Archive for the ‘Indonesia’ Category

Bintan

Posted: September 29, 2010 in Indonesia
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‘…people don’t take trips – trips take people’ – Steinbeck

All in all Indonesia has 17,000 islands and Bintan Island or Negeri Segantang Lada is one of them. The closest major city is a 45-50 minute trip by motorized boat is Singapore, so close that the currency is still Singapore Dollars not Rupiah. Indonesia is promoting Bintan as the next best tourist destination after Bali but I actually enjoyed the sands and sea in Bintan than in Bali, the sands are white and waves are not that strong. We stayed in one of the villas in Nirwana Gardens. The resort was really vast and immense. The scenery and landscape was relaxing enough for me.

This is my second time in Bintan. I stayed in Bintan Lagoon Resort the first time but have no recollection of the place. So I guess the first time was that forgettable that every time I retrieved the memory all I can summon up was Desaru (Also a resort near Singapore but part of Malaysia). This trip is kind of’ different because I’m comfortable and appreciative of the place, for one I like our villa. This was a company outing so apart from the free accommodation; I get to travel with my colleagues. The villa was 2 storey, 3 bedrooms, and 3 baths. All the rooms (master and common rooms) are in the 2nd floor and the kitchen, dining, living room, plus porch are in the ground floor. It’s like your own house with the sea attached to it.

On the first night we went to Pasar Oleh Oleh for dinner you have to travel 20 minutes by ride going there. The roads are dark so it’s a must to have your own transport. It’s all local food if you want to get away from hotel food this is the place to be. Apart from restaurants there are local shops. The food was nice and authentic I never liked satay but I learned to eat it here. But I missed the beef rendang – my favorite Indonesian food of all time. I asked for it but the waiter didn’t note it down – bummer!

The food, spirits and booze are to be found in our villa so people gathered in our place before going to bed…Actually this was the busiest villa in all villas. The charade, drinking, card playing, socializing was all done here. So me and my roommates played hosts to all of the activities and organized it.

Lacoste

On the first night, Swavek (my Polish colleague) informed me that they saw a big lizard walking to our villa, then also Freddie with wife Tina told me of this encounter with huge like komodo dragon lizard living in the sewer near our villa. I was so freaked out because Ewwwww… I was walking on the grass, alone in the night the first time we were there. I was ogling at the moon and the sea and the place was not very well lit. I could have bitten or pin down by that slimy creature and these thoughts haunted me all thru out the trip.

In the morning I avoided the grass and I was full alert, walking to the main hotel for my breakfast I joined my other colleagues since my roomies are still asleep. My Indian colleague’s husband, Aniz showed me a photo of this giant live lacoste lurking in the villas. He happened to saw it in their porch while watching TV and took photo of it. He showed it me and jokingly said it was looking for me… OMG! It was so big… I can barely look at it. He said he called room service and they tried to capture it but it escaped. Nenad (my Australian colleague) was listening intently and was determine to haunt it down. On the way back home to the ferry he showed me pictures of this big lizard, bigger than what Aniz has showed me. That’s why earlier I saw Nen lurking around our villas. This guy pulled a Steve Irwin (The Crocodile Hunter) just for an up close photo.

FYI… I didn’t put the pictures of the giant lizard here…creepy! I’m waiting for it to turn into a bag or shoes then I will place it here.

Banana Boat

We are doing water sports… we asked Dharma (my Indonesian colleague) to join us in banana boat he was keen. For somebody who was born in Bali he doesn’t like the sea and sand that much. He has zero experience with banana boat and water sports. Prior to this I went for body boarding and others, jet ski.

When we were about to board in the banana boat, Dharma was hesitant to join. After sometime of bullying and verbally abusing him of his cowardice, he agreed to get his ass on the boat. The sea was rough that after sometime both I and dharma took the plunged…I was still smiling having thrown out in the water, but then I saw dharma shaking, scared to death of his predicament. Secretly, I got scared too, he was shaking and the fear of drowning was very evident in his eyes. I put all my attention on him, to ignore my fear as well. I asked him to just look at me and I heard myself saying…. ‘We are floating’, ‘we are floating’, ‘nothing to fear’, ‘the boat is coming back’. He asked if he could hold my hand while shaking uncontrollably. The boat arrived and we’re saved! Dharma spent the rest of the ride in the boat and avoided the banana boat. For me and 6 more people in the ride…the fun continues…. Hiyahhh! Bring it on!

On our last night, after the Hawaiian buffet dinner and dozens of barbecue crab later. We hang out in our villa just chatting. Some of my officemates drinks a lot having lived in a cold country, they enjoyed booze and sprits but somehow I find it amazing that most drink moderately for this trip. No vomiting or getting drunk happened except for this French guy (Jeremy) who every time I look, he always has a bottle in his hand and it’s not water…. People in my company is very diverse, we are one or a few in every nationality so it follows that everybody has different views on one topic whether it’s religion, politics, or beliefs. Conversing with them added more knowledge and information for my side. I asked my atheist colleague how it felt like, when bombarded with difficulties in life, no God to ask for help or to turn to.. They said they just cannot do much except accept that shit happens. That sometimes having nothing to turn to gets lonely at times but that’s their belief. Some don’t believe in having a soul or ghost and would be glad to see one especially Jeremy who wants to play spirit of the glass and summon the soul of Jack Daniels… it’s not enough drinking the brand he has to really talk to the maker.

Like most of my out of the country trip, this ended with whole body massage for 27$ cha! ching! . The place was really big we had to ride in a golf cart just to get from point a to point b. Apart from water sports they have good sports bar, bowling place, tennis, shooting range, horseback riding. etc….It was a very unwinding weekend experience for me.

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Bali

Posted: August 11, 2010 in Indonesia
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“We travel not to escape life, but so life doesn’t escape us” – written on the wall in a hostel in Amsterdam

 Bali, the famed Island of the Gods, the provincial capital at Denpasar lying between Java to the west and Lombok .As per my Balinese colleague if Philippines were colonized by Spaniards Indonesia were occupied by Dutch. This is one of the world’s most popular island destinations and one which consistently wins travel awards. Eighty percent of international visitors to Indonesia visit Bali and Bali alone.

I have heard of Bali like forever but never had a chance to visit; just procrastinating for the last 5 years until Aug 7-9 2010 it finally happened. I set foot at Denpasar, Indonesia. Prior to this day the booking was a headache as how would I arrange 14 more other people who wants to join my bandwagon on this escapade? I decided on the date and booked the flights 5 months ahead so we could to get out of town on Singapore’s National Day long weekend together. I picked the best accommodation and not just some crappy hotel at Kuta – I decided on Hard Rock Hotel Bali – Asia’s first Hard Rock Hotel.

Kuta is the best known tourist resort area on the island of Bali in Indonesia. Kuta was originally discovered by tourists as a surfing Mecca and it really was! I have never seen waves like it. You’ll practically get pushed just by standing on the sea bed with water below your knees.

We are one lucky b.i.t.c.h-es (best individual the companies hired) as our first night; our rooms got upgraded to family suite…that huge room provided direct access to lush gardens and the family courtyard… sweet! My second random jackpot moment (the other was upgrading my seat to Business Class going back home for Christmas.) I’m looking forward to the next and the universe will conspire to make it happen…soon. The room was superb and so was the whole ambiance and amenities of the hotel. The swimming pool OMG! If you’re not a swimming pool- lounge lizard in this hotel you will be, it is said to be the largest free-form swimming pool in Bali featuring a unique sand island. Swimming pool with white sands, it is a high five right? And though I’m rusty now I will not forget I got to play beach volleyball here c”,)

We went for Spa aaaah in another hotel in front of the Kuta Beach; the spa was located on the hotel roof. Imagine having high quality treatment massage while enjoying the full view of beautiful Kuta Beach overlooking the ocean at sunset time for a whopping under 50SGD! Cha-ching! Priceless!

Our first night we decided to go for dinner and sprawl in the family suite. Were having the best conversions in the garden when all of a sudden… Clap! Clap! A half naked, fresh out of bed, white brief wearing middle aged European man scolded us to be quiet. It was past 2 am. And here we are still wide awake, chatty-laughing, vodka-beer drinking like there’s no tomorrow… Anyways, good thing that half naked, fresh out of bed, white brief wearing middle aged European man did not report us to the hotel security. Otherwise, they will discover more about our group other than just being noisy. Wink! Wink!

We are not new at this… we get scolded hundred of times and it’s going global. Party poopers followed us everywhere we go …. Let me count the ways…

1. Parties at our condo – scolded by security guard countless of times- will rang our room and informed us neighbors complained of the noise

2. Ruel’s Birthday Party – scolded by his flat mates- singing karaoke altogether and finally head home at 6am

3. Lot’s place-Japan – just the 4 of us…policeman rang her unit and we never answered pretended were asleep just to make him go away…and away he did

4. My cousin’s Halloween Party- California USA – Vacationing in US 2007 -my cousin’s Halloween costume party ended abruptly by cops and police car outside due to neighbor’s noise complain. I remember all the guest stay put, no one was allowed to get into their vehicle especially those intoxicated. When the police are gone everybody scrammed!

5. Leigh’s Birthday Party – the cabinet fell on its own while we were playing charade – no scolder just one of those classic moments c”,)!

And the half naked, fresh out of bed, white brief wearing middle aged Clapping-European man  will definitely be added to our party poopers list. All in all It was a good trip all of us enjoyed the hotel accommodation and for some the surfing, body boarding, and henna tattoos.

Below is our beck-to-beck photo according to our photographer. My jump was creepy, Ronnel was levitating – didnt know you had that power, Rommel – that’s Ramil minus the gel in his hair -was stretched and the rest is blah! (meaning you all had good shots!)