Saturday, April 11, 2015

B2B Ride Day 3 - Trikora to Tg Pinang (45km)

Pic Berenda

Pic Berenda

Pic Berenda

It can be said that we who live in modern cities where we are so connected with all sorts of hi tech PDAs, smart phones and computers slowly believe that we have everything under our control. And for good reason. However on a tour, we soon realise that this is not the case as so many things outside our control can happen.

When things which are supposed to go wrong turn out right, we can say its a co-incidence or a stroke of good luck.  It was amazing that Claudine's passport landed on the 40cm narrow bridge structure instead of straight into the river! That would have been disastrous.

For me, its easier to believe that God watches over all of us and He does. Im glad Claudine felt God's love for her, and indeed may we all experience His great love for us daily through His son Jesus.

The LORD'S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. Lamentations 3:22


Day 3 - God Loves Me!!!!

The next time Claudine opened her eyes, morning has broken! It was the best feeling ever! She has survived the night. She crawled out of bed. Feels like a hangover except no wine was served last night. She looked and felt her age.Down the ladder to the bathroom again. She brushed her teeth. When she gargled, she decided to spit on the floor instead of the nasty toilet bowl. Not risking any back splash!

All essentials done, she walked out her shack to enjoy the morning. Judith was at the balcony stretching.

Daniel, a German "co-shacker" but Korean descent was checking out the interiors of Alvin's shack. He thinks ours was in a better condition than his'.

Everyone went for breakfast. We babysat Daniel. His roommate was still sleeping.

Berenda and Judith taught Laura how to make French toast for us. It turned out Laura already knows how to make French toast but they call it roti telur in Indonesia. Alvin went into the kitchen to check on the girls and came out with a sweet potato doughnut. He shared it with Claudine and VT. We further ordered Nasi goreng but made sure it comes with sambal belacan. Later, Claudine sweet talked Laura into giving us more sweet potato doughnut. She gave us 5 pieces, on the house!
Daniel is actually a young university student on a study program to Singapore. He plans to travel around this region. Alvin shared with him travel tips and the benefits of a folding bike.
Our long breakfast lasted for as long as we could stretch it. Then, we decided to leave.

We rode past last night's restaurant.
We checked out Bintan Lagoon, a place where Alvin stayed on his last visit. The proprietor has changed, prices has gone up.
We checked out Majorly Resort which could not take us in because they were fully booked. The beach could not beat Shady Shack's beauty but the chalets were nice. Ceiling type princess mosquito nets. Teak furniture. Wooden flooring. Full length mirror. TV, airconditioning, bathroom with separate shower area!!!!
Claudine showed the friendly receptionist some photos of Shady Shack. She went on and on, "Ya, Allah! Ya, Allah!".
According to her, even the poorest people on Bintan does not live like that anymore! Thus goes the misconception of the western people on kampung living!
We rode on again. Before long, we came about the 5th bridge with the same architecture as the previous 4. Here the fishing boats are larger. Typical fishing village.

Claudine reached for her phone from her back pockets. Not realizing, out came the ziplocked bag with the passports instead!
It all happened too quickly. All she could remember was the horror of seeing the red passport fluterring as if with wings down the bridge. Judith and Claudine screamed in horror! Claudine screamed because she realized the disastrous event unravelling. Judith screamed because Claudine screamed and it is a natural woman's reaction to go into group hysteria!
They glanced down. Passport had landed on the steel structure 4 feet below. Feelings of gladness has not come. Just a slight relief that we have time to figure how to retrieve the passport which is obviously not within arms' reach. A local woman cyclist stopped at the bridge to watch the commotion. A boy ran in between us, perhaps hoping to offer help with a tip in mind.

Pic Berenda

Claudine went into CPU overdrive. Perhaps get tongs to grab the passport. Err! No! What if halfway, the grip was not strong and this time it really fall into the water?
As she was racking her brain and in a state of panic, Alvin calmly and quietly climbed down gracefully to retrieve the passport. Problem solved! The whole accident and rescue took 3 minutes only. But it took Claudine 30 minutes to recover from the whole ordeal.
"God loves you!" Alvin said. Yes, indeed he is right!
Post mortem, the ziplocked bag had a clean cut at the base. Thus the passport fell out as soon as it was flicked out. The cut could have been done by the plastic bicycle tag from Harbour Front Ferry Terminal. Claudine has been keeping the tag together with the passports as a souvenier.
Thankfully, the passport fell on the steel structure. Had it missed, there was another boat parked just below. That could have been the 2nd safety net.
If it were to go in the water??? Alvin said he would have dived in!
"My hero!" A distressed damsel would have said. But Claudine cannot even remember thanking Alvin!
Thank you, Alvin! (Better late than never!)
Still jittery, the next stop was just so strategic. Down the bridge on the right is a Chinese otak-otak shop. Fresh otak-otak was being wrapped outside. Fish paste in a large communal bowl, nipah or palm fronds to wrap them in.

Here they also sold keropok emping. They came in sweet or salty packets. Emping is made from melinjo seeds which grow on very big trees. The Indonesians believe consuming too much melinjo will give you a hangover! The proprietor doubled the shop as his private lodging. Behind is a super clean kitchen, not surprising as he had 4 helpers at his shop. Upstairs must be his living quarters.
There was a fish market across the shop. Boys can be seen riding on their motorcycles, heading home with few hooked tenggiri fishes dangling from their hands. No plastic bags required!

Alvin offered a chance to ogle over the fishes at the market. Berenda went. Claudine still could not trust herself to cross the road! While waiting, VT started to wonder which one between Claudine and himself was at risks of not going home! Passports on the table. One clean, the other dusty.
One, two, three!
Ta daaaaa!!!!
The one who dropped it, sacrifices herself! It was Claudine's all along!!!
"God Loves Me!"
Had Claudine's passport actually fell into the water, she would have had to stay on until immigration problems are resolved!
Our next stop was at a Chinese shop by a dam. This one sells great Nasi lemak which we only bought one to be shared. Here, Alvin shared Thai recipes with Claudine!

And then, another stop just minutes away!!! Durian!!!!
The durian seller was out to make a profit. IDR150,000 for one futsal sized durian. The urge to taste and the willingness to contribute to the local economy made us pay IDR90,000 for one fruit.

Pic Berenda
Tanjung Pinang was not far away. And yet again, there were many hills to climb. It is a much dirtier town compared to Tanjung Uban.
As we approached the town, lion dance drummings could be heard. Claudine could not see the lions. But she spotted Indonesian boys playing the drums in full Chinese costume.
"Di mana ada gula, di situ ada semut". Meaning wherever there are fortunes to be picked, there will be people.
Lunch was at a newly set up food court with free wifi and a stage for karaoke. Alvin had chicken rice with braised tofu. Berenda and Judith shared a fish porridge. Judith went on to order tofu, Tempe and Ayam penyet. Claudine followed Judith but minus the chicken. VT had bakso.
After lunch, we checked out some ferry agencies for our ride home. At one corner, Judith fell as she went over a hole. Like a bouncy fishball, she was up and picking her bike up as soon as she fell! A torn cycling pants and a cut on her knee!

Claudine and VT decided to follow the team by ferry back to Tanah Merah, Singapore. They had initially considered going back to Berjaya Waterfront, JB. A 3 hour ride compared to 1 hour 45 minutes ride on a smaller boat with no photos available at the ticketing agent made them changed their minds.
After procuring their tickets, they continued on the coastal road to their hotel. View of the sea on their right.

Pic Berenda

A car wash on the left. It uses pink foam and there were 2 Hello Kitty cars parked outside. One can onlu guess the name of the car wash!
We also passed by a military mess.
We came upon a public library.
We finally reached Hotel Panorama.

This hotel is not plush. But it has the traveller's comfort in mind. At the dining area is a water dispenser free for the guests to quench their thirst.
In the room, basic bed with good spring mattress! Dressing table, writing dress, wardrobe all has seen it's years of use but still functional. A flat screen TV!!!
Small bathroom with no separate shower but functional. Toothbrush and toothpaste for absentminded travellers. Clean white towels. Towel racks and hook! And even a bidet!

"After Shady Shack, Hotel Panorama feels like a 5 star luxury hotel," claimed VT!
A shower and a short rest in an air conditioned room with an airconditioning that actually works! Rested, we met again. This time, we rode to Chinatown.
Few important streets, but most shops were closed on Sunday. Alvin's ears pricked at the sound of ladle hitting wok. Char Kueh Teow for tea! We had it with super sweet chrysanthemum tea and a bitter liang teh that only Judith could put it down her throat! The extra glass of liang teh was returned to the old uncle hawking by the 5 foot way.

Pic Berenda

We then rode to the Chinese fishing village. Typical village with a temple and a kaleidoscope of rubbish. A girl with a row boat was taking fresh water from a well. She must live on one of the shacks on stilts in the middle of the sea. Judith asked for her permission to get on it for some snapshots.
Alvin made Claudine and VT pose for couple photos. A wierd bridge to nowhere built in the middle of the sea was the backdrop. We can only guess the villagers intended for it to reach the temple but ran out of funds.

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Out from the village, there was a pau seller. We bought 2 but there were red char Siew inside and didn't taste good at all. Just before reaching home, we came upon a church built in the 19th century. Alvin shared the Dutch architecture details with us.

Before heading back, we stopped at Restoran Sederhana. A restaurant that serves Nasi Padang. The way they serve Nasi Padang here is almost the same way as the Chinese serves dim sum. They bring all the dishes out in small portion. You select and pay for what you want. Most notable is that Nasi Padang is usually eaten with keropok kulit which is actually chicken skin crackle.

After dinner, we rested in the hotel till supper time. This time, we used our "Walkswagon."
Further down the road near the public library is a long line of street food.
Stalls on the left side of the road mainly sells desserts like barbecued or steamed corn, Chendol, steamed peanuts and drinks. This area serves people who wish to sit and talk.

Further down, are 2 projector screens showing live European football. Here, is the place for football fans to dine and cheer. Stalls on the right serves dinner menu like barbecued fish and steamed cockles. Near the dinner area is a make shift fun fair. There were many inflatable pools with water and fish magnets inside. Pay to fish and get a price?
We decided to go for drinks, corn and steamed peanuts. The peanuts were hard and many blackened inside. Even though VT went back to change, they were still bad.
Halfway eating her steamed corn, Claudine noticed something on her side of her table. A dead, 1 inch caterpillar! Looking at her cob more closely, everyone noticed a smaller one, dead, in the corn.

This maiden trip is really getting too melodramatic for Claudine!!!!

Pic Berenda

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