Another Hell Bus
Puerto Princesa Travel Blog› entry 5 of 13 › view all entries
August 21st, 2008 – by: JeAr
We decided to not do island-hopping in Honda Bay and go straight to El Nido instead. So, we checked out of Payuyo at 5.15 in the morning to catch the 6AM bus to El Nido. The San Jose Bus Terminal was pretty far from the city proper, so we had to commission a tricycle to take us there for P40, which is less than a dollar. Not bad.
When we got to the terminal, we found out that the first trip already left at 5AM, and the next one would be leaving at 7. So, we had more than an hour to wait before we start rolling. I tried to get some sleep but people started coming in, and with them came noises. Well, I'll just save the sleeping for later! I was starting to have a bad feeling about the bus, though.
After the bus was filled with people, and its roof with baggage (backpacks, boxes, rice bags, you name it), we started moving. Oh boy, I'm not gonna enjoy this...
Seb and I were seated next to 2 beautiful girls, Tessa from Holland, and Jen from Ireland. So, the four of us alternately chatted with each other (whoever was awake), and I guess we helped keep our sanity for the 8-10 hours of travel ahead of us.
The first few hours were pretty good, actually. Paved road, spectacular views, cool breeze, fresh air. I loved it! On one side was Honda Bay, and on the other were thickly-forested mountains.
However, despite all of these, and unlike in that Vientiane hell bus, I didn't feel harassed in this one. Maybe because I was in my turf, and that I could understand what the people were talking about? Yeah, that must be it. Made things a bit better for me, but as for my European friends, it didn't make a difference, of course. Poor people, I'm sure they were asking themselves what they're doing there. But I think, like me, they know the delicious price that lay ahead.
From time to time, the bus stopped to drop off people and cargo, which were quickly replaced by more people and cargo. No wonder the trip took longer than it should. We even had a flat-tire incident, so all of us had to get off the bus, in the middle of nowhere, while the men replaced the tires. All guidebooks mentioned how tough the road can be, and that getting stuck in the mud (during rainy days) or getting a flat tire occurs regularly, so of course it had to happen to us! Who are we to be exempted from the fun? Still, it felt surreal.
Finally, after 20 minutes, we moved on. No more flat tires, please!
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