Elder Jordan Royal

Elder Jordan Royal
Jordan hugs big sister Kelli

Friday, October 25, 2013

“Three Tickets to Paradise” - Sabang, Palawan, Philippines (October 23-25, 2013)

            We loved our little bungalow in Sabang.  I think we were one of four or five families there for two days.  It was like having the whole island to ourselves.  We had a private beach (well, private to guests of the resort), with a balcony view which was about 75 yards from the waves crashing on the shore.  We heard the pounding of the sea loud and clear all night long (and the noises of a busy Gecko preying on a Praying Mantis outside our door).  

Maralea was so conflicted, first screaming at the green Praying Mantis, then being horrified by the
preying Gecko who thanked me for swatting the tasty green delight his way
            We made it outside to play some two on one volleyball.  Maralea and I gave Jordan a run for his money.  (Ha, not really.  Jordan could have plastered us, as he reminded me after I had done a little too much talking and spiked me dead center in the chest (preferable to the nose).  Maralea finally called the game on account of excess exhaustion.  Jordan would not get into the ocean water beyond ankles to take pictures.  He was content hanging out in the hammock, relaxing (after killing us in volleyball). 

Maralea found a friend (below) while laying out in the sun on the beach
(She asked me to "Make him go away - I don't want to get his fleas," - but he just looked so happy)

Jordan found time to sleep
(and didn't care about the dog)
Maralea still can't stop smiling (even with fleabe
heebe jeebe dogs following her around)
            We went on a tour of the underground river here in Sabang, which is pretty cool (basically a huge seven to eight mile long cave with water running through it - what else would it be, right?).  The stench of bat excrement was pretty disgusting.  (When Maralea booked the tour, I guarantee you she did not know we would be going to Bat City.  There were bats flying everywhere.  It was the literal Bat Cave.)  But, it was fun going through the cave on the river singing: "Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me."  (But for the bat smell, it you closed your eyes and plugged your nose, it felt like Disneyland for just a moment.)  The drive over to the underground river was crazy.  We were in a boat that had to be 150 years old, with the loudest motor I have ever heard.  Fortunately, I brought ear plugs.  Unfortunately, Maralea took them.  Fortunately, I also brought an i-Pod with ear buds.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t hear any of the music because of the loud motor.  Fortunately, the ear buds themselves took some of the edge off the noise.  Unfortunately, I spent a lot of time en route to our destination worried that we might sink as I watched our little crew surreptitiously bailing water at several points along the way.  Fortunately, we arrived without any mishaps.  Unfortunately, I forgot to tip the guy driving the not so sea worthy vessel with the way too loud motor.  (Oh wait, that should be a “Fortunately,” shouldn’t it?) 

The S.S. Minnow was more sea worthy post crash on the beach than this vessel
(Random Old TV Thought: How come the Professor, Gilligan and the Skipper couldn't figure out a way to patch the boat but could build nice huts and somehow kept their radio working?)
Here's a brief video of our trip, which should give an idea of how loud the motor was (although we actually had a little breakdown at the end of the video, leaving us adrift for a few minutes - nice)
Sizing up the distance to swim to shore . . . just in case

We held up the captain of our boat to take this picture, as we waited behind a herd of Filipino teenage girls who each had to have an individual picture taken (but it was worth the wait, wasn't it?)
Maralea is all smiles now, but wait until we hit the Bat Cave!

We survived the Bat Cave and the
rest of the journey

Exiting the Bat Cave was awesome!
(I noted a lot of great places to bury treasure along the way)

This would be a great place to hide a pirate ship!  The river runs into the ocean at the upper right.
And now, a little break from our adventure for pictures of the local wildlife taken with my i-Phone

Seriously big iguana like thingy
The Monkeys there were not on chains, but were very cooperative posing for pictures
(I made sure I got his good side to publish online)
Another tree, another monkey (they all seemed very used to having people around)
            Maralea and I lounged in the pool at our resort, as Jordan sat in the chair under a shady tree, drinking chilled water.  As Jordan and I were walking along the way, he was stopped by a member of the Church who said he had just arrived in the area a few weeks ago.  (I think he is working for another resort.)  He saw Jordan’s name tag and asked where the local branch meets.  The two had a conversation in Tagalog and the brother congratulated Jordan on completing his mission and thanked for his service in the Philippines.

            We had a relaxing dinner together outside as we enjoyed what Jordan described as a “aw, that’s nothin’” Filipino downpour that we would describe as torrential.  (It would have created flash flooding in Las Vegas within the first five minutes, easily.)  We stayed dry and enjoyed the sound of the rain pouring down like a fire hose.  (There were some guests here who had set up for a candlelight dinner on the beach.  We were glad we were not one of them at the moment.)  We walked along the beach and the resort grounds after dinner, then sat outside visiting on the balcony of our little bungalow.  It was no later than 8:00 pm, and I was just overcome with fatigue.  The moment we sat down, I fell asleep in a rocking chair (typical grandpa) as Maralea and Jordan talked on.  It felt great to get to bed knowing that we did not have to get up early to be somewhere.  The gecko we met the night before appeared outside our door and sang us to sleep.  We were glad to have him back (especially Maralea, who could not get the picture of the gecko preying on that Praying Mantis the night before - one moment she freaked out at the sight of the big green bug, then felt bad for it as it languished helplessly in the gecko’s mouth . . . see above).

            The next morning we had a relaxing breakfast, packed up, then enjoyed a little more time on the beach before catching the shuttle back to Puerta Princesa.  Jordan and I had a very spirited badminton match on the beach, which was awesome.  (We actually attracted an audience of resort workers, who seemed to be mesmerized by the great athleticism on display.)  

Jordan with the serve

Mike with the great return (note the perfect form exhibited here)

Jordan loads up for what he thinks will be a winner (ha)

It was out by a foot but Maralea called it in (I knew I'd get homered by the mom)

I delivered the goods at badminton (well, in my opinion anyway) and Jordan kicked us in volleyball
             Maralea and I tried our hand at body surfing again, while Jordan again admired our efforts from a lounge chair on the beach (assuming he wasn’t sleeping).  We enjoyed our quiet time together.  But for the fact that the internet was as slow as a glacier (and did not work most of the time), it was a perfect getaway.  (Some might say being disconnected is all part of the experience.  For me . . . not so much.)  After a rather long and windy shuttle ride back to Puerta Princesca, our shuttle driver took us to a central bus terminal area at which point the van was immediately surrounded by about seven or eight trike drivers peering through the windows looking for potential passengers.  When our shuttle driver opened the door, we were engaged by guys trying to persuade us (in Tagalog) to ride with them.  Jordan took over and negotiated our ride to the hotel, with all our luggage and the three of us on a motorcycle with the passenger area to the right.  (To make things a little more interesting, our trike driver was huge.)  We had earlier seen a family of four riding on a single motorcycle, so we felt safe enough with this little maneuver.  (I mean, the guy had a displayed license, so it had to be okay.)

       I recalculated the math on the hours the BYU/BSU game would be live here and was happy to discover it will actually start at 8:00 am, not 2:00 am.  (Either way, I would have been listening.)  The internet was a little better at our hotel in Puerta Princesca.  We were able to listen to portions of the BYU/BSU game via www.ksl.com, with the feed coming in/out based on the weak internet service.  BYU had the game well in hand by the time we had to check out and leave for the airport.  (If any of my BSU friends are reading this, I don't feel a bit sorry for you.  We have suffered through three straight losses to BSU and are pretty tired of it.  Good to see BYU playing well.)  At the time this is posted, I am assuming BSU did not stage some miracle comeback.  If that happens (unlikely), at least I would not have had to suffer through it.

Best BYU shirt EVER!
             Jordan spent a lot of time on the phone over the past couple days making arrangements with members in his areas for visits over the next few days.  He is doing well.  Jordan is clearly more comfortable speaking with the locals in Tagalog than with us in English.  (Ha.)  Maralea already started coaching him about communication (and eating).  During breakfast on Friday, after having endured a couple days of Jordan responding by lifting his eyebrows for yes instead of just saying yes, Maralea (while giggling) said: “I don’t get the whole eyebrow thing.  Just say ‘yes’ when you are with us.”  I suppose it sounds kind of curt when you read it, but the whole situation was rather funny.  When Jordan eats, he leans over his plate with a big spoon in his right hand which he uses to cut and scoop, and a fork in the left hand, used merely to push food onto the spoon.  Maralea is carrying on the admonishment of Sister Martino to all the departing missionaries at the mission home on Tuesday to put away the scoopy spoons. (That may be a challenge for Jordan.  He’s quite a proficient eating machine with the big spoon.)  Jordan takes all our suggestions in stride.  He very patiently responded to his tenderly teaching mother: “Well, I guess I have a couple months to figure out how to eat and communicate with Americans again.  I will work on it.”

One more little respite before returning to the real world
(Can you guess which feet belong to Maralea?)

No comments:

Post a Comment