A couple of weeks back, Scott and I went to Boracay and were reminded just how therapeutic it is to hang out by the beach and do absolutely nothing. Our days were blissfully unscheduled and relaxing, although getting to the island was very tiring and a little bit of a hassle.
The whole journey took us a good seven hours and involved a plane, a speedboat, and some travelling by road. Fortunately, our airbnb host recommended an excellent service provider, Southwest, which was very well co-ordinated and took us door-to-door. We booked our transfer online before the trip and I felt a bit cheated initially because as we were walking out of the airport I saw a lot of people holding up cardboards advertising their services for one tenth of what we had paid. But when we finally arrived at our apartment that evening, I was thoroughly impressed and satisfied with how swiftly we were herded from bus to boat to bus with minimal waiting time in between.
We stayed on Bulabog Beach - Scott calls it 'Ball Bag Beach' - which is a 15-minute walk from the main tourist area and less busy but still very lively as it is a popular spot for kitesurfing. We could only access our apartment from the beach so when the tide came right up in the evenings, we had to climb over our neighbour's hedges and were barked at very fiercely by their guard dogs.
Each morning we'd watch the kite surfers while eating breakfast and then head to White Beach for the afternoon. I usually come up with excuses to avoid going into the sea - sea water allergy, period, can't swim - but could not resist in Boracay. It was so shallow and clear, it felt unreal. Around mid-afternoon we'd get a massage and then buy some fruit, bread, and eggs on the way home.
There's not a lot of local culture in Boracay and most of the island seems catered to tourists. (Lots of Koreans!) Food is not great. We could not find decent calamari even though it seemed to be on the menu everywhere. We figured they were all using the same calamari supplier and after I asked "Oh! They have calamari too!!! Do you think it will be nice here?" one too many times, Scott made me promise to stop ordering it as we were only setting ourselves up for disappointment.
Luckily we found one place that had good food. I can't remember what it's called anymore, so just look out for a spanish place that serves churros. We went there everyday and tried their churros, tacos, and olive pizzetta - all delicious.
We went to d'Talipapa market one night because Scott wanted to get his seafood fix. Quite fun because you can buy your own seafood from the market and then have them cook it for you in one of the small restaurants next door. They tried to rip us off but Scott is a master when it comes to the art of negotiation so in the end I think we got an all right deal. The trick is to not bring out too much cash with you so don't give in. Because you cannot afford to. (Note: their butter tastes weird. I think they use margarine.)
Anyway, the highlight of our trip for me was when we made the impromptu decision to go helmet diving and parasailing one afternoon even though Scott doesn't particularly like being high up and I'm scared of everything. It all happened so fast, we had no chance to talk ourselves out of it. One minute we were lazing on the beach while Scott playfully entertained a couple of guys who approached us with a laminated card showcasing the various water sports they offered and the next minute we were riding in a speedboat out to the diving platform. (It was so organized!!)
Since Sri Lanka, we've gone through a range of experiences that lend themselves to compatibility. Helmet diving and parasailing let us see each other in yet another different context - one where we both a bit nervous and didn't know what to expect. It was a fun way to see how we handle stress - big and small - and respond to the curveballs life sometimes throws.