Friday, February 14, 2014

Scooter rental in Cebu Philippines, the ride south

After losing my fear for traffic I was ready for a second day of exploring. The Scooter ended up working out well and the mighty 125cc engine was enough to carry me and my passenger up to a zesty 80kph. Honestly I am not to sure I would want to go any faster with those tiny tires. I liked having the automatic better than the semi auto most common on small motorcycles here. 
I had ridden the semi auto on a handful of occasions just a few short miles playing in my girls village. I always had trouble with the all down gear pattern. The only negative I really could find with the scooter, which also had wider, more stable tires would be that my feet were slightly to big to sit on the platform and I found myself having to sit pee wee herman style. 
Day two proved to follow the previous day Filipino hurry, get ready and do nothing approach. I slept in and at 10am my girl was asking if we were going or what. Having rented a room in a decent hotel that I can only call a box with no real light coming from the window I had no concept of the time.
We would get ready and head to my gurls village to meet with her cousin and bro. An hour went by, then two, Keneth was apparently still sleeping. Glenn in trouble with is wife from us staying out to late last night was acting as if he would go, but we all knew it was show, he was whipped. 
After kenneth rubbed his eyes and filled his belly we would head off with Divis other brother Dave tagging along.
Being sunday there was far, far less traffic, more in American bad traffic level days. I had also discovered why Divi had not ridden with me the previous night, she did not think I had what it took to ride a motorcycle in the Philippines. Her brother Glenn had been the sacrificial lamb with his life apparently being of less value.
Now that she not only realized I did know how to ride (for the love off god I have been riding longer than she has been alive) but I also had the Filipino stamp of approval for riding like a jack ass she would be happy to jump on the back with me.

Her village would be about the end of any type of real traffic until the next town. The roads south were not in the best of shape with gravel dumped into giant potholes  it reminded me of home and our half assed road department.
On this road it would be filled with giant leafy trees which bared a resemblance to Maple trees, I felt like I was in Missoula MT save the palm trees mixed in. 

about an hour into the ride I would have a flat tire, they assured me someone to vulcanize the tire would be close by. So with Divi on Daves bike to lighten the load we went into the village to look for repair. The first place would be closed, and at this point we were concerned that I would need a new tire. The worn tire had a cut in the side and we thought it was tubeless. We would find that was not the case, filled it with air and off to the next shop which was a half mile away. 
The next place only vulcanized and had no tires. The scooter company I had rented from stated they would refund me money to replace the rear tire, obviously since that was not an option I would have the tube fixed and hope that was enough. 
My Girl had to use the bathroom and her Grandma was in this Village not far from the repair shop, so we would go there while my tire was being repaired. 
Her grandmother lived in a bamboo hut on stilts, she was elderly but still climbed the steep steps ever day. Inside would be evidence of her sons trade, restoring cars. Her recliner would be a bucket seat, how cool is that?
Her sons had there shop in her yard. They were building some sort of a frame and I chatted a bit, but my eyes were drawn to their welder.  To say it was primitive was a understatement. It looked as if something from the early 1800s, coiled wire wrapped in wood. I have no Idea how they controlled the amps but they seemed to do well. 
I as amazed and It really made me wish my father had seen this, how amazing that would have been for him being such a creative fellow himself.
We would bid a farewell and they were surprised a white man knew how to weld, waving in something of a quizzing manner as I left. 
It seems the popular myth here is that white man work inside office and pay everyone else to do their work. Apparently that work is not other done by other white men. 

We returned to the shop of the man repairing my tire. I almost felt guilty, while this was a breakdown it happened in such a beautiful location with wonderfully kept houses, little garbage and amazing foliage everywhere. I could only think what could make this better would be a table, umbrella margaritas. The repair would cost me .75 cents. 

Off we went headed to the white beaches. I would say we rode fast to make up time but that would be a lie, we merely road at the normal filipino near out of control speed.

We would blur thru more villages, see more amazing churches and friendly people smiling and waving at the white man.
We would stop only once for food. Now I love filipino food, wow do I, and street food is the best, but also the most dangerous for a foreigner who's stomach is not adjusted to the bacteria. 
Not close to the hotel and not wanting to squat over a hole in the ground with only a bucket of water to wash my bum I chose safe food and we ate at a pizza joint. 
Now things as you are beginning to know rarely work as I have envisioned. This would be of them, we were directed to a pizza parlor which was my choice asa the food would not be touched after being cooked, as safe as I could get. The trouble being the Pizza place would be more of a club, with four 20inch speakers out front pounding at the street to attract customers, it was quit deafening.
Inside would prove to be satisfactory other than the same beat dance music playing over and over again. The pizza tasted like Tonys store bought and certainly was not worth what I paid.
But alas, our bellies were full an we were rejuvenated for the remainder of the ride.
We carried on for another 45 minutes maybe to the beach, the stone stairs leading to the beach were  more like a ladder. I would not say the beach was white, but rather a urinary tract yellow. 
The beach would as always provide us with a stunning view however.

It was late by now, the flat having set us back a good hour but we would joke and play in the sand not wanting to ride home wet in the dark so none of us swam.
The ride home was quit uneventful, riding in the dark in the Philippines is not so bad. In the towns they have street lights and in between there are always houses s some lights besides your headlights are shed onto the road.
We would ride back at a bit of a blistering pace, with Kenneth thinking we were on the Isle of Man apparently.
However that pace would be short lived as I would get my second flat. This time we were about a mile from a shop, so I would ride with Divis Cousin and he would ride my bike alone being far lighter than I.
The shop proved to be in the best possible neighborhood I could Imagine. Quit literally it was on the edge of town in what could only be described as a hole.
It had the usual steel bars surrounding it which would prove to be a little ominous with the only light close being that coming from his shop mostly from the fire of his vulcanizer casing an eerie glow inside the poorly lit area.

A drunk would stagger by, looking at me wanting to chat and get closer than I liked. I was a bit on edge and finally I simply told him to go as this would not end well. He reached in his pocket and thinking he was about to pull a knife I prepared to strike him straight in the throat. He possibly not being as drunk as he was acting and realized it was to his best interest to carry on, he would.
Our tire would be fixed shortly with the mans young daughter helping, we thanked him and the price had went up to 1.30 USD.
Happily we motored off wanting to pick up a bit of time and hoping in each of our minds that my quickly wearing rear tire would not allow another flat.
Soon we were back in Minglanillia and Divis brother would venture home with Kenneth, Divis cousin deciding to take us back to Cebu in case we got another flat.
His instincts should prove accurate, just as I was doing some lane splitting right as we entered Cebu I would feel the rear tire go flat yet again. Everyone loves a flat tire on two wheels in heavy traffic.
This time a shop would be only a few feet away, we stopped and quickly let them get to work, it was already 10 PM and way past my comfort zone. My rule when traveling in the Philippines was to try and be in a well lit area and especially someplace safe after the sun goes down. But alas the gods had different purpose for me and I would instead be where everyone wants to be in a bad area, broke down on the side of the road.

They would also have a rear tire to fit my bike, I was not interested as we were only maybe ten minutes from the hotel. Be damned if I was going to buy a rear tire and have this rag tag company not pay me back. Kenneth had them install a liner inside the tire instead. I would still be charged the outrageous night rate of 1.30 for the entire job.
Little more would happen the rest of the way, although Divi would choose to ride with her cousin not feeling safe with all the flats and to lighten my load a bit.
I was happy of course to make it back to the hotel with nothing more happening.
The following morning of course the man picking up my bike would try to tell me about the "brand new tires" on his bike. Obviously they were going to try the "look what you did to the sidewall of this tire" and blame it on me. With a quick Quip I made short work of that Idea and off they road, both of us being a little disappointed.
Overall I am happy with it though, the flat tires added to the adventure and the third one helped me get over my night time shady area jitters in the Philippines, maybe its a good thing, maybe not that remains to be seen.

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