Saturday, February 06, 2016

Telunas - day 2

30 January 2016

After a very comfortable night's sleep, my eyes auto-opened at about 6 am (it was 7 am in Singapore and my body clock is fairly accurate). 

I got to witness the beautiful sunrise from the balcony.

I was really surprised to see that Xena had also just woken up. Why you no wake up early like this for school when we are in Singapore, my child? 

Xena enjoying her morning out on her bean bag

Early morning family workout!

We had another busy day ahead of us so we quickly got ready and headed towards the Grand Lounge for breakfast. 

The breakfast menu looked amazing! I couldn't decide what to eat! 

Finally, I decided to go for what I wouldn't get elsewhere -- local fare! It was yum!

Xena munching on some honey stars, while the chef prepares her breakfast, which is....


Viv went for a cheese and vegetable omelette. 

After a sumptuous breakfast, we were ready for the day's activities, the first of which was river kayaking! It was a 20-minute ride to get to the 'black river' where we were going to kayak.

Mommy and baby on a boat to the black river

On the way, we passed a couple of huts, and our guide told us they were for making charcoal!

We also saw a lone fisherman on a boat.

Finally, we reached the river, which was framed on both sides with dense mangrove trees, with their characteristic aerial roots.

I'd thought we were going to a place to get the kayaks first, but it turned out the kayaks were already in our boat. I'd just not noticed them. Our guide got the kayaks on the water and we put on our life jackets. Xena looked excited, yet terrified at this shallow boat-like plastic thing with oars. She was quite relieved when we told her that she won't be the one expected to paddle or steer.

I wrapped my phone in a plastic bag and gingerly stepped off from the boat into the kayak. I still wasn't sure about taking the phone along with me because I have a history of falling in water, but I still wanted to take some pictures, and of course, Viv was not taking his precious iPhone along.

I sat in front, so basically, this was my view. 

So I turned around and got a quick shot of Xena trying to operate the kayak!

Viv and I had gone kayaking a couple of times in Singapore, but it was tricky to paddle on a river compared to a reservoir that we'd been on. The currents made our boat go a little haywire and our uncoordinated efforts to make it go straight actually made us look like drunk kayakers. However, soon we had more or less figured it out. Our guide offered to take a picture of us from his kayak and as soon as he'd done that, I requested him to put my phone back in the boat. Phew! Not that my phone is expensive, but it's just that it had all the photos of the holiday and that made it priceless.

Thanks to our guide, we got a family photo on the kayak!

Here's a close-up, showing Xena's mixed feelings about kayaking.

We realised that we didn't have to follow a set path or even return to the boat. We could go anywhere we wanted... because the boat kept following us! That got us really adventurous and we asked our guide where the river went. He said we would come to the end of the river if we carried on for another 15 minutes. We were thrilled at the prospect of "the end of the river". So we paddled on and on until we reached a narrow stretch where it was impossible for the boat to get into. So the boat waited there and our guide and we paddled on along the really muddy and shallow water, maneuvering through the narrow stretch of water around hanging branches. 

On and on we went, not knowing what was ahead...

...looking out for what might fall on our heads from above.

At one point, it felt so surreal I almost regretted leaving my phone in the boat. The water was calm and the reflections of the clouds, the trees and the aerial branches were perfectly mirrored in the water. It looked dark and dreary and scary and exciting to be paddling through that stretch. It was fab, of course. The guide, the boatman and the other two people who had aborted their kayaking journey 2 minutes into paddling, thought we had gone mad. But we went on and on and finally we did see the end of the river -- a muddy, yucky area. 

We also witnessed some mudskippers and also a big branch snapping and falling into the water behind us. Both Viv and Xena freaked out because they thought it was some kind of an animal! The guide also showed us a long mangrove seed with the structure that makes it lodge itself in the mud and grow into a new plant. 

Overall, it was great fun. After about an hour, we got back back on the boat to return to the villa. 

All aboard!

Happy after an hour of kayaking

Xena mulls again. Just like me, moving water makes her thoughtful too. 

In certain parts of the river, you could see the mirror-like reflections of the sky and trees.

The mangrove roots and their reflections made diamond-like shapes.

Creepy, hollow tree

Soon, we could see our island in the distance!

Home, sweet home!

At the jetty, we asked the staff if we could do some fishing and stand-up paddle boarding. Viv went for the paddle boat while a very excited Xena tried her hand at fishing. 

One of the Telunas staff gives Xena a mini-tutorial in fishing. 

Xena was super excited to try her hand at it. I was super nervous because of how close to the edge she was standing. Viv even suggested we make her wear the life jacket while she fished!

Viv, meanwhile, was up to other adventures. He wanted to try stand-up paddle boarding! It didn't look easy at all!

So, first he tried it on his knees...

...but soon, he was able to stand up! Xena and I were so proud of him!

We didn't catch any fish at the jetty so we decided to try from the balcony of our villa. It was also safer for her, I felt. 

Fishing at the balcony!

It's then that I realised why Xena had been so excited about fishing. She didn't know the goal was to catch the fish. She thought the goal was to feed the fish! So I told her if that was the case, she could simply toss the bait directly into the water without any hook or fishing line, and the fish would just gobble it up. She did that, and I had one happy little girl on my hands! So that was how her 'fishing' went. Hilarious!

Meanwhile, Viv had switched modes of transportation. He was going solo on a kayak, right past our balcony! "Look, daddy, I'm feeding the fish!" Xena squealed when she saw him. 

The morning's activities had made us all hungry, and we were ready for lunch at the Grand Lounge. 

This was on the menu, but they made a vegetarian version for Viv. 

My yummy nasi goreng ayam

Chocolate cookie dough sundae for dessert

Xena had lunch on her bouncy ball and as she hopped about, had a profound statement to share, "Mama, Dada, do you know? When Optimus Prime hops, he is Hoptimus Prime! Ha ha ha ha ha ha!" Erm. Okay, not bad. 

After lunch, we were greeted by the manager of the resort who told us that he had just seen a huge monitor lizard near his villa. So went in hot pursuit and spotted it! It was indeed huge and had a very long tongue darting in and out. It moved away so fast that we couldn't take a picture. 

Xena surveyed the infinity pool and wanted to jump in immediately. We told her we would come back in the evening when it was cooler. 

We had booked a couple's massage at 3:30 pm at our villa's balcony. There were babysitters available, but we preferred for Xena to be with us. However, there was no way she would let us have a one-hour massage in peace so we decided to be crazy-ambitious and put her to nap a little late -- around the same time as our massage was scheduled -- and then hope for the best. 

She was only too happy to not nap too early, and went around exploring the loft. 

"Mama, take a picture!" She said. 

It worked out so beautifully that we were amazed. We put her down for her nap at 3.15 and she was fast asleep by 3.20. Just nice because...

...the massage ladies had arrived! Here they are, setting up the massage tables for us. 

Our massage started exactly at 3.30 and ended at 4.30 pm. Just as we were tipping the masseuses, Xena woke up! What perfect timing! As for the massage itself, it was heavenly. It was the Telunas special full body massage, which included the head and shoulders too. I actually fell asleep about three times and even had a dream at some point. 

All refreshed and happy after the massage

In the evening, we went to the beach with Xena's digging tools and she had a nice time, while Viv and I took a stroll. 

My happy little girl digging at the beach

Suddenly I spotted some movement in the water.  A little creature was skipping on the water! It was a mudskipper!                           

Can you spot it? Click on the photo to make it larger. 

Realising that it was a whole bunch of mudskippers, I whipped out my camera to take a video and yelled for Viv to run and get Xena. 

Can you spot the three of them?

Xena was too scared to go near them, so Viv had to do this to help her get a closer look!

I, meanwhile, was mad enough to think I could scoop one up in a container to show Xena before releasing it back. Those things are squirmy. And fast. 

I managed to capture this picture of them clinging on to these poles. They looked like a cross between a lizard and a tadpole.

After a while, father and daughter decided to go splash in the infinity pool, while I relaxed on a lounge chair.       

The sky was turning an amazing shade of dark blue and I got quite a few pictures.  

Soon, we were bathed and dressed for dinner. This was the menu for the night. 

That night, we had the best tomato soup of our lives! We even sent our compliments to the chef through the waiter, and then the chef came to see us!

The staff had told us that there would be a bonfire in the evening near the manager's villa. So we headed there after dinner.

It was a tall, raging bonfire.

One of the guys was playing the guitar and singing. His rendition of 'You say it best' was particularly lovely. We really enjoyed ourselves.

Later, we roasted marshmallows over the fire and ate them. Xena really enjoyed them and even asked me to make such marshmallows when we got home to Singapore. Sure, but it would be gas-toasted marshmallows, I told her. (They actually taste quite nice, by the way, especially if you, like me, don't like the 'burnt' taste of bbqed food.)

Viv and Xena (hiding behind him) toasting marshmallows

So that was it -- a very happening and tiring Day 2 at Telunas. We went to sleep rather reluctantly, knowing that the next day was our last on that lovely island. 



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