Stuck in Manila! Emily makes the best of it at the Pearl Manila Hotel pool...
Most people would probably think that being stuck in the Philippines wouldn't give us too much to complain about. Emily and I came here before Chinese New Year for a weeks holiday in Boracay. Unfortunately we were not able to renew our China visas before we left so we got stuck here, unable to get a new visa to get home because of the Chinese embassy being closed for the holiday. This has meant that we have now been stranded here for two weeks. One bonus – I did at least manage to do some diving in Puerto Galera on the way back to Manila.
The embassy reopened last Friday, when we handed in our passports. We finally got them back yesterday with no Chinese visa. They could only offer us two weeks at great expense, despite much pleading. After over a week in Manila we finally leave for Hong Kong on Sunday to try our luck there.
Anyway here is selection of Instagram photos I've taken on our trip…
Only a year after I was last there, I found myself back in Thailand, this time with Robbie and his parents, Bunny and Montsi, on their boat, Effendi. Over Chinese New Year we flew down and met them for a week of sailing and diving and general relaxation. As we arrived at the Boat Lagoon in Phuket on our arrival I could hardly believe that I was back there again, but must confess some levels of glee thinking about those of you who were with me last year. ;)
After a highly entertaining lunch party on our first day which left all of us in a seriously inebriated state, we stumbled aboard and departed at 9pm. Then, in the way that only murphy’s law can strike, we proceeded to have various things go wrong with the boat, starting with the engine leaking diesel into the bilges and finishing with us somehow tearing a whole in the zodiac. The long and short of these events that we decided to abandon our plan to go up to the Similan islands north west of Phuket because we realised that we wouldn’t have enough time.
Instead we decided to stay around Phuket going to the islands in the area, and spent the rest of the week doing lots or snorkelling, diving and sunbathing. It was a very relaxing few days and at the end of the trip, I actually felt rested and ready to face the world again, rather than the usual requirement of another holiday to recover from the first one!