Where o where can one be blessed with pancakes, fruit, juice, coffee, beer, nasi goreng AND mee goreng for around $15? Yes – Bintan (but only once you get out of the ‘Bintan Resorts’ precinct, where the same will cost about 10 times that).
After 1 hour on a vom-inducing ferry trip from Singapore, followed by an hour long drive, we arrive at the Yasin Nostalgia bungalows, on the east coast of the island. There are about 15 over-water bungalows here, connected by a rickety bridge made of driftwood. Rich and I wonder how much it would take for the bridge to snap and are thankful for not being too much chubbier than we are.
Our room is basic (read: rustic) – a fan, a bed, a mosquito net. There’s a little bathroom that will become the bane of my existence, but that’s another story (and possibly one not to be broadcast on the internetz). There’s a small balcony that looks out over the water when the tide is in, and over wet boggy sand and crabs having a part-ay when the tide is out. The outlook is much nicer when the tide is in.
Most of our time is spent lying around reading books (I’ve just finished ‘Someone like you’ by Roald Dahl and have just started ‘The Fry Chronicles’ by Stephen Fry, if you’re interested) which is a pretty fine way to pass the time on week 1 of le world tour.
On our first night here, we take a stroll to a neighbouring hotel to check out the pool. Walking into the resort is kinda reminiscent of The Shining, if The Shining was set in Indonesia and in really hot weather. A HUGE hotel with lots of weird ‘quarters’ around the place. Multiple pools (with no one in them), a small beach you can’t really swim at, a miniature golf course, A ZOO. It was a bit creepy. I see no sign of a hedge maze, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there was one.
On our way back we stop to watch a volleyball match at the side of the road. Orange vs Yellow. It seems like the whole town has stopped to watch the match – after around 10 minutes of spectating, we were whooping, clapping and whistling with the locals and men on motorbikes.
We also pass a group of men – perhaps 40 of them – all dressed in black and jogging along the side of the road – SINGING!! It was pretty amazing and made me imagine an Indonesian Friday Night Lights-style sporting team, only I’m pretty sure these guys were soldiers. Which could also make for a pretty interesting TV show, don’t you think?
Yasin Nostalgia does not let me down in terms of restaurant soundtrack (see: Singapore) – there is a far more upbeat selection of music here. Now, I love golden oldies, but it may surprise you to know that I am also quite partial to Pussycat Dolls, Beyonce and the Bieb. Yasin Nostalgia just keeps the hits coming, even playing Doves and Kid Cudi over breakfast. My kinda place.
After 2 nights, we decide it’s time to move on and experience a leetle beet of luxury, so we get into a rickety old bus and head to the ‘Bintan Resorts’ part of the island.
TO BE CONTINUED!!!