Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Missed It By That Much

Saturday, June 21--In the morning, we learn that typhoon Frank veered westward overnight. The main part of the storm misses us. We did get some wind and rain, but nothing damaging.

We're determined to go to Rizal Beach. We've heard it's one of the nicer beaches in the Bicol region, which is not a touristy area and is not known for its beaches. We walk downtown, trike to the jeepney terminal, and take a jeepney to Gubat, where we get on another trike and head out of town for the ocean.

At the beach, we rent a cabana for a couple hours. The cabana has bamboo walls, a dirt floor, a shower, a comfort room (the Filipino term for bathroom), and even a little sink and wood stove. We take a long walk up the deserted beach. I've been spoiled by south Florida, and the trip is finally catching up with me and I feel exhausted, so I just hang out in the cabana while Di and Fran and Ed go for another walk and wade in the surf.

Then we head back to Sorsogon and rent another van and driver. We head back to the Villa Isabel, load our stuff, and motor up to Legaspi. We check into the Pepperland Hotel, the most luxurious hotel of our entire stay: huge rooms, bathtubs, and they even take Visa.

We watch CNN International and learn that typhoon Frank capsized an interisland ferry, and scores of people are missing and presumed drowned. We'd been watching CNN occasionally all trip--the flooding in Iowa has been headline news, even here. It was strange, seeing our hometown on the tube halfway around the world. But even with all its damage, the flood did not kill anywhere near the number of people that Frank has.

Sunday, June 22--As Di and Ed and I eat breakfast, Fran walks into the Pepperland with Marcus, a Peace Corps volunteer who lives in Legaspi and Fran's close friend. We all have breakfast, and then Marcus leaves and the rest of us head downtown for some shopping. The people in Legaspi apparently are used to seeing Anglos, and we don't get the stares and the "Hey, Joe" that we did in Tabaco and Sorsogon.

This is my worst day of the trip. I'm exhausted, and my throat is raw, either from the jet lag, or the trike and jeepney fumes, or both. I trike back to the Pepperland alone and hang out in the room. But I rally in time for dinner. We meet Marcus and his roommate, Lance, at the Small Talk Cafe and have a great time. The food is excellent, kind of a Bicol-American fusion.

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