Well campers it’s been a glorious five days out on expedition with Tao expeditions.
Let’s see if I can remember the untied Nations of characters we had on board:
- Trent tour operator from Australia living in Barcelona
- Julian from Germany
- Jen from Madrid on three month sabbatical from communications company
- Sabine from Germany living in Cambodia
- Selene and Grant, teachers from Melbourne on massive honeymoon
- Thomas from Germany living in Dublin having done his PhD at Michigan tech
- Shelia (American) and Martin (German) living our eldest crew mates living in Portland OR
- Tilly (American tennis scholarship) and Phoebe from Australia
- Clementine, Anaise, & Elizabeth from Paris
- Fran and Freya nurses from Australia
- Dan (English) and Bex (kiwi) living in London
- Mike (American) from Brooklyn
And our intrepid guides, crew and new friends
- Dong – expedition leader
- Aying – assistant expedition leader
- Sam – skipper
- Jhon – mechanic
- Bmahr – everyone’s favorite chef
- Joey – assistant chef
- Jam Jam – the barman
- Romy – the expert
- And a host of others I can’t remember right now
But WOW, what an experience. Seeing the remotely inhabited villages where people still barter for everyday essentials and fish for life sustenance.
Let’s see over four nights the routine went something like…
- Wake up
Repeat…rough life I know
Now everything up to the sleep part was great.. But dang if the breeze didn’t go to bed when the sun went down leaving me in an idyllic landscape, on a beach over looking the ocean… And just stewing in my sweaty shorts.
Most nights I lay on a bench by the sea, staring up at the stars until I became tired enough to crawl into bed and pass out for a couple of hours before sunrise when all activity starts again. Occasionally I got to bed sooner with the help of rum and coke zero and my favorite barman Jam Jam.
So we had episodes of water volleyball, basketball, and Yhatzee… We read books, took pictures and took long walks on the beach.. But most fun of all was meeting the local villagers.
They always had a smile and time to stop and talk even if we couldn’t both speak the same language. I, of course, was especially enamored with the children who are so amazing here. I have been to many a poor country and many times the children are beaten down so young into begging and stealing. But here in the remote villages, they ALWAYS had a smile, a hug and curiosity you could just feel.
This is not to say that in Manila I did not see beggars and poverty, just that these children hadn’t been defined by that.. And I hope that I don’t have to add “yet” to the end of that sentence!
The food on this boat trip was simply outstanding. From fried rice, to seven course dinner at the Tao camp, there was never a bad meal. Let’s see if I can recall some of the highlights.
- Steamed fish with chili sauce
- Banana fried with coriander
- Seafood stir fry
- Fresh caught off the back of the boat sashimi
- Chicken adobo
- Who can forget the bowls of Philippino power… Rice!
- And of course the spit roasted, hand turned for three hours, juicy pig
I definitely spent a lot of time chatting with Bmhar 😄
And of course my fellow shipmates on my trip I know I’ll try and keep in touch with over the years so I can find a friendly face and a cold beer wherever I go.