Apologies and explanations.

OK, I know it has been a while, I sort of dropped off the radar.  There is a reason for this as I hope to explain here. 

Shortly after my last posting I had a little bit of a tumble off the motorbike which left me in hospital for a few days.  Don't panic, it was nothing serious, just a fes stitches in my right clavicle, a couple more in my face and some bruising and tenderness.  Do not ask me what happened as I have absolutely no recollection, even now.  As best I can piece it together I managed to put the bike into a telgraph pole which was guaranteed to do it or me not too much good.  The police officer who attended decided that my friend and I were in no condition to wait for an ambulance and ferried us to Hioly Child Hospital in Dumaguete City.  I spent that night either unconscious or sedated, I still don't know which, and woke up the next morning feeling a bit sore and not in much position to go anywhere.

I spent five days in hospital and then discharged myself to go back to the wonderful La Fiesta where I was staying and recuperate.  The reason I did not post anything here was that I wanted to return to UK and speak to friends and family to explain first, I did not want to worry anyone unecessarily.  As I write this, I still have a bit of tenderness in my right shoulder and a very slight loss of sensation in the right hand side of my face but I really am fine, so don't panic.  My friend had a bump on the head, a black eye and a sprained wrist but similarly is well-recovered now thankfully.  I don't mind bashing myself up but I would hate to hurt anyone else.

The accident showed me the best and worst of the Philippines, reinforcing many of the views I had previously held of the place and shattering some myths as well.  At some point when I was unconscious, someone stole my camera.  No, I didn't lose it as it was in a zipped pocket.  It must have been either a bystander, the police officer or someone at the hospital.  To my absolute horror, I also lost my plectrum pendant from round my neck although this may have been either ripped off in the crash or cut off by the medical staff to get at the wound in my neck. 

Strangely, I had been having a conversation a few days previously about the appalling state of some Philippino hospitals but I have to say the staff at Holy Child were superb, they treated me really well.  Certainly, they are working probably without the most up to date equipment but they gave me a CAT scan, ultrasound scan, and generally kept me extremely comfortable.  I had a nurse round every two hours taking temprerature and blood pressure, a doctor round every afternoon to examine me and speak to me in perfect English, the private side ward I was in was kept spotless and I have no complaint whatsoever about my treatment in what is, effectively, a third world hospital..  I'd also like to say a huge thank you here to Weng Weng, a teenage lad that my friend sent to look after me.  I'd met him before and he is a great kid.  Bless him, he sat there for the whole time I was in, sleeping on the couch provided for family (a common thing here) and obviously just happy to eat the three or four meals a day they brought me which I just couldn't face. 

Even the meals were interesting.  In a country where so much of the cuisine is rice, they obviously have a "long-nose" alternative.  Meals come on sectioned trays and where the rice should have been, there was small diced boiled potato with every meal.  The food looked perfectly OK and Weng Weng seemed to enjoy them.  Another great positive from the whole sorry affair was the number of people that came to visit me, mostly expats but a few Philippino friends as well.  I am not sure if they were sedating me through my drip but I seemed to sleep a lot in there and every time I woke up there was another longnose sitting at the bedside, mostly, fairly hairy a***d biker types wearing their colours.  I have no idea what the staff must have made of it.  Mac, Hawk and a few of the staff from where I was staying also pitched up as, indeed, did some of the staff from various places I ate or drank in town.  The bush telegraph is extremely efficient in Dumaguete.  I thank each and every one of you, it really did mean a lot.

After I discharged myself (I really did need a cigarette by that stage!), I went home by trike although still feeling pretty beaten about, and the kindnesses just went on and on.  I was effectively bedbound for a few more days and the girls insisted on bringing food to my cabin rather than having me going to the bar for it.  As always, it was gorgeous and after a few days of not eating just what was required.  The morning after I got back, little Lisa asked if I wanted a shower.  I must admit I was pretty ripe but my right arm just wasn't obeying commands.  Two of the girls basically supported me and walked me the few yards to the wetroom shower.  Lisa sat me down on the toilet and proceeded to scrub me all over.  Now, I want you all to put your smutty minds away here, there was nothing at all improper and I was wearing my swimming trunks.  It was just another example of how wonderfully caring Filpino people can be.

I spent a couple of weeks not doing much except recuperating at La Fiesta which proved to be an excellent place to do it.  I really cannot stress how much I did enjoy that place.  I bought what was left the bike off Mac, sold it to another English friend called Danny, and he has done it up and it is riding again.  I could have done it myself but I really didn't have the heart for it. 

The rest of my time was spent in Dumaguete, getting back in the social swing as it were, but my plans to ride round the island were a bit scuppered, and there is not a whole lot more to report from my time there then.  I had vaguely planned to go overland up through Cebu, possibly Coron, back to Luzon and up to Manila for my flight home but in the end I opted for a Cebu Pacific flight to Manila, a couple of days there and then flying home.  After the carnage that constitutes NAIA (Manila's airport) my Emirates flight home was long but uneventful and I eventually arrived back at Gatwick to the cold, grey drizzle that has marked this years so-called summer in UK.

I will write a further post here about my overall impressions of a country I have very quickly come to love and may well settle in, but I thought you might have been interested in why I have not posted for such a long time.

Stay tuned.

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