Prescott and I have come to Indonesia, home of my Dutch colonial forbearers. Specifically, we are on the island of Bintan, one of the Riau islands, which is just a quick ferry ride away from Singapore (the fact that we are in Riau is significant, because I know that my great-grandfather was on one or more of these islands as some point). Bintan has become a popular weekend destination for Singaporeans because you can get here and back with almost no fuss. The downside is that everyone stays in big resorts, which are, well, resorty. If we want to experience the real Indonesia, we’ll either have to walk a long ways or wait until our next trip. But this should be a relaxing getaway.
The ferry to get here was fairly pedestrian-only, small but comfortable (read: well-air conditioned).
I continue to be amazed by the tankers in the Singapore Strait — it’s like there’s an armada sitting on the shore waiting to attack.
But you arrive at Bintan and feel like you’re in an entirely different world:
Our room could at first be mistaken for an ocean view room at hotel anywhere in Ocean City or Myrtle Beach — it has that familiar musty, slightly humid feel. But a few things set is apart. First of all, they’ve placed bougainvillea blossoms in a number of random spots. Secondly, the bed was decked out with a towel heffalump:
And we found a surprise waiting for Prescott (whose birthday is tomorrow — but nothing says “happy early birthday” like a strange mango cake):
This is the view from our room:
It’s just amazing to be on the balcony, looking out over the ocean — it takes my breath away.
We walked down to the beach just in time for sunset.
And we had boozy beach drinks overlooking the water.
I’m pretty sure that my great-grandfather never had this in mind when he lived here and toiled away in hot suits for the colonial government. I wonder if he would be happy for us or appalled at our outfits (or both).
Happy birthday & im really enjoying your stories!