Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Our little princess is officially a toddler! She just turned one today, 28th April 2010. She has earned for herself eight pearly whites already. She's practicing to walk (she can make a couple of steps but still building confidence to walk unaided). She’s very affable, waving her hand to greet people especially kids like herself twinned with her ever contagious smile.
Photos of her fabulous First Birthday party to follow soon...
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Saturday, April 10, 2010
In Singapore, boarding passes were scanned almost like an EZ-Link card, where all your details can be traced, the time you board, the luggage you checked-in to say the least. After passing through the immigration, we waited at the departure lounge wherein my wife had her well-deserved breakfast from the kiosk. We waited... kinda a long wait before the ferry arrived. Maybe we’re just too early.
Then the time has come to board the ferry. It was quite a long paseo to the ferry but it provided us to have a panoramic view of the vessel and the walk prepared us for the trip. (I prayed that everything will be fine, no Titanic incidents please).
Unlike with airplane flights, there were no stewardess presenting you with their acrobatics on how to wear a life vest, instead, we watched a video on the safety procedures during the trip. Afterwards, they played a movie documentary on Madagascar (The Animated Movie with Alex the Lion and the rest of the gang), which I think no one bothered to watch because the view outside is much more interesting plus it’s only a short trip.
So there we are, aboard the Wan Seri Beni heading to Bintan, sailing through the South China Sea overcoming a bit of seasickness and my phobia of drowning in open waters. Generally, the voyage had been smooth all the time. Thank God the skies were clear that day. We even went onto the open deck to have a good view of the sea and of course take some important photos! Only those from the Emerald Class were allowed to stay in that area. Buying those tickets was a decision I didn’t regret making, even if the fare is more expensive than ordinary ones.
After 55 minutes, we arrived at the Bandar Bentan Telani Ferry Terminal in Indonesia. It was now 1105 hours, 5 minutes earlier our departure time! That’s cool! The reason is that Indonesian time is an hour late from Singapore.
There was a strong contrast on how they handle arriving visitors in Bintan. Unlike in Singapore where everyone was fair in the eyes of the Immigration Officers, they channelled the Emerald Class passengers to a separate queue. So we finished the process in no time. Our luggage was even ready, all set in the pushcart and ready to go.
We got out, found our coach and travelled about 10 to 15 minutes to our resort of choice, Angsana Resort Bintan. The road was lined with plants and trees and most of the time, one can see the natural flora of the island, the mangroves, and the forest dotted with resort edifices along the way.
Reaching Angsana, we were greeted by friendly staff to the Reception Room where we checked-in. Welcome drinks were served beforehand, it was lemon juice with a lemon grass stirrer.
The resort’s interiors had a distinctive Asian Architecture theme, punctuated with Balinese paintings and art pieces here and there. Colors were basically browns accented by greens and yellows. The wooden poster bed and the daybed which were both rendered with lots of cozy pillows created a very relaxed ambience. They surprised us with a personalized welcome note and a tray of apples. They even supplied their rooms with electric insect repellent, anti-mosquito lotions, and scented incense sticks! The facade was designed with glass walls and sliding doors opening to the patio, a small garden which leads to the resort’s central garden and pool area. Walking further, one will see the beach in all its splendour.
And then we retire for the night. That was the end of Day 1.
(Day 2) 03 April 2010.
My day started very early even before my two girls were up. I really planned to get up ahead of them to catch the dawn and take some good photos. It was my first time to be at the beach alone. I am an early bird clicking my way, catching the first glimpse of light that day. The moment was majestic. The scenic cloud-covered sky with light beaming through, accompanied by the echoing sounds of the rolling waves - that was undoubtedly resplendent!
We spent the day lazing around, had fun in the pool and beach, eating, roaming around the resort’s facilities and visiting the Angsana gallery.
Angsana have a lot of leisure activities and dining experiences to offer like the Dinner on the Rock or the Fisherman's table, but we did not give in to such indulgence and we really have no plans to. Also, we did not burden ourselves into thinking on doing water sports, snorkelling, or going on guided nature walks, rather, we contented ourselves in spending time together. It’s perfect joy to see your little daughter enjoying. And thank God, we as a couple were having a good time too.
The highlight of day was during the barbeque buffet dinner. It was a feast, a bit drizzling outside but inside the cafe it was party time! Although no dancing was seen, the local band entertained the guest with classic songs. The atmosphere was festive. It was such a great night!
Back at the room, we got ready to leave for the next day. Packing was easier and did not take us as long as the night before the trip. Angsana gave another souvenir that night. It turned out to be a wooden bookmark that I needed to pick up at the gallery. All is set. Day 2 is in the history books.
(Day 3) 04 April 2010.
I was looking forward for an early visit again to the sea but was shocked at the sight when I opened the patio door!
It was raining cats and dogs! So, what can a poor guy do but snooze and hope that the sun will shine later that day. So after getting ourselves ready, bags were already packed the night before, we headed for the cafe and enjoyed the bountiful cornucopia set before us, the second and the last buffet breakfast.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
The beautiful Island of Bintan is is located just 45 kilometres south east of Singapore and twice its size. Northern Bintan is easily accessible via a 45-minute ride from Singapore's Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal. It is the largest of 3,200 islands in the Riau Islands and the third largest of 27 provinces in Indonesia.
Our in-house restaurant in our resort hotel is Lotus Cafe which serves popular Indonesian and Asian specialties like Black Pepper Beef, Nasi Ayam and my favorite Laksa. Beef Sirloin, Oven Roasted Rack of Lamb, Grilled Salmon Fillet and Caesar Salad are some of the Western favorites that make it onto their à la carte menu. Staying there gives us the opportunity to try Indonesian cuisine.
I can boldly say that Lotus Cafe is the heart of Angsana Resort Bintan. It is strategically located opposite the Swimming Pool Area almost right after the main lobby. It has a high ceiling and uses natural air for ventilation, so you can hear sounds from nature while you dine.
Although, I didn’t take pictures of all the foods that we ate, here are some of the many dishes that we have had.
Quite different in taste, color and texture of what I usually eat in Singapore, this laksa has no cockles and no tofu puffs but has tomatoes in it. The king prawns are a bit chewy but tasty and indeed very delicious.
Now let’s have dessert!
Thank you for reading and Happy eating!
FoodFacts for this post is taken from Wikipedia.
Monday, April 5, 2010
Just bought some mementos from our trip, a traditional drum called djembes (works well but is high-pitched, not surprising because it’s a miniature), a kalimba, the body of which is made from coconut shell (it has a relaxing sound that I really like), a mascot ceramic mug, and the staple souvenir, a ref magnet!
I will post our photos soon.