Tag Archives: Indonesia

Telunas, Indonesia – Taking the Plunge

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. But I suppose some fun pictures with a few captions makes for a great story.

The morning of our last day in Indonesia dawned clear and calm.

"He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. " Psalm 23:3

“He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. ” Psalm 23:3

But our nerves weren’t quite as calm as our surroundings.

You see, Telunas has this dock of sorts that the call the high jump.

The High Jump

The High Jump

With the height of the tide taken into account, the platform was approximately 5 meters (that’s 18 feet in American) above the water.

It was the last “activity” on our list of things to do before we left. I mean, where else do you get to jump 18 feet into the calm open water? Tam stayed with the napping boy so that Andrew and I could take the plunge.

Andrew was the first to go up.

The long climb before the high jump

The long climb before the high jump

After he did the jump, I did it. Finally, Andrew switched out with Tam for Gideon duty so that she was able to come give it a go. (I should give Tam credit, she did the jump 3 times! Andrew and I only did it once each.)

I think it best that I give you a play by play comparison of our jumps.

The Preparation

The Preparation

  • Andrew: “Why am I doing this?”
  • Adrielle: nervous excitement
  • Tam: peaceful resignation
The Launch

The Launch

  • Andrew: oh boy
  • Adrielle: yippeee
  • Tam: Ms. Proper, “Mustn’t get water in my nose!”
The Descent

The Descent

  • Andrew: brace for impact! “Am I there yet?”
  • Adrielle: “Ooo, this is actually pretty fun.”
  • Tam: still holding that nose!
Prepare for Entry

Prepare for Entry

  • Andrew: “This is gonna hurt”
  • Adrielle: gracefully turns towards the camera
  • Tam: points her toes, and yes, still holding onto her nose
The Splash

The Splash

  • Andrew: As you’d expect
  • Adrielle:  the splash matched the graceful descent
  • Tam: happily average 🙂

Here are some of our favorite shots:

Andrew's huge splash (almost as high as the jump itself!)

Andrew’s huge splash (almost as high as the jump itself!)

Andrew’s advice to those considering the high jump is to try to minimize your surface area impact. This is not so much to minimize your splash as it is to minimize the later pain in your rump from the landing.

Unintentionally picture perfect

Unintentionally picture perfect

Andrew pointed out that the water was so calm that you could even see my reflection right before I entered!

 

"The Getting Closer" Approach

“The Getting Closer” Approach

I’m not sure that her approach actually accomplished anything compared to Andrew and my more care-free approaches, but she had fun nonetheless.

It was a great way to make memories on our last morning right before we finished packing to leave. Wouldn’t have it any other way 🙂

All four of us

Thank you Telunas for a wonderful memory-filled vacation!

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Telunas, Indonesia – Going on a Hike

We came to Telunas prepared. Prepared to go on a hike. We brought tennis shoes, a cammelback, swimsuits, and mosquito spray.

  • Tennis shoes: while my companions (namely, Andrew and Tam) might use their shoes more often than me, I hadn’t worn my tennis shoes in over a year!
  • A cammelback: It is much easier to carry your water on your back than lug water bottles around. In addition, a cammelback doubles as a hiking diaper bag! 🙂
  • Swimsuits: We knew that the hike would bring us to a waterfall.
  • Mosquito Repellent: While we have often forgotten this vital ingredient, we thankful remembered it this time.

When we told the resort staff we’d like to go on a hike, we were briefed. She made sure we had appropriate footwear (she said it might be muddy), and bug spray. She also made sure we were able to leave by 9:30am because of the tide. At first I thought the start time would be too early because of Gideon’s nap, but Andrew reminded me that Indonesian time is an hour different making it more like 10:30 our time. Gideon ended up waking up early – before 9, so we were ready with time to spare. Between waiting for guys from the men’s group and waiting for the guide we didn’t leave till close to 10. This should’ve been our first clue that the hike would run on Indonesian time.

The trip started out with all of us headed out in a “local boat” to get to our destination. (I imagine it is this way with most of Indonesia, that the waterways are the real roads and passages.) The boat traveled along the open water and then traveled on a meandering river for quite a ways.

Getting closer (picture courtesy of Ross)

Getting closer (picture courtesy of Ross)

(Thanks to the friend we met on the trip, Ross, who shared some of his pictures with us!)

Finally the boat slowed and pulled up to a smaller boat. The smaller and shallower boat would take us up the rest of the river to our hike start spot. The catch was that the boat was smaller and could only take a few at us in it at a time. So we had to split up into two shifts. We got placed into the first shift and were dropped off on land. Next thing we knew we were waiting in the middle of Indonesia without anyone who knew the area or the language while the small boat went back for the rest of the crew. We joked that now would not be a good time to be lost!

We took the few minutes to gather ourselves and prepare for the hike. This included applying bug spray and putting Gideon into his carrier. Normally we put Gideon on the front. Actually, ’til this point he had only been put on the front. But as he is near the 20lb. point, the carrier is able to be reversed so that he sits on the back. Andrew rightly figured that this would be a more comfortable way to do a long hike. Gideon agreed.

Gideon LOVED riding on Daddy's back

Gideon LOVED riding on Daddy’s back

After a few more minutes the rest of our motley crew joined us. Good thing they did forget about us 😉

Our other half arrives

Our other half arrives

We set out with our guide (also named Gideon!) and a few men from the men’s retreat staying at the resort.

We set off into the Indonesian jungle in search of a waterfall. Except for a small portion of cement, the walk was a glorified dirt path used be the locals and their mopeds.

The simple path

The simple path

We traversed over (and through) puddles in the trail resultant of yesterday’s rain with an attempt to keep our shoes relatively mud free. Often this was accomplished by skipping on miscellaneous boards and planks that had been haphazardly scattered along the path. But inevitably, more than once, all of the shoes in the group ended up with mud sprinkled, splashed, or sloshed on them. Only Gideon who was shoeless to begin with and up high remained free of muddy footwear. I think he had the right idea, sleep on someone’s back while that someone does the hard work of trying to keep their own shoes clean.

In the pursuit of maintaining footing on dry land and following out leader, it was easy to forget to look up.

Psalm 96:12b - "... let all the trees of the forest sing for joy."

Psalm 96:12b – “… let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.”

Thankfully Tamarah (who had the camera for a while) remembered to look up and snap some shots!

A palm tree enjoying the sun

A palm tree enjoying the sun

But even without looking up very often, there were plenty of sights to enjoy on eye level.

A rubber tree being tapped by the locals for its latex (picture from Ross)

A rubber tree being tapped by the locals for its latex (picture from Ross)

As we continued throughout the jungle it became apparent that if we stopped to reapply mosquito repellent, that they mosquitos would take the pause as an excuse to bite. So we kept up quite the pass being mindful of the mosquitos hot on our heels. For a while I followed Gideon (riding asleep on his daddy’s back) and watched to make sure none were biting him, but the mosquitos didn’t seem like they were willing to land on him.

The pace was going well until we were halted by our guide. We had heard the noise of chain saws in the distance. Our guide asked us to stop while he scouted ahead. He came back with bad news: the path was blocked by felled trees and the activity of locals cutting trees down.

Physical evidence of the locals wood harvesting

Physical evidence of the locals wood harvesting

He searched through the woods for a while and eventually found an alternate path that we had to push our way through the light brush to get to. This added a bit of extra time onto our trip, but we had come to far to turn back when we were so close. The younger kids (pre-teens?) in our group were increasing in antsiness and saying, “it’s too far,” and, “are we almost there?”

But eventually we heard someone from the front of the group say, “Finally!” To which Andrew happily muttered his reply, “I’ll believe it when I see it.” We had reached our destination:

The cool water was in sight.

The cool water was in sight

It didn’t take long for people to divest of their sweaty shirts down to their swimsuits and slip into the cool water. This is when we discovered what Tamarah had already ascertained during our walk: Mosquitos do not consider spandex a proper barrier or repellent. Poor Tam had been eaten alive. We had not applied bug spray where her exercise capris had been, and the mossies had attacked her through the insufficient barrier. Her legs must’ve had 50 (easy) welts on them. We were filled with regret for her painful situation. She mustered up a cheerful, “oh well,” response to the nasty sight and found a bit of relieve in the cold water!

While people were cooling off, Gideon, who had woken a little while before we reached our destination, was refueling.

You can see G and I cooling and refueling in the shade

You can see G and I cooling and refueling in the shade (picture from Ross)

But don’t worry, once that was accomplished, we went in the water too. Gideon was not happy when his mom jumped into the water (I think he was a bit startled by my impulsive jump), but he seemed to enjoy cooling off in the cold water well enough.

For fun, Tamarah and Andrew (along with others from the group) jumped off the rocks into the pool. But Gideon and I (aside from my initial jump) were content to enjoy the simplicity of sitting in the water.

The waterfall that fed the cold pool

The waterfall that fed the cold pool

Once we were all sufficiently cooled off, it was time to head back. Refreshed and with better idea of how long the trip back would take, it was more enjoyable to head back. It was nice to have landmarks along the way that we recognized to signal, “oh yes, we will get back.”

The hike didn't wear down our spirits or smiles!

The hike didn’t wear down our spirits or smiles!

While on our way back we could hear a mechanical noise, but not quite the same as the chainsaws we had heard earlier. But this time the noise got closer and closer until we realized what was behind us:

The local way of transporting the harvested wood!

The local way of transporting the harvested wood! (picture from Ross)

We were impressed with his set up and method of “carrying” his load of lumber through the jungle path.

Despite the trip back going [mentally] quicker, our trip had still taken a while. When we arrived back at the waterway by which we arrived, it was obvious that the tide had gone out by a bit. It was even too shallow for the small boat that had been used that morning to use its motor.

Consequently part of group pulled the boat filled with priority people (aka Gideon and the younger hikers) along until it could reach deeper water.

Manual Towing: the downsides of low tide!

Manual Towing: the downsides of low tide! (picture from Ross)

You can see how many stashed their shoes in the boat to keep them dry (even if they were already muddy). Once they had pulled the boat to deeper water they were able to get the people that pulled the boat into the boat and motor the boat away to the large boat that could hold all the people.

The first crew to leave

The first crew to leave

The rest of our group didn’t want to stand waiting for the group to tote the boat all the way back to us, so we walked through the river until the boat could return for the last load of people.

"Waiting" and "wading" in the river (Picture from Ross)

“Waiting” and “wading” in the river (Picture from Ross)

I felt like part of the scene in Swiss Family Robinson where they are wading in the river.

Okay, so maybe it wasn’t that traumatic! It was actually a low-key and fun adventure to wade in the water. Also, despite the unconventional method of wading through the river, it was quite refreshing! After walking a bit through the water feeling our way through the murkiness, we met up with the boat that had come back to pick us up. Finally, the whole group was re-united and we could use the deeper water and the larger boat to get back to Telunas.

Out on the water we realized how gorgeous the weather was. We had been trapped in the jungle enjoying the scenery of vegetation, but being out in the open water was a nice change of pace!

Being able to look at the greenery from afar was just as enjoyable as the up close experience

Being able to look at the greenery from afar was just as enjoyable as the up close experience

By the time we got out of the meandering river and back to the open seas we were really able to cruise along!

The faster pace to usher us back to Telunas

The faster pace to usher us back to Telunas

We did arrive back at Telunas, at least an hour later than planned. Between the detour in the woods, the Indonesians’ relaxed sense of time, and the issues with low tide, we were a bit delayed. The good news though is that the staff had prepared a hearty lunch for our arrival. Besides, the outing was a great way to enjoy nature and  get away from city life and city pace. We did learn a few things though:

  • Indonesian time has two meanings: 1 hour different than Singapore, AND it is a relaxed pace
  • Tennis shoes would get muddy
  • A cammelback worked well as a water supply and diaper bag
  • The waterfall and natural pool were worth the hike
  • Mosquito repellent was a must, but next time we will spray clothing especially any spandex material!

Thankfully though, although Tamarah had been devoured by mosquitos she was able to still enjoy the hike and she made a full recovery from her attack with the mossies so that she was able to enjoy her stay with us in Indonesia and back in Singapore.

Telunas, Indonesia – Getting Away

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.

Excited sisters

Excited sisters

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.

Our "sweet ride" awaits

Our “sweet ride” awaits

Gideon didn’t care so much for the excitement in the air and all the admirers he had, he just wanted his next meal.

Happy mommy & impatient baby

Happy mommy & impatient baby

… but eventual he got what he wanted.

And we're off!

And we’re off!

Up until this point we had still been relatively close to Singapore, but now we were really leaving Singapore behind!

Goodbye Singapore! Hello Indonesia!

Goodbye Singapore! Hello Indonesia!

though we love Singapore we were looking forward to the vacation, even Gideon was happy (now that he was fed).

They had a baby life jacket if we needed it, but Daddy's arms were a more welcome feel I think!

They had a baby life jacket if we needed it, but Daddy’s arms were a more secure feel!

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. 😦

Finally! The daylight was quickly slipping away, but the lights of the resort were getting bigger and brighter as we drew nearer.

Finally! The daylight was quickly slipping away, but the lights of the resort were getting bigger and brighter as we drew nearer.

I was ready to get off the boat and figure out what the little guy wanted.

Tam's smile in the dim light reflects how we felt after seeing the resort ahead

Tam’s smile in the dim light reflects how we felt after seeing the resort ahead

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.

A much happier and quieter Gideon ready for bed

A much happier and quieter Gideon ready for bed

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.

The view behind my pillow as I gave Gideon his breakfast

The view behind my pillow as I gave Gideon his breakfast

It was so relaxing to wake up in a chalet on top of the water!

All of the buildings were on stilts above the water

All of the buildings were on stilts above the water

The dawn light allowed for the perfect opportunity to quietly soak in our surroundings

The wonderful Deluxe Family Room accommodations at Telunas (baby not included)

The wonderful Deluxe Family Room accommodations at Telunas (baby not included)

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!

Gorgeous weather

Gorgeous weather

The rest of the day was spent practicing the art of doing nothing.

Day 2

The next morning we walked down the long boardwalk to the beach.

The walk from our chalet to the beach

The walk from our chalet 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).

The Randles at Telunas

The Randles at Telunas

The Randles Men

The Randles Men

Gideon & Mommy

Gideon & Mommy

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.

Tammy finishing her solo Kayaking

Tammy finishing her solo Kayaking

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!

Gideon was enamored with all the toys!

Gideon was enamored with all the toys!

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!

Fast asleep for his nap in the play pen/cot provided by the resort

Fast asleep for his nap in the play pen/cot provided by the resort

The playing also seemed to produce quite the appetite in the fellow.

Eating BBQ sauce (it's really jarred prune and apples)

Eating BBQ sauce (it’s really jarred prune and apples)

Candlelight Dinner

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!”)

You can see the top of the cone on my dish behind the serving platter.

You can see the top of the cone on my dish behind the serving platter.

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 walkway in front of our "porch"

The walkway in front of our “porch”

Last Day

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!

"He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. " Psalm 23:3

“He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. ” Psalm 23:3

The calm water reflected morning sun beautifully.

Telunas Tranquility - Made us want to consider extending our stay!

Telunas Tranquility – Made us want to consider extending our stay!

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.

Gideon's shirt was very appropriate - it said "Later <picture of alligator"

Gideon’s shirt was very appropriate – it said “Later

So glad that this trip we were able to have a fourth in our group shot:

All four of us

All four of us

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.

Heading back to SG (And we remembered not to sit too close to the loud engine for Gideon's sake.)

Heading back to SG (And we remembered not to sit too close to the loud engine for Gideon’s sake.)

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. 🙂

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