There are so many vacationing spots and sight seeing destinations in Southeast Asia. I am convinced that even if we lived in Singapore for a decade, we wouldn’t have enough time to see all that we would like to see. That being said, we are doing our best to take time while we live here to visit other countries and enjoy the diversity that is SE Asia. Unless we have a good excuse not to (like having a baby) we try to take the opportunity to visit other countries while family is visiting us. For Tam’s visit we decided we wanted to get out of Singapore with her. As a surprise to her, we booked a trip to Telunas Beach Resort in Indonesia.
The Trip There
In order to get there we had to take a ferry from Singapore to Batam, Indonesia.
Somewhere on the ferry ride we realized that most of the other passengers on the ferry were guys. I theorized that there must be some sort of Men’s Retreat happening. Sure enough, we would later find out that the a the men (and young guys too) from International Baptist Church (the church we attended before Crossroads) were going to the same resort as us for a weekend retreat.
Once we got out of customs in Indonesia, a host from the resort met us, two females, and the large group of men. He helped us transfer to the local boats that would see us to our destination.
Gideon didn’t care so much for the excitement in the air and all the admirers he had, he just wanted his next meal.
… but eventual he got what he wanted.
Up until this point we had still been relatively close to Singapore, but now we were really leaving Singapore behind!
though we love Singapore we were looking forward to the vacation, even Gideon was happy (now that he was fed).
Gideon (and the rest of us) did fine for the first part of the trip. But as the trip droned on, the adults began to wonder how much longer it would be and the infant started to protest. We couldn’t tell why he was protesting. Nothing seemed to calm him; he screamed for the last 30 minutes of the ride. 😦
I was ready to get off the boat and figure out what the little guy wanted.
As we got closer the boat driver shut off the engine. The whrring subsided as he directed our boat close to the dock. Even better the screaming child in our arms stopped crying. Apparently he didn’t like sitting right next to the engine for over an hour! Note to self: don’t sit in the back near the engine when with Gideon in the boat next time.
We were welcomed by a warm and friendly staff offering a welcome drink (think Orange Julius with mango and spice). We took our drinks to our new room and then ate dinner. After our travels we got Gideon into his PJs.
We must’ve been tired too, for we laid down while Gideon was drifting off only to find ourselves drifting off to. I woke in the middle of the night to take off my contacts and slip into PJs – but otherwise we ended up sleeping through the night as much as Gideon! The next morning I remarked to Andrew, “My, you got dressed quickly.” Only to realize he never switched what he was wearing! :p
Our home away from home – First Day
The extra sleep must’ve been needed, because boy were we rested. What a nice way to start out our time at the Telunas Beach Resort.
It was so relaxing to wake up in a chalet on top of the water!
The dawn light allowed for the perfect opportunity to quietly soak in our surroundings
The peaceful view wasn’t the only perks of the resort. The sounds were relaxing too. Depending on the weather and time of day, there was either the calming white noise of rain, the chirp of geckos hiding in the rooftop (I didn’t know geckos chirped. Did you?), the quiet crash of small waves, the gentle lapping of water, the creaks of the floorboards as someone walked on the boardwalk, or silence!
Although our main object of getting away was to relax and spend time with Tam, we did plan to take a hike while we were at Telunas. After breakfast and Gideon’s first nap, we headed out with one of the staff, our guide for the hike, along with about 10 other people from the men’s group. The hike was wonderful, but worthy of its own post (to come soon). I will tell you though that it was a beautiful day for a hike in Indonesia!
The rest of the day was spent practicing the art of doing nothing.
The next morning we walked down the long boardwalk to the beach.
We asked one of the men from the Men’s group that was wandering around on the beach to take our picture(s).
Pictures wasn’t the only way we sought to take advantage of the water. Gideon and Mommy played in the water while Daddy & Aunt Tammy went Kayaking. The usually robust Andrew decided that he was more used to biking than Kayaking. (Not to mention the kayak wasn’t built for someone of his stature, and his long arms got injured just moving the paddle around!) The seasoned kayaker of our group (that would be Tam) went out for a solo kayak run after Andrew had his fill.
By the afternoon (it’s Sunday now) the men’s group and any other resort guests had headed back to the mainland and we had the resort to ourselves!
Gideon discovered that he had the resort’s two boxes of toys entirely to himself. He was in heaven!
I think he would’ve been just as content with just the jumbo legos from the box though. It definitely made entertaining him easier. All the playing tired him out!
The playing also seemed to produce quite the appetite in the fellow.
Gideon wasn’t the only one who was thoroughly happy with his meal. One of our favorite meals (actually – I can’t think of one we disliked) was our candlelight dinner. Seeing it as an option on the resort’s website, we figured that it was a good opportunity to enjoy a couple’s dinner. It felt a little silly though as Tam was the only guest who ate the “regular” dinner… 🙂
We had our dinner in twighlight and candlelight set up on a secluded pier. The staff that was our server asked us what the special occasion was. We replied, “We have a babysitter. That’s the special occasion.” She seemed satisfied with the reason. (We certainly were.)
We were served Nasi Kuning (Indonesian for “yellow rice”) served in a lumpeng (“cone”). The rice loosely resembles a pile of gold and is usually saved for special occasions. (Due to the
dim romantic lighting, we actually couldn’t tell that it was yellow until we looked at our pictures later.) The delicious rice was served with all sorts of delicious Indonesian dishes from beef, to chicken, to coconut veggies, and more! (Though we didn’t have the courage to try the side that our server indicated, “Eh… yes… it’s spicy!”)
The only downside of the dinner was that we could hear Gideon off in the distance, not exactly happy with being left alone with Aunt Tammy for the evening. But he eventually went to sleep despite Mommy & Daddy being away on a date.
After the dinner, Andrew and I spent the rest of the evening talking with Tam on our “porch.”
The last day of our stay dawned. It was so silent. There was not lapping of the waves to be heard underneath our floorboards. We peeked out our chalet to find that the following scene!
The calm water reflected morning sun beautifully.
It also figuratively reflected the peace we felt after getting away from Singapore for a few days.
The High Jump
Despite how relaxed we were, we had one more activity that we wanted to complete before heading back. The High Jump! We each had fun jumping into the cool calm water. The pictures we snapped are priceless, but [again] worth their own post.
The Trip Back
Before hopping into the small boat with our luggage and our host, we stopped to take our final group shots.
So glad that this trip we were able to have a fourth in our group shot:
Then we took a local boat to a small town on the water where our resort host bought us tickets for a local ferry that would take us back to Batam.
It’s not unusual for Gideon to get attention wherever he goes. But in Indonesia, the sight of westerners with a blond baby who was happy to smile at those who wanted to give him attention … well, let’s just say the whole town seemed to be smitten with him. Normally I don’t mind people’s attention (I’m sure I would do the same if I were in their place), but I did have a few minutes of nervousness. It came when a lady gestured her request to hold Gideon. Since Gideon was already being quite friendly with the lady, I let her hold him. What I didn’t expect was the lady to walk away from me carrying Gideon excited to show him off to others. My heart started pounding, but was calmed by the fact that our resort host followed the stranger and eventually brought my son back to me.
The experience did teach me to be a bit more cautious when it comes to friendly strangers wanting say hi to my smiley son. Next time when we’re in a very foreign place where Gideon is ogled by the Asians, I think I’ll try to keep him in the carrier where the most people can do is look and touch his hair.
In any case, our ferry came after a few minutes. I’m sure we made quite a scene as we got onto the local ferry baby in hand and later put him in his carrier while he was crying and going to sleep. But the other passengers were kind enough to keep their interest limited to staring and cell phone shots. I later joked to Andrew that I’m sure a picture of our blond boy is being sent to cell phones across Indonesia!
We arrived back in Batam where another resort staff member helped us make our connection for our ferry back to Singapore. It was a bit of traveling, but we made it home in one piece (or in 4, since there are for of us?). All the traveling was worth it. I would highly recommend the Telunas Beach Resort… but even more, I would recommend going with my sister. 🙂