That's right, the battle inside Kyle's head as to whether the sea is greater than the sky has been answered. The sea, in fact, IS greater than the sky. Not only because I dug the shit out of that boat ride last week, but because I just had the hairiest plane ride of my life a couple days ago. We took off from Puerto Princesa an hour late and had a smooth ride for the first hour. The next half hour+ was a different story. We hit turbulence about ten minutes before our approach, then were delayed when the Manila tower closed the runways due to poor visibility. After about a twenty minute holding pattern in a thunderstorm (the sudden bright flashes of light informed me of that), we were cleared to make a landing. What ensued was one hell of a rough approach, followed by an abortion of the landing and the plane pulling out of it at maximum thrust. This marked the first time I've ever been on a plane that aborted a landing. Then we got to circle another ten minutes through massive turbulence to make another attempt at it, this one just as rough. By then there were hardly any non-worried faces, only smiles on those of the crazy. I was a little happy to see us break through the clouds on the approach, but that happiness was dashed when I was able to determine, relative to the ground, how fucking much the plane was being thrown around by the wind. All we needed was John McLain on the runway with a couple of flaming sticks and the scenario would have been complete. Thankfully though, we hit the runway and the cabin was in an uproar of applause.
Then we got to get soaked by the torrential downpour on the way to the bus terminal to catch our night bus to Sagata. Some friends that Matt made (a famous Philippino band) told us not to do our original planned route due to the fact that the area around that bus terminal would be flooded and we would never get out of there. Instead we decided to take another route: a bus to Bagio then catch another one from there to Sagata. We got to the station, warfed back a couple of hot dogs with off-brand ketchup and jumped on the bus. At first it was ok that the air conditioning was on, we needed to cool off a bit form the humidity. Then two hours into it and fifteen degrees colder, we were wishing we had brought more clothes on board. Thankfully a rest stop was only twenty minutes away, where we were able to grab more layers out of our backpacks beneath the bus. After fitful bus-like sleep we arrived in Bagio and jumped on another bus. The road to Sagata turned out to be a steep, narrow, winding mountain road with a hundred and something foot drop an inch away from our wheel. And due to the fact that it had and has been raining for quite a while, there were a few landslides we had to negotiate. I chose to sleep instead of looking out the window, so much so that apparently I kept on resting my head on the poor old Philippino man sitting next to me.
Sagata is a really laid back mountain town. The feel here is pretty cool and I wish we had more time to spend here, but our flight to PNG is coming back fast. We did get to mingle with the locals a little today though. A guy, James, we were connected with through the band Matt met at the airport invited us to his farm today where we got to sit and drink gin with him, and sample some of his own rice wine, which is almost like fermented berry porridge (I didn't know wine could be a solid) with a very sweet taste. Sitting and talking with James gave us a very cool feel of rural life in the Philippines. They still maintain a very strong community; everyone is very social and productive with one another. Just when we were there the mans sister was getting married. Over one thousand people attended, one cow, one goat and twelve pigs were slaughtered to feed everyone. Quite a village undertaking, I was impressed.