Well the last time I wrote I mentioned my plans for an overnight bike trip. I went with three other guys and we biked about 60 miles around the largest of the islands of Palau.
(yes, that is my husband on the left with the mustache...what a stud!)
I would like to tell you that I was leading the pack the whole day, and that on occasion I would have to turn around and wait for the rest of the group. However, that would be little bit of a fib.
For the first 25 miles I was staying well hydrated drinking lots of water. Unfortunately, I was not drinking or eating anything to replace the electrolytes that were so rapidly oozing out of my body. We found a tiny little store that had some Gatorade in a small refrigerator and some “Nutritious Crackers”. I devoured this humble lunch and was excited to get back on the road feeling refreshed. Despite my confidence, I quickly learned that it takes more than ten minutes for those electrolytes to get where they need to be. Very soon after leaving the store while pedaling up a hill, my left quad seized up. There was a little bit of pain and discomfort, but the most concerning thing was that I could no longer bend my knee. It was locked in place by my cramping muscles. I could no longer pedal on my bike and I started to lose my balance. Just as I was figuring out how to get off my bike my right quad did the very same thing. I was toast. No longer able to bend either knee I yelled out to my companions to wait.
They turned around to watch me stumble off my bike (straight kneed of course) and (while yelling in pain) try to find a way to get down on the ground without falling flat on my face. After managing to fall with a little bit of control I had to grab my legs and physically force them to bend at the knee. I got my knees to bend, but as I leaned back to stretch my quads both of my hamstrings cramped.
At this point I knew that there was nothing I could to but wait out the pain until it stopped. My buddies watched with amusement as I crawled across the street to sit under the shade of a scrawny tree to wait for my legs to start working again. It took a few minutes but soon I was back on my bike to tackle the next 35 miles, this time with more regular stops for Gatorade.
That night I camped under a bridge with one of the guys while the other two went back to the ship. There were a couple of strange locals who came and went throughout the night fishing and partying and sometimes just staring at us, but we got a good nights rest anyways and made back to the ship in time for another day of diving.
We left the next day en route to Cebu with a short stop in Guam. Cebu is a large city in the central islands of the Philippines. While transiting through the Philippine islands we came across a small bonka boat (outrigger canoe) with a couple of guys who had been drifting on the open water for 24 hours after their engine failed. We picked them up and took them back to Mindanao after fixing their engine. Because of the delay we could not make it to Cebu until the following morning.
We anchored yesterday and went out in town to experience a Filipina Valentines day mixed with Chinese New Year Parades with dragons and hearts everywhere. Cebu has two very large and very nice malls that are nicer than any malls I have seen in America. And everything is nearly half the price. We had a big party at a Filipina restaurant to say good bye to a couple of the officers who will be leaving the ship throughout our deployment and after that a few of us went wandering through the poor neighborhoods and crammed alleyways looking for what the city is really like. We found some guy selling strange food out of a bucket on the street and convinced him to be our guide and take us to the cock fights.
After a taxi ride through the crazy streets of Cebu we came to the cock fighting arena just in time for the last two fights of the night. I am apparently no good at choosing chickens because I came up 500 pesos short after losing both fights.
Thanks for your prayers and your emails and for the care packages! (Lucy may be coming up on her first birthday but she can already put together a mean care package)