Saturday, January 31, 2009

Bintan - Day 2

31 January 2009

The next day, we woke up very early as our body clocks were still on Singapore time. It had been a while since I'd woken up and said, "Wow, I have so much time!"

We went downstairs to this place called 'The coffee shop' for breakfast. They had a huge variety of stuff in the buffet and we were quite hungry and tried pretty much everything. The result was some very odd combinations on our plates.

Rice with curry chicken, cheesebun, muffin, scone and baked potatoes

Pancake, omelette and watermelon slices!

After breakfast, we decided to explore the resort as we had not seen anything much the night before.

We were staying ine one of these villas flanked by coconut trees.

The baby pool. I love how it seems to blend into the sea at the horizon.

This is the civil me near the pool, half an hour before jumping in!

There were these little huts with boats inside near this restaurant called 'Poolside restaurant'. Viv's theory was that they had buffets served on the boats! Awesome.

Nice little pattern made with (coconut?) leaves

Singapore is pretty green, but Bintan's greenery was really of a different kind!

We went back to our room and changed to something more suitable for frolicking in the water. "Sea first, then pool", I declared. Viv was happy to stay away from the water.

I didn't mind, as I had someone to take pictures! Yeay!

Nice green sea

I jumped and got Viv to take a picture of me in mid-air. Suddenly he was interested in the pose too!

Faraway castle-like thing -- we never really found out what it was!

Beautiful beach -- it almost looks like sunset, doesn't it? It was about 9 am I think. The sun kept going behind the clouds so it was really pleasant to walk around.

Of course, not to mention the wind. The awesome awesome wind that made the weather so much cooler even in the daytime!

As you can see, I couldn't get enough pictures!

A new bar under construction

Barnacles on a log washed ashore

Wish I had an audio of the trees crazily sashaying in the wind!

After bumming at the beach, I was ready to splash in the pool!

The water was really cold and so there weren't too many people to compete with for pool space! I was one happy girl!

After a while, I started to feel rather cold, and asked Viv to take a final picture before I jumped out.

And this is what Viv had been doing while I was in the pool.

A quick shower later, we were off to the go-karting track, also known as the paisa-vasool part of the holiday for Viv. The resort arranged for a car to drive us to the track which was quite far away from our resort. They actually charged 8 dollars for me to accompany him and watch him race. Sheesh.

Viv couldn't wait to get his hands on the steering wheel of the go-kart!

His $28-go-kart ticket included transportation and insurance...

...and of course, the companion with her $8 virtual ticket was additional.

The car ride was loooong....

...but scenic.

And finally we were there!

Viv soon had his go-kart...

...and off he went, overtaking everyone on the track!

Finally, the others left and he was the only one on the track. Here's a video.

Street hawk meets Knight rider. :P

If you're wondering, "What the heck is this picture?" well, there's a story. Viv was going so fast in his go-kart that I was finding it difficult to follow him with the camera. So I aimed the camera at one section of the track, thinking that I'd quickly press click when he passed by. Well, I 'quickly' pressed click, and this is the picture I got. :/

Viv gets the chequered flag.

The man. The machine. And the jobless bugger.

We were driven back to the resort by the same guy. It was almost lunchtime and we were hungry. I don't know why I always get so hungry when I am on holiday. Anyway, we went back to the Coffee Shop for lunch.

Viv ordered the vegetarian set meal.

I ordered the Indonesian nasi goreng set, which was quite fancy and filling.

This was one of the yummiest fruit cocktails I'd ever had. Viv's strawberry milkshake wasn't too bad either.

They had a display of komodo dragons right outside the restaurant. Check out how green the green is!

The next stop was the jet ski. I was quite excited. The guy gave us a yellow ski and showed us the three buoys that marked the boundary. The buoys were quite deep into the sea and as we neared the first one, the sea started to get all choppy. It was awesome as the jet ski bounced up and down the crazy waves. After a while, Viv stopped the ski and asked me if I wanted to take the driver's seat.

"Me?? Driver's seat?? Are you sure I can drive this thing?"

"Of course!"

And so I did. And all I have to say that experience is, "WHEEEEEEEE!" It was one of the most fun things I had ever done in my life. Now I'm a bad swimmer and a bad driver, so you can imagine how bonkers I went when I was on a jet ski with a life jacket on and no traffic around me. Basically, Viv had never seen this side of me as I drove around in an insane manner, making the poor fish around us plummet into the sea for dear life.

Sadly, it was only for 15 minutes and soon the jet ski guy came up to us on another jet ski and motioned 'last lap' to us. Dammit. So I did one final crazy round and then back to the base camp.

We went back to the room for a bath and then set out to take a walk around the place. The resort had buggys you could rent and drive around in, but you need a valid driving license for that. Besides, both Viv and I love walking so we were only too happy to explore the area on foot.

We still had almost half a day, I was delighted! Time was passing by so slowly, we couldn't believe that it had been less than 24 hours since we'd landed.

Yeahaha! This is my 'the lonely traveller' pose.

Nirwana Garden has several lily ponds scattered all over and I paused to sit near one.

To our utter surprise, we stumbled upon an 'unticketed' mini zoo! A large section was for birds that had been rescued by the forest department while being smuggled out of the country. The sign also said that they were born in captivity and would not survive the wild.

The Cassowary is the second heaviest bird in the world (after the ostrich) and can grow as large as 2 metres in height. It's found in the tropical forests of New Guinea and north-eastern Australia.

The Eclectus parrots live in the rainforests. Females are deep red in colour and have a black bill...

...while males are bright green with a large orange bill.

This sulphur-crested cockatoo has a life span of 30-40 years!

This cuckatoo had actually gone cuckoo. Check out how it had hung itself upside down!

A Brahminy kite.

A Himalayan Griffon vulture. This was the closest I had ever come to a vulture!

We also spotted some antelopes in another section.

And a very very very large python. Okay, this was the largest snake I had seen in my life so I went bonkers with the camera. I took some 15 pictures and 6 videos. The strangest thing was that Viv was getting really impatient. "Let's gooooo!" He said, annoyed. I was very surprised to see that coming from the world's most patient man. "Why?? I want to take pictures!" I protested.

"You have taken enough! Let's gooooooo!"


"Because I'm freaking out, that's why!"

"You are afraid of snakes?"

"Err... yeah."

"Like... 'afraid' afraid or phobic?"

"I can't be around them. Let's gooooooooo!" He looked all squirmy so I stopped taking pictures and we walked on. He still looked all freaked out, while I was grinning. I had found out something new about the guy I had known for a decade!

Anyway, here's a video of the snake as it entered the water.

We saw this water feature called 'Lagoi Bintan' when I suddenly spotted some tails!

I went around, and sure enough, there were some four crocodiles!

These alligator gars are actually freshwater fish that resemble alligators. They can grow up to 3 metres in length!

Finally, we were out of the animal zone, and Viv was back in his comfort zone.

And that's when we stumbled upon the most beautiful part of the Bintan beach! It was algae-free, clean, and very very scenic.

Beach volleyball court

Check out the different colours of the sea! The red layer in the middle is floating algae.

That section of the beach also had a lot of windsurfers.

I kicked off my slippers and went into the sea, while Viv preferred to stay off and take pictures.

Ah, the experimental jumping shot.

This beach was also where we discovered our favourite bar in Bintan. It was part of the Nirwana Beach Restaurant, but seats were outside, under the trees and right next to the sea! Awesome.

The drinks menu. Since it was really early and we were not yet hungry, we ordered some potato wedges and pretty much all the drinks they had over the 3 hours we were there for!

Tree house next to the bar

Small fruits kept falling on the wooden tables and chairs, making rather loud noises. It was also awesomely windy, and the next two pictures were taken one second apart to illustrate the crazy winds.



Cheers, mate!

Coming up in day 3 - the big splash in the sea!



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