´Your Country´s Burning!´ – Part 1

It was on a Saturday night in January 2020, shortly after Anya and I had returned from a month of walking in La Palma. We´d arranged to go to Anya´s niece´s place, who´d invited some friends around for the night.    

It was meant to be a pleasant, convivial evening.

But thanks to me, it turned out a bit differently.  

 

It started with flamenco and ended with aboriginal fire stick agriculture.

Quite a distance to travel in a few hours: Spain to Australia.

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Yolanda

 

On arriving at the outskirts of the city of Cebu (the capital of the island of Cebu) after a long bus trip, we got a taxi to the airport. The airport was on the opposite side of town. We thought the taxi would be quicker than the local bus – as it turned out, a completely unwarranted assumption. Even though it was early in the afternoon and on a week day, the traffic was bumper to bumper. 

Our taxi driver seemed upbeat about the traffic. Like many Filipinos, he spoke English – and spoke it quite well.

When we asked him why the traffic was so heavy, he exclaimed incredulously:

‘You don’t know?’ 

We said we didn´t. 

Voice oozing disbelief, he proceeded to enlighten the dumb tourists. 

‘There’s a big religious festival in Cebu this weekend! People are arriving from all over the country, even overseas!’

I guessed that the taxi driver was a proud native of Cebu.

He wasn’t. 

He was a man making the best of a bad lot.  

No shortage of them in The Philippines, but this man had a cross to bear. Yolanda had ruined him, ruined his life, and yet he still managed to go on, driving his taxi into a land called Hope…..

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Hard Land

 

 

On the shores of Lake Albert, where we pitched our little dome tent, water birds were in abundance– pelicans, water-hens, ibis, and black swans.  Lake Albert was big. Standing on the shore and looking out, it seemed like an inland sea rather than a lake. The flat watery horizon was endless.

It wasn’t always like this. 

When drought came, as it always did in this country, Lake Albert, so vast, turned into something more like a pond.

Those luxuriant waters vanished.

It was a land of extremes.

A hard land. 

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Glacier

On a bus trip in the Andes mountains in Northern Patagonia, there was a short stop at a village called Santa Lucia.

We´d been a couple of hours on the way, the bus was cramped, and it was good to get out and stretch the legs.

The bus stopped near the local church.

It was a fine sunny day, the first in a week.

I took a photo of the church and besides that didn’t do much.

It was the first sunny day in a week and it was good to just stand around a luxuriate in the feeling of warmth and light……

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