Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Bintan Day Two: Rain and Shine

We were both surprised to learn that Bintan is an hour behind Singapore. So, on our first day there I rose at 8 AM local time, feeling refreshed. Apparently the time difference hadn't affected Bryan the same way, and he slumbered on. I went out on the balcony to get my bearings a bit- we hadn't been able to see much the night before. Unfortunately, it was still raining, BUT that was OK because we had a fantastic view.
Rainy view

The tide had gone out during the night, so now we had beach under our balcony instead of water. I put my feet up and relished the sea breeze while I read The Time Machine and waited for Bryan to wake up. By the time he finally crawled out of bed, I was dying for some breakfast, and so we hustled down to the dining room. There was a spread of food, but the food wasn't great. We ate enough to hold us over until lunch, then grabbed a pair of umbrellas and went to explore.
Pretty breakfast spot

The resort grounds were pretty small, which I like- those mega resorts can be a little overwhelming to me. The beach was pretty much deserted due to the light rain, but it looked like a great place to hang out in better weather. Out in the water was an old building on stilts. During low tide, you could walk to it over the sand, but when the tide was in, you'd have to wade through the water out to it. Can you imagine living in a house you had to wade to?!
Quite a house!

The grounds also had a small pond that was surrounded by lovely flowers. One type appeared to be blooming in a rainbow- purple and pink on the outer edges, orange and yellow on the inside.
Rainbow flowers. The one on left looks like the center is full of butterflies!

Across the street from our place was another resort with an imposing entrance. We never saw another person at that resort while we were there- perhaps it was closed?
None shall pass!

We continued our walk down the street outside the resort. It had stopped raining, so the weather was quite pleasant. The view of the South China sea was nice too, and aside from the occasional speeding motorbike, we had it all to ourselves.
South China Sea
Serious Bryan

We saw some rotting old things that looked like they used to be used for launching boats. I liked them because they looked abandoned!
A little rickety

We also found a cute little abandoned building. Hooray!
Bite-size abandoned building

We walked to a small village that was built mostly on stilts out on the water. It was really neat, but it didn't look like they were used to seeing tourists. We tried to buy some Cokes off of a small store, and there was much giggling at our question, then someone had to go find a little boy who spoke English. We've found this is often the case in Southeast Asia- only the youngest one in the family speaks English. I guess it's a sign of the changing times. Anyway, the kid couldn't find us any Cokes but he talked us into Pocari Sweat. I think he has a future as a salesman. We admired the village a bit but didn't venture in as it felt a little intrusive for us to be poking around.
Bintan village
In the village, a boat taking "abandoned" to a new level

We also made good friends with a stray cat. I know, I know, I really ought to stop touching random animals.
Love the tongue sticking out

After our walk we went back to our room to get ready for the day. Bryan was excited about our bathtub (we don't have one in our apartment) and now that the rain had cleared up, I was ready for the beach.
Our cozy room
Great view from our balcony

I had a great time reading on the beach and drinking Bintang. I later realized that I was a super-nerd for getting a tan line of the outline my book. Dorktastic.
Awesome way to spend an afternoon!

After a lengthy bath, Bryan finally joined me. He took pictures while I snorkeled around the rocks. There wasn't a ton to see in the shallow water, but I did find a couple crabs, some brave little fish that were totally unafraid of me, and some cool shells. Up on the rocks, Bryan found a pretty freaky spider!
Funky crab
Creepy crawlie
Underwater explorer

I took the camera out into the water a ways. The rocks were really neat out there, and I could get a good view of our hotel.
Crystal clear water
Cabana Beach Resort from the water

Waterlogged, I decided it was probably time for lunch, so we grabbed some noodles at the hotel (we didn't find any other restaurants when we went exploring) before going on another walk. We'd seen a little path off the road earlier, but about 10 feet down it we discovered that it was completely mosquito-ridden. We went back equipped with long pants and insect repellant. I don't know what the path was intended for, but we had fun exploring. We saw some pretty birds, insects, and plants.
Huge pitcher plant!
Check out those transparent dragonfly wings!
Pretty bird...anyone know what it is?!
Fuzzy leaf

The path eventually deteriorated into weeds, so we turned around and went back. We kept hearing rustling in the weeds, but the only thing we found was a shy little skink. It was a nice walk down the path, but it was pretty buggy, so it was nice to get back out onto the road where there was more of a breeze to keep the mosquitoes away. As a bonus, we spotted monkeys back in the trees next to the road! They were surprisingly timid and kept their distance. We enjoyed watching them effortlessly navigate up and down the branch-less palm tree trunks. One of them was perched atop a palm tree trunk, and he just looked so peaceful up there.
Chillin' thirty feet in the air

We returned from our walk mosquito-bitten and hungry. We decided to take a free shuttle from the Cabana Beach Resort to its bigger sister resort, the Bintan Agro Beach Resort. The bigger resort has a couple restaurants, and we chose the Sun Moon, which is situated out on the water. It was a lovely view, and I was super excited that they had one of my favorite Indonesian dishes on the menu: gado gado! Gado gado is a salad dish with tofu, potatoes, noodles, sprouts, lettuce, and more delicious stuff. Bryan was also happy with his black pepper chicken. Plus I had a banana milkshake- Indonesia always has amazing banana milkshakes!! The atmosphere was great too - we sat outside and watched the sun set.
Bryan at the entrance to the walkway to the Sun Moon Restaurant
Partially sunken boat along the walkway to the restaurant
Lovely sunset from the restaurant

After dinner we headed back to our place for a quiet night of playing some more Citadels and hanging out on our scenic balcony.

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