a blog about seeing the world

Posts tagged “philippines

Looking ahead, looking back

It’s been a little over a month since we disembarked from a plane at Burlington International Airport, looking about as bad as we felt after 30 hours of travel time. Despite the idyllic green image of home we held onto for our 16 months away, we were greeted by tired, wet, brown, mid-spring surroundings—a truly disheartening time of year.

But, home would not be home without our friends and family, and good times have been had. The world is now green and beautiful, our garden is partly planted, and our wiffle ball field has already seen plenty of use. It is good to be home.

There are days when it seems we might never have left, like we’ve awoken from a dream. But others bring back memories from lands far away, such as the lupines blooming along our driveway. Along that vein, we thought we’d share the whole collection of title page banners that we used rather like calendar photos along the way. Viewed together they present some beautiful contrasts that capture a bit of what travel is like.

We are not quite done posting to this blog and we’re also cutting together hours of video into a short film for entry into some film festivals later this summer. Until then, enjoy the photos. Click the pictures to see the related post.

The relentless snowfall of Hokkaido, Japan. January, 2011.

Frosted peaks in Daisetsuzan National Park. January 2011.

Birch trees clinging to steep slopes on Yarigatake, Hakuba, Japan. February 2011.

Windows into old Japan, Kyoto. February 2011.

Close up on the Buddhist temples dotting Luang Prabang, Laos. March 2011.

Burning rice fields cloud the Nam Hou river, Laos. March 2011.

The best beach ever.  El Nido, Palawan, Philippines. April 2011.

Lush eucalypt forest along the Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia. May 2011.

First light on the Tasman Sea. Croajingolong National Park, Victoria. May 2011.

Mandarin harvest, South Australia.  May 2011.

Watching over Uluru. Australia’s red center. June 2011.

Floodplains at Ubirr, Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory. June 2011.

Filtered sun through fan palms, Daintree, Queensland. July 2011.

A sea of vines, Marlborough, New Zealand. August 2011.

The Kaikoura Peninsula, New Zealand. September 2011.

Tree fern silhouette, Abel Tasman, New Zealand. October 2011.

Glacial meltwater, Fiordland, New Zealand. November 2011.

Lupines. Omarama, New Zealand. December 2011.

Vine leaf, Marlbourough New Zealand. January 2012.

The dry and golden Wither Hills, Blenhiem, New Zealand. February 2012.

Morning light on a distant glacier, Aspiring National Park, New Zealand. March 2012.

Ferns in the kauri forest, Northland, New Zealand. April 2012.


A home in the vines

It’s amazing how much life can be improved by a roof.  After months of wandering around the south island, we’re quite pleased to pack the tent away and park the car in the driveway of our own place.

Our lovely little stone house is in the small town of Renwick, surrounded by miles of neatly hedged vines. It came complete with colorful flower beds, a cheery picnic table, and, possibly the most exciting of all, a grill on a backyard patio. A previous tenant also left us a flourishing garden full of corn, potatoes, onions, broccoli, cucumbers and zucchini.

A secondhand store provided cheap if somewhat battered furniture, and soon we felt completely at home.

Though we’d been assured of a couple months work in the vines, unseasonably cool weather slowed the work to a trickle, and soon left us unemployed once more. When not hunting for a new job, we fill our days of free time with baking, reading, and revisiting some of our travels. In the midst of what I hear is a mediocre winter back home, perhaps we could all use a day at the beach… here is a look back to the beautiful Philippines.


What we’ll miss and what we won’t

After three hot, wonderful months in Southeast Asia, we’ve landed on Australia’s southern coast, where winter is just beginning to set in.

Before we begin exploring this vast country, we wanted to share a few things we are thrilled to be leaving behind, and some things we will desperately miss.

Things we will not miss:

1. Riding in any variety of public vehicle.
2. Prevalence of hard-boiled eggs on said vehicles.
3. Being treated like an ATM.
4. Watching people throw garbage on the ground.
5. Toilet paper being replaced with a butt washing spray hose.
6. The beer selection.
7. The lack of cheese.

Steph loving her 12-hour train ride.

Things we will:

1. Fresh fruit on every street corner. Especially mangos!
2. Paying $3 for dinner and $10 for a hotel.
3. Wearing flip-flops all day.
4. A spring roll appetizer at every meal.
5. The feeling of being very far away from home.
6. A change of scenery every few days.
7. Thai curries and Lao sticky rice.
8. El Nido’s tropical beaches.
9. Rice paddies.
10. Excited children yelling “hello.”

Our favorite mango dealership. El Nido, Philippines.

Our first post from Australia is coming soon!


Tropical Perfection

After 11 days here—the longest we’ve spent anywhere since leaving Vermont— El Nido has started to feel like home to us. This tiny town, nestled between enormous, jagged karst cliffs, is indescribably beautiful. We look out every day at the many mountainous islands of Bacuit Bay, scattered across the turquoise water.

A short, steep hike leads to excellent view of El Nido from above.

We rise early in El Nido, largely against our will. The power shuts off across town at 6 a.m., taking our fan along with it, and before long it’s much to hot to sleep. It’s vastly more malicious and effective than an alarm, and street noise and roosters finish the job.

Most days then began by hitching a ride on one of the many tricycles—motorcycles encased in a sort of sidecar/carriage, painted bright colors and emblazoned with nicknames like “Baby Janelle” — to our favorite beach.

Tricycles waiting outside our guesthouse.

A ten-minute ride out of town, Las Cabanas beach is ridiculously gorgeous. It is the quintessential tropical beach that adorns postcards and calendars— a hundred foot wide crescent of fine blond sand backed by a grove of palm trees. Purple cowrie shells dot the water’s edge, and a rippled sandy bottom stretches out into clear water as far as you can swim.

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