Monday, April 27, 2009

Billionaires in Bintan

Okay, so I wasn't exactly a billionaire, but have you ever just pulled one million in cash from the ATM? It's pretty fun! The whole purpose of the 1,000,000 rupiah was to cover the weekend stag party for my good friend, Chris. He's about to join the ranks of married men and we sent him off well.

We spend the weekend at a very chill resort called, The Shady Shack (mosquito nets included), in Bintan, Indonesia. It's a very apt name as each of us got a shack and some shade right on the beach. The mee and nasi goreng were pretty standard, but the dinner spread was a thing of beauty. Ayam curry, tempe, tofu, fried chicken, fried sotong, nasi, vegetables. DELICIOUS! Lobo (aka, The Wolfman) puts on a good spread.

The highlights for me were the food, the fireworks, underwater bocce, and the water. Now the fireworks weren't anything like the fireworks most people would expect. These fireworks came in the form of a large bushfire that started upwind from our driftwood & thatched roof shacks.

We'd all headed out for a swim and nearly chocked on the smoke by the time we got to the stinger-free water. The conversation migrated from carefree comments on the smoke and fire to genuine concern about the fire burning down our accommodations and how much of a damper that would put on an otherwise-well-planned stag party.

Back at "The Shack" we finished lunch amidst drifting ash, but Lobo assured us there was nothing to worry about. After lunch our beach bocce game ended up migrating into the water - partly due to the smoke and partly due to our pioneering nature. And Underwater Bocce was born. We played numerous permutations of the game, but found it is best to play in water no deeper than waist-deep. One optional rule is that all players must toss their ball before the pallino (little ball) hits the water. Though a word of caution - HEADS UP!

My favorite part of the weekend was the water. It was a gorgeous aquamarine color and the visibility was amazing! Several of us donned masks & snorkels and headed out to see what we could; we weren't disappointed!

Floating in the calm blue water, looking down upon another world is such a wonderful experience. There wasn't a lot of variety in the coral, nor were there lots of fish, but taking in the quiet ocean and visiting this other world only added to my excitement about visiting the Great Barrier Reef! That will be a sight, or many sights, to behold. I can't wait for Friday to come!

Needless to say, our shacks didn't burn down, and The Wolfman's resort lives to treat other guests to simplicity and smorgasbord. Thanks for the good times, Lobo, and thanks for getting married, Chris. We all need a good reason to celebrate now and then.

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