Friday, August 17, 2012

Crazy Travel or Travel Crazy?

   I used to wonder about these people you see in airports who are sprawled out all over the benches or even worse, on the floor. It's been so bad in some places we have flown into that you had to literally step over bodies!! BUT! After more than 13 years of flying all over the world I have joined this crazy group of people who are spread out like dead bodies from complete exhaustion! I have even thought about shoving a persons feet off of a padded bench so I could lay down on the end of it! The only thing that kept me from that or laying on the floor is my Germ-a-phobic hubby! He has been my pillow, my cover and my alarm clock on so many trips that I can't even think of travel without him!

   People have made the comment to me on so many occasions that there is no way they could do what we do. My answer is always the same,"When you are doing what GOD has called you to do, he also gives you the heart, love and strength to do it! Where God guides, God provides".  I love the work that God has placed us over and I love working for the Lord. All the places I have been and the things I have experienced are more than I can put in one blog, but I am going to try and put some of the milder happenings down for your enjoyment. Maybe then you can help me tell if I've become that Crazy traveler or just travel crazy!

   I have learned (the hard way) to never say, "I AM NEVER GOING TO DO....(fill in the blank)", cause I really believe God has a sense of Humor and tries us when we say we won't do something! Yep! I made the silly statement that you'd never get me onto a pump boat!!! Silly woman!

   THIS.... is called a PUMP BOAT! It is a local boat made by fisherman in the Philippines. Now, it doesn't look like much in this picture, does it!  It is hand made with bamboo out riggers for balance. This boat is 18 foot long and I would say about 3 1/2  feet wide. When they tell you it's a pump boat does not mean it is equipped with a pump! Then you begin to wonder why would you need a pump?  The owner of the boat kept trying to reassure me that it was a new boat, it was a good boat!  I sure wasn't feeling very confident in it or the captain. Please notice the "plank" that little filipino man is walking across with my briefcase.  There are life jackets for the passengers, but if you notice they are tied down on the outside of the "roof". The reason we ended up on this tiny pump boat is that we got to the dock and because there wasn't enough people to take across on the regular ferry they cancelled it! Well, that's great except we HAD to get to Cebu Island from Negros to get to the airport to fly out at 5 am the next morning! The young pastor we were with kept telling us to not worry that he'd get us across! I think next time I'm going to be asking a lot more questions before I say okay!!!! He brought us over to look at this boat and my stomach did a flip!! After haggling with the man on how much he was going to charge us, we gave him $80.00 to take us across an 18 mile strip of the Asian sea.
   Silly Americans, we are standing there thinking okay, it can't take very long to get across 18 miles in the daylight so we agreed to go.  After loading our 3 HUGE suitcases (I know, I still travel with way too much junk) 2 roller briefcases, my purse (which has been called a small suitcase) and Harrell's Computer case we climbed down these huge boulders to get on the boat. You would have thought that the red flags would have started going off because we had to literally climb into it! I told Harrell if he took any pictures of me he would surely die!!!! Once we got on the boat and settled in, a rush of people climbed on with us! I counted 19 people when we pushed away from shore!
   The sun began going down and before we get a few miles out into the water it is dark! I have never seen night time come on so quickly. We pull into a dock at a little island that's just a couple of miles out to get gas! All of the passengers got off here and we had to wait for the boat men to go into town to get gas for the little 18 Horse powered engine. After almost 45 minutes we are asking what's going on and why is it taking so long. Finally we are told that they Captain had to jump on a motor bike and go into the next town to get gas! When he came back he was holding 2 bleach bottles! We were latter told that it was against the law for them to transport after a certain time because this area is a shipping lane for the big freighters.  Once we were under way again we start to notice a few things that made the hair on the back of my neck stand up! Number one; there are no lights of any kind on this boat, #2; no radio #3; You couldn't see the other island except when you were on top of a wave!
This really made me appreciate the story of the disciples when they were on that little boat with Jesus in the midst of a storm.  The weather was fairly calm but we still were riding some awesome waves. I was sitting about mid way of the boat and I was completely wet from waves splashing over the side.
   About an hour into the trip the captain stopped the boat and one of the men started tearing the floor up next to me. I was so shocked when I saw the water that was in the lower part of that boat. Even more shocked when this man pulled out a big jug with the top cut of and started baling water!!! That's when I realized that just because they call it a pump boat doesn't mean they have a PUMP!!!!!!!!! That really freaked me out! All this time I was praying and asking God to help us make it to the other side okay. This little act put some fire into my prayers and it became VERY serious that God hear me!  Then latter they stopped the boat so they could swap the bleach bottles that were the boats gas tanks. I was just praying that this trip would end with us safely on Cebu!
   We did make it to Cebu, but it took us 3 hours to do it. by the time we made it to the shores of Cebu the tide was out so this made the dock 9 feet above our heads! We then began a search up and down the coast trying to find a place to go ashore. With the tide out we couldn't get close enough to the shore to walk onto the beach. We had to wade on to the beach in water that came up to my hips! If you can get the picture set in your mind of me in a skirt with my purse and computer case over my head, wading across huge rocks barefoot just so I could get off that boat I'm sure you'd get a good giggle! I was wet, scared and just a little mad at the young pastor so when I came off that boat all those men got out of my way!!! So take it from a traveler when I say, "Never say Never" cuz you just might have to!

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