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Last year, I went on date to see the movie Kedi at The Music Box here in Chicago. Kedi, in Turkish, simply means "cat," and the film documents the cats in Istanbul who rule the streets and seem, all at once, to belong to everyone and no one. (You can watch the movie here.) The documentary hit a sweet spot for me because, well, CATS, but also because I had spent a month of my travels in Istanbul and around Turkey and remembered fondly all of the cats I saw everywhere while there. There were cats in the streets, cats in...

I ate so much food in the Philippines in my month traveling around the country it's a wonder I still fit in my pants when I got to back to Thailand. With Chinese, Mexican, Spanish, and American influences, Filipino cuisine is richer and meatier than much of the food I ate around the rest of Asia and a far cry from Thai food and Vietnamese fare. The Filipino dishes I ate were were so rich, in fact, that one of my final meals in the country was a much-desired salad. I was lucky enough to spend my first and last few...

I had wanted to do another island hopping tour while I was in Palawan, and so, when I found out my new Icelandic friends were doing tour C (there were four different set tours that everyone offered), I invited myself along. It was an incredibly fun day, with much better weather than the last. We explored a secret beach where you had to swim in scary waves through a little jagged rock entrance to find a secluded paradise. We did handstands in the sand...

I still wasn't sure I really wanted to leave El Nido. All that day I was considering moving my flight to Bangkok back up, giving up on the Philippines, a country I was loving until the night before. But there were still things I wanted to do there. But I felt lost and all my friends had already left or were planning on leaving. So I felt that I'd just be lonely there anyways. I really had no idea what to do. And then we decided to go out, get drunk, drink away the sorrow, have one last kick off. And...

We all felt like shit that morning. The night before our hostel was burglarized. And there was nothing we could do about it. We still went on the tour we had planned for. But it was raining for the first half of the day. We were wet and miserable. We all wanted to give up, go home. We just wanted to check out of our hostel and move on, forget about El Nido. ...

"I can't find my laptop." Brad came out of his dorm room, looking for the computer he'd left on his bed. Victor had already been complaining that his phone was missing though we had been assuring him he had had it when he came back from the hospital that afternoon after he'd fainted from dehydration. And then Julien noticed that his phone was missing too. ...

El Nido is the base for exploring the islands of Palawan in the Philippines. The beach there is nothing exciting, the town has no ATM, and all the power is turned off between 6am and 2pm. But it was a nice little place to relax by day and drink by night between island hopping adventures*. And it provided some of the best and some of the worst nights of my trip so far....