Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Part One: Our Trip to Indonesia!!! Selamat datang

Hey all,

Selamat datang, everyone!!! Which is how they say WELCOME in Indonesia. At least in the area where we were. *smile* We discovered that Indonesia is a huge country made up of quite a few different islands and territories. If you were like me and not sure where Indonesia exactly was, check this out...

The colored areas (not gray) are apparently ALL Indonesia according to this map. (Click on it to make it easier to see.) Now where we went was this little resort island just south of Singapore. You can just see it if you look for a tiny yellow blotch right next to the S in Singapore. *grin*

Jonathon chose this place because in all our travels we've never just gone to a resort. Usually, we go somewhere and then travel around, but he did this spur of the moment, (A Valentine's present, I found out later) so rather than worry about all the variables, he went to a travel agent and let them plan it out for us. All he wanted was for us to rest and relax.

And WOW! Did he do a great job. Let's start at the beginning...

The trip to Bintan, Indonesia is only an hour by ferry from Sinapore. It's a basic vessel, catamaran type with plenty of room.

We were pretty packed in on the trip over because there was a school group with us, but Jonathon and I had seats up in front and on the side so we could see everything perfectly.

And it was a beautiful trip. No chop at all, the sea nice and flat. We munched on a picnic breakfast because the boat left at 9:10 on the dot and my stomach just isn't awake any earlier! LOL

Now Singapore is said to be the largest international port in the world and as we made our way out of the harbor I totally understood what they meant. Ship after ship after ship as far as the eye could see. I was amazed at all of them. My Navy man husband pointed out all the different types of vessels so it was quite an education for me.

But just less than an hour later, we docked at the tiny resort island of Bintan. The crew, so obviously experienced in doing this, joked and laughed and teased the newcomers, but were good enough to offer to take our picture when we first stepped onto Indonesian soil.

Now we had to go through passport compliance and customs which was surprisingly painless. And I have to say that Indonesia has the most beautiful VISA sticker for your passport. I don't have a scanner so I can't show you mine, but in all my travels, it is the only one I can really say I'm proud to show off. If you're curious, check out this URL and you can see a picture of what I'm talking about.

And going to a booked resort meant missing all the lines and doing it the VIP way, which was very cool. Anyway, we finally made it through there and then headed out to the air conditioned bus to go to the resort.

Bintan is a tropical country that rests very near the equator, so the climate is hot, humid and heavy feeling. The jungle around us was lush and tall and the places where man had carved out his niche always looked as if they were in danger of being over-run by nature. A lot of the area was reclamated land and you could see that as well. Mangrove swamps, jungles with tall canopies and then out of nowhere appeared this gorgeously manicured golf course.

The resort was in a word, spectacular. Now remember, Jonathon and I don't usually do this fancy stuff. Holiday Inn and a pizza is more our style, but this was a special Valentine's day present and boy, did I mention how good he did?

Here are a few pics of the hotel itself... I'll give explanations just above each pic so you know what you're looking at...

This is the welcoming dance the locals did as we arrived. We were treated to the native music, dance and refreshments. Very nice.
This is the entryway to the hotel. As you can see it is completely open and huge. It is still decorated for the Chinese New Year and so airy and lovely. I don't know if you can get the feel for how big it is, but this is only half of the entry which has got to be about 50 yards across.
This little area is just one of ten restaurants the resort has available. We ate here later on in the night, but it was too dark to take pictures, so I thought I'd toss this in now. Meal wasn't that great, but the ambiance was wonderful.
This is the view from our hotel room. Can you believe it? We could hear the pounding of the surf and see the golfers as they made their rounds. Imagine waking up and having coffee on this balcony. We did it, and it was hard to drag ourselves away for breakfast! LOL
Once we got out stuff in the room, the first thing we did is hit the beach for a walk and to get oriented. This is the same beach in the picture outside our hotel window. Can you tell the blues? I have another one in a bit, but it was so beautiful.
This is another view of the resort. If you look up through the trees you can see the actual resort building. It has a lot of land, counting the beachfront, hotel, villas and the golf course, but they have a bunch of noisy construction still going on. We wouldn't go back, but only for that reason. If they made sure the construction ended at dinner time so we could enjoy our meal, we might reconsider because everything else was wonderful.
Here is that other picture of the ocean. Isn't it gorgeous. No, not the hunky guy, although he is totally jumpworthy...look at all the blues. (click on it to enlarge) The sky, and then the beautiful water-- turquoise, aqua and then a more sandy blue as it gets to the beach. This type of view makes me want to sit down and never, ever leave!!!
Our first view of the Bintan Lagoon Pool. This thing is big. What you see in this picture is only a quarter of the whole pool. It has bridges and underswims, a bar and so many nooks and crannies I'm not sure I found them all. And you can sit in the pool and listen to the ocean crashing right in front of you. Amazing.
Of course, we had to visit the pool bar. Any bar you can swim up to and sit in the water is a given, right???? It's set up with little pool bar stools and you can both have food, (we had this yummy seafood spagetti) and all the drinks you can imagine.
This is Juan our bartender. His real name is totally unpronounceable--believe me I tried--so they call him Juan instead. He and all the staff at the resort were so friendly. If you needed something, they got it for you. Juan got to know us really well as we tried all the tropical fruity drinks we could find. We didn't get drunk, not enough alcohol in them for that, but we were both pleasantly lightheaded. Lying in the sun, flirting with your honey and drinking sweet exotic cocktails. What more could you want???
And this last picture is a great way to end this first blog. A handsome man, a wonderfully relaxing afternoon with an even more interesting evening coming up and a kiss shared by two lovers. Ahhhh...I love a good vacation!!!!

So I hope you enjoyed your first glimpse at Bintan Lagoon Resort, Indonesia. Hurry back tomorrow for another look at this resort island!!!!

Hugs,

4 comments:

Connie Northrop said...

Very cool! My roommate my last semester of college was from Indonesia and she showed me all kinds of awesome pics. They have some beautiful stuff there.

sjrlive said...

Hi CJ,
Love the beach pixs! Color me aquamarine green with envy, lol!
I know what really makes it great ~ you have someone very special to share it all with. Go for it!
Sara J. ~ : - ]

CJ England said...

Connie,

They really do. It is a beautiful country. We are going to go to Sumatra next time and see what it's like there.

CJ

CJ England said...

Sara J.,

Thanks! I know having him with me is all that matters.

But the next morning I had to wonder. LOL

CJ