Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Birthdays in Bintan & Steamed Rice For All

Since my arrival in Singapore I have been swept off my feet by life. Work, friends, food, and other extra curricular activities have been my knights in shining armor; well, work not so much. Investor Central and Hong Bao Media have made the time fly with constant booking, stories to file and shoots to produce and assist on. This can really allow time to get away from me during the work week. As for weekends, I've spent some hitting the town, the small town that it is. Hot spots like BluJazz on Arab street, clubs such as Attica (both I & II) and my favorite after work watering hole and gold bar, Urban Fairways. Others I've spent doing my grandma thing reading, cleaning and whatever else doesn't cost me any money. I've made little effort to travel on weekends like my roommates since I plan to make my rounds about Southeast Asia when I finish working in July. Also, my sister will be visiting then and accompanying me on this journey and back home, so it will be nice to have a familiar traveling companion.

However, if you know me, you would take that "me not travelling on the weekends" line and call it crap. In the meantime, in between time I ventured into Johor Bahru Malaysia and celebrated my 22nd birthday on a weekend trip to Bintan, Indonesia. I wanted an easy weekend holiday which turned into two nights and three days of total debauchery. The party started right at the ferry departure gate where a hoard of around two hundred of exchange students and interns raided the Duty Free shop. We weren't buying perfume or handbags. Soon after passing our purchases to the front of the line and avoiding the long queue, we boarded the ferry which by now should have been renamed The Spirits of the Sea.

After a few frantic moments at immigration, where I lost my passport for all of about five minutes and nearly had a conniption, we had made it to our hot and sticky destination. And I thought the humidity in Singapore was bad. The Indonesian sun would prove to be mightier than that of the lion nation. Of course the bus ride to our resort wouldn't go without incident. The engine started smoking, choking everyone inside and soon gave out. Stranded on the side of a red dirt road without streetlights or anything that resembled life in sight around 11pm on a Friday, we did what any forward thinking exchange group would do. Cracking open our tax free purchases, we hunkered down and passed the bottle.

After an hour of introductions made less awkward by booze, a much nicer bus rescued us. When we reached the Sun Moon Restaurant for dinner around midnight, the place seemed a bit eerie. Its was built on stilts at the end of a long dark and creaky dock. When we entered, to our surprise the rest of the group waited for our arrival. The weekend's festivities would turn out to be the most fun I've had on a birthday not surrounded by family and close friends ensued. A mountain of delicious entrees, Bintang and "steamed rice for all" christened new friendships and ushered in my twenty second year on this planet earth.

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