I’m not going to deny that I am travelling a lot or suggest that I am working as hard as I could but despite appearances (which most of this post will not help improve) I promise I am working hard! Last week I had my last mid-term exam and handed in a group essay on genetic sequencing techniques and I am currently working on a history essay about Japanese urbanisation during the early Tokugawa era. So believe it or not when I am in Singapore, or even away I have been doing reading for my studies!
That study/ travel balance seems to be quite a crucial thing to establish if you want to do a year abroad right! Obviously I am in a particularly convenient place so I am fortunate to have so many options for cheap travel, but I don’t think you are doing a year abroad properly if you spend every day in the library or even just in the same city – get out there, that’s the whole point!!
My latest escapade of ‘getting out there’ was this weekend to Bintan which is a very convenient hour ferry ride away from SG! The island is mostly known for its resorts with beautiful beaches and water sports options galore… but being students and cheap skates we stayed in a much more remote ‘resort’ which I was sceptical of before arriving. The Bintan Laguna Restaurant and Resort was not your 5 star, all inclusive get away but if you overlook the slightly dirty sheets and towels, the reliance on one fan per room and the very rickety wooden structures that the whole thing stands on…. it is beautiful and suited us perfectly well for 2 nights.
They arranged to pick us up from the port and drop us back (the hour drive was quite long but not uncomfortable) and breakfast consisting of rice, noodles and toast was included so we weren’t in a position to argue.
On Saturday we headed to the beach, where we ended up staying for the whole day despite the heat and the biting ants. With a speaker and a group of 10 chatty people it was quite easy to spend a few hours lazing around, with the added bonuses of drinking a fresh coconut and an ice cream from a guy on a scooter who drove up and played ice cream van music!
We also had a random guy come up to us on a jet ski and offer us 15 minutes on the jet ski for 250000 rupiah (=$25 SGD, it was a very complicated currency to keep up with), so obviously we hopped on and I got to drive some random guys jet ski for 5 minutes on the beautifully still ocean… what else would you do in Indonesia? After a day of relaxing we spent the evening eating fresh seafood, drinking beer and I managed to fit in some reading for my history tutorial (trying to keep up the study/ travel balance).
The bed was comfy but I barely slept and ended up watching the sunrise (unfortunately it was too cloudy to really appreciate it) from 5:30, went for a 5Km run before the day got too hot and then took in the view from a surprisingly comfy rock before breakfast. Being a morning person in a group full of late risers has its benefits! My room mate and I also managed to have a massage in one of the huts looking out to sea before everyone had fully prepared themselves for the day. Once everyone was up and fed then we headed out in 5 canoes and paddled around the coast for an hour or so, which although very hot was really peaceful and a perfect end to the weekend. Before we knew it, it was time to pack, pay (which on a student budget was a very interesting thing to work out, luckily we had just enough money between us to pay for everything and crucially enough for an ice cream each).
I wouldn’t say I’d rush back to Bintan but it was definitely a very enjoyable weekend and with such beautiful surroundings it’s hard not to appreciate it!
Now just to finish my essay before I leave for KL on Thursday….