Monday, 28 January 2008

Unwinding in Tioman Island (2)

Reaching the jetty at Tioman, we were received by a resort driver with a big smile who obligingly carried as many of our bags as he could. We climbed into a small shuttle bus, with a seating capacity for 10 people. The bumpy ride on the earthen path took us through a large swathe of reclaimed land which is being developed into what looks like a water-front and further down, a marina. Then we cut into a narrow metal road that serves the village of Tekek and the resort. Of course we had to stop at a duty-free shop to pick up some beer and a bottle of whiskey. Items that are popular with tourists are of course cigarettes, beer, and liquor.

The entrance of Berjaya Beach Golf and Spa Resort

We arrived at the resort restaurant, passing on the way, a scenic fairway of the resort’s 18-hole golf course. We were given VIP treatment with a huge, heavy coconut drink on a plate which I found difficult to hold. The general manager had a short discussion with us on what we wanted to do for the next two days so that an itinerary could be tailored to our needs. Having abused our bodies through years of inactivity, our needs were simple: perhaps a stroll by the beach when the sun is not too hot; lying on the beach chair facing the sea and guzzling beer; may be a short stint in the outdoor jacuzzi pool to tone up the flabby muscles; swimming was out of question as we intentionally didn’t bring any swimming trunks; may be a two hour trek in the rain forest to learn about our bio-diversity. Then there are the different types of massage at the spa, but the price would have caused more pain than pleasure. A horse ride? That sounded like an interesting proposition. But there are only donkeys. We were told that donkey rides are popular with children during school holidays. Riding on a pony at least would be more dignified than a donkey. Besides, John was quite turned off by the strong smell of the animals and donkey dung that permeates the compound. Snorkelling was out of question for John didn't fancy going into the water although Huat Sheng and I wouldn’t mind watching marine life, but as with Malaysians, individual decisions are taboo when you are in a group. Snorkelling would be suitable for John’s son Chun Siong and Samantha, his girl friend from down under.

In the end, we decided that Chun Siong and Sam should work out their own itinerary. For us, the whole idea was to expend as little energy as possible and continue with out rather inactive, dissipated life-style in a somewhat more pleasant environment.

Part of the fairway of the 18 hole golf course

At the lounge of the restaurant. Receiving VIP treatment with a fresh coconut

The fresh coconut drink

A stroll by the beach?

Snoozing on a beach chair?

A swim in the pool? May be a dip in the jacuzzi pool?

Trekking in the rain forest?

A donkey ride?

Watching the coastline and listening to the waves?

Or guzzzzling beer and sleeping off the effect?

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