Tao Expedition Part 2 – Survivor: Palawan

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

We all woke up hungover from our bizarre Filipino deserted island vodka dance-off last night.  The Juan, our 24 year old Filipino guide who weighs about 90 lbs soaking wet, was feeling especially awful.   Getting hazed by Rory tends to take a toll on unprepared livers so I’m not surprised.   The morning was lazy and calm, until after breakfast when I was walking to the “bathroom” and one of the Dutch Gymnots informed me that she was waiting in line for the bathroom, even though she was physically in her hut about 20 yards away from the hole in the ground.  To which I replied, “oh is that how lines work where you come from”?   If I already don’t like you, I can guarantee you that disrespecting the entire social construct of what constitutes a line is not the way to get on my good side.  I knew I was going to have a problem with these women the second I laid eyes on them. I just fucking knew it.

We all swam back to the boat and headed out for more adventures around 10 am.  Kristie and I finally busted out the floaties that we packed and have been hauling around in our backpacks the entire trip.  I had my fill of snorkeling the past few days.  The coral was pretty day one, but the novely has worn off.  From here on out I’ll be reading my kindle while floating in the ocean off the side of the boat if anyone needs me.   The brilliant Kristie even had the crew find us some extra rope so we could tie ourselves to the boat to save us from floating off into oblivion.  We stopped at some amazing, secluded pristine beaches and had a very enjoyable day…until the pig showed up.


In honor of The Juan’s bday tomorrow night, we are roasting a whole pig.  I’ve been eating vegetarian the past three days so I was very excited by this announcement.  What they failed to mention was that we are picking up the very-much-still-alive pig from some locals on one of the random islands we’re stopping at, and we have to keep the pig on our boat for the next twenty-four hours.  I didn’t get this memo until my relaxed day of floating was interrupted by a terrified squealing pig being transferred via a kayak onto our boat.  Oh, that’s not all.  Not only are they going to kill the scared little piggy tomorrow, they are going to do it ON THE BOAT, and if any of us our interested, we can do the slaughtering.  It was sad, and somewhat off-putting.  I was disappointed in myself because I knew damn well I was still going to eat that pig come tomorrow.  Joy, our head guide, was concerned I was going to try to make a run for it via kayak and set the pig free.  Luckily for her, I was too hungover to snorkel, let alone break a pig out from death row.


We stopped at a cool sea cave that you can walk through (or swim through at high tide).  Our bartender, Dong, brought a cooler of beers to shore so we could drink more as we frolicked on the beach.  Finally, an excuse to yell the word “Dong” all day long and not only is it acceptable, I’m actually rewarded with a beer for doing so.  Lets hope this positive reinforcement doesn’t result in this behavior following me home.  Now that I’m thinking about it, we might have actually stopped at this cave the day before.  I wasn’t exactly taking notes, people.


We stopped for the night on an island with a sprawling white sand beach and a shipwreck just offshore.  The ship was so close to the surface you could touch it from the kayak.  As if that wasn’t enough, they also had massages here!  The Tao Expedition Company has a program where they train women from local villages on the islands to give massages, and then employ them at some of their base camps.  It gets better – we have a well on this island, so its no limit buckets of water in the showers tonight!  Oh, the spoils.  We had a mellow night and people went to bed pretty early.   Dave and I hit the rum and vodka, respectively, and tried to make it a party, but no one else was biting.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Today is The Juan’s birthday!  The first stop is at the the Tao Farm, which is where the company grows most of the food that they use on their expeditions and where they train all their employees.  Most of the employees and crew are young local boys and girls from various islands that they train in English, cooking, building and other techniques to prepare them to eventually be expedition guides one day.  We had a tour around the farm to a natural spring, where we all had a mid-day refresher shower.  We then gathered around the amazing bamboo structure that housed the kitchen/bar for an awesome lunch and some drinks.  Ok, lots of drinks.  A LOT of drinks.


Our next stop was the incredible Napcan Beach, which is one of the longest and most beautiful beaches in El Nido, Palawan.  If that’s not enough, it’s completely deserted.  A few of us hopped off the boat and ran down the beach.  We found a little shack where some locals were hanging out in the middle of nothing and stopped in to make some friends.  At this point I’m pretty much shit faced and having a grand old time with my new local buddies.  I’m calling it right now – this beach will look like Borocay in a matter of years.  If anyone is looking for offshore investment, this is my recommendation.  We told Joy we wanted to buy some land, but were dissuaded when we found out (1) foreigners cannot purchase land in the Philippines, and (2) its crazy expensive.  I guess drunk Rory is not the first person to realize the investment potential here.  Shocker.


Tonight is the last night of our trip.  This is also the point where things take a VERY dismal turn for the worse.  Today will live in infamy as the day I almost killed myself on a beautiful deserted island.  I must admit, there are far worse ways to go.  We pulled up to our base camp for the night at the amazingly beautiful Cadlao island.  This place looked like a dream, with the towering karst cliffs covered in palm trees that are iconic of Palawan.   Our base camp looked like some serious Filipino Family Robinson shit.  We were all assigned to little open-air tree houses on the side of a cliff that looked out onto the water.


I’ll just cut to the chase – shortly after shower time, I took a tumble off the ladder to my tree house and fell backward onto a rock.  A really big rock.  Turns out the bottom rung of the bamboo ladder was broken and so my foot slipped through and I fell back.  Either that or I broke the ladder.  But let’s give poor Rory the benefit of the doubt on this one.  I spent the evening crying and screaming in pain, unable to move without feeling like I was being stabbed in the lower back.  Chef King brought his distressed Queen some food, which included the pig.  To be honest, it was a little greasy and I was disappointed that we killed that cute little pig for it.  Perhaps this whole incident was instant karma at its best.  Lottie came to have a look at me, since she is a Physical Therapist, which basically makes you an M.D. on an island, and proclaimed that I would survive.  I promptly gave up on the night and xanax’d the shit out of myself to sleep.

The moral of the story here – don’t get drunk and climb shit.  Some would argue the moral is “don’t get drunk”, but I prefer to set realistic rules for myself.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Today was a bit of a blur.  I woke up hopeful that last night was just a dream, or a drunk over reaction to a silly fall.  I was wrong.  This is bad.  The name of the game now is survival until I can get myself to an emergency room in the USA.

Step 1 – the Juan took took me to the boat via kayak.  Very painful.

Step 2 – I had to spend about 5 hours laying on the boat while every movement sent a stabbing pain through my back.  Luckily the crew took some of the mattresses and made me a little bed on the deck and brought me food.  I was pathetic, but I had sun and a book, so life was still worth living.  It was at this point that the Dutch Gymnots decided to make a little farewell speech in which they said something “special” about each and every person on the boat.  Not sure who declared them master of ceremonies, but I was powerless to stop it.  It was about as cringe worthy, annoying, and unnecessary as you can imagine, but I was captive audience and had no choice but to listen.  It reminded me of when someone extremely shy with no interpersonal kills has to give a maid of honor speech at a wedding and everyone, including her, is just praying for it to end as soon as possible.  I’d rather watch a snake eat a hamster with my eyes taped open.

They had some very thoughtful praises for most of our fellow passengers.  And then they got to us – the fearsome foursome.  They thanked Kristie for her portable speakers – a cop out at best.  They thanked Marissa for her lovely conversations – no fucking clue where or when these conversations happened, but I’m just thrilled I wasn’t a part of them.  Thanks for taking one for the team Mar Mar.  They told Dave that they were terrified of him at first because he is so loud and outspoken but then they “got used to it”.  How accommodating of them.  Then it was my turn.  I believe my farewell compliment went a little something like this: “Rory, we weren’t sure about you at first because of all your swearing.  But I think under all those curse words is a really nice girl”.  If you are going to try to give me a read, the least you can do is follow through.  An insult disguised in a compliment is nothing more than a poorly executed insult.  Also, you revealed the fact that I annoyed you with my foul mouth, a fact for which I’m now patting myself on the back.  I will give them one thing – they managed to use my least favorite adjective in the entire world.  You all know how much I despise when people use the word “nice” to describe me.  Nice girls don’t drunkenly fall out of tree houses.

Once their little fake and unsolicited expedition eulogy wrapped we all said goodbye and took pictures with the crew on the front of the boat.  Not me – I was unable to move, so the crew helped me sit up and all huddled around me for our pictures.  That crew was truly the highlight of our trip.  Joy is basically Mother Teresa, if Mother Teresa let you force feed her vodka.  The Juan spent half the trip towing our drunk asses around in the kayak.  Dong made sure we always had ice for our vodka sodas and cold beers everywhere we went.  The King made us delicious food and could even be counted on for a decent flirt if you got him drunk.  Hey, in a pinch.  Although the end of the trip was a bit rocky, it was still one of the most amazing weeks of my life.


Step 3 – Get off the boat in El Nido via kayak – this time as waves crashed into us.  More pain.

Step 4 – get to our hotel.  Luckily our hotel was about a 2 minute walk from where we offloaded the boat, so we made it.  I promptly died while the girls went to the Tao office to settle our tab and get our bags.  Thank god for travel buddies.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Today fucking sucked.  Don’t get injured on vacation.  Just don’t do it. Ever.  The only thing separating me and the Torrance Memorial ER was a van, four airports, three planes, and a car ride.  Marissa left early because her journey home to San Francisco started before ours.  Kristie, who will henceforth be known as My Savior, called a doctor to our room in the morning so I could get some drugs for the trip.  He also wrote me a note that said I needed medical assistance.  Our first flight was almost two hours delayed, which gave us about an hour to transfer terminals at the wretched shit hole that is the Manila airport.  We made it with a combination of Kristie running through the airport with four backpacks like the fucking Hulk, and me in a wheelchair getting us to the front of the check-in line with the doctors note.   I would probably still be curled up on the side of a road in the congested streets between terminals and MNL right now if Kristie didn’t drag me through that airport like dead weight.  I was wheeled through four airports, in total.  I got dirty looks the entire time, since I wasn’t 95 years old and suffering from some sort of chronic ailment like my other two-wheeled counterparts.  The long 12 hour flight home was basically a nightmare, but the synthetic morphine made it tolerable.

Complete and utter misery

Relief does not even begin to describe what I felt as we landed at LAX.  Little did I know I was not out of the woods yet.  To add insult to injury (quite literally), my bag did not make it.  I flipped the fuck out and started bawling my eyes out while simultaneously screaming at baggage claim employees from the confines of my wheelchair.  This was after 24 hours of travel.  I’m pretty sure I looked like Lieutenant Dan on a bender.  Here we are two weeks later as I’m writing this, and they have still not found my bag.  I hope some ass holes in China are enjoying all my go pro pictures.  I’m still injured and on bed rest, but I’m on the mend.  You can’t get rid of me that easily.

I’ll be back in April when I reunite with my yacht week nautical soul mates on land for a Japanese adventure!

Tao Expedition Part 1 – Beers, Boats and Beaches in Palawan

Sunday, January 7, 2018

We arrived on Busuanga Island around 3:30 pm and were quickly ushered into a van by a guy with a sign with Marissa’s name on it. We arrived in Coron town which is a busy little grid of congested streets and exhaust fumes on the water, with no beach to speak of. This place is mainly popular because of the great diving sites in the area. We are here because it’s the departure point for our five day Tao Expedition. After dropping our bags at our hotel, we walked over to the Tao office to check-in and get our booze pre-order sorted. I’m sure you all can imagine how important booze is when spending five days on a boat and camping on islands at night. On the scale of survival it ranks just below clean drinking water but just above food.  A few of Marissa’s friends have done this trip before and they all told us the same thing – make sure you pre-order enough booze, and buy extra because it’s on the honor system and cheap ass holes will drink your shit. I had already made peace with the fact that we would be buying extra to carry the collective weight of the other passengers who can’t do simple multiplication of beers x people x days.

Luckily for us, Tao has a new nifty system where everyone gets a scanable wristband that you pre-load with cash and then you just buy beers and other drinks from the “bar” on the boat and the islands for about $1.20 – $2.00 each with a swipe of your wrist. So now I don’t have to talk shit about random people behind their backs in my blog who can’t properly provision while making idle chit chat with them daily as they drink my beer. Phew. There was a welcome briefing scheduled for 5 pm, so we broke in our wristbands and had a few beers on the roof while we waited for the others to arrive.   For those of you planning a trip to the Philippines – Red Horse beer is the way to go.  Mar scanned the check-in list and notice that we were the only Americans on the boat, which bodes well for us. There is nothing worse than being trapped at sea with a ton of obnoxious Americans.  I call that Saturday at home, I don’t need to travel around the world to do it.  I think it’s also called “yacht week” and I’ve been there and done that.  We began to get our hopes up. We should have’t.

The first to arrive was Tom and Lotti, a British couple on their honeymoon. You’ll all remember from my backpacker bus through New Zealand that I don’t really understand the low-budget group trip thing for a honeymoon, but to each their own. Tom and Lotti seem very normal so luckily for them they will probably escape this blog unscathed. The next person to stumble in was Dave – an Aussie who showed up completely shit faced to the briefing. It was obvious he was cut from the same cloth so we have adopted him as one of our own. Next to come in was an Australian family with two young boys (18 and 17 yrs) and, of course, mom and dad. Completely unoffensive. Which is a synonym for boring, but I’m still going to mark this one in the win column.  At this point we are still waiting for the big group of hot Dutch guys to walk in.  Well, I’m still waiting. The big group of seven on our trip is a bunch of middle aged Dutch women that filed in one by one, dashing our hopes at some eye candy with each step. Our group is rounded out with another Australian couple and a creepy Italian guy. I might be forgetting someone, but it’s not my fault if you are forgettable.

We met two of the Tao employees from our crew – Joy, who is super sweet and seems like she’ll make sure we don’t die. And The Juan, a young Rastafarian Filipino guy who is in the process of going for a full head of dreadlocks. His name actually isn’t Juan, it Aying, but he introduced himself as “the One” so we just kind of ran with it and now we refuse to call him anything but the “The Juan”. Try to get cheeky with us and you will pay the price.

After the meeting we ran out in search of some last minute necessities (bug spray, sunscreen, vodka and champagne). The rule is that you can bring your own booze if the boat bar doesn’t offer what you want. And since this isn’t a Russian boat cruise, vodka is BYOB. Now, you can find Absolut vodka in a whole in a wall store in just about any country in the world – trust me, I know – but champagne is a bit more tricky. Numerous people told us to just give up. But Marissa refused to accept defeat. We ran into Dave outside a bar (shocker) and enlisted his help in our search. He grabbed a Canadian buddy of his from the bar and they took Mar and Kristie on their motorbikes down the street to find champagne. I volunteered to sit this one out and instead get a drink at the bar, because that’s just the kind of selfless person I am. They came back victorious, having found five bottles of champagne and vodka. Each.

We grabbed a bucket of beers with our new friends before heading down to dinner. There was a super cute restaurant made of bamboo and lacquered wooden tables that was bbq’ing skewers of meat. I was about to be fed fish for the next five days, which essentially means I’d be eating vegetarian, so I put my foot down and demanded some meat on a stick. It ended up being my favorite meal of the trip so far. We shared a table with a nice Brazilian couple who were on their honeymoon and also doing a Tao trip – but just the three day excursion on a different boat. After dinner we showered and packed our dry bags for the trip tomorrow before heading out to a bar to get a few more drinks. Kristie headed home first, but Mar wanted to keep drinking, so I escorted her back to the Canadian bar to find some familiar faces before heading home. One of the Canadian guys brought his seventeen year old sons with him on a big boys trip, and they were each about ten minutes away from scoring with some super drink backpacker chicks. I haven’t seen grins that big on frat boys with a pocket full of roofies. I suggested they be given condoms, because one never knows with hostel girls, and then took my leave. My guess is those little boys still managed to blow it and went to bed with their dicks in hand. Mar stayed and had more beer and some tater tots with her Canadian motorbike rider in shining armor.

Monday, January 8, 2018

We were up bright and early at 6 am to finish packing. It’s actually quite tricky trying to anticipate what you’ll need in the next 24-48 hours to put in your small dry bag, and then what items you’ll need for the next few days to put at the top of your big backpack, so that it is easily accessible to replenish your dry bag. We grabbed breakfast and checked out, at which point we were told the hotel doesn’t accept credit card. Everyone says that in the Philippines. In actuality it just means they don’t want to accept credit card. I dug my heels in on this one and the surly front desk girls were forced to actually plug in their fucking credit card machine. So sorry to inconvenience you by asking you to do your job. We grabbed some tricycles down to the port where we sat around in the ferry terminal for about an hour with our Tao boat mates and crew, waiting for the coast guard to give us the all clear. Or so we thought. Turns out we were actually just waiting for Guido, the Italian guy, to show the fuck up. I’d like to say he’s on my shit list for eternity, but I have friends that waste my fucking time on the regular so this is nothing new. How on earth he thought his time was more valuable than that of twenty other fucking people is beyond me, but at least I’m not the designated ass hole today.

Here is where things are going to really start to slow down. The general plan is this: motor out to a beach or snorkel site, chill for a while, move on to another, chill for a while, repeat over and over again until the sun is about to set and we make it to a base camp. Then The Juan and some other crew sets up our bed and mosquito netting in assigned open air huts, we have dinner and socialize a bit before bed. Weave into that about ten beers, a bottle of champagne, some sunset jungle juice and whatever the hell else strikes your fancy (in my case, vodka) and you’ve got yourself a Tao Expedition. I should also mention that the food is fabulous and plentiful, but mainly fish, so I’m the queen of the side dishes. For the record, being a vegetarian is fucking boring. I’ve heard there might be a roasted pig one night if we’re lucky, but I’m trying not to get my bad Jew hopes up.  Also, the bartender’s name is Dong.  Which means I am finally in a situation where it is perfectly acceptable to see who can scream “Dong!” the loudest while drunk.  Although it kind of defeats the whole purpose of the game, doesn’t it?

Our first stop was a snorkel site with site with a World War II shipwreck just a few feet below the surface. Let the record show that we made it to the first stop before breaking out the beer. The group of Dutch women started doing flips off the boat as best they could. Apparently they all met in college in a gymnastics club about thirty years ago – they claimed it was twenty years ago, but I’m calling bullshit. If these girls are gymnasts, time has not been kind. Which is why I have decided to refer to them from here on out as the “Gym-nots”. Yeah, I know, my bitchiness knows no bounds.  Trust me, these women are as annoying as they come.  And they talk incessantly.  To anyone who will listen.  About themselves.  And their kids.  And their gymnastics club that they were a part of in the 90’s.  Girlfriend, unless Bela Karolyi himself forced you to do a hand stand on a balance beam with a broken arm to win an Olympic medal, I don’t give a shit about your decades old cartwheeling hobby.  Please shut the fuck up.

Our second stop was what they call a “drift snorkel”. We all hop off the boat and snorkel down a reef along with the ocean current, and the boat comes and picks us up at the other end. The coral here is actually stunning. None of that dead shitty coral that you find outside resorts, having been murdered by ass hole tourists. But you all know my view of snorkeling – unless you have a turtle or a stingray or perhaps a merman to hold my interest, I’m done after ten minutes.

Next, we stopped at one of Tao’s other base camps where the shorter three night expeditions stay. Wouldn’t you know it, it’s called camp Ngey Ngey. Our favorite name in the Filipino language. We had some beers and explored the island and the girls played a little bocce ball. I watched a group of people play beach volleyball while looking on with serious FOMO, since I’m still out of commission due to my shoulder. There was probably another snorkel stop at some point, but honestly I just can’t remember.  Once we start hitting the beers, there is no point in stopping.

We arrived at our camp for the night at a small island with all the running water you can use – which is apparently quite a treat because you can take a real shower.  Newsflash – even if the water is plentiful, a cold shower still can’t last more than three minutes.  I got pretty sick around 7 pm – I still can’t seem to totally shake this bug – so I took a xanax and went to bed. Apparently Mar got shit faced and fell off a dock into water infested with box jellyfish, so I’m pissed I missed that shit show.  Luckily I’ve seen her taken a drunken stumble off a boat before so envisioning that scene is not difficult.  There were some pretty cool bio luminescent plankton (that means glow in the dark shit in the water), but I missed that while puking into a hole in the ground.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

This morning I woke up feeling much better. Breakfast was fucking awesome and I was in high spirits. I just realized I have not yet regaled you with intricacies of relieving your bowels on a Tao Expedition.  Brace yourselves, you’re in for a treat. A flushing toilet is laughably out of the question. We have what are called “wet toilets”. It’s a normal toilet with no toilet seat, and you use a bucket of water to basically drown your own shit.  Who needs plumbing when you have Newton’s law of gravity? There is more squatting going on here than a Richard Simmons thigh burning video. They claim that it is perfectly hygienic to sit on the toilets, but how you sit on a wet seat-less toilet bowl and not automatically assume that you are lounging directly on someone else’s piss is beyond me. It takes a little getting used to. Or so they tell me – it’s day 4 and my quads are looking pretty tight and right.

I honestly can’t remember exactly what we did today. I mean, we did the usual island hopping, snorkeling, eating combo, but I started hitting the vodka pretty early today so if you’re looking for island names, you’re barking up the wrong tree. Most of my boat mates find it odd that I spend all day laying out baking in the sun. I find it odd that they spend the day with rash guards on trying to avoid it. At least my modus operandi isn’t an exercise in futility. But I’m the weird one?

Kristie claims we went to a marine sanctuary for some snorkeling. It must have been more of a coral sanctuary or I would have remembered it. We stopped for some cliff jumping after lunch and ran into another Tao Expedition boat. You know how I was wondering the other day where all the good looking people were? Well, they are on this other boat. They even mooned us. It was an odd feeling, to be on the B-team boat getting mooned by the fun, hot boat. I’m usually on the other end of that equation.  I think the problem was that I filled out my Tao Expedition form using my real age, instead of my travel age.  Next time I’m marking the 20-30 yr old box and doubling up on botox before I leave so no one calls me on my shit. I also can’t help but notice that seven spots on our boat are taken up by a bunch of gym-nots in mom bathing suits which significantly brings down our boat’s metrics. I’ll refer to the other boat as Chlamydia, but that’s only because they probably refer to our boat as Birth Control. There is a silver lining though. I still have my voice because there are no loud obnoxious drunkards to yell over for attention – other than myself and Dave, of course. Also, my appearance is of zero concern to me for five full days. Oh, and I can stuff my fucking face in my bikini without any concern for an unsightly food baby. I can even rub my full belly as I sit on the front of the boat tanning like a beached whale. Is this the kind of indifference that married people feel on a regular basis? Because if so, I might have to get a husband. I’m sure the applications will be pouring in the second this blog goes to print.

We made it to our base camp before the sun went down, and a tipsy sunset photo session ensued. Our shower tonight consisted of everyone being allotted four scoops of water from a communal bucket. Oh, the spoils! It may not sound like much, but looking cute is a such a waste of time that a few scoops of water actually goes a long way. We had dinner on the beach with a bonfire raging. I can’t remember what we ate because (1) it was fish and (2) I was drunk. My vodka sodas started at 11 am and ended around midnight. 13 hours of vodka drinking might be a record for even me. I’m a model for constant self improvement, obviously.  I forced the crew to drink a lot of vodka with me and the Filipinos got SUPER drunk.  Vodka is not their thing.  Rum is their poison of choice.  The lazy man’s booze.  Rory playing bartender with a bunch of Filipinos is basically like pitting Vladimir Putin against Jimmy Buffett in a vodka drinking contest.  They never had a chance.   Our chef, who’s name is The King declared me as his Queen.  If that doesn’t get me some extra pork rations later in the trip, I don’t know what will.  A super weird bonfire dance party ensued, courtesy of Kristie as the DJ.  The gym-nots even joined in for a hot minute.  I assume it must have been because Bon Jovi came on at some point.  Or YMCA.  It basically looked like a dance floor made up of the cast of a season of Survivor.  I’m sure the Chlamydia boat would have laughed their asses off at us, but was actually pretty fucking fun.

In the next blog, I almost die.  I’m currently back at home in California writing this blog while on bed rest and low quality pain killers.  It’s not yet funny for me, but I have no intention of depriving you of the opportunity to laugh at my misfortune, so stay tuned.

The Motorbiking Mamas of Bohol

Friday, January 5, 2017

The other day on our countryside tour, after about our fifth beer, Mar and I came up with the brilliant idea to take a motorbike tour through the countryside a few days later. We asked our driver Paul if he could arrange for two guys on motorbikes to take us to a waterfall on Bohol that I had read about online and some caves on Panglao. Having taken a few motorbike rides home after bars a few nights here in the Philippines, it was clear that girls on motorbikes just have more fun. The only problem is that I hate to drive, and while Mar would love to get behind the wheel, I won’t get on the back of a motorbike she is driving. Because I have known her almost fifteen years. So I know better. Not a problem – for about $10 you can have a nice FIlipino guy drive you around the island for half a day. One would think I would have learned my lesson from my twelve hour motorbike tour from hell through the Thai countryside courtesy of Kim Ortloff a few years ago, but apparently I’m a glutton for punishment. Kristie’s plan was to head to Alona Beach and go diving for the day.

We had texted Paul a few times yesterday to confirm our tour, but never got a response. We gave up and just accepted the fact that our motorbike adventure would not happen. At 8 am, Kristie went out to catch a tricycle to town but came running back to tell Mar and I that two guys on motorbikes were outside waiting for us. We talked to Paul on their phone and apparently he couldn’t respond to our texts and our hotel is incapable of giving messages. We were checking out that day, so Mar and I hauled ass back to the room for a complete shit storm of frantic packing so that we could check out before hopping on the bikes with Tims (my driver) and a guy who’s name I can’t remember – but it was a two syllable name that repeated, so we’re just going to refer to him as Nigi-Nigi because it makes us giggle.

In all the hurried confusion it did not even occur to us that it had been raining earlier that morning and there was a distinct possibility that it would continue raining that day. I’m sure it goes without saying that it did rain. It rained hard. People looked on in utter bewilderment as these two dumb shit white chicks sped past them on the back of some random Filipino guys’ bikes in the pouring fucking rain through the countryside of Bohol. Do you know what pouring rain feels like at 60+ km an hour on a motorbike? Needles all over your fucking body. Meanwhile, Mar-Mar is happy as a clam on her bike, arms stretched out wide, head back, jaw unhinged collecting rain water, screaming “whooooooooo!”. At one point our drivers just looked at each other as if to say “what the fuck have we gotten ourselves into?”. At another point, they actually stopped to call Paul to make sure they weren’t lost. I shit you not. And then, after almost an hour on those damn bikes in the pouring rain, we arrive at Camiguin Falls. Was it worth it? Hell yes it was. It was worth every single minute.

The waterfall first appeared in the distance through the jungle and I instantly knew we hit the travel jackpot. It stopped raining right as we arrived at a little shack where we were told to sign our names in the visitor book – we were the first guests of the day. Jims and Nigi Nigi then lead us into the jungle down a muddied path with slippery stone steps, until the canopy revealed a series of emerald green pools. We hiked along each of the pools until we reached the waterfall. It looked like something straight out of the jungle book, and we had it all to ourselves. I’m assuming that’s mainly because we are the only tourists crazy or dumb enough to attempt the journey in the rain, but either way, I’ll take it. Mar and I immediately stripped down to our bathing suits and jumped in. Our guides tried to creepily snap pictures of us as if we didn’t notice. I’d probably want a picture of the crazy bitches that made me drive and hour in the rain on bike too. So I could put up “Beware” posters of them all over town for the other guides.

We spent a while swimming and jumping into the big emerald green pool at the base of the waterfall and eventually hiked back to the bikes. We breathed a sigh of relief that the rain and stopped and were looking forward to a far more pleasant ride back to Panglao. We got about twenty minutes of sunshine on those damn bikes before, wouldn’t you know it, the skies opened back up. At this point, we were immune. Our next stop was Hinagdanan cave back on Panglao, near our hotel. It’s basically a cave with a big natural pool you can swim in. If there is one thing I love more than a cave, it’s swimming in one. This stop was more touristy, complete with a ticket office. We were told it cost extra to swim, so we paid for the special swimming ticket. It wasn’t until we got down into the cave that we realized no one is checking who has a swimming ticket and who doesn’t. Swindled out of another $1.50. Oh, the horror. We swam around in the cave until some Asian tourists joined us an proceeded to kick us in the face vigorously like it was YMCA swimming lesson. We took our leave and headed back to the hotel, where we bid adieu to Jims and Nigi Nigi, tipping generously for humoring us in the pouring rain.

Back at our hotel, we discovered Kristie didn’t actually get to go out on her dive, because she was supposed to do some sort of refresher course for her certification. We loaded up all our shit and transferred about a mile down the road to Amorita resort (our current resort was sold out tonight). This new hotel was fucking beautiful, with an infinity pool overlooking all over Alona Beach. The check in process was bizarre – customer service here borders on deranged, so we just grabbed some lounge chairs by the pool and glasses of ice and started making our own vodka sodas.

Once we finally got into our room, we moved over to the larger infinity pool where we, believe it or not, continued to drink. We met a nice Italian man who lives a few blocks from Kristie in Venice. The hotel hosted a sunset happy hour with free drinks. We went to dinner at their tapas restaurant which was the best meal of the trip so far. We were even treated to a fireworks show courtesy of a wedding at the neighboring hotel. Our plan was to go out that night, but we had been informed by our Italian friend that there isn’t much in terms of nightlife, so we headed to bed early.

Saturday, January 6, 2017

Today I woke up with some sort of stomach bug. It basically felt like I was being stabbed in the abdomen aggressively all day. Whenever the pain hit I just shouted “contraction!”. Today we are taking the fast ferry to Dumaguete, where we will stay a night before catching our flight to Coron the following morning. We headed to the ferry around 11 am where the ticket buying process was a complete assault on practicality and efficiency. First you get in a line to buy your ticket. The lady at the ticket counter yelled at me for already asking her a question early. I told her it must have been a different white girl because I just got here. Apparently we all look alike. Then you move into another line about 2 feet to your right and give the tickets you just bought to the guy at the check-in counter. At that point, you move to a line ten feet to your left, on the other side of the ticket-buying line to check your bags. After that we attempted to enter the ferry terminal – silly us. First you have to go into the line on the very far right of all the other previous lines to pay your terminal fee. After all this, you can finally enter the terminal and board your boat. We arrived in Dumaguete and basically just chilled there the rest of the day. Because it’s kind of a shit hole of a town. And I felt like shit.  Although our hotel, Florentina Hotel, was fucking adorable. TripAdvisor for the win.

Sunday, January 7, 2017

We headed to the Dumaguete airport around 8:30 am to catch our flight to Busuanga (Coron) via Manila. That’s right, we are braving the Manila airport. But its a quick transfer within the same terminal, so it will be painless this time. I have somehow taken numerous flights within the Philippines thus far without writing about the firearm drop-off desk. Outside of each airport is a desk where you can drop off your firearm before boarding your flight. I guess it’s like airport parking for your gun. Because god forbid you drive to the airport without your gun. Nothing like a big “Firearm” neon sign to give you the warm and fuzzies before boarding your flight. We checked in with Philippine Airlines and got into a fight with them over baggage – apparently we were over the limit and they wanted to charge us. Twice. One charge for each leg of the trip. Do you have any idea how hard it is to fight with Filipinos? They are so damn sweet and calm at all times. It’s like trying to argue with Barney. Or a Canadian. You just end up looking like a total prick. And all they do is repeat themselves over and over again until you give up because, in actuality, its not a lot of money and its clear they don’t give a fuck, so they just won’t let our bags on the plane. The thought of being trapped in Dumaguete makes me want to help myself to the firearm drop-off bonanza and end it.

I’ll end it here, because I’m out of time and am about to board my five day boat through the Palawan islands. Which means no wifi for five days. Which means no blog for five days. Later losers!

A Virgin, a Holy Infant and a God Fearing Seaman Walk Onto a Boat….

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Good news my friends, its another BOAT DAY. We were up bright and early to knock out breakfast and pack a dry bag full of booze. Sound familiar? A morning banca boat excursion is ideal for calmer waters and less crowds at the snorkel sites, so we caught a tricycle to town around 7:30 am. Having walked around town the night before, I had inquired into the prices for a private boat, so I knew the general ballpark of where negotiations should begin and end. Boats are pretty cheap here in Alona Beach, but they also charge extra per person to snorkel with the turtles, so factor that in if you every make your way to Panglao. Although, to be clear, we are talking about a general spread of $5 USD on pretty much everything so it’s all Monopoly money. We hopped off the trike and the first guy that approached me agreed to the price I wanted, so he was our lucky winner. I asked him to point out his boat to make sure it wasn’t a piece of shit. When he pointed to a boat named “Holy Infant” I instantly knew it was a winner.  An entire day of drunkenly riding the Holy Infant with a stop at Virgin Island?  That blog practically writes itself.  Within about five minutes we were boarding the Holy Infant with Jessie and his little buddy who’s name I can’t remember because he didn’t speak.  First stop – sea turtles!

It was low tide, so we had to walk out to the boat through some sea grass, which is known to sometimes have sea urchin lurking in it. Of course my shitty target sandals choose this very instant to break. The walk that ensued was very slow, unsteady and nerve wracking. Pretty sure that’s the only way to approach a Holy Infant anyway. Once aboard we realized we forgot to rent some snorkel gear, but Jessie insisted we could get some once we reached Balicasag island. So off we went on the Holy Infant with our God fearing seaman. I made that up on the boat and thought it was hilarious that I managed to include god and seaman in the same sentence. The girls were not nearly as amused. Tough crowd. We embarked on our journey thinking that we were pretty fucking special for getting to ride on the Holy Infant, until we passed a banca boat named Holy Infant 2. Upon arrival at Balicasag island, we noticed about five other boats named Holy Infant or Holy Infant 2. It was disappointing to say the least. The majority of Filipinos are Catholics, so I would think they could at least spread the wealth of boat names among all those saints.  Feeling rather basic at this point, we popped a bottle of champagne to lift our spirits for a little pre-snorkeling warm up.

We got to Balicasag island and Jessie called over a man in a canoe to rent us some snorkel gear and take us to see the turtles. The price we were given here was higher than the price we were told back in Alona Beach, so I got pissed and an argument ensued.  Sure, we’re only talking about a couple of bucks, but I do not take kindly to people trying to fuck with me and my money just because I’m a white girl and a tourist.  The snorkel man was also supposed to be our guide for snorkeling with the sea turtles, but at that point I decided I just didn’t like his fucking face – it was dishonest – and we told him to kick rocks and asked Jessie to get us a different guide. Guide #2 was a young, innocent looking boy who didn’t piss me off, so he was the lucky winner. We got into his little canoe and took it to shore to get into a slightly larger canoe (which I’m pretty sure was the ass hole’s canoe), which we then took over to the snorkel site. Someone told us it was our guide’s birthday.  I’m pretty sure they tell every boat that to get a better tip.  Chill out bro, I’m from the US, I’m good for a decent tip if nothing else.  If you are wondering why moving to canoe was necessary, as I was, it is apparently because you need a special permit to be in the area with the turtles and only the dive boats have them. Basically, it’s just a way to get more money out of tourists, but that’s the game so we played along.

Let me preface this next part by informing you that I fucking love turtles.  I think you have to be a sociopath not to.  I also grew up with a bad ass desert tortoise name Mr. T who is a straight fucking gangster.  He punks dogs and bites people’s toes.  As we we were paddling along our guide yelled “turtle!” and pointed to the water, so Kristie and I quickly threw ourselves overboard and the hunt began. Mar was having some snorkel difficulties, so she joined a little later. The next half an hour or so consisted of us running down turles as fast as possible until our guide yelled at us to stop from swimming too far out into the area where small sharks like to hang out. We saw about ten turtles in total, and I managed to get selfies with two of them.  At one point I was almost close enough to reach out and touch one.  I did not – because I wouldn’t appreciate weird creatures who think I’m cute randomly touching me as I swim either.  It was definitely the highlight of my trip thus far. Satisfied with our hunting skills, we returned to our big boat and made our way to the next stop – Virgin Island.

Another island, another bottle of champagne. We pulled up to Virgin Island, which boats a beautiful, white sprawling sand bar with a few makeshift bamboo shacks selling coconuts, fried bananas, fresh sea creatures and, most importantly, beer. There was a big sign that said “Virgin Island”. We proceeded to desecrate it with inappropriate pictures. A Filipino guy asked to take a picture with us. I told him it would be 100 pesos per girl and he actually started to get his money out. Apparently non-virgins can demand a high price here on Virgin Island. I obviously did not take his money ($2 USD for my dignity – methinks not) but we obliged with a pic anyway. We bought some beers for our crew and noticed an instant improvement in their demeanor. While blasting our music  an impromptu dance party ensued on our boat. Even the guy who doesn’t talk busted out some sweet moves.  The Filipino captains and crews of the other boats gave us thumbs up and made heart shapes at us with their hands. Let it be known that Rory, Kristie and Mar-Mar were the undisputed fun queens of Virgin Island.

Back at Alona Beach, we had a late lunch at a Greek cafe called “Heros” which was out of water, but luckily not out of beer. Kristie and I took shots of vodka from a water bottle that, ya know, we just happened to have with us. One can never be sure when the need for an impromptu swig of vodka will strike. Back at our resort, we all scattered into various stages of swimming in the pool and napping. Mar and Kristie went to get massages before dinner. We ate another mediocre meal. We have accepted that good food in the Philippines is just hard to come by.  Thats ok, we didn’t come for the food. After dinner I sat outside creeping on a wedding and blogging while listening to speeches. The maid of honor’s was a fucking train wreck. It was her sister. That’s the problem with having to make your sister the maid of honor, isn’t it? Nine times out of ten, you have friends that are far more entertaining than your sister. Luckily I have two brothers who are funny as fuck and no sisters that can subject me to the indentured servitude know as being the maid of honor.

Tomorrow Marissa and I decide to put together our own little DIY tour and turns out to be Something Different, if you know what I mean. Kim Ortloff – I know I’ve at least piqued your excitement.

The Bohol Adventures of Carmen SanDiego

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

It’s countryside tour day! Today we’ll be hitting the main tourist sites on the island of Bohol, chauffeured by a friend of a friend of the guy who drove us to the Cebu ferry terminal yesterday. We finally awoke to some beautiful clear skies for the first time in a few days. After our obligatory massacre at the breakfast buffet, we were picked up by a lovely Filipino man named Paul who is a native here on Bohol. To be clear, we are staying on Panglao island, which is the largest island off the coast of Bohol, which is a big island off the coast of Cebu. But since the entire damn country is and island off an island off an island, why split hairs?

Our first stop of the day was the chocolate hills – which is a weird geological formation of about 1200 or 1700 conical mounds of limestone sprinkled throughout the countryside. The numbers depends on who you ask. It basically looks like the ground grew a shit load of boobs all over the place. In the dry season they turn brown, hence the name, however in the current wet season they are a beautiful green. I inquired as to the cause of these formations, under the assumption that the answer would be geological in nature. No, no my friends. Let me tell you a story about a Filipino slut named Carmen, who fell in love with a giant. Then one of two things happened: (1) she banged another giant and he cried tears which turned into the chocolate hills, or (2) she banged another giant and they got into a fight with mud balls which turned into the chocolate hills. If those seem a bit far fetched, there is a third, far more viable theory: Dinosaur poop. We obviously decided on the slut and the giants. Carmen SanDiego, you little minx.

First order of business was to take these earth boobs for a test drive – with some ATVs and dune buggies. We ended up getting one ATV and one dune buggy, because they don’t let two people on an ATV. I obviously did not drive because (1) I hate driving, and (2) perks of having a bum shoulder mean I don’t have to. So Kristie is manning the dune buggy with me in tow and Mar on the quad bike. We leave the little road side stand and off we go through the chocolate hills. It was a dirty ride, as the path was muddy from the typhoon that hit earlier in the week (the same one that turned us into drunk, wet club rats on New Years Eve).

About a third of the way through our drive, Kristie and I hear a “pop” and our dune buggy dies. The guide calls someone to bring us a new one, but surprise, they are fresh out. Being the problem solvers that we are, I hop on Mar’s ATV and Kristie takes the wheel of the guide’s ATV. The poor guy had to ride side saddle behind Kristie. Mar then decided to make that countryside tour her bitch and floor it, effectively becoming our new guide, while I yelled “later losers!” while she cut off random tourists on a muddy dirt road. We are such fucking liabilities. We went back to the roadside stand and demanded some money back. They sales girls did their best to duck us, but we persisted and were rewarded with half our money back. Which was like $10. Hello, beer money. You didn’t honestly expect us to spend a day being basic tourists without getting drunk, did you?

We found this in a little cave and chugged our beers

Next order of business, pick up some beers on the way to the chocolate hills viewpoint. As if I didn’t love the Philippines enough already, you can buy beers out of the window of your car from random stands on the side of the road. Paul dropped us off at the viewpoint, where we trekked up the 200+ stairs to get to the viewing platform. The other tourists commended us on our resourcefulness in bringing beers for the journey. I swear, it’s as if I fucking invented drinking while touring everywhere I go. How do these people not bring or buy refreshments when being shuttled around by a tour guide? It’s fucking baffling. They obviously want to get liquored up, or they wouldn’t be staring at the beers in our hands with foam at the mouth. And my disdain for the general population is once again bolstered.

Our next stop was to see the Tarsiers, which are the smallest primates on earth. If golem had a baby with a spider monkey, it would look like a Tarsier. These little fuckers walk a seriously fine line between cute and creepy. Mar and Kristie say cute, but I’m on the fence. They are nocturnal and they are fucking terrified of everything. Loud noises, their own shadows, you name it. If they are subjected to enough loud noises or activity they will get so stressed out that they will actually commit suicide. Usually by banging their weird little heads against a tree. So naturally the conservation effort here on Bohol includes selling admission to obnoxious (and sometimes drunk) tourists to creep on them. It’s no wonder they are endangered. I hate to state the obvious here people, but natural selection. This was a fifteen minute stop at best. Walk around, look at these poor little creatures who are clearly terrified, feel bad for them, get out. One Italian couple had a child running around screaming. Finally, I have found another primate who wants to bang its head against a wall at the sound of misbehaved children. One more point for evolution.

Next stop – hanging bridges. It’s exactly what it sounds like, you cross some sketch looking bridges over a river. Obviously we needed more beers before crossing the very possibly unstable bridge, because tourism. Bridge selfies ensued. Our last stop of the day was a church. We specifically mentioned to Paul that we weren’t into the church scene, but he really wanted us to see this one. It was currently being rebuilt after having crumbled during an earthquake a few years ago. We needed to pee anyway, so we figured we’ll take a piss in the church, Paul will think we felt the Holy Spirit, everyone is happy. Earlier in the day Marissa asked Paul if he’s ever met a Jewish person. When the answer was no, she very excitedly informed him that it was his lucky day because he has two drunk ones in the backseat. So I think it’s safe to assume his reasoning for our stop at the church. Sorry Paul, it’s gonna take a lot more than a half-built church who’s women bathroom doesn’t open until 1 pm for us to join your ranks. By the way, we used the men’s. This bladder waits for no one, not even at church.

We headed back to the hotel, stopping for champs on the way because, unlike the rest of us primates who are composed of primarily water, Mar-Mar is about 60% champagne. I got a massage before dinner. We ate a mediocre free buffet and went to bed around 9 pm.

Sunset from our room


What goes downriver must come up

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Today we awoke to the sun shining in Noosa. We didn’t have to catch our bus to Brisbane until that afternoon, so we headed to Noosaville, which sits along the beautiful Noosa river, in search of paddle board rentals. A bus ride and AUD 30 later we were the proud renters of two stand up paddle boards for the next two hours.

Noosa River
Noosa River
We were told to go up river against the current, so that our way back would be easier, which makes perfect sense. However, up the river was home to the damn yacht club it seemed – we were actually almost killed by a jet ski tour of about twenty fucking idiots who looked like the only thing they’d ever driven was a mario cart. Since anything that goes faster than a kayak is no bueno when you are on a SUP, we switch directions, made it across the the veritable nautical autobahn, and headed for the lovely and quiet section of the river. Stina had a bit of a wobble while trying to admire her lovely surroundings (or a big ass catamaran with lust in her eyes) and took the best fall off a paddle board I have ever seen. Homegirl went down like a starfish, face first, a full frontal flop. She recovered nicely and I resisted the urge to fall of my board in a fit of laughter. It was gorgeous and peaceful, nothing but a few house boats, lots of nature, and us. I was in heaven. Until we turned around. Holy shit. Apparently once you start paddling upstream the river is no longer filled with water – It is now peanut butter. We sounded like the damn Williams sisters at Wimbledon with each stroke we took. It took about five minutes for me to drop to my knees like a choir boy on Sunday. I later conferred with Stina and apparently we both employed the “count to ten strokes on each side, then switch” routine. I contemplated playing dead on my board until someone took pity on my pathetic ass, but then I remembered that Aussie’s only give half a fuck, and Rory in a bikini is not half a fucks worthy, despite my great tan, so I better just keep paddling. And paddle I did. My little heart out. The only thing that could be heard above the gale force winds was the occasional whimper from Stina or I. By the time we made it back to the rental place, we were near tears. I tried to bribe a few 10 year old boys into carrying my board back. Apparently they had better sources of income. So Stina and I lay on our boards like beach wales and slowly swam our way in.

After this, our millionth failed attempt at a workout, we lazed around by the lake and ate our 45th hand-packed salami sandwiches of the trip before it was time to head back to grab our shit and catch our bus. Some chicks on the bus found out there was no wifi and threw a fit. I tried to explain to them that their ticket clearly states that greyhound would ATTEMPT to provide wifi on all buses and that was therefore not a guarantee for which they could seek reimbursement. But my words fell on the deaf ears of fucking morons, so I gave up. Sorry Greyhound, those fuck faces are your problem. Stina kept quiet and rolled her eyes. I am starting to suspect she has an even lower tolerance for stupidity than I do, which is a feat. Only difference is that I can fake nice really well (a trait I acquired during childhood – long story) whereas Stina will wear her contempt for you on her face at all times. It’s kind of amazing. When Rory is nice cop, you need to reassess your life. And enroll in Rory Boston’s “How not be a loser” seminar. For the low, low price of [something I have not yet figured out, but it ain’t low].

We contemplated spending the night watching TV in our room. After all, we had been through a traumatic paddle board experience. But since we only had a few hours in Brissy we decided to get off our fat, lazy asses and go to dinner. Dinner was fab. Stina adopted a goat cheese and spinach croquette as her child (she is registered at fatties-r-us), we through back at pitcher of Sangria, and then off to bed. I dreamt that I lost all my bathings suits the day before our Whitsundays boat trip. I am a pessimist even when unconscious.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The search for a decent boozy brunch continues…this time in Brissy. We headed down to Southbank in search of a little beach time at the lagoon and peeps getting trashed. We found neither, as the sun didn’t come out and I’m convinced this “Sunday Session” thing is a myth. All people talk about is how Aussies know a good Sunday Session. I’m calling bullshit on this right now. These morons don’t even know what a mimosa is. And the restaurant we went to, with a full bar, wasn’t licensed to serve booze before 10am, which is a problem we have run into before. These people think they party on Sundays when you can’t even get a drink before 10am? I’ve been roofied before 10am in Hermosa. Get your game together Australia.

Bisbane Southbank
Bisbane Southbank
Looking back, it would have made more sense to pose between the B and the R....
Looking back, it would have made more sense to pose between the B and the R….
A gloomy Brisbane
A gloomy Brisbane

I will give Australia one thing – the most amazing breakfast called “avo mash”. Our Canadian friends from Fraser told us about it so we sought it out today. Basically it consists of sourdough toast topped with avocado mashed with chunks of feta cheese, arugula, onion, and lemon. It’s heaven on bread. Not that bread needs any help. We headed back to catch the noon train to the airport for our flight to Airlie Beach (Gateway to the Whitsundays!!!). On the train there was a child crying. I gave the kid a stern look at shook my head. This littler girl shut up so fast you would have thought I was holding her barbies ransom. On the plane, Stina was sitting next to the most horrid child on the face of the earth. I did the same thing and it totally worked until her dumb ass mother moved her to the window seat and I could no longer put the fear of god in her. So it’s official, children are silenced by their fear of me. That will come in handy one day, mark my words.

We arrived in Airlie Beach, caught our transfer into town and checked in to our hostel. Our “deluxe” room looks like the jail cell that is given to mobsters who bribe the warden – large and roomy with the poor folk in another wing, but you are still in jail. We headed down to check
out the lagoon, which rocks, and the back to the room for showers and off to beers around 6pm. I think we shot our wad a bit too quickly, because by 8:30 we were ready for bed. And so that is what we did. We went to bed. No one wants to be hungover on a boat anyway. Oh, guess who is saying at our hostel? B+ team America from Fraser Island! The name of the game is AVOIDANCE. Especially since we now know that Stina won’t be able to conceal her disgust. Me on the other hand, I could walk right up to them and say “omg where did you get that bracelet, I love it!”. When in actuality it is the ugliest effing bracelet I have ever seen. See what I did there?

We won’t have any wifi on our boat, so it’ll be a few days before the next post. But that post will include sailing the whitsundays, so it’ll be worth the wait for the pictures alone.

Tribal Council Has Spoken – You’ve Been Voted Off The Island

Friday, January 9, 2015

Today I was awoken by a didgeridoo to the noggin, as Chet got a little carried away. Per usual, Stina and I dressed, packed, and ate breakfast in about 6 minutes and then waited an hour for everyone else to get a fucking clue. While we were waiting, I thought I saw something out of the corner of my eye. My first thought was that it was an island mirage, but upon closer inspection I realized that it was, in fact, a BEER BONG. Thats right, I had been camping with a beer bong the past two days and had no idea. How was “…and here is our beer bong” skipped over in the base camp orientation? Despite it being 7:30am, it was calling my name. Luckily we had a few beers left and so much to the horror of the staff, I hit that. I hit it hard. And I hit it well. Nothing lifts my spirits like a beer bong with breakfast. I then scolded the staff for not informing us that they had a beer bong. One guy tried to defend himself. But I explained that if he was a guest in my house, I would have promptly offered him a beer bong upon his arrival as that is just good manners. There was no arguing with my flawless reasoning and so he hung his head in shame.

At 8am we were off to Lake McKenzie, which is the island’s most famous post-card worthy sight. The night before we agreed with the Canadians that the party car (which is what we called any car the A-team was in)

Party Car!!!
Party Car!!!
would be a country car, and so we blasted the country music. The Brits were very agreeable, bless their hearts, and suffered through my country DJ’ing with smiles on their faces. A bumpy hour drive through the forest and suddenly the foliage opened up to reveal a stunning crystal-blue lake. An oasis in the middle of a forest on a beautiful island off the coast of Australia. If this is heaven, take me to church.
Lakefront Beachin' with the A-team
Lakefront Beachin’ with the A-team
Now, apart from being beautiful, it is said that this lake is the fountain of youth and the sand makes your skin softer and your hair more luscious. You all know I’d probably jump in a pit of dog shit if I had a chance at getting one over on old father time. But alas, I still look the same, like a sprite 25 year old. I feel as though I’ve been lied to.
Lake Mackenzie Beach Day
Lake Mackenzie Beach Day
Fountain of youth
Fountain of youth
In my element
In my element

Now, today Stina and I had to make a list of shit that we need to teach this crew when they attend the “how not to be a loser” seminar with Prof. Rory Boston. This list is inclusive but not exhaustive, as these people need work. Lesson 1: how to get your lazy ass in and out of a car. I’ve seen sheep be herded into a pen through one tiny opening faster, and these ass holes had four doors. Lesson 2: How to have some fucking urgency in your life. Seriously, where is the urgency? How is it possible that people go through their entire lives at a snails pace and still manage to complete tasks such as bathing, feeding themselves, and earning a living? Do people actually enjoy spending their entire lives in a logistical nightmare waiting for someone like me to heard them? Because I feel I am perpetually stuck in a line behind someone who is paying in pennies and counting them out one by one. Do you want to know what I do with pennies? I throw them away. I literally thrown them in the trash. Because they are a waste of fucking time. Lesson 3: How to wipe your ass. I’d like to think that this doesn’t need to be covered, but based on what I’ve seen, I think some of these people may benefit from a quick “wipe front to back” tutorial. Just to be safe.

After the lake we went for a forest walk to look at some tree’s (refer to yesterday’s post re: my hippy guide) and had lunch. Then it was time for the drive back to Noosa, which consisted of about 3 hours of driving along a beautiful beach. The Brits were headed to a different destination so we bid them goodbye but had some extra seats in our car. And who jumped in? That’s right – the American B+ team. We then endured three hours of “take a picture of me with my head out the window!” and “Can you go pro video me riding in the car?!”. At one point the Touchy Girl called her boyfriend for a catch up with 6 other people in the car. No, you’re schmoopie! Touchy girl put her hand on Stina’s shoulder at one point and poor Stina looked like she was about to crawl out of her skin. I was actually waiting for her to flip her shit on them and just cheer her on, but she kept her cool. By the time we made it back to Noosa we hopped out of our car as soon as we were close enough to walk home. We got our pad thai on before heading back to the hostel and were in bed by 10pm.

Getting weird with the dropbear mascot
Getting weird with the dropbear mascot

Death by Kayak in Byron

Today is Sunday, January 4, 2015. Today Stina and I double puked off the side of a kayak. And had to be towed to shore. I know you are all a little confused as to how we got here, so let me take you back. Back to last night….

Tonight was Rory and Stina “hit the town” party night. When the big 3-0 is only a few months away from sucking all joy from your life and replacing it with cellulite, you have to plan these nights well in advance. Because you can’t do it 5 times a week like you could when you were 19. Let me re-phrase, you shouldn’t do it 5 times a week. That shit ain’t cute on 30. The way I drank, it wasn’t even cute on 19. But fuck all that near 30 talk, because tonight, I’m 25. Going-out Rory is always 25. Are you rolling your eyes right now? I deserve that. Whatever, I’m 25 and I JUST WANNA DANCE! After fighting with the cunts for the shower and chugging a few bottles of wine, we headed into town at 8:30pm. The cunts, you see, finally woke up from their lighthouse-induced coma so that they could shower and promptly return to laying in bed sexting. I mean texting. See ya later, suckers. We made a bee-line for Beach Hotel, as planned the previous night. We grabbed a drink and started looking around trying to decide what group of boys to shamelessly hit on first. Just then a group of Aussie cougars came up to us. Well, two cougars and their B-team friend, who was more like a lioness. The cougars told us they were staying IN A HOSTEL. I about choked on my drink. Homegirls were knocking on 40. I can only imagine what fucked up shit they are doing to unsuspecting young tourists boys at that hostel. But then lioness came into town today and made them move to an air bnb, because she has birthed a child and has no fake tits and can’t be caught dead in a hostel (good for you, lioness). Apparently they are planning a trip to LA to make a movie, which is based on a book the lioness wrote and one of the cougars is adapting it to a screenplay. It’s basically a pathetic cougar tale that is a cross between “How Stella got her groove back” and “The Hangover”. Newsflash: even Stella knew to stay away from hostels. This entire convo ensued without the cougars noticing Stina and I giving each other the “how fucking pathetic” look. Go us.

The cougars did, however, explain to us why everyone keeps asking if we are Canadians. Aussies can’t tell our accents apart, and since asking a Canadian if they are American is insulting to Canadians, they just always ask if you are Canadian first. Apparently an American could never be insulted by someone assuming they are Canadian. It actually makes a lot of sense, since Canadians are like the teddy bears of the world. The teddy bear that you had when you were 5 and now you aren’t sure where it is and don’t really give a shit, but still think of it fondly on very rare occasions. But I guess thats something.

So now we are deciding, with input of the cougars, what group of men we will all hit on. It’s scaring me how well I am getting along with these ladies. Shit. Big fake titties cougar finds one she likes in a blue shirt, so I grab him by said shirt and haul him over to us (subtly is not my strong suit). He was with a big group of dudes, but the only hot one. So naturally, he immediately fell in love with Stina and I spent the night talking to his not-hot friends. Well, one was hot, but his teeth were fucked. Fucked up teeth knocks you down to an automatic 3, regardless of whatever else you got going on. Seriously, if you can’t fix your future kid’s teeth, do them and the world a favor and just sterilize yourself. But I digress. The cougars realized they had nothing to contribute and disappeared. No one cared. So you all want to know about the boys. They are all “Footy” players from Adelaide on Holiday. We asked them what the fuck “footy” is, and they spent the next 20 minutes trying to explain “Aussie Football Rules” to us before giving up and showing us a youtube clip. Basically, it’s a cross between American football, everyone else’s football, and rugby. It’s about as stupid as it sounds. I’m assuming at some point a bunch of dorks who couldn’t make any real sports teams got together and made their own sport so they wouldn’t feel left out. They couldn’t even give it a cool nickname.

The good news is that I didn’t bite anyone’s arm. The bad news – I managed to find an entirely new way to objectify innocent men at a bar. Stina’s footy hottie was telling us that one of the coaches is going to check them for “skin folds” when they get back, because they have all gotten so fat on Holiday. What are “Skin folds” you ask? It’s basically where you pinch people’s fat rolls. So naturally I had no choice but to go around to every dude on the team and tell them that I was sent here by their coach to perform a surprise “Skin fold” test on them. Arms and stomach. They were confused, but actually went with it. I was thoroughly entertained for hours. Literally, hours. When the night was winding down at the bar I invited myself over to the house they had rented for an “after party”. Stina was already invited, obviously, to make out with hottie, but as I had no one to make out with I really just wanted to keep raging. The boys obliged and entertained me for a few hours with drinking games, when more drinking was the last thing on earth I needed. We played kings cup, I argued with them about every rule (typical), they bbq’d, I ate a giant hot dog, we drank more, I passed out on their couch. But not before one of they guys (hottie with the fucked up teeth) showed me pics of his Columbian girlfriend and I told him she was ugly, because she was, and he got slightly offended. But I think he kind of knew. So I recorded some video on his phone saying I was going to sleep with her boyfriend (or something of that nature) and tried to get him to send it to her. I thought it was hilarious at the time. While I was entertaining half of the Adelaide fake sports team, Stina was making out with hottie. I mean, “on a walk”…yeah, they pull that same bullshit “bush walk” move over here too. I passed out on the couch. I made out with no fugly dudes with girlfriends. I did not steal anything. This is TOTALLY maturity. Ok, I’m at least halfway there.

And so this brings me back to today. We awoke around 7am in what can only be described as a rental frat house. We high tailed it out of there and caught a cab. Our cab driver asked if we were out for an early morning walk. I replied, “something like that”. He was old, his heart couldn’t take it. Now, when we arrived in Bryon Bay a few days ago we booked a sea kayaking trip for SUNDAY MORNING. What would ever possess us to do such a thing? It is, without a doubt, my single biggest activity planning mistake. For shame. But we had paid in full, so an old buff guy with tattoos who reminded me of Tori Spelling’s husband (just shorter, more buff, and obviously more remorseful) picked us up. Stina told him that we had a “very aggressive” night, so he would know to go easy on us. He loved us instantly and took massive amounts of pity on us (refer to Waiheke post re: old men loving us). We referred to him as “dad” for the rest of the trip. That fucking kayak trip. A day that will live in infamy for at least a week.

We should have known to turn the fuck around the second they gave us HELMETS and told us to CARRY OUR OWN KAYAK DOWN TO THE BEACH. These aren’t little pussy kayaks. Ocean kayaks are gnarly. We dragged that thing down to the beach Weekend at Bernie’s style and were sweating and exhausted before we even got in the water.

Post puke wave riding
Post puke wave riding
Getting through the waves was fucking terrifying, but we managed to get out without flipping over (credit for this probably goes entirely to kayak dad). We started off ok, but quickly faded. Faded fast. And hard. Stina started heaving. Which then made me heave. Before we knew it we were both puking of the side of the kayak. One of the guides (the 24 year old hippy-hot guide) told us he has actually never seen a double puke off a kayak before. We are trailblazers. To add insult to injury, we didn’t even see any damn dolphins or whales, not even a turtle, which is the whole point of the fucking trip. Stina thinks it’s because we puked in their house and they were mad. But people piss in there all the time and no one says boo. It became very clear that there was no way Stina and I were getting ourselves back to shore, as we were still intermittently vomming into open ocean.
Help me, I'm hungover
Help me, I’m hungover
So dad tied a rope to our kayak and literally towed our sad, pathetic assess all the way to shore. Everyone on our tour hated us. Because we puked, smelled like booze, complained a lot, and got lots of attention from the guides (like the extra attention given to kids on the spectrum, not because we are charming).
Getting towed in like the big drunk losers we are
Getting towed in like the big drunk losers we are
I think you all know where the rest of this day is headed….we went to bed. I typed this blog, so that’s something. Oh, and we ate our thousandth pizza of the trip.
A little pic our guides snapped once we survived the three hour tour...
A little pic our guides snapped once we survived the three hour tour…

Christmas in Queenstown

Thursday, December 25, 2014

It was a beautiful and sunny day in Queenstown. We actually slept in past 9am, which I think is a first the entire trip. It was magical. It wasn’t quite a lay in bed and eat panda express hangover day, but I was not feeling my best. Some of Stina’s friends are randomly in town and were headed up to do the gondola, so we decided to join them. Turns out they were planning on doing the hike up instead of riding the gondola. You all know how I now feel about kiwi hikes. Fool me once, shame on you. But I would not be fooled again. So up Stina and I went in the gondola with the old folks.

View from the top of the skyline gondola
View from the top of the skyline gondola
When we got to the top we had a look around. You can see all of Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu. They also have a few luge tracks at the top, so we tried our hand at that which was good fun.
Luge track
Luge track
By the end of our gondola adventure we were ready for some beers on the beach, so that is exactly what we did. Merry Christmas to us. The “beach” scene at the lake was quite colorful. We had the hippies, post burn and trying to walk a tight rope between two trees – endlessly entertaining. Then there was the Kiwi Ex bus kids – apparently they white boy rap when drunk. Oh happy day. We took a seat close by for the free entertainment. They came up with a great song.
Beach fun
Beach fun
One chord and a chorus that goes “whooo ooooo, Christmas in Queenstown” over and over and over again. Look for it on the itunes top 10. Dumb shits. The beach scene was fun, but it did confirm our suspicion that our Sweedish boyfriends were the hottest game in town. Rory and Stina for the win. Stina’s friends finally made it back down from the hike after about 4 hours. Needless to say I was quite pleased with our decision to ride the gondola with the members of the Rick Steve’s fan club.

Once we polished off our beer, we went back to the room, showered and popped a bottle of champs before dinner. Home Alone 2 was on one of our 9 channels. Stina heard it from the bathroom and rejoiced at our good fortune. Hark, the comedic genius of Macaulay Culkin. And then it was time for dinner. Another attempt at sit down dining in NZ. Talk about being a glutton for punishment. First, I want you all to recall the blog entry from about a week ago in Able Tasman where we waited an hour to be served pizza by homeless people. It was basically like that except this time our servers were showered. We had 9pm reservations at a Steakhouse with Stina’s friends. After getting a drink at the bar, we were finally seated at 9:45pm. We complained (obviously), drinks were comped, so no harm done. We then sat around eyeing people’s food until they took our order around 10:30pm, and bread came at 10:45pm. I had to stop myself from grabbing a piece before the plate hit the table. It was like the fucking hunger games. I even put salt and pepper on my bread. I think I was trying to pretend it was a piece of meat when I closed my eyes. Food finally came, which was decent but nothing to write home about. Stina’s friend Matt got this truffle bearnaise sauce that was pretty much the highlight of our meal. The staff at the restaurant seemed to think the fact that we were miffed by their shit service was a bit of an overreaction. Apparently we should have been thankful they were even open. Thank you so much, for allowing me to pay you for a service you are in the business of providing. Our server complained to us about having to work such a long day on Christmas. Cry me a fucking river. That ass hole is probably making double time, which equates to at the very least $35 an hour in NZ. Two can play at the giving zero fucks game, buddy. By 12:30am we had finally been fed and Stina and I were exhausted. As we had to be up at 6am for our Milford Sound bus, we headed home. I don’t even remember going to sleep. I think I was in an early REM cycle on the walk home and asleep before my head hit the pillow.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Today we woke up at 6am to catch our bus to the 8th wonder of the world and a world heritage site, Milford Sound! You all know that wherever UNESCO goes, Rory is soon to follow, so I was very excited about today. To do it in one day you basically take a 5 hour bus with some photo op stops, take a two hour boat ride at Milford, and then get back on the bus for another 4 hours back to Queenstown. We slept the first two hours, since our driver told us it doesn’t get good until after that. Then we were herded from place to place with 5 other buses of people trying to take pictures of the exact same shit. Now, when on one of these cookie cutter day tours to a wildly popular tourist attraction in any country you are bound to run into the Chinese bus (cue impending doom music). It cannot be avoided. They travel in large packs and can often be spotted shoving unsuspecting fellow tourists out of the way for a picture of a waterfall. Seriously, don’t fuck with these people if there is a waterfall. They would probably drown their old children racing to get a picture of a rainbow. Kiss all hopes of personal space goodbye when you see this bus. Or if possible, run. We also had a young Middle Eastern couple on one of the other buses and the man literally used his wife as a human shield, pushing her through the crowd to clear his royal path. She seemed sadly apathetic about her wifely travel duties. And then there are the young European girls who treat every stop as if it’s their Maxim test shoot. Although I’m sure the joke will be on me, because when I get home I won’t have an over the shoulder kissy-face shot of myself at a river who’s name I can’t pronounce. Damn you, hindsight.

The boat ride was pretty cool, although the weather was a bit cloudy, so the pics didn’t come out great. But you can google “Milford Sound in the sun”. I probably will too. If I’m being honest, I thought the scenery on the drive in was even more impressive than Milford Sound itself. But then again, its hard to impress me when the sun isn’t out. Suffice it to say I am happy I got to check old Milf off my list but I won’t be taking that 9 hour bus journey again. Nothing too notable for the rest of the evening once we got back, as we were so tired we went right to bed. After all, we have an 8am bungee jump tomorrow to rest up for. Ahhhhh!

Mirror lake
Mirror lake
Some lovely waterfalls on the Milf drive
Some lovely waterfalls on the Milf drive
Stina in a canyon - already forgot the name of it.
Stina in a canyon – already forgot the name of it.
Me on the Milford cruise!
Me on the Milford cruise!

Milford Sound
Milford Sound
It's actually a fjord
It’s actually a fjord

Franz Joseph fun

So we left off on the evening of December 22. I promised you a crazy party night, as I was promised by our diver that the bar would “go off”. Not the case. I was desperately hoping for some non-backpacker bus people so that I could momentarily be a normal person, but alas it was not in the cards. The Kiwi Experience bus was there, however. Which is basically the same as Stray (the bus we are on), except they average 5-8 years younger and apparently don’t shower. It basically looks like a bus full for kids who make bombs in their basements being sent to reform school. Seriously frightening. Thank the lord we went with Stray. Or I’d definitely have been arrested by now for kicking the crap out of one of those little shits. I called out the Sweedish storytelling photog and told him he was creeping the girls out and to stop taking pictures of them. Someone had to do it.

Drinking fun with some of the Stray crew
Drinking fun with some of the Stray crew
He tried to play innocent, but I know better. There is probably a website somewhere with our heads photoshopped onto naked bodies in some sick bus-fantasy senario. I got in a fight with an 18 year old German boy who I had the strong urge to punch. I decided that was my cue for some Rory alone time (I’ve been doing surprisingly well up till this point). I went to my room at about 11pm just so I could drink my vodka sodas in bed alone and watch TV…because we actually had a TV. Stina stayed out dancing and what not though. I’m going to try to think of something exciting from the night to tell you.

The Dick Docs gave us a little insight into why men desperately need their services. Apparently in Germany, and sadly probably elsewhere, guys stick their dicks in vacuum cleaners. Like, for sexual pleasure. And apparently some of the older models have the motor in the front instead of the back. Ouch. So if you wonder why German men universally have the male-equivalent of the bitchy resting face, it’s probably because they are scarred by getting their penis caught in a hoover. We also learned about swaffling, which is just when you go around slapping shit with your dick. Basically the perverted equivalent of planking. Do we have this term at home? Stina and I informed them that this was typically just referred to as a dick slap. But “swaffling” sounds much more scientific so we’ll go with that from now on. Luckily, we have no swafflers on our bus. Can’t say the same for the kiwi bus. Oh, and I finally realized why I’m single. I’ve been using the wrong pick up lines. So, I’ve decided to steal the best line ever from our bus driver, Lego: “Do you like bread?” And if the answer is yes, follow up with “Do you like garlic bread?”. Because, let’s be honest, weeding out the non-bread eating freaks is imperative. I know my Brother is currently reading this thinking “Rory, you should not be eating bread”. He’s probably right.

We woke up bright and early for our helicopter ride to the Franz Joseph glacier!!! It was fucking awesome. Rory’s first helicopter ride. I can’t believe I’ve been looking for a boyfriend with a private plane all this time (please see section on why I’m single) when what I really want is a helicopter and I didn’t even know it! But seriously, these things fucking rock. We then spent about 3 hours hiking around the glacier. Is it weird that this my second time in crampons in 2014? Our guide was a horrid storyteller – every story he told us ended with something horrid happening. Like the one about the guys who got stuck in an ice cave for 13 days and had their legs amputated…right before we went into an ice cave. And he had a shit eating grin on his face at the end of each story, which was a bit eerie. I think I’m going to have to add an optional storytelling seminar to my social interaction course. The course load for “how to not be a loser” is looking quite heavy. Anyway, we got to walk through this big narrow crevice and go through a little ice tunnel on our bums. For the record, 3 hours on a glacier is about 1 hour to many. But at least we had a helicopter ride to look forward to on the way down. Little travel fact: Helicopter is the only way to reach this glacier, as it is the fastest retreating glacier in the world. In about 90 years it will be completely gone. Some pics for you below!

Our ride to the glacier!
Our ride to the glacier!
View of Franz Joseph glacier from the helicopter
View of Franz Joseph glacier from the helicopter
Me on the glacier in full gear and crampons!
Me on the glacier in full gear and crampons!
Stina going through an ice cave
Stina going through an ice cave
Crevice in the ice we hiked through
Crevice in the ice we hiked through
Stina wants a helicopter too!
Stina wants a helicopter too!
'copter captain Rory
‘copter captain Rory

After our glacier experience we were supposed to go kayaking (you know Rory loves a double activity day) but apparently the water levels were too high and rough, so the trip was cancelled. We were secretly a little happy, as this meant we got to spend the afternoon lounging the hot pools and napping before ALL YOU CAN EAT PIZZA NIGHT.

At about 7pm, we headed over for the pizza extravaganza. Now, the “all you can eat” was bullshit for a few reasons: (1) they bring out garlic bread and fries first, so you fill up on that shit and eat less pizza. I knew their game immediately…but I still ate the fries. I have no self control. (2) After bringing out a bunch of pizzas, they they make you wait 20 minutes in between pizza rounds, so that you have time to realize how full you are…just mean, (3) They give you a free beer, also to fill you up – ok I just realized I’m complaining about free beer, so I’ll retract this one, but you see my point, 4) they have a “last call” for ordering pizza. Now, I’m not saying I wasn’t full. I couldn’t have eaten another slice to save my life. But that shit ain’t “all you can eat”. But alas we are in NZ and in true not-giving-a-fuck fashion if they want to call it “all you can eat” they will. The only other people that seemed outraged by this false advertising were our German husbands. Which is another reason for the “why we love our bus husbands” column.

Crack kills, people.
Crack kills, people.

After all you can eat pizza night was the nightly game where you can win free shit – tonight’s game was the same as last night’s – rock, papper, scissors (Stina gets spelling credit for scissors, thank you Stina). And guess who actually won??? That’s right, little old Rory. All of our bus mates had gone to bed, so it was just us and our husbands there to rep Stray for the game (one of the Dick Docs won last night). There were about 25 kids from the GAP Experience bus. Now, the GAP kids are basically annoying, loud, spoiled, rich British kids who’s mommy’s and daddy’s fund their travels and have not yet figured out that the world doesn’t actually revolve around their twitter accounts. Basically, the Kiwi Experience kids but with money and friends. I could practically smell the Chlamydia emanating from this group. So naturally, I was beyond thrilled when I won, which was probably the only thing in the world that could shut these little fuckers up. We went to bed before they could drink themselves annoying again.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑