I just realised that we have less than a week left in Boracay. It is a little bittersweet since we are only now starting to feel like at home. We know where to do laundry, where to get the cheapest bottled water and where to find best foods for different moods. People around our flat remember us and say hi, it is such a nice feeling. At the same time we of course want to see more of the world since we are already quite familiar with this island. The time seems to fly so soon we will have to be ready to move on. Read More »
No, this is not about the costs of travelling (though I recently took a good look at the spreadsheets that capture all our plans and expenses, which at times is a bit worrying – but hey! no reason to stress 😉 ) nor about ways to refill the war chest (I am currently venturing into the field of freelance software development, but that deserves a post on its own). This is about the practicality of paying, calculating, and, most importantly, talking in dozens of different currencies. Not only does every country we travel to has its own currency but naturally the readers of this blog also live and think in different currencies. So far we tried to add some context to our expenses in Aussie or Kiwi dollars by giving an estimate in pounds, but this will be of little help to all our friends in Europe etc.
Worry no more! Going back to programming for work it came to my mind that this is something that really should be done by software. So I hacked away a little over the past two days and came up with a small plugin that fetches current exchange rates and automatically converts prices it finds in the text into the currency of the user’s choice. You should find a menu to your right (on a large screen) or on the bottom (on a small screen) where you can pick your favourite currency. It may take a second or two to fetch the exchange rate, but just like magic you should see the prices in the correct currency. Yeah! Read More »
One disadvantage of being a white person here is becoming really clear. You are put into a white person box. White person has money and is source of tips from different kinds of weird services. Tricycle ride costs you triple because you have money. And you want to buy all sorts of things-from light-sticks to coral shells and Boracay magnets. Being put into this box is really sad since we wanted to make friends with local people and experience “real”, local life. We don’t mind contributing to the economy and helping people out but it would be nice if interaction would go beyond the point of selling us something. Also, I am afraid while English is an official language and many people possess a basic ability to communicate in it, the level is not good enough to have an actual conversation.
At the same time this all made me realise how vain some of our “Western” lifestyle is. People just lie on the beach, buy some useless crap, spend days having massage and drinking beer. Is it surprising that we are treated a bit like money bags since we clearly have all this money to “waste”? You cannot blame local people for making their ends meet the best way they can. I did some google research and discovered that average Philippine salary is about PHP11700 per month. While you can probably make your ends meet here things like travelling are not in question not to mention just hanging around, buying useless crap. Read More »
Our third day in Boracay, our home for the next month. This is the first morning I actually feel clear in my head and like I have enough energy to stay awake. As you know, we have been travelling intensively for the last two months, not staying more than 2-3 nights in one place. What a relief to unpack both of our suitcases and being able to have couple of days of not doing anything.
Our little studio is directly above Diniwid beach. To be more precise, 150 steps up or down. We get both the workout and seclusion of being isolated from the active life on the beach. I am getting more and more convinced that we got a bargain deal with our accommodation through airbnb. In February the whole island is 92% booked and the cheapest hotel rooms are about GBP50 per night. We only pay about GBP20 per night and have all we need here – comfy bed, aircon and wifi. Not to mention lovely views from up the hill.
So we decided to become certified divers and embarked on a learn to dive course in Cairns. First we had two days of classroom and pool training and 4 training dives at the Great Barrier Reef. Now we are finally certified divers, who can dive up to 18m. This afternoon will be our first independent dive. Read More »