And a good evening to you from across the globe after another GREAT DAY in the Lion City. The Bull awoke to some quad pain this morning (shocking, I know), so he settled for 1200m in the pool. I felt pretty good for the duration, and tomorrow I'll go with cycling to keep the impact low (although it will burn the quads). As I type this, Muffin Puffin is goin' full throttle at "Body Pump," which is another one of those "Navy SEALS are afraid to do this much physical activity in a month, but we'll pack it into 60 minutes and set it to Katy Perry" classes. And speaking of, I think it's time to turn on some "Teenage Dream" - after all, I KNOW what manly is...
So tonight I thought I'd give everyone the recap of this weekend. We left work just after 6 PM (so YES, it WAS a half day), stopping over at Harry's Bar and Grille so that Muffin Puffin could cross another brewski off the list - Harry's Premium Lager (HPL as it's known in these parts). It was nice and light, and it made for a GREAT start to the weekend.
30 minutes later we've cleared customs, made a purchase at Duty Free (Absolut Vanilla, baby - WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER), and are boarding the ASEAN Raider II bound for Batam. This island, just 45 minutes from Singapore, has been labeled everything from "Singapore's little brother" to "the weekend getaway for Singaporean men in search of cheap hookers." Honestly, there's quite a bit of "gray area" between those 2, and so I was quite keen to check this place out (Puma, that doesn't mean that I was truly searching for a "grass roots" experience).
The boat over was great - nice view of the Sing, nice breeze on the water, and the novelty factor of being THE ONLY CRACKERS ON THE BOAT. To quote Fizzy: "One of these things is not like the other." And yes, we did get a few odd looks.
We landed before we arrived (Indonesia is 1 hour behind Singapore) and marched straight to the VOA (visa on arrival) counter. So here's the deal, despite being in a place where Rupiah is the local currency, you have to drop $25 bones USD to get a 30 day visa. We go to the counter, and I ask home boy whether or not it's multiple entry. He says, "Yes, you come go many time." Sammy the Bull thinks SWEET! But OH NO - NOT IF YOU HOLD AN AMERICAN PASSPORT, BABY. Instead, there's a HUGE note in the middle of the visa (which uses a FULL BLOODY PAGE) that says: "AMERICAN - good for single entry ONLY." And to make it better, when you go through customs, they stamp the word "USED" in 17,000 Font across the visa - JUST to ram the point home. Good times.
All the same, we were met at the terminal and driven straight to the resort, at which point we DISCOVERED NIRVANA. Seriously, the reviews said that this place was "paradise" and that you'd "feel like the only people on earth." I am happy to report it was bang on.
There are only 7 rooms (it's a converted Balinese villa), and each room is themed. We went with the "Indonesian room," complete with a 4 poster bed (which was THE MOST COMFORTABLE BED EVER, for the record), an outdoor shower, a balcony, and a 50 inch plasma. :-) We arrived to find dinner (Kaffir Lime Chicken and Vegetable Lasagna) waiting for us at the outdoor balcony restaurant, where we dined like kings and even tried a new beer (Bintang - the local Indonesian brew). Prices were GREAT, and the food was eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeven better.
This place really was perfect. We showed up with our bottle of vodka, and their first comment was "we'll bring some ice up." They followed up by knowing our name whenever we went to the restaurant, and the service was GREAT. There was even a pool table, so Pumpkin and I showed off our MAD SKILLZ DAT KILLZ for the staff (T-bone, I want the Pool Shark. After all, he's never shot a game in his life). Seriously, you should have seen Jenny - she played like something out of "The Color of Money" (Mom and Dad - STILL one of the worst movies I've ever seen).
Another fun feature is that they have TONS of movies for rent. The catch is that ALL OF THEM ARE BOOTLEGS FROM DUDES SITTING IN THEATERS VIDEO-TAPING. Seriously, we watched "The Proposal," and throughout you could see people walking the aisles, stretching, and sometimes even talking. Hilarious! (the movie was cute, btw. And work peeps, when it started, Muffin looked at Ryan Reynolds and said "Isn't that Onisick?" I about wet my pants.)
Saturday morning we awoke (after a 10 hour slumber) and had a GREAT breakfast overlooking the neighboring golf course. We then chilled at the pool for about 2 hours (we had the whole place to ourselves!) before heading to the main event of the weekend - the 3 hour couples massage. Seriously - to quote my aunt Pange - I was a limberneck when that was over.
So here's the deal - when we booked this joint, it was a package deal complete with 3 spa treatments apiece for 1 hour. Hour #1 was a massage, followed by any 2 treatments of your choosing. We both elected the full body Balinese massage (SO GUUUUUUUUUUUUUD), and then we both opted for the "hot compress" massage. And whilst I enjoyed scalding cloth being rubbed all over my body until I was covered in 2nd degree burns, Muffin was LESS than enthused. I'm pretty sure she said "ouch" about 471 times during that hour. The response was always "I sorry miss," but instead of letting the towels cooled, she WENT AND GET FRESH ONES FROM THE COOKER. I mean, did she think that Jenny was screaming because the towel was like sandpaper? It was BOILING - how rough could it be?
Treatment #3 was a scrub (in honey oatmeal or something like that) for JT and reflexology (translation - let's try to break every bone in your foot) for Four Leaf. There were no complaints from either of us on that go around, but I am pretty sure she dislocated at least 3 of my toes. Details...
We dozed and lounged by the pool after that before heading up to dinner, which was RELIGIOUS. We then went back to the room to watch another movie, selecting "Knight and Day." However, as it was a) illegal and b) scratched to HELL, it didn't play. However, we then learned that all movies were ALSO available on...wait for it...wait for it...memory sticks! That's right, why buy bootleg copies when you can just DOWNLOAD them illegally on the internet! Consequently, Muffin and I spent the next 2.5 hours watching a dubbed version of 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" (C-Web - they left a TON out. Honestly, if you hadn't read the book, I don't think you would have found this movie that entertaining. That being said, we did enjoy it).
Sunday was brekkie again, followed by a final outdoor shower (SO EXTRA AWESOME) before heading to Batam Centre. You see, we changed out departure point because we'd been told that there was this AMAZING shopping center in Batam Centre called "The Mega Mall." Given the hype, we booked at 5:30 ferry and caught a cab to this place, expecting to be wowed.
Well, as it turns out, "mega" must mean something different in Indonesia. I think it must mean "slightly better than Haiti during the 1791 revolution but still quite a bit less than anything you'd shop in regularly." Seriously - it was 20 stores of UTTER DONKEY TRASH, 10 coffee shops, and a LOT of "coming soon"signs.
Luckily we were able to get on the 12:40 ferry back, and we arrived back in the Sing just before 3 PM. That let us chill by the pool for an hour before heading over to Brewerkz for Happy Hour and BURGERS, BABY! We then came home, where I chatted with both my folks before calling it a night.
I'm SO glad that we've been to Batam, but I don't think we'll go back. That being said, we've got BALI AND BINTAN TO GO, which means there's plenty more of Indonesia in our future (and plenty more full page visas, while I'm at it).
Okay, that's all the news that's fit to print. Chat tomorrow!
Sam and Jenny