Oh hey there Sydney. How ya doing? STILL stinging from not becoming the Capital of Australia huh? I don’t blame you. I mean, I don’t get it myself. You were the obvious choice being the first founded city of Australia and that. I mean, EVERYONE knows about you. You say, ‘hey who’s the Capital of Australia’ and everyone says SYDNEY DUH. But not duh. Cause you’re not. And you never will be. Sorry, too soon?
Don’t worry about it Syds. Ergh who even IS Canberra? You’re way better than that s.l.u.t. You would make such a better Capital. You would Capital the shit out of being Capital. I wish I knew what to say that could make you feel better. I guess you just gotta remember that everything happens for a reason. You don’t know what’s gonna happen in the future. You don’t know what’s around the corner and when it’s right, it’s right, right? Just keep doing what you’re doing and when you least expect it…it’ll happen for you. I mean, it won’t actually happen for you. You can’t become the Capital unless you get rid of Canberra but you’re no homewrecker. Srsly who the fuck is Canberra? Look, you’re way better off anyway. Dodged a bullet if you ask me.
It’s time to move on Sydney. It’s been 103 years mate. On the upside, at least you’re not Melbourne am I right? Actually, AM I right? Cause I’m not entirely sure what your beef is with Melbourne. I mean yeah, you both wanted to be the Capital but you’re WAY prettier than Melbourne. Melbourne is PUNCHING. Sure Melbourne is super artsy and cultural blablabla and voted the best city to live in or whatever but you’ve got loads going for you. You know…beaches? That bridge? You’re a total catch! What’s that saying? Melbourne is superficially deep but Sydney is deeply superficial? Oops that came out wrong. I mean, I probably misheard it or something. Just forget I said anything.
Introducing you to Heartbreak Hotel where the drinks are cheap and the men are cheaper.
Hello friend. Firstly, my condolences to you. I ASSUME if you are reading this then you have recently been on the receiving end of being d.u.m.p DUMPED. Was capital letters too much? Sorry d.u.m.p – D’d.
Poor you. I feel ya. Being d.u.m.p D’d is a real bummer. I’ll give you a brief moment to wallow in self pity and then I’m going to tell you to start your timer because for the next two days, you’re allowed to do whatever the eff you want. Leave painful voice messages. Lie face down in a variety of cushioned objects. Cry in the ladies toilets. Even better – cry in the MENS toilets (everyone loves an aubergine). Then, once your two days are up, you’ve got to suck it the eff up people.
I’ve been there. I’ve cried on strangers in the toilet. ALOT. I’ve been escorted home. I’ve marched myself in and then immediately out of places I knew I shouldn’t be. I’ve drunk all the drinks. All of them. Every single one. And then after 2 days MAX, I’ve sucked it the eff up. And so should you. And I’ll tell you for why:
Firstly – don’t be that guy that is still in love with their ex 1,2,3,4 years later (and trust me, unless you get a hold of your damn self it will spiral into the years). Lord knows I’ve been that guy before. I’ve made all the mistakes. I’ve taken my market research for you guys very seriously. I look back at my entire time at uni when I was making myself too miserable to notice the amount of D I could of had. So. Many. D’s. I’ve also dated that guy SO MANY TIMES. It’s pathetic. Sorry. I’m saying it. Save me the self indulgence that goes along the lines of ‘you don’t know them the way I know them’ and ‘can’t fight a love like ours’. zzZ. No one can help you if you don’t want to help yourself and truly believing those things is going to give you 1-4 years of going nowhere emotionally. So every time you start thinking those types of thoughts, just tell yourself to shut the eff up and move on. You really think NOONE has a love can’t fight like yours? Really? If this is your first ‘real’ break up…you’ve gotta just take my word for it that you will find someone you like a whole lot more. I’ve done the ground work for ya babes. You’re welcome.
Secondly – I like to think of being d.u.m.p D’d as being let out of prison. All jokes aside about relationships being like a jail sentence ho ho ho, being dumped is like being granted early release whether you’re ready for it or not. Maybe, you really liked prison. Maybe, you made a load of friends and started a small hooch business that really gave you a sense of purpose. Maybe, you got into a solid routine and finally managed to get a hot bod, so when the time came for you to leave, you really weren’t bloody ready for it. HOWEVER, in spite of how much you were enjoying yourself, we all know you’d be a FOOL to hang on to what you had on the inside. Prison doesn’t want you mate. Prison ain’t the place for you. Prison is LAME. So as shit as it might feel starting from scratch again – you’d be a total moron to keep re-offending just so you could stay within your safe little prison.
So step one in ‘How to get through a break up’ is:
Assign yourself a break-up buddy.
I’d like to point out that this person ain’t gonna be yo slave as such, but this person is going to have to put up with your shit for the next 1-2 months. So, your friendship has to be pretty tight because at some points you’re probably going to act like an arsehole. They are also going to have to be someone who’s opinion you respect because, unfortunately for you, you’re assigning them the great task of making your decisions for you whether you like it or not. Pick someone who really has their shit together. No blind leading the blind and all that. I’m serious. You have to listen to their advice and then do as they say even if you don’t feel like it. You were dumb enough to fall for someone who D’d you. So now your opinion counts for nothing. Also, we all know that if given the opportunity to run back into bed with your ex, even when they’re telling you to your FACE that you’re “just friends right?”, that you probably will. You’re a dumb bitch. Hand in your wallet and your phone and strap yourself in for a bumpy ride.
Here, I’d like to introduce you to my own personal Break Up Buddy otherwise known as – Jess. Otherwise known as – WWJD. Otherwise known as – What Would Jess Do. Otherwise known as – ‘New Number who dis, I can’t even remember your name, this is embarrassing, are you sure we ever slept together?’
Has Jess experienced a love like ours? Yes. But when Jess has been D’d she has already gotten her affairs in order, so that by the time those dumb boiz have come running back (and they always do believe me), instead of being like YES of COURSE let’s get back together, she’s like ‘ew I can’t believe we ever dated. Are you sure that happened? HA. HA. HA. Really?? I must have been DRUNK. Or on a HIGH dosage of codeine because SRSLY no. Like WOW – no. But while you’re here I’d like to introduce you to my new babe of a boyfriend’.
Does WWJD moving on so quickly mean the love she feels for someone is less than the one you’re experiencing? Nope. However, there is one thing that Jess loves more than the person she’s dating and that’s herself. WWJD knows who she is. And because Jess knows who she is, she knows what she wants. She also skips over all the self-loathing crap which leads me to my next step.
2. It’s not you, it’s them.
Well, it might be you a bit. Actually, it’s mostly you – a lot. If that’s something that bothers you, rejection and that, then it’s time to get on team you. Everyone faces rejection, even total babes like myself ho ho HOE get D’d. Take all those unhelpful thoughts – Why? What did I do? What didn’t I do? Is it me? Am I too this or too that? etc etc. Gather those pesky little thoughts and put them into a tiny little box in your mind. Then, as my beautiful friend Jo (sister to WWJD) says, take that precious box in your mind, full of all those really useless questions and LOB IT IN A RIVER. Don’t let that box resurface. We’re not Jumangi. Just don’t even think about it. At all. EVER.
Yes, there probably are some things you could develop. I.e infidelity, insecurity issues etc etc. You’ll know what those things are. You don’t need to stew over it. But most of the real reasons why you’ve been D’d will be things like; you laugh too much when you’re drunk, or you don’t eat enough vegetables, or you like soft boiled eggs, or you call every day, or you reply to their texts as soon as you see them. Most of the reasons will be things you like about yourself and let me remind you of this…all of those things will be what your friends love about you. So just trust me on this one, it’s definitely not you. And really – who gives a fuck, if it is.
3. Cutting it it off doesn’t make you an arsehole
If you’ve ever D’d anyone then you’ll understand me when I say this: D-ing someone is really freaking hard. You’re probably thinking that if someone “really” cared about you then they wouldn’t D you. It’s easy right? Real love equals no D-ing. So when your ex starts throwing around statements like ‘I really want us to be friends’ and ‘I feel so privileged to have met you’, you start mistaking this as ‘can’t fight a love like ours’.
Being the D-er means they’ve put some serious brain time into this decision. But, it’s really likely they care about you, so the highest percentage of how much they agree with D-ing you is a maximum of 70. Which leaves 30% of them running back and forth.
When I broke up with my ex, it was the worst. When I said I wanted us to be friends I genuinely meant it. We hung out, we acted like a couple because that’s all we’d known and eventually started sleeping together again. I reeeeeaaaalllly cared about him. I’d come to the decision of being the D-er and no matter how hard either of us tried, it never shifted. Of course I wanted to stay in touch with him. Look, I’m having my cake AND I’m eating it. No matter how much you might like the person who is D-ing you, the very act of D-ing gives you a right to not like them that much, for now at least.
In the words of Adele to your ex, ‘never mind I’ll find someone LIKE you’. LIKE you. But not ACTUALLY you. Because you D’d me and now YOU suck. Yes, you might really care about them, *rolls eyes* yes sure they probably felt like your best mate *I’m going blind from this eye roll* but they D’d you. Once someone does that, they’ve thought long and hard about the consequences of doing that. One of those, is them losing favour with ALL of your friends and family and guess what? They still D’d you. The other is, you leaving their life for good and I’m sorry to say it but they still D’d you.
Once someone has come to the decision of D-ing, to avoid that 30% of indecision, cut it off for your own good. And while you’re here, introduce ‘they’ll rue the day…’ into your daily vocabulary.
4. Manage your thoughts
You put the work into feeling nice things about the person who D’d you. It didn’t feel like work because thinking nice things about someone who’s hot and is giving you attention is easy. But you didn’t wake up on day 1 with all these ideas about how awesome your relationship is and how perfect your partner was. It’s been a habit you’ve formed over thousands and thousands of thoughts.
So now, put the work into feeling indifferent to them. It’s really that simple. Every time a nice thought about them pops into your mind, just shoo it away. Your mind is closed for business when it comes to this person. Easy. No? You don’t think so? Well what do you know buddy, you just got D’d by someone you knew inside out. Believe me, it’s easy to think that because you’re super sad about being D’d and because it’s hard to fight these internal thoughts that that’s it. One true love. They were ‘the one’. But it’s okay – a lot of people think the same as you. Regretful thoughts, sad thoughts and all the shoulda would coulda’s are addictive. Srsly, who doesn’t love putting on a bit of Adele and looking out the car window. But deep down inside, you wanna be the person that comes off better in this situation. THAT person, is the person that picks themselves up and moves the eff on with someone who hasn’t D’d you. So introduce a couple of bouncers in your mind and when a pair of nice looking thoughts that happen to look just like your ex come along, you put your hands up and say ‘not tonight lads’.
5. Unfollow them on EVERYTHING.
It’s over. Single tear sad face. Yes you might be doing that dance of ‘we’re friends’, ‘it was a mutual decision’ lalala but social media is the devil and the perfect platform for gloating about how fake happy you are. You can add 2 + 2 and make 5 if you continue to watch their stories and see their posts. Also seeing them watch your stories and lap up your fake happy is just as addictive. ‘Why is he smiling when I’m not there? Who’s that girl with the great abs? Him and his female friend are hanging out all the time, he must have been cheating’. You don’t need to see their face every day via your smart phone so unfollow them. Plus it’s easier to do it straight away rather than 6 months in when they’ve got a new person and you suddenly look really bitter. ‘Oh no I’m fine, it’s just a coincidence that I unfollowed you when all those hot people appeared and you looked really happy. I’m happy for you, really I am.’ Also I urge you to stick to the unfollow. There’s been one boy in particular recently that I kept following and then unfollowing and then following. In the end I had to delete snapchat altogether because I couldn’t be trusted. Don’t be me.
Yes being D’d sucks but it’s totally up to you on how you choose to let the next couple months play out. I look back on the many, many (many) times I’ve been D’d and yes at times I was a bit misbs (miserable). But mainly, I could do whatever the eff I wanted. Welcome to real life and welcome more importantly to Heartbreak Hotel. Cue music – ‘such a lovely place (such a lovely place) such a lovely face’. Now you can relate to people around you and to all those emosh songs. You thought Celine Dion just did that Titanic song? Oh how wrong you are. She did all the emotions – the album ‘Let’s talk about love’ is a personal fave. Take this as an opportunity to have a tonne of lols with the people around you, you don’t need to fake it, just enjoy it. Believe me, you’ll look back at this and think – ‘Are you sure that happened? HA. HA. HA. Really?? I must have been DRUNK. Or on a HIGH dosage of codeine because SRSLY no. Like WOW – no’.
They say Melbournian style is all about looking as though you ran through a charity shop wearing velcro and came out the other end giving zero fucks. And by they, I mean – me.
You know those days when you’ve gone to bed with your make-up still on and your hair tied up cause you’re a lazy piece of shit? Only to awaken with a dewy, smudged, smoking hot look and meticulous boho hair? No? Me neither. Which is why, although Melbournian style is beautiful in it’s simplicity, it’s pretty tricky to master. Think no make-up make-up. (I don’t even know what means) Think a diet of green juice, a regulated daily dose of Vitamin D and a high disposable income. Still not with me? Think Body art. Delicate Jewellery. Top knots. And always, always, ALWAYS an assortment of Black. It’s like you turned 18 and thought – fuck this shit – but you’re also a massive hipster so you bought a tote bag with a political message and stuck to the right side of the law.
I have to give it to Melbournians. They’re freaking beautiful. And like srsly black in 40 degree heat? It’s like their clothing are solar panels. Storing up the sun’s energy in the hot weather to warm their bones as soon as the temperature drops to 20. Which it does in the space of a few hours. The weather man *rolls eyes* SO premenstrual. Am I riiight?
And Melbournians savour their unique pieces. They opt for independent or Australian brands over large chains. It’s no wonder charity shops in Australia are called opportunity shops – Op Shops. You’re not a charity man, you’re an opportun-ity.
And oh BOY! So many opportunities to buy things you didn’t even know you needed. A cashmere cardigan with embellished buttons? HELLA YES. A sequin jumper? HOW DO I GET YOU ALONE. A see-through lilac blouse? I’LL NEVER LOOK BACK. The opportunities are endless and who CARES that it’s an average of 35 degrees outside. How can you think about such practicalities when faced with an opportunity of a lifetime. I like to think it was around this time that Duran2 and I started to say ‘Oh Honey YES’ to each other – a LOT.
Before Duran2 and I left for our east coast road trip – we bought everything we needed from op-shops. I bought a variety of old lady jumpers including my Sequin Jumper which I had to (haha HAD to) carry in my stuffed backpack across the Phillipines because I couldn’t bear to part with it. I recently let my friend wear it out and it ‘went missing’. Here, we commenced a full blown search party which eventually ended in it’s appearance stashed behind my washing machine. 2 hours later, I still had to chase after her as she left my house wearing it. Er come BACK here young lady.
THE sequin jumper. You can look but you can’t touch.
When you think of the Phillipines, what comes to mind? White sandy beaches? Green tea sea, glittered with painted boats? Yes. Yes. And Yes. But also – No.
Amongst this paradise, there is trickery underfoot. Someone is out to test you, to tease you. The Filipinos have a saying that translates to ‘It’s always more fun in the Phillipines’ and you will find this written across it’s adverts for tourism and scrawled into worn travel guides. Perfect, you might think. At first glance, this would of course relate to it’s beauty, the sincerity of it’s locals, the amount there is to see and do. Yes. Yes. And Yes. It MUST be more fun in the Phillipines. But also like for realz – no.
We have taken 2 buses and 2 tricycles which amount to about 16 hours of travel time with an overnight stay in Naga. For some reason, Duran2 and I have decided to be too tight to pay for domestic flights. This MIGHT be because after a 6 week road trip travelling the East Coast of Australia – we are poor AF. It may also be because we were too ignorant to plan anything and after discovering the Phillipines is simply a cluster of islands means we have left booking cheap flights until it’s too late. Insert awkward smiley face. Never mind we shrug, buses are probably ‘more fun’ in the Phillipines, we joke.
The Filipinos are very friendly and genuinely pleased to see you. They ask you how you are, where you are from and where exactly you are going as you change in-between buses or wait around at terminals. They cannot understand a word we say, so most of our conversations are us laughing at each other as we repeat the names of towns and cities like so:
Na-gar? hahaha Na-gar?
Na-ga? hahaha Na-ga?
Nah – gah? hahaha Nah-gah?
And so on and so forth.
One of the few times we were asked for money, we shared out oranges we had just bought from the roadside. As the small boys walked away, oranges in hand, we joked about how they were probably about to lob them at our backs until we saw them cautiously peeling them over an open bin and I think Duran 2 fainted from the emotion.
Within the first 4 hours of our bus journey, a Filipino heaves their guts up into a plastic bag. They do a speedy exit shortly after, leaving their plastic bag proudly on the seat behind them and we find this really amusing until we begin to notice that we see a Filipino vomming into various contraptions on every. journey. we take. One time, we are standing on the side of the road eating snacks and a small filipino child on a bus opposite us, opens the window and decorates the side of the bus with it’s lunch right infront of us. This IS more fun in the Phillipines.
There are pros and cons to travelling by bus. Serial vomming (con) which can lead to vomming dominos (serious con). They have minimal legroom (con) and buses accept excess baggage for all (pro and con). This is actually extremely handy if you are in the business of trading chickens/roosters or if you just really enjoy the company of poultry. They stop every 3 hours for snacks (double pro) and a place for you to pee into a rusty hole for a small cost (pro). They are also SUPER cheap. Like crazy cheap (pro pro pro). You can get Jeepney’s which are brightly coloured extended jeeps but they take 3x as long and only go a certain distance and people and luggage are strapped to the roof. You can also fly. But srsly who has the time to plan such things.
Arriving in Caramoan, the cheapest accommodation we can find is situated directly on the beach. This IS more fun we nod. We explore for 2 days, kayaking around the cliffs and walking around it’s secluded beaches. Our dinner is made by a lady in a straw hut – fish caught and prepared that very day. Yes. More fun in the Phillipines Duran 2 and I grin at each other. We are being safe. We are avoiding the red lion beer that is renowned for giving foreigners the shits and only taking out as much cash as we need. We, of course know, that nowhere will accept our Mastercards. Our room has asked us to pay at the end of our stay and knowing there is an ATM in the adjacent village, we blow our cash on fish until we are down to 800 pesos.
Haggling with a tricycle, we ride to the next village and as I approach the ATM, I realise I have of course, forgotten my purse with my cash cards. Nay bother we think – Duran2 is not as stupid as me. We try his card. Declined. That’s odd we shrug as we are directed to the only other ATM in the village. Declined it repeats. We haggle with our second tricycle to take us to our room and back again and our 800 pesos becomes 650. Purse in hand, I attempt the first ATM again. Declined. A second card. Declined. A third. Declined. Fuck. Nay bother, the second ATM will probably work. First Card – Declined. Second Card – Declined. Third Card? Don’t even bother it says. We are stood on the side of the main road in and out of Caramoan, as our westernised brains are trying to catch up with the situation we have found ourselves in. An ATM that doesn’t accept any of our cards. Not. Even. One? An ATM. That doesn’t. Give. Cash. We don’t quite understand. Not. Even. ONE?
We frogmarch ourselves to the only bank and are met by a very friendly young man. Hi, how are you? where are you from? How long you stay in Caramoan? Our answers are met with a catching giggle each time as we try to cut to the chase. It’s difficult to remain serious when you are faced with a giggling Filipino despite the fear that is lingering in our minds. We explain that the ATM outside his establishment is not accepting any of our Cards. ‘Not. Even. One?’ He asks. Not even one we repeat. ‘Ah’. He smiles. ‘You need to go to next town with ATM. Try there’ he says. ‘You can get a bus’. Fucking buses. Okayyy we say tentatively. How far away is the next town with an ATM we ask. ’40 kilometers. Maybeee 4 hour trip.’ Our mouths drop. You mean to tell me, that the next ATM that MIGHT give us cash is a 4 hour bus journey away? ‘hahaha’ he nods. ha ha ha we repeat. Panic shoots across both our faces as we try to calculate our options. If we go back to our room and try and explain it’ll cost us 150 round trip with a tricycle before we are able to start our 4 hour ATM quest. If we jump on a bus now, there is a possibility the next town’s ATM will be as much of a bastard as this one’s. If we stay on the bus, then it will take us all the way back to Naga where we will definitely be able to withdraw cash but we will arrive in the dead of night and either have to stay there (again!) or try and catch a night bus back to pay the room and collect our things. It’s already 2pm. Fuck. All we have, are the clothes on our backs and our good for nothing cash cards.
We power walk to the bus stop and approach 3 Filipinos sat under a confectionary vendor in the shade. ‘Hiiiii’ – I say – ‘I have a problem’. ‘What is your problem ma’am’ they chime collectively before bursting into hysterical laughter which in turn, makes me and Duran2 also begin to wet ourselves. We need to pull it together me and Duran 2 remind ourselves – this is serious. I explain that the ATM isn’t giving us cash. ‘No Cash?’ They ask. No Cash we repeat. ‘No Cash’ Long pause. ‘Ah you have BIG problem’ they all cackle at us. WE KNOW we laugh and then we all stand there stupidly giggling at each other before they point us in the direction of the next bus out of here which leaves in 1 hour. This is cutting into our daylight hours. Duran2 and I nervously stand on the side of the road going over and over our only options and count and recount our 650 pesos. The bus is costing 280 for the two us. We are soiling our pants. Do we have enough for snacks? We haven’t had any lunch. I bully Duran2 to go and get an assortment of weird sweet bread things which cost 5 pesos each before we get on the bus and repeat the bus journey that carried us to Caramoan in the first place.
As we drive out through rice fields and hills, I start to feel pretty stupid that we even thought there would be a working ATM. There are a small clatter of desolate homes every 30 minutes which have young children collecting water from a communal pump. I guess there’s no WIFI here either you dumb hoe I say to myself. I begin to wonder if the next town we have been directed to, will give us the cash we need. I can tell that Duran2 is thinking the same thing and after 4 hours, we try and decide whether to get off at the next town as instructed or carry on an additional 4 hours to Naga. Decision making between the two of us is – in one word – painful. It’s dark. We are – for lack of a better phrase – freaking the fuck out. If we get out at this town and the ATM does not work, then we will find ourselves without the means to pay for a room for the night. Somewhere might accept card, I interject so let’s stick to the original plan I decide as Duran2 shoots me a look I have come to recognise means – ‘you a dumb bitch’.
We are hussled off the bus by the conductor and we find ourselves standing alone in a deserted bus terminal. I can feel the wrath of Duran2 beginning to rise which is overridden by neither of us knowing what the eff we should do. We find a tricycle and try and get him to understand ATM. Bank? Cash? C.A.S.H? You know? Casshhhhh??? CASH! Oh geez I think I’m losing my mind. He asks for 50 pesos and drives us less than 100m down the road before pointing us at a lit but closed bank. The ATM is glowing at us like a celestial creature and we throw ourselves at it.
First card. Declined. You son of a bitch. Second Card. Declined. MOTHERFUDGER. I go to put in my credit card but stop myself as it’s a Mastercard – just like the other cash card I originally tried. It’s also a CREDiT CARD and the sound of my mother telling me never to withdraw cash on a credit card is ringing in my ears. There are other ATM’s here right? My actual travel cards will work in those RIGHT? We ask around for other ATMs and are pointed in the direction of 4 others. 1st Card. Declined. 2nd card. Declined. Fine back to the 3rd card – THE credit card. DECLINED. Repeat x 4. You arse hole good for nothing ATM. YOU ONLY HAVE ONE JOB. Duran2 is so far beyond freaking out that he cannot even muster the smug look of knowing we should have stayed on that frigging bus. We stand outside a Filipino version of a 711 in silence. We are down to 305 pesos. It will get us to Naga by the skin of our teeth.
We walk back down the road and past the original bank glowing at us in the moonlight. Fuck it – I’m going to try my credit card. 3rd card. Give me all your cash. Eject it all over my face you useless piece of shit. 10,000 of your finest pesos…long pause. Come on you tit wank. Weird whirring noise. ACCEPTED. Duran2 and I throw our arms around each other and dance in the middle of the street as 2 tricycle drivers look at us like we’ve just discovered the meaning of life. ‘Yay cash’ they finger dance at us in high pitched voices. I fight every urge in me to not ‘make it rain’ at 8pm in the middle of a Filipino town I don’t even know the name of.
Okayyyy we sigh as we stuff burgers down our glum throats. Now how the eff do we get back? We walk back to the quiet bus stop. There are 4 tricycle drivers and 2 motorbike drivers who at once, ask us where we want to go. Caramoan we say. ‘I drive you for 3,000. 2 people on motorbike’ one driver offers before taking one look at me and immediately retracting his offer. ‘6,000. You need 2 bike for her’. There is a moment of silence before Duran2 and I absolutely lose it. Duran2, in particular, is beside himself. The entire events of the day are coming to a head as the stress is dissipating into howling laughter in the middle of nowhere and Duran 2 and I can contain it no longer. No No No – he finally says – we’ll take the bus. I am still trying to decide whether to be totally amused or offended but I am distracted by one of the Tricycle drivers telling us that the next bus back to Caramoan is at 1am. Fucking buses. Sidenote: in the distance there is a group of 8 boys aged between 16-24 practising a heavily choreographed dance in the bus terminal car park. Duran2 and I sit down amongst the tricycle drivers and everything feels so amusing, especially with 80s synthesised music blaring in the background and a gaggle of boys throwing themselves around in synchronized boy band motion. The drivers ask us the only questions they know and we spend the next 6 hours wandering around the terminal in a pack of 8, with Duran2 and I reading out Filipino phrases from our Travel Guide and the drivers teaching us swear words and buying us coffee from a tin machine in the wall. As the hours go by, I cannot help but compare my one evening here to the six weeks of being constantly told to fuck off in Australia. Here we were with drivers who, on most nights, can’t make more than 80 pesos, buying us coffee for 5 pesos a pop and refusing our offers of payment. For 6 hours they asked us questions, laughed at our poor language skills and chased after buses they thought might take us in the right direction before we hugged them goodbye and knew we would never see them again.
1 week later as we recounted the story to another Filipino in a city another 10 hours away from Caramoan, he looked at us confused. Why no cash from the ATM he asked? Genuinely perplexed. WE DON’T KNOW we exclaimed. It makes no sense, we had to take an 8 hour round trip BUT, we paused, we genuinely had the best night of our travels so far. Aaaaaah he laughed. THAT’S why we say it’s always more fun in the Phillipines.