Snek Spotting @ Boracay

After a whole day spent mostly arguing with Cebu Airlines and Citibank, I realized I'd be spending an extra day on Boracay. My extra day was cloudy as another tropical depression was working its way over the area, but I figure Id make the most of it by walking north along the beach until I found something new.

Pathway along cliffside

North Beach @ Boracay

On my second day I decided to cross over to the north east side of the island. After about a 20 minute walk passing through the center road I hit the north beach. On this side of the island the main business is diving, which can thrive if the wind direction causes the other-side of the island to become to choppy. Other then that I noticed lots of locals, some fixing up boats, some walking the beach and others playing around doing back-flips in the sand. I eventually found a restaurant which I stopped into for a tuna belly dinner. I enjoyed a glass of wine here as I ate my dinner, and after the amount of mosquito attention I attracted I'd say the mosquitoes enjoy alcoholic blood.

Boat repair shop

First Thoughts On Boracay

Landing at Caticlan Airport you realize quickly that you're on a tourist conveyor belt until you get to Boracay. On the way to the island you'll pay tricycle fees, boat fees, port fees and environmental fee for using the port; people will offer to help you find a hotel also, I'm sure this comes with a fee also but I opted to find my own. After the boat ride a second tricycle ride runs you up the center of the island and eventually to your destination, in my case this was Boat Station 2.

My initial thought about Boracay after moseying about my first day is that it's an extreme tourist trap, however a pleasant one. Just like Phan Thiet and Lung Prabang, as soon as you enter the city you're enveloped in a micro-economic cloud of tourism.  The main difference here is that you're on a island, so options become limited and prices are driven higher.

Aside from the touristy aspect of the island, my initial impression is that this is one of the more beautiful beach destinations I've been to. This is the rainy season here in the Philippines, however even when it started raining tonight, the beach still looked pretty spectacular in its clouded over state. I cant say the same for places like Nha Trang.

Shanghai Brewery

To start my day I decided to hop over to Shanghai Brewery in the French Quarter. This area is relaxed and clean, the trees lining the streets block any view of the skyscrapers helping you to forget where you really are. I located Shanghai Brewery after a couple minutes walking around the district, as usual I opted for a sampler, but after a couple minutes of trying to select 4 beers to fill the tray I was told that only 4 were available. Of what I tasted the dark was my favorite as usual, however nothing struck me as awesome. The fried fish burger on the other hand was quite impressive, I added bacon and a fried egg to top it off and when it arrived I inhaled it in about a minute.

French Quarter streets
Outside Shanghai Brewery

Pudong CBD @ Shanghai

On my first day in Shanghai I did a little visit over to Pudong, the CBD area of the city. The view from the west side of the Bund river looking toward CBD is the postcard image of Shanghai that I'm used to seeing come up on Google searches.

Pudong from across the Bund river

Pho Laboratory

I noticed the sign for Pho Laboratory just north of Workers Stadium a couple weeks back, however not till today did I get a chance to check it out. From the outside you might expect a typical dodgy place for locals of the surrounding hutong, but inside it's freshly remodeled to make any westerner feel at home. The meal selection consists only of pho, rolls and sandwiches, but they also have a selection of sweets and offer Vietnamese beer and coffee. I ordered up some pho dac biet, cha lua pork rolls and a hot coffee.

The feeling inside here was truly reminiscent of places I ate during my last visit to Vietnam. The soup contained tender sirloin, tripe, tendon and flank steak in an extremely addictive broth, lucky after slurping down all the broth I was given an extra serving to go along with my remaining noodles. The humidity caused by the boiling broth in the kitchen combined with the heat from the illuminated sun roof formed a micro climate in the restaurant,which left me sweating as I finished up my delicious Vietnamese coffee. If you happen to be hungry next time you're in the area, check it out, this place is far more unique then your average Gongti eatery.

Pho Laboratory from the street