Despite my best efforts to kee this strictly chronological, I am going to have to regress a day or two here to include some images I want to share with you.

This was a bridge once.
I have mentioned before about the complete havoc that Typhoon Sendong wrought here.  It is almost impossible to ride in the interior without having to detour, ford rivers or simply turn back.  I know good efforts are being made in some places, usually with an economic imperative llike the geothermal power station.  In this part of the world Bob Dylan's excellent old lyric, "Money doesn't talk, it swears" rings truer than ever.  Frankly, the poor can go to Hell as far as the authorities are concerned.  As long as the important commercial interests are met, that is all that matters, and the whole thing lubricated by bribes and expensive lunches in Casablanca.  I am in imminent danger of becoming a Socialist here which is definitely not my political stance at all.

Look at this image, taken from where one of the bridges up past Valencia had been wiped out.  I saw the remnants of it lying some distance down the river.  It is not obvious here but it was about a 10 feet drop to the river.  So, I have two options, I can either turn back or I can assess the situation.  This is now like one of those initiative tests they give to Army officer recruits.  What do you do, dear reader?  Time is not an issue here, you have at least two hours befo9re nightfall.

I'll tell you what I did.  Firstly, I watched.  I watched until three different riders had forded the river taking a line I really would not have picked, it looked to be the fastest flowig part. 

Good way to wash a bike.
 Secondly, speaking not a word of Visayan and using only sign language I contacted the group of young men on the opposite remnant of the bridge.  They indicated the exact route as taken by the riders I had watched and indicated it safe.  Incidentally, if you are wondering about the bike in the background and the small portion of front wheel you can see on the extreme upper right, the locals come here to wash their bikes.  Simple.

OK, I retraced my route a little from the vantage point I had, took a deep breath and drove in to the general encouragement and directional assistance of the locals.  I am sure they wanted to see me going base over apex but they didn't send me into what were obviously more tricky waters.  I was revving like Hell in first to keep the water out of the exhaust which is fatal.  Bless her, Suzi never faltered although I did give her a fairly rough old ride through there.  Suzi, as I mentioned, is a very faithful friend and never lets me down.  I hammered up the far side with wet legs and a great sense of achievement, waved my thanks to the smiling locals, checked my brakes and made my way on quite happily.

I know this is hardly Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman "Long Way Round" stuff, but it made me feel good and I didn't have the backng of a large and well-funded UK film crew.  Just another little victory and further evidence of a couple of theories of mine that I have probably bored you with before.  Trust locals, they are generally on your side and secondly, don't be worried about having a go at something.  OK, don't be stupid but if you think you have the necessary skills, give it a run.  It makes you feel really good, believe me.

I know this is a small aside but I just fancied posting this.  In the next episodes we'll have coconut harvesting by the positively simian WokWok, a halfbuilt Church halfway to nowhere, some more balot action and your humble narrator not only gets his fingernail (singular) painted but his beard straightened.  I'm sure you can't wait!

Stay tuned.

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