Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Escape from Manila

Arrived in Manila yesterday and was pleasantly surprised. I had been led to believe that it was a hell hole that must be avoided at all costs. However, the people were friendly, the seafront entertainment good and we found a local drinking hole with amusing locals.

Unfortunately the rose tinted glasses have now been removed. We woke up a little worse for wear after drinking rum with a swinger (I, amazingly, managed to give off the impression of being an incredibly conservative school maam, so poor ange had to put up with his advances) and were ready to head up to Banaue to see the rice terraces. But the city had other ideas.

The lonely planet says:

"it is surprisingly difficult to get a bus out of Manila"

I say:

'"it is bloody impossible to get a bus out of Manila"

Admittedly it is Semana Santa and everyone is trying to head home but there is no rhyme or reason to the bus stations. There seems to be about 50 different operators dotted about town all heading to alternative places. The only thing to do is pitch up at each one and try and get on a bus. This involved taxis, cyclos, mototaxis and jeepneys as we got caught up in the snarled up traffic. After about 3 hours of this we decided that Banaue was not an option so decided on an alternative destination. This also proved impossible.

Dehydrated, standing in the pissing rain, having a huge sense of humour failure we hailed yet another taxi to the airport. bugger the buses - we were going to change our flights and head to the beach earlier than planned. No joy. Aaarrrggghhhhhh.

We are going to try and flee the city again tomorrow but after 7 hours of failed attempts it was time for a nap and I think, shortly, a beer.

Wish us fugitives well - I think 3 days in Manila may be too much to bear. Hopefully tomorrow we will get out of here!

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