town and Country Caravan Park in Townsville for the night. We end up chatting up a local camper who seems a bit too keen to smoke weed with us, so we go for a stroll into town for some drinks. We end up at an Irish pub for a couple of hours and drinks before heading back.
The next day we head inland on a 9-hour long trip, making a stop in Hughenden, then arriving in Cloncurry around 8 in the evening. We stay at Cloncurry Park Oasis, and decide to head to a bar and grill across the road for snacks and a few drinks. We sit there until closing time, talking to a nice Dutch girl tending the bar. She gives us chocolate and tries to convince us to buy desserts (oh, the luxury), and suddenly it’s time to go back to the van.
Next day, we reach the border and head into Northern Territory. We come up with a game where we wave at every backpacker van we see, but at this point, we wave at everyone, since cars are a somewhat rare sight around here. We are around 140 km past Soudan, when Rosie starts to shake and then breaks down. We are parked at the side of the road, 100 km from the next town. There are several holes in the engine, leaking oil everywhere. Princess Rosie is dead. Two cars with a group of brothers heading out on a fishing trip stop and look at the car, get our details and promise to phone someone, so Rosie can get towed – we have no cellphone service in the Outback. They feel sorry for us, and treats us to TWO BOTTLES OF WHITE WINE, and then, because the wine isn’t cold, they give us a cold beer each, and then pour some of their ice in our cooler and put the wines in there. We start drinking it right away, getting drunk under the harsh sun, watching the occasional car pass us every half hour or so. We pass the time taking some pictures, of course.
The bush flies are everywhere and beyond aggressive, so we huddle up on the front seat and put on some stand-up videos on my laptop. We realise that there’s no fixing Rosie, that she’s really dead. We mourn her by taking a few pictures to remember her by.
And of course, I was bored, so I also did this:
We then have some canned soup for dinner, while watching the incredible sunset and worrying about attracting wildlife. We go to bed at 7 o’clock.
Next day, Craig hitchhikes into nearest town, Barkley, and arrives 4 hours later in a car with an older local, Tony. He drives us to the only motel in Barkley, where we have to stay for two nights until we can catch the next bus to the nearest city, Tennant Creek. The owner is so nice to give us a discount, 1/3 off the price a night. We stay in a 3 bed room with AC, a fridge, TV and a nice shower. We are the luckiest unlucky bastards ever!
Cebu and Bohol, the Philippines: So you’d think that with me missing my most important flight – the one out of Denmark – and with all my sunburns and whatnot, I would have no worries from now on. Wrong.
As the clock striked midnight and the calender said January 1st 2015, I thought to myself: “This is going to be my year. Forget 2015 – this is going to be year Twenty-Christine”
I was so naïve.
Before I share my painful last few days with you, know this: I am very grateful to have the opportunity to travel. I am happy to be in the Philippines. Everything that has happened could have been avoided, had I not been so foolish and naïve. I know I could have been more careful, and I know there are more important things in life. So shut your piehole.
Now, let’s start this emotionally painful story.
We arrive in Cebu and are staying at a fairly new hostel, Le Village Guesthouse. They put us in The Red Room (no, not the one from Fifty Shades), a 10 bed dorm. Sophie gets the top bunk, I get the bottom, by a giant window covered by red drapes. I feel pretty ill, so I decide to take a nap, and 5 hours later we get up and go hunt for food. Apparently, this is mission impossible here. Reluctantly, we decide to go to McDonald’s, after walking around for over an hour and only coming across fast food places and very suspicious-looking street kitchens.
We get back and go to bed early. We have to get up at 4 AM to take a bus to Oslob and swim with whale sharks. I get my stuff out for the next morning – my wallet, underwater camera, bikini – and put it next to me on the bed, then I go to bed and read Yes Please by Amy Poehler on my Kindle before passing out.
I wake up to the sound of my alarm, which is by the foot of the bed. I get up and put on my clothes, but my purse with my wallet in it is gone. I use the flashlight on my phone to unpack all my bags twice, but no luck. I go to the ladyboy at reception and let him/her know, and she follows me back to the room, switches the lights on and watches me unpack everything again. It’s gone. Outside, we can see someone has opened the window by our bed, and they must’ve just reached out and grabbed the stuff that looked valuable. From my bed. As I was in it. Like, right next to my face.
Fortunately, they haven’t seen or been able to reach my phone at the end of the bed. I tell Sophie I can’t go swim with sharks, as I need to cancel my credit card and sort out my insurance. I find out my insurance is not covering me this week. I am Skyping my dad and stepmom and it cheers me up a bit, even though I am more shocked that someone robbed me in my sleep than I am mad that they stole my stuff. I later find out they also took my waterproof camera, which annoys me, since we have to swim with the sharks the following day.
To cheer up and get some new headphones (they stole those too), we go to Ayala Mall and walk around for hours. It’s a confusing place. I feel a bit better after some shopping, and we walk around for ages afterwards to find dinner. We get a pedicure and are so famished by the time we’re done, we end up by McDonald’s, which is right next to the salon. This is getting disgusting.
4 AM the next morning, we get up and go to the bus station. We take the 3-hour bus to Oslob, the cheapest one full of locals that insist on opening up all the windows even though it’s cold at 5 AM and we’re sitting in tiny bikinis and short dresses. I am freezing and very unhappy and the locals keep pointing and laughing and yelling “HI!” and talking to me. I eventually fall asleep.
We arrive at the whale shark watching place and put our valuables in a locker. We both have waterproof cases for our phones, so we can take a picture of the sharks. I bought mine in Laos last year when I went tubing, and I’ve used it while snorkeling a couple of times, so I’m not worried at all.
We get 30 minutes out in the water with snorkeling gear, and the whale sharks are massive. They get really close to us – so close, that our feet accidentally touch one of the sharks’ back as it swims under us. I try to take photos for like 10 minutes, and then I put my phone back in the boat and just enjoy the sharks.
This is sooo coooooool
After the 30 minutes are up, we get back on the boat, and my case is filled with water. Fuck. As soon as we get on land, I buy a bag of rice and throw my phone in there.
We get a bike to Tumalog Falls, an amazing waterfall a few minutes away. We stay there for just a short while to take pictures (now just with Sophie’s phone) and enjoy it, but the Asian tourists are getting on our nerves.
We then get the bus back to Cebu city, where a creepy guy next to me offers to put sunscreen on my back.
The next day, we take a ferry to Tagbilaran, Bohol. Just before getting to the port though, I realise I forgot my passport back at the hostel, so we have to turn back. In Tagbilaran, we are staying at TR3ATS Guesthouse, close to the malls. We find a place that actually has vegetables, kind of, so we eat chicken and rice and a stir-fry. When I say eat, I mean we take like 5 bites and we’re full. All while everyone is staring at us. Because there are like 3 white people in this city.
The next day, we get on a local 2-hour bus to Carmen to see the chocolate hills. I was disappointed to find out that the name comes from the color of the grass on the hills, not because there’s any chocolate around. I am also disappointed, because the pictures on Google looked so much better. But it’s still beautiful, nonetheless.
We take a bike to the Tarsier Sanctuary in Loboc, where we see like 4 monkeys and it’s over in 20 minutes. But they are so goddamn cute! They are the size of my fist with the biggest eyes ever. And when they sleep, they look like Furbees.
After a long trip on a local bus, we are back at the hostel, and I turn on my computer to check my emails. I see 6 mails from Amazon, telling me I have purchased books for my Kindle. You know, the one that was stolen a few days ago in Cebu. I log on to my Amazon profile, something that did not occur to me when I had all my stuff stolen, or when my iPhone died, or when I had to plan our next move, travel-wise. Sorry for being dumb. Well, my Amazon profile tells me this guy has purchased 12 sex books. I will so kindly give you the titles here:
- Science ..For Her!
- Everything Is Perfect When You’re a Liar
- Life As I Blow It: Tales of Love, Life & Sex . . . Not Necessarily in That Order
- I Like You Just the Way I Am: Stories About Me and Some Other People
- Fitting Him In : Taboo MILF Menage
- MILF: Banging the Birthday Boy
- Caught By Mom: Best Friends Naughty Older Mother Seduces Untuched and Eager Younger Man in Taboo Secret MILF Mommy First Time Family Woman Boy Fantasy Erotica
- My Step Craving
- The Naughty Mother Collection – 13 Taboo Tales of Tempting Panty-Dropping MILF Seduction
- So Taboo: 50 Erotic Stories Mega Collection 2
- Caught By My Mother’s Best Friend
- Cream of MILF
….so clearly we’re dealing with a freak.
So I just start panicking, and I call my stepmom on Skyoe immediately. I have to sit in the common room, as some girls in our room are napping. As soon as she answers and I start to explain the situation, I start sobbing. In front of everyone. The more embarrassed I get, the more I cry. I just feel so hopeless, having lost so much stuff and being so unfortunate and I feel sick and alone and I don’t know what to do. The more someone tells me “just enjoy your vacation” or “at least you have your health” or “it’s just things”, the angrier I get. But my dad cancels another credit card, the one the books have been charged on, and I feel a bit relieved once we hang up. Just a little bit.
We don’t even bother going for dinner, but I cheer up a bit as we sit in our dorm and listen to girly pop songs while I “serenade” our weird roommate. We book a flight out of here, and fall asleep after watching The Voice.
The next morning, our roommates wake us up around 7 o’clock. So rude. By 11, we get off a trike and arrive at Alona beach and have breakfast – AT A RESTAURANT! I haven’t seen one in days! Then, we go lay out on the beautiful beach till around 5 o’clock.
For dinner, we have beef kebab on the beach. It’s expensive, but amazing. I’ve missed vegetables and restaurants and beef and actual food.
So, my 5th day wasn’t so bad. This whole ordeal has been an absolute nightmare for me, especially while being on the road. Ultimately, it’s not something that’s going to ruin my time here, but hey, no one can keep shrugging every time something bad happens. I sure can’t.
So, on our first day in Vang Vieng, we pretty much think there is only really one street here and tha’s it. We stay at Easy Go, which seemed nice at first, until we have to endure another night in a fan room, which makes us soak the beds in sweat. I wake up, feeling severely dehydrated and unable to do a simple task like showering or brushing my teeth, so we decide it’s time to check out and go to Central Backpackers. Most restaurants play Friends all day and night, so we honestly spend two days just chilling on a bed of pillows, watching TV. I’ve been in this weird state of laziness since Bangkok, and I haven’t wanted to drink or really meet people since then. It’s quite awful.
On our third day, we decide to go tubing, which is what this place is known for. We meet two Danish girls, Siw and Christine (random that I found another one, since it’s such a rare name back home), and an American guy, Tyler. We all go to the first bar, shotgun a can of beer, have shots, play beerpong and then we go out on the water.
At the next bar, I play flipcup, have cocktails, more shots and probably another beer. You get a nice little bracelet for every shot you do. By the third bar I am wasted. I lose Sara in the grass somewhere between the third and fourth bar, and after drinking at the fourth for a while, I get worried. I have just assumed she was going to catch up anytime, or maybe she’s met some of our friends on the way on gone back to the other bar. A guy I’ve been drinking with goes out to find Sara, but after 10 minutes it starts raining. A lot. He doesn’t come back, and the girls at the bar start to get pissed with me that their friend in’t back, so I decide to swim against the current in the rain to find her.
I am calling out her name, but nothing but the hard rain responds. The river is cold and dark, sometimes really deep, sometimes I can feel my feet stick in the gooey mud. I am scared, because I don’t like deep and dark waters, and because all that I can think of, is how I have to call Sara’s parents and tell them that their daughter has drowned. I swim for at least half an hour (since I wma searching very hard, and the weather makes swimming more difficult) before I reach the last bar we’d been to. It’s packed with people, and I look everywhere, crying hysterically. Suddenly, a few of the people I have been drinking with see me, and run over to see what’s wrong. They try to comfort me and tell me that she’ss alright, but I don’t believe them. I’m drunk and scared. A couple of french guys come around and jokingly say (in a french funny way – so without a smile on their faces) that she is probably dead and it’s my fault for not taking better care of her. Of course this upset me even more, and one of the girls takes me away from the crowd and tells me to go home.
I cross the river to get to a bar with no people in it. A big local family is sitting there, and as I approach them for help to get a taxi, I break down. Still, they take me to a taxi and demand 20.000 kip. I am tired, sad and desperate, so I just hand the driver money. As he’ss about to drive, three very demanding spanish girls jump on board and only pay 10.000 each. They keep asking him to drive faster so they can get their deposit for the tubes back – I realise I have lost mine at the fourth bar, when I went out swimming to look for Sara. After they’ve been dropped off, the driver doesn’t bother stopping at my hostel: he tells me to get off at the same place as the girls and walk in the rain. I try to argue, after all I have paid double, but he lets me out, and I walk barefoot in a bikini in the rain, crying.
I walk up to the room to find Sara asleep. I don’t even feel relieved, I just feel anger. I startethrowing things at her to wake her up and show how upset I am, but her side of the story is different than mine. She feels that I have abandoned her, and I am the bad guy. More upset than ever, I walk out, go to a restaurant and have dinner and watch Friends for hours. I calm down quite a lot, but not enough. I stay up till about 3 at night, still very drunk, and buy an amazing burger on the street just before falling asleep.
The next day, I get Sara’s version of the story. She called for me while we were approaching the fourth bar, passed out in the tall grass by the river, then was taken to some local’s home, where she vomited, before being driven back to the hostel and helped to bed.
The yearly rocket festival Bun Bang Fai is happening that day to celebrate the beginning of rain season, but we don’t bother leaving the restaurants.
At night, people get what they wished for: rain. And lots of it. It’s storming, massive lightning bolts appear all over the sky, and the rain is brutal. The power goes out for quite some time. The ground floor is flooded. The door to our room on the third floor can barely stay closed from the strong wind. I guess no street food for me tonight.
All in all, Vang Vieng was an experience.