Travels of a Kinnie travel blog

Left Sugar Beach by boat, sad to go though not with the leaden feet of last time; it's easier to go with the finality of a 'never mind' and as opposed to the uncertainty of a 'what if'. The last thing I saw was Dina alone on the beach waving goodbye, and I was touched that her friendliness and openness hadn't changed now she had a serious boyfriend, it tells me that it's unconditional and genuine. Three buses, one tricycle and seven hours later, turn up at Harold's Mansion, that rare thing in SE Asia, a genuine backpackers hostel, and grab a dorm bed for the night. It's been a long days travelling, so I have dinner and a couple of beers at the cafe in the hostel, trying to shut out the loud Dutch backpacker at the next table as she brays on to the congenial owner about how amazing Indonesia is and spouts the usual cliches of how materialistic the USA has become blah blah bloody blah. Decide it's time to turn in when an Alaskan transsexual takes over with a lecture on climate change. I take a shower first and realise that I still have sand from Sugar Beach on my feet.

In the morning, it's free continental breakfast again, but this time it's decent, with coffee, tea and as much toast and jam as you like. Head down to the sleepy Immigration Bureau and nearly fall off my chair when I'm told it'll cost 4,800 pesos to extend my visa by another two months (beginning of December), but I have to do it and it's the same price here as in Cebu. Cheer up a little when I'm sent next door to get the relevant photocopies in my passport done, and the incredibly hot girl behind the desk looks up and flashes me a smile; I'd rather she flashed something else, but then again this isn't Thailand. I'm out of Immigration all done about 25 minutes after I got in, and have a little time to kill before my boat leaves at 1pm, which I do by wandering aimlessly round the mall for a bit and getting some food on Chowking.

The water is a bit choppy, and the boat has a worrying tendency to list to port, resulting in a collective holding of breath followed by some nervous murmured laughter as the boat rights itself from it's 25 degree list. An old man in a black puffed bomber jacket sits next to me, carrying an axe head wrapped in paper and Sellotape, chain smoking the whole way and of course we're carrying the inevitable stacks of eggs. Impressive piece of seamanship when we get to Siquijor as the captain spins the boat round and reverses onto the dock, like a nautical handbrake turn. I'm almost the first off, and as I walk down the white concrete quay, my heart sinks as I spot an army of tricycles waiting past the gates, the drivers with their arms splaying through the gate bars as they shout to get my attention - it's like visitors day in prison. I shoulder my way through them to the small tourist office and something doesn't seem right, I keep catching out the guy there as he contradicts himself, but he ends up saying that I need to get a tricycle to at least Larena and then a jeepney from there to Sandugan where Kiwi Dive Resort is, so I bargain the guy down to 50 pesos and hop in. As we leave what do we pass but a jeepney on it's way to pick people up from the pier, but I can't be bothered to get out now. As we bump down the highway, the bike giving out a whine so high pitched I wish I was deaf again, we pass more jeepneys which I point out to the driver, and in a swelter of guilt he takes me all the way to Kiwis for the same price as just to Larena. I expect to get ripped off by the tricycle drivers, taxis etc, but it's a bit much when you can't even trust the tourist office.

Kiwis is nice, right by the sea and I soon get chatting to the other guys there round the bar over a few San Miguels, exchanging tips and advice. One of the guys there, an English guy called Richie is a Divemaster off to Palawan soon to look for work, which is exactly what I was going to do, so we swap Facebook IDs so he can let me know what the score is, and after talking about and then showing Romain (the French guy) some pictures of Sugar Beach, he decides to go there the next day. This is one of the best bits about backpacking, swapping stories and tips, finding out the real story about the places you want to go to

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