Sunday, October 14, 2007

sexy and scorpio, pattaya, thailand

Some times it is better to do not go back to hotel after all night party. At six o'clock in the center of Pattaya city you can meet some strange food and maybe some strange girls as well:)

That cute guys like to have a fried black scorpio for a breakfast.

It is my favourite type of thai restaurant. One girl, one cooking pot, one table, one noodle soup.

It is completly normal situation to eat a huge bugs and other insects. Thai people believe that it is healthy food. It makes you stonger! Told me that women.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Guerrilla bats. Kalinga. Philippines

It was when Gen. Marcos with his soldiers came to Kalinga to build the big dam across the beautiful valley just before the Tinglayan Village. Francis was in The New Peoples Army fighting with government. During that hard time he had to live in the mountains eating everything what they could afford in the forest. It was too dangerous to hunt in the day time especially using gun. Soldiers of Gen. Marcos could hear the shot even miles away. But Kalinga people had some knowledge how to survive without civilization. As hill tribes and hunters they used to live close to the nature.

In the night time fruits bats go out from caves in the mountains looking for fruits. They like one kind especially. It is a huge tree with many small sweet brown fruits. Francis knows the place. We are going there with two young hunters who are more willing to climb the tree than old Francis. They have long stick with many sharp ends. It looks like a part of some plant without leaves. We are walking in darkness. The sky is cloudy but our guides know every path in that area. Soon we are under the special tree. The guys are climbing the next one to the fruit tree. They are close enough to catch something but it is so dark that I can hardly see my hand. It does not matter for them. After 30 minutes we hear little noise above our heads. The first bat is on the stick, still alive. Francis is taking it of and hitting few times on the stone to kill. It looks quite terrible. Is that small, hairy, shaking body will be our lunch tomorrow?
We have a deal with Francis and hunters. They will provide bats, we have to buy one chicken and bottle of gin. I am going to the village to pay 200 peso for a chicken and 80 peso for a gin. I am holding live chicken by the legs. I am walking with Maciek to meet our guides. They have four bats. We are going to cook it near the stream where we can get fresh water. It starts to rain again but we have already found a nice place under a big banana tree. The leaves protect us from the rain but also cover the light. It is dark, wet, hot and green. We are going to eat some flying rats with local tribesmen. I have impression that all the insects from the forest decided to stay in the place as we. It does not look like tourist attraction. Even Francis said that he has never tried it before with foreigners.

The hunters killed the chicken and now they are trying to burn the small fire.
Guys have machete so they can cut a big bamboo with thick trunk to make a container for baths. One of them is making the cooking set. The containers, spoons and basket for herbs made of palm leaves. another one has jumped to the bushes and now we have fresh chili, garlic and some yellow vegetables. It seems to be some kind of bitter melon.

With bats is not so easy. First they cut off the wings but they do not throw them away. The corpuses of bats are hairy so we have to burn it in the fire. They put it on the stick and roll over in fire. Now the bodies of bats are burned and black. They chop them by machete and put with wings and all the bowels into the bamboo container. Just add some spices like chili, garlic and salt, fill it with water and the green tubes are in the fire place. The stuff inside is boiling. We have opened the bottle of gin to drink something before. Cheers! For crazy Kalinga people!

The weather conditions are difficult for our cameras. It is heavy rain so I try to hold a banana leave above my canon all the time. The air is so humid and hot that I am worry about the electronic parts. Maciek’s camcoder is already out of order. I am still trying to take some pictures but we have just started to eat so guys are shouting at me. Let’s drink some gin and have a bat’s head as a snack! It is affordable only in Kalinga!
Now it is shower rain. It does not give me any chance to work as a photographer. I join the party without loosing face as a professional reporter. The bats have been boiled with all inside. Additionally they have a smell of burned hairs. Without the gin it will not be possible to swallow even one piece. The big bottle is finished. The whole bats and chicken meat is already eaten. We are completely wet and shocked. It is only one solution. Keep drinking gin. We are coming back to the village to make a party with hunters, Francis.
Next morning we are waken up very early totally seek after bats, few bottles of gin and local herbs. The big typhoon is coming! Francis said. Last week 400 hundred people died in the next province because of landslides. The bus is waiting for us in front of our pension house. The way back to Bontoc is a hazardous trip. Typhoon is faster than the bus. The road just after the village is already full of mud and stones that have just slide from the mountains. Many times we have to get off the truck to clean the road. Hopefully we are still so stoned that we even do not care about it.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Kalinga black and white.

There are few shots from trekking in Kalinga. I used b&w agfa and ilford 400. Watching that pictures I miss the unspoiled beauty of the mountains, village life and the most reliable and charming people in Philippines.

Rice terraces. The mysterious spiral shapes are the fish traps.

The center of the Tinglayan Villaage. Our base in Kalinga.

Higher in the mountains are located the most remote villages. Access to that place is possible only with the confidential person. People plant here not only rice and black bean. They have really good stuff here. Maybe because of that the head hunters are more peaceful now. We were invited for a dinner by the owner of local plantation. His store is really amazing!!!

Annual fiesta in Tinglayan. Before that kids nice looking kids we had danced together with the elders and chefs of the village.

Street photo. Pigs are the major citizens in Tinglayan.

Head hunter basketball player is trying to shot for 3 points. Buscalan Village.

Francis' mother cooking a dinner for us.

Hanging bridge is the only one way to cross the dangerous mountain river.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Kalinga1. Red Ants vs Snails From The Rice Field.

Northern Luzon in Philippines, region Coldiriera. Lush green mountains, hundreds years old rice terraces, tattooed head hunters, exotic wildlife and like every time in Philippines no tourists.

We are sitting in a small restaurant in Bontoc. It is the biggest town in that remote province. We do not know where to go. We have asked some people in a regional museum about culinary customs of the hill tribes but they said: Go somewhere far away where nobody goes so you will probably find it. We are confused. Suddenly we hear the question on our back. Do you want to go to Kalinga with me? It is Francis Pai Inn. Over fifty years old guy who is a tour guide in the Kalinga Province. But we don’t know about it. We just see the older Philippines guy in front of us.
It is said in our favorite Lonely Planet that province is a dangerous place. Not recommended at all. Local hill tribes were head hunters and some of them they still do it. New Peoples Army used to stay in the mountains. The province is semi anarchic place ruled by dangerous people.
Francis has mountain shoes, nice smile and thick notebook with recommendation from all his customers from all around the world. He looks harmless and responsibleenough . We have no choice. We are going with him!
First we have to buy some gifts for ex-headhunters. Francis knows what they like. For kids we have some sweets and for adults a lot of matches boxes. With that equipment we can hang around more safe in Kalinga Province.
After half an hour we are on the roof of old off road bus to Tinglaian Village. We are sitting on the bags with rice, boxes with beer, container with oil. It is the best ride in my life. The road is bumpy, muddy with hundred serpentines. Under the road is a abbys with the rough river. Above our heads tops of the beautiful mountains are partly covered by clouds. We have to hold the car strong to do not fall down. Cool wind is blowing in my face. First village placed on the slope of the mountains is amazing. Tiny wooden houses, slim white tower of catholic church and light green rice terraces around. Every next view is more charming than another.

We ask Francis about what strange people used to eat here. He is confused. Nobody has asked him about it before. But he started to think about it more seriously. On another day in the morning he woke up us very early in the morning. It was still dark outside and misty. I know! He said. I will show you live of New Peoples Army. Take some good shoes, long trousers, water and we are going up to the mountains. There is strange food in Kalinga but there are no any restaurants where you can buy it. We have to do it by ourselves from the beginning.

Dogs are playing in front of Francis' house. That concrete slab is a grave of his grandmother.

We are climbing up. We have to find in the forest home of the biggest poisonous red ants. Their white eggs are “very delicious!” Francis said.

It is not a dry season. The higher we are the more clouds coming from the mountains. Our village will disappear in mist soon.

Young guy, hunter from the village climbing the tree. He has just found the big house of ants. In the shape of big ball made of brown leaves thousands of giant red ants live. No more sharpness. It is to cloudy and dark in the forest. It is not a right place for taking photo. In one second the huge ball with thousands ants can hit my head.

Now ants are everywhere around us and on us. I feel pain. They are in my pants!
The hunter is a strong guy. He is collecting them by hands. I can hardly come closer to take that photo.

We are going down. There are rice terraces. Now they are empty. The flat surfaces of water reflect the sky and mountains. The boy is walking around in the shallow water and mud. He is picking up the small snails. His basket is full after the 15 minutes.

Francis Pa Inn. Tourist guide, trainee chef of New Peoples Army, single. His parents were head hunters. On their bodies we can see many tatooes. Every head of the enemy is the next sign and proud for the warrior. Now they take care about few pigs and chickens. They cultivate rice and black bean. Francis is the only one and first tour guide in Kalinga Province. His knowledge about the mountains and local communities helped not only tourists but also many scientists who made research about indigenous people in North Luzon. We are the first who asked him about culinary customs. Hopefully Francis likes to cook. He is single so he has to do it. But the idea about strange food comes not from his status. He was a soldier in New Peoples Army.
One day Marcos decided to make a big dam on the river in their valley. The all Kalinga province supposed to be flooded. All villages, rice terraces build hundreds years ago, animals, forest under the water. There was no choice for Kalinga people. They took arms to save their beautiful valley. During the war they had to hide many days in the mountains eating everything what they could achieve in the forest.

The soup is ready to eat. It contains not only the red ants and snails. There are lots of herbs and spices just near the stream where we are cooking. Wild ginger, chili, garlic and some other nice looking green plants are around.

The smell and taste is great! Maciek is going to finish his bowl soon.

We are in Francis' home. Francis has fried the rest of red ants with banana heart. The smell is attracting pigs. They know what is the best in Kalinga.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Baloot! Baloot!

Manila is the craziest city in Asia. Open 24 hours a day, extremely polluted and populated. Skyscrapers of Makati are surrounded by huge areas of poor housing and slums built up on the swampy waters of lake and canals. The old town Intramuros is full of heritage buildings build by Spaniards. Malate and Ermita are old port quarters full of the cheap hotels and the most dodgy entertainment places I have ever seen. It is not a right place for Backpackers like Khaosan Road in Bangkok. You should know how to survive here to avoid serious troubles.

Jeepneys are the most usuall way of transport in Manila and all Philippines. Old American Jeeps were changed for small buses to transport the people. There are thousands of them on the streets. Every one is different painted and decorated. The best one have plenty glittering chrome parts, glowing lights and sound system inside. The most popular subject of the paintings is Holy Mary.

Retro fan in our hotel

Intramuros, the oldest part of Manila.

The pool master with his fanclub.

Street gang posing for a photo.

Everybody have it. Especially kids in the slums.

Balot is one of the strangest and most terrible snacks in the world. The warm, not cooked duck embyro in thick fluid! How people can eat it?
In Manila balot is so common that nobody can imagine our disgust. The balot sellers are walking all night around the places where people drinking beer calling baloooot, balooot!

Duck eggs are stored in special warm place till the egg turns into the embryo. Then they are put into the special plastic container or basket which can keep warm for a long time during they are being sold on the street. The proper way of eating ballot is very simple. Open the top of the egg. Put salt and vinegar into the egg. Dirink the liquid first. After that open it and eat the baby duck.
In the end take a big shot of cold beer and smile! You shouldn’t be disappointed about the taste. It is really good!
As you can see on the photos it doesn’t look so nice so ballots are sold only in the night as a snack for street beer drinkers.

Maciek with the first Balot in his life. After that one he did it every night.

Happy Balot sellers in Malate.

Ermita is known as an entertainment place for low budget old guys. Oral Cholera should be a comon illness in that place. Anyway I am not sure what it is exactly. Hopefully we have never suffered because of it.

The holy pictures in the entrance to the Black Hole Club.

Manila jak każde azjatyckie miasto jest zatłoczone, chaotyczne i brudne. Każda dzielnica tego miasta to oddzielny świat. Najbogatsze jest Makati. Wieżowce, luksusowe hotele i największe malle w całej Azji. Intramuros to stare miasto. Reszta to kilometrami ciągnące się ubogie dzielnice i slumsy. Ermita nie jest jeszcze najgorsza. Choć nie cieszy się dobrą sławą, oprócz naciągaczy , drobnych złodziei i niesamowitej ilości prostytutek nic gorszego nie może nas tu spotkać. Mieszkamy w najtańszym pensjonacie dla nisko budżetowych dżentelmenów z Anglii. Wychodząc pierwszego wieczoru dostaliśmy kilka dobrych rad od właścicielki. Uważać na naciągaczy, brudne dziewczyny uzależnione od narkotyków i bary karaoke. Pomocna starsza pani poleciła nam też lokal nieopodal o milo brzmiacej nazwie G-point. Na końcu pokazała palce kartkę na ścianie. 100 pesos za dodatkowego gościa w pokoju. Wszystko jasne. Tylko sciany z jak z tektury....Ermita nigdy nie zasypia. Wczoraj z Edsem poszliśmy do baru na rumkole. Edsa spotkalem przypadkiem na ulicy. Wsiadlem w zly autobus, wysiadlem gdzies na przedmiesciach Manili-SLUMS. Byl jedyna normalnie wygladajaca osoba. Odrazu mi pomogl. Zawiozl mnie do mojego hotelu samochodem. Po drodze powiedzial ze jest gejem. Ja nie jestem: powiedzialem. Usmiechnal sie. Po drodze juz blisko hotelu spotkalismy Macka. Decyzja zapadla bardzo szybko. Idziemy na drinka. Usiedliśmy miedzy dwoma stolikami pełnymi młodych dziewcząt. Eds od razu zapytał gdzie pracują. Tu niedaleko koło hotelu w barze: odpowiedziały. Dzisiaj w nocy mają wolne. Nie było zbyt dużo klientów. Przyjdźcie jutro dzisiaj nie pracujemy mamy wolne. Dziewczyny zamawiają następne piwa, robą sobie tatuaże z wodoodpornego atramentu i kupują kwiatki od żebrzących dzieci. Jest już po 5 nad ranem zamawiamy po ostatniej szklance. Robi się jasno ale ludzi i samochodów na ulicy wcale nie ubywa. 24 h tłok, impreza. Na chodnikach śpią pijani laydyboys w brudnych podartych mini, dzieciaki nadal sprzedają orzeszki i róże. Zmeczone prostytutki chwieja sie przed barami. Trąbią kolorowe Jeepney. Na horyzoncie ciemne chmury zwiastujace nadejscie monsunu.
Jest już naprawdę jasno. Biorę aparat i idę nad zatokę. Morze spowite jest szaro niebieską mgłą z której na horyzoncie wyłaniają się statki. Na bulwarze jest już tłoczno. Na ławkach śpią niedobitki z barów i bezdomni, zakochane pary całują się pod palmami na tle wschodzącego słońca a te damy calyczas czekaja na swoich kochankow.

It is six o’clock in the morning. The sun is rising. Humid air from the sea covers the city with the blue mist. I have just finished last rum coke in the bar in Malate and I am walking with my camera along the dirty streets of Malate and Ermita. The streets are still crowdie and noisy. Huge speakers from the bars are playing music. The fluffiest girls and lady boys are trying to grab my hands when I pass them on the narrow pavement. Young and drunk foreigner with camera and cash in the pocket is a perfect aim for that creatures. I have to jump over people sleeping on my road. Through the open doors of the old church from Spanish times I see people praying in the first morning mass. Just on the opposite side of the street I see the other open doors to the bar with dancing girls. The street is so narrow that they can see each other.
I am going to Bay Walk (the long walking street along the sea) to take a rest after long night in smoky bars and eat a breakfast. On the way I am taking some pics. Only one film. 36 shots.

The neverending poor housing areas along the canal.