The Hobo hobbled the last hundred meters down from the waterfalls. His feet were killing as he had been walking for over half an hour in bare feet over gravel and sharp rocks. There in the distance sat on the other side of the river opposite the raised wall built to contain a warm spring sat the French man. The Frenchman who had stolen his sandals while he was at the top of the waterfalls. Hobo grimaced at him.
The Hobo hopped into the spring to sooth his aching feet. The locals already in barely gave him a glance. He motioned for the Frenchman to pass his sandals. The Frenchman leaned back and casually threw them across the river. One landing well short and the other bounced once and landed with a splash in the pool next Hobo. Hobo and the Frenchman looked across at each other over the river and grinned.
Actually the French man is a good friend called Dominique who I met too briefly in India nearly a year ago in a place called Fort Kotchi. Although we only spoke for a short time he stayed in touch via facebook and gave me great advice for travelling in Lao so when I heard he was going to the Philippines I just had to come out and meet him. We were travelling south from Moalboal in Cebu island on motorbike where we were hiding from Hugapit a typhoon that was hitting the Philippines further east and north of us. We were lucky we only had one day of rain. Some people lost their lives. Oh but on a more cheerful note he was not stealing my sandals he was just worried that they might of gotten stolen but thats not the story I tell everyone we meet when I get chance.
Dom is a tall man in his later life (I presume he won’t mind me saying this as he is older then the Hobo) with a confident charm and an accent that the ladies love. He denies all this with a toss of his head but the asian girls I always see getting giggly around him and the few european women we have met who literally end up stuck to their seats prove him wrong.
A prime example of this was while we were biking down south on Cebu Island when we stopped to watch a group of locals all having a get together (mainly women) near an old church. Out of the blue a man came up and asked us if one of us would like to judge the beauty pageant. After a brief discussing were Dom said he would judge them on beauty, poise, elegance, and talent and I said I would probably vote for the one with the biggest tits, it was decided that the French man would judge. The local man was much relieved.
So for the next couple of hours we watched the 5 ladies strut their stuff and parade around in evening gowns (there was no swimsuit contest unfortunately) and show their talents by singing and dancing. In between there were competitions for the locals and dancing and it was all good fun. One contestant really had an eye on Dom and she would shake here hips at him as she walked past and give him the most intense stare all the time. Dom was utterly charmed and as luck would have it she turned out to be the winner. She came across when she had won and shook Doms hand. I was certain I could hear wedding bells as they stared at each other. I squirmed uncomfortably on my cheap plastic seat behind him. Then the moment was over and it was time to go.
As we stopped in a village and shared a couple of beers under a bus stop in a little village on the way back Dom said “You know Gary I could imagine settling down here in the Philippines. Finding a good woman and maybe buying a plot of land by the sea and building my own guesthouse”. Damn the french man. I understood where he was coming from. its such a beautiful place and the people so nice. It would be easy just to settle down here.
The people who had organised the event had given us both a tupperware box for being involved. We gave them to an old lady we chatted to while at the bus stop supping our beers. I think it actually made her day. We jumped on our mopeds and drove off with the sun setting behind us back to Moalboal. It had been a funny old day.
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