Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Gringo Trail


One of the best pieces of advice for our journey came from our friend, Phil Crossley.  Unfortunately, we have found it very difficult to follow.  Phil urged us to get off "The Gringo Trail" whenever possible, to explore the corners of the earth that see few tourists and which just might be representative of the people and place in that area.


Such is challenging for two novice world travelers. These are the places with little or infrequent public transport where walking and motorbikes may be the norms but buses and taxis are rare or non-existent.  People are less likely to speak any English in these corners of the world.  Food may be less likely to be prepared in a hygienic way that helps keep us moving fluidly rather than moving fluids.

The Gringo Trail also tends to exist because there are terrific sights and sites to behold.  Think Grand Canyon, Rome's Coliseum, Swiss Alps, the Great Wall of China, etc.  So for much of our first year, we have tread firmly in the footsteps of others on the often slightly polluted, always full, and clearly described tourist tracks in Lonely Planet.  We have tried to ask locals for ideas of things to see that most tourists rush by, but such has been limited to a few hours in a few places...until recently...

In the last couple of weeks, we have begun to find special sites and sights off the beaten track.  On the small island of Bohol in the Philippines, we walked a road for miles where locals
emerged to grin and wave, many asking us "where you going?"  We have taken the time to listen to a local children's choir practice to find to our astonishment it was the world famous, internationally traveled, Loboc's Children Choir.  We stayed a few extra nights to catch the performance of the Loboc Youth Ambassador Band.  Both groups are the inspired vision of music loving locals who mortgaged their business and sacrificed their time to give these children a future.  On Siquijor, we are practicing our motorbike skills (Jess for the first time) and touring smaller, only locally known roads.  We have not seen another non-Filipino tourist in a week.
And soon, we plan on returning to Indonesia.  We loved Bali. However, 80% of Indonesian bound foreign tourists visit only Bali.  There are 17,507 other islands in the fourth most populous country on earth.  These are the islands that helped Alfred Russell Wallace co-develop the theory of evolution as his contemporary colleague, Darwin, pondered his findings from the Galapagos archipelago.  They are the islands where Komodo Dragons roam, living "Hobbits" exist, and the birthplace of spices gracing our kitchen counters.  And...places far from the normal tourist trail.


Images are of our first motorbike ride on Siquijor Island, three young ladies from the Loboc Children's Choir, and typical river transport in the Philippines.  Posted in Larena, Siquijor Island, Philippines

8 comments:

  1. and even short detours are good too!

    look forward to each of your posts!

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    1. And some detours are longer than others in life. Miss you, Phil.

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  2. Oh the sights, visions, sounds and smells you have feasted on! I love travelling vicariously with you two. (You get to deal with iguanas and bugs and I get to enjoy your photos.) ;)

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    1. Julie,
      You would love the cute "little buggers"

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  3. I agree it is always better in travel when people are surprised that you are there. It likely means you are finding the right spots. While not off the beaten track at all, one of my favorite travel days was spent as an offer of manual labor for a local business. I got to help the local customers instead of being the foreign one, and the day was well spent. I love reading of your travels and are so happy to see how you are gaining so much.

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    1. Dale,
      So nice of you to "visit" our blog! I am smiling thinking of your volunteering at another local business in Gunnison as well. Loved those first brew days. Have a great summer!

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  4. I am using Justina's account. Was so glad to hear from you. I do think of you often and will now follow your trip. Have a wonderful time. Sue

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    1. Glad to connect again. sue! Thanks Justina!

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