Since so many people asked on Facebook, I will tell you that Bintan is an island about an hour ride from Singapore. It belongs to Indonesia, sort of. Apparently Singaporeans own the north part, and they have built resorts that are basically Singapore - Singapore prices, Singapore cleanliness, Singapore food, even Singapore dollars. Well, that's all well and good, but we didn't go there.
We went to down and dirty South-East Bintan. We went to Nostalgia Resort. This was the $25 a night bungalow on the water place. Dinner was $1 (and it was awesome), there was no hot water (but who needs that anyways), and it was an amazing time.
Peter organized a trip for 15 of us to go for the weekend. 14 made it (Susan literally missed the boat), and we had a blast.
I was super dreading the weekend after a bunch of INSEAD students told me that everyone pukes on the ferry, and there is no outside on the boat, and it's horrible. But...on ours, there was an outside, and no one puked. We thought it was 45 minutes, and it turned out to be 2 hours (remember - we went to the hard core area, but we didn't know that going in...). We then piled into a bus. I say piled, because it was for 20 SMALL people, and including the others from the "resort" we were about 25. Mine and Julie's tushies didn't even fit on two seats (and we're not fat). After an hour of driving, we arrived at the "resort" and had some wicked good nasi goreng (fried rice) and even beer. I was pretty sick, but I think the beer actually cured me. That night was full of 11 amazing people and scherades (how do you spell that?).
Saturday was perfect. The rain gave us an opportunity to play settlers, we ate great food, drank good juices, went to the beach, read (studied), talked, talked and talked.
Saturday night warrants its own section, then there was a dance party including karaoke (but with the whole song, so we just had to sing loud enough that you couldn't HEAR the song) at our table on the beach. Lots and lots of drinks later...there was Sunday, which was also relaxing, filled with eating and talking. Then we went to leave, and they had lost our ferry ticket. Though it was annoying for 15 minutes, we ended up getting the ticket, getting on a super fast boat (also with an outside and no one puking), and got back in time to have a great evening in Singapore. All in all - fabulous weekend with fabulous people (Peter, Lisa, Julie, Roslinda, Naomi, Hillary, Vlad, Brandi, Terry, (Juliette and Estelle, whom I really don't know), Jocelyn, and me and Matt).
Onto the funniest part of the weekend. Friday night, we all sat down at a big, long table on the beach. A German guy named Patrick asked if he could join us. No problem! Did he say (under his breath) "for the whole weekend"? Maybe we just missed it. We hung out with him all night, which was great - he's nice and interesting enough. Saturday morning he ended up joining me and Matt for lunch and then walking over to this other beach with us. We watched his stuff when he was kayaking, and on the way back to our "resort" he said, "so what time is dinner?" Hm. Interesting. Naomi had found this seafood place online, and we had organized a van for all 14 of us to go there for dinner. This is where there are two funny things. First - Patrick showed up, jumped in the car and came along. I actually think it's totally fine if he wants to join us - like I said, he's nice, and he's traveling alone, but there seemed to be no recognition that we were a whole group that had gone there together, and he never asked if he could join in, or have that glass of wine, or eat that calamari. He just jumped in, took the glass and ate the fricken calamari!! It was really funny.
So...we arrived at this place we're supposed to go for dinner - and it's built on stilts on the water. They have holes in the wood so they can just pull up the crabs and fish that are living in the ocean, but in nets. There were a lot of bugs. It was a bit shady. There were no prices on the menu. It wasn't clean...so people became uncomfortable. No problem. We'll just have a drink and see where it goes. So we got beer. Warm Bintang - but they brought cups and ice! I tried my first beer and ice. You know what? It wasn't that bad.
Then, some people decided they didn't want to eat there, and they took off. I decided I probably wouldn't eat seafood for most of my life, and I got to try as long as I don't care. So I stayed and Matt went. (See Rabbi readers? at least I married a good one!) I ate a crab (SOOOO GOOD!), some prawn that seemed like they were cooked in butter only (SOOOOO GOOD!!!), some squid that seemed to be like tempura, some amazing salty fish nasi goreng, and AWESOME tofu. It was honestly one of the best meals I have ever had. Including the beer, it was S$12 (US$8). Hells yeah.
Click here for pictures from Langkawi and Bintan.