Let me explain. I wasn’t planning on such a long hiatus in posting. But, we were in the Philippines. Access to internet was a funny game of ‘find the signal’, and let’s face it – WE WERE IN THE PHILIPPINES! Looking at a computer screen wasn’t really high on my to do list. That list was more like: wake up to the sound of waves, stretch in the morning sun, collect sea shells, eat finger sized bananas by the bunch, nap in a hammock, repeat.
Oh, then there was that part where I was in the hospital and couldn’t really use my right arm for a week or so. Or the meds that made me loopy or slightly hallucinatory. Okay? Is that a good enough excuse for you? NO!?
Fine. So let me back up a lil’ bit. This was me:
We were nestled deep in the jungles of a remote part of Palawan, far from any tourists, or other people for that matter. It was the best place I’ve ever been. An isolated spot, on a lush hillside, above a private beach cove, and a simple hut we called home. Mosquito net, traditional nipa roofing, wooden floors, the sounds of the waves below and the chirping of birds abound.
It was the type of place I had dreamed up before I ever thought it existed.
The property came equipped with a sprawling outdoor kitchen patio made up of several massive wooden islands and a low-lying wood-fired cooking system, in which you fed bamboo and hard-wood into the side, and cooked on top. Like a caveman’s 4 burner stove, the flames would kick up through the metal rings of each burner which you could take out in order to lower your pan or wok closer to the fire.
Let me tell you something. This was no average place. We felt our most relaxed selves when we were there. So much so, that even after leaving that region of the island and heading north for a while, we returned just to give ourselves a couple more days of relaxation in this dynamic paradise. We cooked fresh fish from the neighboring village, picked all our own vegetables from the incredible organic garden that Amos, (the property’s main caretaker and wonderful person all-around), lovingly looks after, we explored the empty beaches, prodding washed up blow fish with sticks, we read on the veranda overlooking the tropical landscape, glasses of island rum in hand. We were doing nothing and everything all at the same time.
So when I woke up in excruciating pain in this paradise of paradises, thinking that perhaps my arm was paralyzed (my right arm, my cooking arm, my livelihood), unable to lift myself from bed, panic and confusion ensued. Right away we knew this was no ordinary spasm or ache, this was serious and we treated it as such. I downed some advil and guzzled some rum, and we tried to think clearly.
But we were two hours deep in the jungle, on a dirt and rock strewn road, that only occasionally had any kind of public transportation bump thru it.
We managed to flag down a jeepney, a typical ‘bus’ found in the Philippines. Basically, an open-air metal clunker, known for their kitschy decorations, crowded full of people and laden with cargo, so much so that its totally normal to also find several passengers riding on the roof along with the boxes and luggage. To make an already long story short, this was only the first leg of our journey that would end up including: 3 tricycle rides, 2 taxis, 2 planes, 3 wheelchairs, 1 train ride, several painful nights in hotel rooms until we finally arrived in Hong Kong.
Turns out a pinched nerve hurts in ways I didn’t know were possible. I spent much of those three days of travel face down it the fetal position with ice packs trying to alleviate the pain in any way that I could. Luckily we were connected to great doctors who quickly figured out what was going on and addressed it accordingly.
There you go, that brings us to today, nearly a week and a half in Hong Kong, and things are looking up. I can sit in normal positions now (hooray!), and we are renting an apartment for the time being so that I can do some physiotherapy and get my shit together. But, I have SO SO SO much more I need to say about our travels! I haven’t even told you about Hanoi – a virtual citywide buffet of street food and cool shit. Or our take on Sapa, the northern region of the country, where we learned how to cook the food of several ethnic tribes that inhabit the area. Not to mention the Philippines, where we ended up searching for a man we thought was named Paul Koleman and a sliver of beach so remote it’s only reachable by boat. There is much to say – and now that I’m feeling much more myself I will be sure to find ways to tell it.
For now, I am stuffing my face with dim sum and I am grateful for that.
This post btw is dedicated to my Bear, who got me out of the jungle and to the best medical care we can ask for. He stayed impossibly calm, held me close, and made me know that I would be okay. That kind of love is better than any beach or sunset or dumpling in the world. So…