As you may have noticed, Bond's Blog is going through a revamp to celebrate the New Year and changes in my life (ie: moving from Korea to Canada!) Stay tuned for a new look and feel over the next week.
2008 was an incredible one for me, meeting new people and traveling new places. Here's to 2009 and the new adventures that await. Happy New Year and I hope your 2009 is equally fantastic!
Hello friends! Merry Christmas to all of you and I hope you have a wonderful day!
I made it home to Vancouver two days ago only to be welcomed by an unusual winter sight - snow. The west doesn't usually get more than a few days of the white stuff a year, so this winter storm is shocking and causing chaos across the city!
Strangely, I feel I brought the snow with me. My final moments in Korea had me in the airport, saying goodbye to friends and to a wonderful country, and as I made my way onto the plane, snow began to fall hard. The flight had already been delayed for two hours, and now we had to wait again as the planes wings were de-iced.
Once away, the flight was very smooth. Even the landing in a sun-drenched Vancouver was smooth. It wasn't until we taxied to the gate that we were delayed again due to the gangway (thing that connects the plane to the gate) was frozen. After an hour and a bit of waiting, we were finally let off the plane.
For me, the delays were no problem, but for passengers connecting to other flights, this turned into a nightmare as flights were missed, delayed or canceled. I hear thousands had to sleep in the airport - I just hope the Torontonian I was sitting beside got home.
And now, I am sitting at Starbucks (no internet at home), staring at the snow seriously coming down. This will mean a smaller Christmas dinner tonight (cousins/aunts/uncles can't make it through the snow) - which is the first time ever I believe. But I am thankful to be home with my family for Christmas, and not stuck in snowed-in travel hell.
Anyway, here I am rambling, when what I really wanted to do in this post was to wish everyone online a MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON!
Be safe in your travels and lets enjoy this rare snow while we have it! Snowman time!
There are PC cafes everywhere in Asia. Korea lives in them, and the Philippines has taken to them with the intensity of an anomalocaris on a trilobite. (For those unsure of the reference, click here.)
So here I am, in a PC room in Cebu, two hours from my flight to Korea and 26 hours from my flight to Canada. Can't write much; it's cheap but there's not enough time - gotta check out of Pacific Pension(great place!) in 10 minutes!
So goodbye Philippines, you were an unexpected child but turned out to be an amazingly surprising and beautiful place. I will come back - for the scuba, to see more whale sharks, for the kindness and happiness of the people, and for the shear tropical island beauty.
And if I don't have time in Seoul while I am there, goodbye Korea - You have been a wonderful companion for the past year. I learned so much from you and had so much fun. I will forever be tied to Asia through you. And I look forward to seeing your influence in Vancouver.
Geckos, Turtles, Sea Snakes, Parrot Fish, Nemo... I have seen a lot of animals on this trip through the Philippines - but the most amazing has to be the Whale Shark.
Yup, we succeeded in the Seach for the World's Biggest Fish. And they are big. Really big! We saw two - one medium-sized and one huge. I will post a more thorough description of our adventure to Donsol and back, as there seems to be nothing on the net to help travelers coming from Cebu.
But we are now safe and sound in Cebu - which is actually a bit surprising, as we went by sea and there was a typhoon warning (hi, Mom!) In fact, a boat sank the day before, so we were genuenly worried.
Suffice it to say we are still alive! AND we've seen whale sharks!
Two more days in Cebu, and it's back to Seoul, and then back home to Vancouver....
Well, I haven't seen a whale shark yet. Arriving back to Cebu from Bohol, Steve and I found that the ferry to Masbate (and on to Donsol) didn't leave until Monday. So we changed our plans and spent the weekend in Moalboal, a beautiful small beach town two-hours south of Cebu, on Cebu Island.
But now the boat leaves today! After postponing the Whale Shark Search, we begin it again! Off to the terminal... and on to the giant fish (and maybe Manta Rays too!)
It has been over a week that I've been in the Philippines, and I'm loving it. A week and a half left here, and then it is home - Vancouver.
One of my goals on this trip was to become certified as a scuba diver. And, one hour ago, I did! I finished my final dive with Philippine Fun Divers (a GREAT scuba shop), and am now certified with not only my open water, but also my advanced open water certification. What that means is that I am trained to dive to 30 meters without a guide, but always with a buddy. More on this when I get home and don't have to pay for each second online!
Other than that, I'm fine and the new adventure begins tomorrow - the Search for the Whale Shark! I will attempt to get up to the small town of Donsol to swim with the mammoth sharks. It will be tough though. Tomorrow brings a 16 hour ferry ride north to Masbate, and then another ferry to Donsol. And there's no guaranty there will be sharks! (But in high season - February - people claim to see 15 in one day!) Wish me luck!
Steve and I arrived in the Philippines safe and sound last night late - 3am. We stayed awake till 5:30am, so we could check into a motel for the day. It is a humid overcast day with 100% chance of perspiration. Need to buy light pants and shirts...
With over 240,000 touristsstranded in Thailand due to the closed airports and the increase in violence between the PAD protesters and the Bangkok police, Steve and I have officially abandoned Thailand as our vacation destination.
The situation's just too dangerous and unpredictable. It sucks, actually.
On the plus side, we used a travel agent (Apple Tours) and they have given us a complete refund, and have helped us decide on where we will go instead...
Today, we bought our $600 return flights Seoul to Cebu, Philippines and travel insurance and are now ready for tomorrow's 10pm flight! Once in Cebu, we will spend a few days acclimatizing to the HUMIDITY and deciding what to do.
So far (after skimming thought the newly purchased Rough Guide), there seems to be plenty to do - a few things I can cross of my Bucket List too! First and foremost is my plan to get my scuba diving open water certificate in Bohol. Comparably priced with Thailand, this is where I will add one more "James Bond skill" to my repertoire! Besides scuba diving, the snorkeling is apparently amazing - warm water, over 7000 islands and 350 species of fish - including (I am so excited) the WHALE SHARK!
Besides the water, Boracay has the expensive tourist island thing down with apparently one of the top 10 beaches in the world. Island hopping, river-cave exploring, San-Miguel drinking, volcano trekking... Sounds great.
So goodbye Thailand massage, Hong Kong, and Angkor Wat (another time)...
... and hello Philippines scuba diving, whale sharks and Jeepnees! _______
(Be sure to check out Boneyard #26 over at The Tyrannosaur Chronicles!)