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Taiwan Typhoons and Palawan Paradise

TAIWAN | Wednesday, 12 September 2007 | Views [1605] | Comments [2]

heya all,

and welcome again to Tania's working holiday journey take two....

hmmmm.. almost sounds funny having my name and "working" in the same sentence.

Alas, it is all good. Our kindi is trying to get ready for a government inspection, so everyday I get to go to school and do arts and crafts to jazz up the school a bit.... its messy, but loads of fun. ... i mean, who doesn't want to get paid to play with paints and paper mache and the sort all day. not bad.

my summer camp work at the primary school has finished, the buxiban work is just that (i'm relearning grammar myself at the same time as teaching them... man when you get into it , English is such a strange language... all of its rules and exceptions), and the one to one with adults is still absolutely fantastic.

I'm suddenly coming to the realization that to be a English teacher in a foreign country you have to be somewhat of a perfectionist... all i's doted and t's crossed - literally - if you don't have a dot on the i, they will take it for a "l". A "d" written slightly asque will be a "a"... and so on and so forth.  And god help you if you do anything wrong ... "Lao sur lao sur (teacher teacher), you haven't dotted the 'i'"..... so I am going to come home with the penmanship skills of a 15th century princess... not a mark out of place!

I have decided to start a "quote of the week" page of some of the comments the kids come out with also.  Just so funny...

today i was teaching the kindi's some geography and we were cutting out continents to place on the map... little Crystal had Australia, and after much deliberation turned to me and said ... "i don't like this place, its too small" (pointing at Tasmania) ... and with one snip of the scissors Tasmania became a rejected land mass... in a childs mind i guess its just that simple... don't know how all the Tasmanians would feel about that though!

Anyway enough about school..

I am still attempting to learn Mandarin, but i'm pretty lazy and its so hard - I have really just grasped the basics - pleasantries, ordering food, asking for jobs, a few expletives (courtesy of Pete , my Aussie compatriot here)... that sorta stuff.

Apart from that... the beer tastes just as good as ever and alot of nights out at the beaver dam have ended up with the "after party"  back at mine, so there have been some pretty big Saturday and sunday  day marathons, leading to very tired and run down week days. but its all good fun!

hmmmm.... other Taiwan news..... oh, we had 3 typhoons in one week.... it rained and rained and rained and rained and rained and rained and rained and rained and.... you get the point ... it felt like it was never going to stop. At times i didn't think my trusty little treddle pedal was going to make it through the water, it was so deep on the road. I would arrive at work each morning looking like a drenched rat and smelling like a wet shaggy dog ... there were times when i would have to greet some of the parents at the kindi and they would give me this look of disgust... it took everything in me not to give them a piece of my mind .... "yes, i stink and i look like crap... but you know what... i feel like crap too, and as surprising as it may sound, i don't actually find it terribly fun riding a push bike for an hour each day through a freekin typhoon just so i can teach your little spoilt brats English.... so wipe that look off your face or your 'precious' here is going to get a "F"
in English!!!! .......

Of course I never actually said any of that - I just fantasized about saying it - it was actually very therapeutic to write it just then... all that pent up anger, calmly released into the ether via the art of writing. mmmmm....

so, anyway , yeh, the typhoon(s).... I have never seen so much lightning in my life. One day on my way to work a fork of lightning came down and struck a pole just 100mtrs in front of me -i shit you not - its safe to say i totally and utterly crapped myself, and my little legs went into full steam ahead as i tried to remember the science of electricity - "would i be saved by the fact that i was on a bike and the tyres are touching the earth" "i have crocs on, they're rubber , will they help?", "what if i fall off my bike from the shock and into the river of water on the road? will i fry?" .... "oh god , i don't want to fry... I'M TOO YOUNG TO FRY"

I thought about asking for a pay rise that day!!!!!

I went on a wee holiday back to the Philippines at the end of the "typhoon week" for a visa run (which was a complete disaster when they denied my 2 month entry visa... but that's another story... and not that interesting, sooo).

The night before flying out we decided to have a little get together with some mates, nothing big, you know, just a bit of food and a few beers...... then more beers then more then more ... until all of a sudden I realise its time to get on the bus to Taipei (a 5 hour journey) to catch my flight... oh, not such a good idea!

I had been keeping an eye on the typhoon status and knew that they were all coming from the Philippines before hitting Taiwan... so I knew that it was going to be some pretty rough flying on the way over ... but you really know when your in the shit when the hostesses (usually oh so calm and polite .." could you please take a seat and fasten your seat belt thank you , we're going to be experiencing some turbulence, thankyou maam!") basically say "bugger you guys, i'm lookin after number one", and literally, start running up the length of the plane to strap themselves into their little hostess seats....  man, did i worry when i saw that....

as it turns out is wasn't THAT bad - it was bad, but not THAT bad! the main thing is we all landed alive.

ok... so seriously enough on typhoons now....

Although the visa I needed can actually be processed in 2 days, i decided to take a bit longer .... gotta get your r'n'r!!!..... so i took 10 days and a flight from manila (on the island of Luzon) to the island of Palawan... which is, as it turns out, the ultimate paradise.  

I got back in touch with my German mates in Manila and decided to meet out for tea - afterwards it was to a wee bar for once again a quiet drink and chat ....... ending in me racing back to my hotel basically in time to once again pick up my backpack and catch the flight to Palawan the next morning.... (how does this happen?... i don't know)

On my second day in manila i met a really nice Israeli guy, that happened to be flying to Puerto Princessa the next day also. We ended up traveling together for the rest of my trip.... And (waiting for my flight to land) he got to fulfill his life long dream of going round and round on the baggage conveyor belt at an airport (what can  i say... some of us dream small... but at least they have a chance of coming true!)

They call Palawan the Philippines "last frontier" and after being there, it's quite obvious why!  Unlike the other more touristic islands of boracay and cebu, Palawan is almost deserted. Travel is by jeepney or ran down buses across bumpy dirt roads.

The days start early.... and i'm talking seriously early... on our second day there we had to get up at 3:30am to catch a bus that would take us the 9 hour journey to El Nido.

El Nido is a bit of a Mecca for island hoping, snorkeling and diving and was just picture card perfect in every way. Days were spent on beaches and boats.... and i now have the most ridiculous tan on my back from all the snorkeling i did with all the little fishies.... but if that's the price you pay , i think i can hack it.

After El Nido we went to Sabang, where we rented the most adorable little hut ever for the equivalent of $5 a night.

Sabang is famed for having the longest navigatable underground river in the world (although recently there has been one found somewhere in Laos which they think is longer) ... we trekked 10km up and down steep limestone cliffs through the jungle, along pristine beaches and  down scary slopes to get to the river mouth (you can take a boat all the way there - but that's for wimps!!!)

the river itself is nothing to talk about - its just a cave with water in it really and you go in and out for about 5 km on a boat..

Some of the food however in Sabang was possibly the best food i have had in months.  All fresh seafood, you name it they have it ... and if they don't have it , they'll try to go catch it for you so they'll have  it the next day.

I got to try stingray! which was ....hmmm.... weird really... strange texture.. but pretty yummy!

By funny coincidence - the world being such a small place at times - i ran into one of my ex housemates ex girlfriends there also - ... what are the chances - on a little island, in a tiny village in the middle of the Philippines... and here she is sitting down at the same little  food shack that i'm sitting in! nuts, huh!

Anyway - all good things must come to an end, and i eventually said goodbye to my Israeli travel bud and heading back to Puerto Princessa to fly back to manila and then onto Taipei

And, here I am .... back working for 2 weeks now and planning my next escape ... yet another visa run... possibly to Thailand this time so I can catch up with Gav at the same time ... hopefully the Thai people will be a bit more accommodating when it comes to aquiesing my request for a 2 months visitor visa.


Hope this finds you all happy and healthy,
I will attempt to upload some pics to my blog site soon
till then,  Zai Gen
Tania x

Tags: Work



Hey, I know this is sooo random! but was searching for info about visa runs to Manila and came across your blog!

I must say your dipiction of Taiwan is perfect! ;)especially about the lil brats! an good to see you having an awesome time!

I live out in Taichung county, bout 5 other foreigners an they all over 40, plus no bars, so i'm pretty jealous on that point! ;)

O.k, back to what I wanted to ask, is it possible for you to let me know of any decent but not too pricey places to stay in Manila and Palawan and any info on that hut you stayed in Sabang??

Looking forward to your next entry!

Thanx, cands

  Cands Dec 28, 2007 12:00 AM


I've heard so many things about boracay. And i believed that this place will be perfectly for relaxing...

Tanya Gemarin

  Boracay Hotels Sep 2, 2010 6:51 PM

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