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...two travellers in search of the world's wildlife

30 October 2018

In the tropics

The Chocolate Hills

The Chocolate Hills

27 October 2018

It always takes a few days to settle into the tropics; to physically get used to the heat and humidity, and to mentally get used to various discomforts. Insects are everywhere. You dine with tiny ants, sleep with confused moths, take strolls with attendant sweat bees or mosquitoes. Buildings are impermanent and so are built flimsy and, to the western eye, always look unfinished. This is sensible though: everything degrades rapidly in the constant heat and humidity, so why try building to last? There is no clear demarcation between outside and inside (see: insects). If you decide that you can only eat somewhere that is spick-and-span, you may be searching for hours. The pace of life is languid.

Tropical living

Tropical living

By 9am the heat is a physical thing that sucks your energy. You walk slowly, but even so after ten minutes you’re damp with sweat. It’s a humid heat too, which seems to weigh even heavier on the lungs. When there’s no breeze blowing it’s even intolerable in the shade, and so there is literally no escape. The hotel pool looks inviting, but it’s in full sun which means my back would be char-grilled in ten minutes. My complexion becomes terribly horrible, the skin on my face glistening like I’m becoming some kind of nasty amphibian.

In a week most of this will be gone (from past experience, and hope). Instead we’ll be left with: it’s always shorts weather, the sea is always warm, there’s fresh fruit everywhere, anything wet dries instantly, there’s lots of cheap good food, we live in flip-flops, days are relaxed, I am moderately tan and look healthy, and insects are everywhere.

Lovely Tagbilaran

Lovely Tagbilaran

Today we went out hideously early to see the Chocolate Hills in the early morning light. We had the place to ourselves; I think all the tour buses come for the sunset view instead. It seems to be the main reason to come to Bohol, and I can confirm that it is a pretty view. We loiter a bit and take a couple more photos, but really that is all it is: a pretty view. Later we stretched our legs on a km long trail through the Bilar mahogany forest, again all by ourselves. Pleasant in the trees. We took a look at one of the old Spanish churches. For lunch we go back to the main town, Tagbilaran, but quickly decide that it is dusty/filthy/noisy and useful only for a cash machine. We end up at the Bee Farm on Panglao Island for lunch. We had durian pizza. Yes, with tomato sauce and cheese, and lots of lumps of durian. Basically anything with durian just tastes of durian. Yum. And now we taste of durian.

And that was about it. Flaked out, we went back to the hotel for a nap, which then morphed into dinner time and bed.

Durian. On a pizza

Durian. On a pizza


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