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A Visit to Telunas Beach Resort

Telunas is a laid-back beach resort on a small Indonesian island. There’s not a lot to do there except swim, eat, hike a bit, and relax. That was just what we were looking for as a way to unwind before Nyan started his new school, and to celebrate Mommy’s birthday. We are quite pleased to report the place exceeded our expectations in every way.  Here is a long report on our trip.

It’s pretty close to Singapore, which meant no air travel – just boats. We started with a half-hour ferry ride to the island of Batam, just across the channel from Singapore. Nice views of the Singapore skyline even from Indonesia:

Then we transferred to a small, low-slung traditional Indonesian fishing boat that the resort sent to pick us up. The ride was about 45 minutes through pretty calm waters, passing by untouched islands and the occasional fishing village, with most buildings on stilts above the water.

The resort is also built on stilts, jutting out over the water. The main building was the eating hall, and each individual cabin was connected by wooden pathways high above the water, eventually leading to a long stretch of beach. It was deliberately rustic and low-key, and it was great.

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Here’s the resort:

And our room, a nice-sized place with a queen bed, bunk beds and a little balcony overlooking the sea and the island.

Fun on the Beach

The beach was long and clean, very wide at low tide and pretty narrow at high tide. The whole place was thick with little crabs who would dig holes in the sand and leave little balls of sand everywhere. Great for drawing your name in, actually. We obviously spent the bulk of our time on the beach – swimming, lazing, walking, playing with the other kids at the resort.

Rope Course

The blonde, curly-haired girl you see in some of those beach pictures was Anastasia, a.k.a. Squish. She and Nyan became fast friends, starting with some bonding at the resort’s rope course.

As you can see, it was a clearing on a hill, deep in the jungle, where they had installed a few rope bridges for kids (and adults!) to test their mettle. Nyan was a little nervous but he did a great job!

More Fun in the Water

The resort had some non-motorized water sports equipment to borrow, so one afternoon, Daddy and another parent staying at the resort brought one out into the (pretty shallow) water and threw a bunch of kids on it. A blast was had by all.

The resort also had a couple of platforms for the brave-hearted to jump from and into the water. One was maybe 10 feet, the other more like 30. Both were too high for Nyan, but not for Daddy!

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The resort also offered rudimentary fishing — they’d loan you a plastic spindle with a lot of fishing line on it; you’d put some raw chicken on a hook at the end of the line and lower it down from the platforms. We didn’t catch anything but it was a nice relaxing time.

Relaxing 

Speaking of relaxing, that’s ultimately what we did a lot of at Telunas. Reading, lounging, drawing, exploring, being silly. Good times.

The Night

Every night they had a big bonfire down on the beach. Kids loved it – especially when the marshmallows came out!

One evening we did a special pizza dinner down on the beach, where we all assembled our own pizzas and then had them bake them in a wood-fired oven. And, since it was Mommy’s birthday week, we asked if they could do something special. They sure could!

We were also there during a full moon. Amazing.

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And you know ho the full moon brings out the crazy and/or goofy? Yeah. This:

Time to Go

Sadly, of course, all good things must end. So after a few nights, we had to board the fishing boat that took us back to the ferry that took us home. But we’re already making plans to return to Telunas.

It’s fair to say the trip was an unalloyed success. In case there was any doubt, Nyan started his new school a couple days later. One of the first things the children did was to draw “what I did on my summer vacation” pictures. Here’s what Nyan came up with:

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Posted by on September 15, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Hot Fun in the Iowa Summertime

Sometimes the simplest pleasures are the best. Like the day when Nyan, Daddy, Grandma and Grandpa went for a casual hike in the woods. Or at least through a meadow. Grandma and Grandpa wanted to check out the site of a future residential development, and Nyan was happy to go along. He even got into the rural life, happily chewing on a grass stalk. (Nyan wore his camouflage shorts especially for the occasion; the black and white striped shirt, he added, was so that he could be a zebra. A camouflaged zebra.)

Another day we headed up to a place a little ways out of town called the Devonian Fossil Gorge. It’s an area of ancient rock that was exposed a decade or so ago when a nearby river burst out of a dam and gushed for weeks, scouring away millions of years of topsoil and rock. It left behind what was the ocean floor some 375 million years ago, and now is home to lots of clearly visible fossils. We had taken Nyan there a few years ago, but this visit is hopefully one he will actually remember. He certainly seemed to enjoy it.

On yet another beautiful and warm summer day, we visited a place called Trueblood Recreation Area, just south of town. It’s an old quarry that’s now filled with water and has been developed as a place to fish, hike, or take pedal boats out on the water. So that’s what we did. Grandpa and Daddy pedaled while Grandma and Nyan chilled and luxuriated. It was a lovely ride at a beautiful site.

 
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Posted by on July 23, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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A Picnic in the Park

One pleasant June afternoon, Aunt Maggie announced she wanted to take Nyan on a picnic. So off they went! with Grandma and Grandpa in tow.

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The picnic was at a lovely park that was chock full of fun things. Like a sand pit…

And a water play area that almost made us feel like we were back in Singapore:

And plenty of playground equipment to climb on and slide down.

Best of all, maybe, was the simple, the classic, the swing.

What kid doesn’t love to swing?

 
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Posted by on July 21, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Slime and Soccer with Mia

Nyan got to spend some quality time with cousin Mia during his trip to Iowa. What did they get up to? Well, they tried their hand at making slime:

They goofed around with their hair and glasses at a restaurant. Well, to be precise, Mia (and Aunt Maggie) did while Nyan giggled.

They hung out on the couch while Mia played with her new iPhone:

And, maybe best of all, they hung out in the backyard. There were some (attempts at) cartwheels…

And there was soccer. Mia’s been playing for years; Nyan’s been playing for months. We thought some of her skills might rub off on the lad. That remains to be seen, but at least they had fun.

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Return to (Iowa) City Park

After a few days in California, it was off to Iowa for a couple weeks with Grandma and Grandpa. One of the many places we hit up was… Iowa City’s City Park.

Yes, we have been here before. And yes, the name is just as creative as it’s always been. Whatever; it’s a lovely place right along the river, with trees, playing fields, open space, and an area with a few kid-sized rides like a merry-go-round, baby ferris wheel and a working (miniature) train on a quarter-mile oval track. Nyan’s always loved this park, and this time was no different. In fact, we went there a couple times on this visit to the homeland.

Did I mention there are ducks? There are ducks.

And rides too. Every kid loves the rides. Especially the plane.

Don’t forget the merry-go-round.

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But of course, the crème de la crème is the train. Here we had to wait patiently as it finished a run:

And a few runs around the track, with Grandma, with Grandpa, even with Daddy.

Nyan loved the train so much that he took several walks along the entire length of the track.

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The park, the train and the rides have all been there since Daddy was a boy – even before that, surely – and we hope they’ll still be there for many years to come!

 
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Posted by on July 9, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Up Among the Tall Trees in Northern California 

Nyan had never seen a redwood tree before. We had thought about going to Muir Woods National Monument on previous visits to the Bay Area, but the fear of crowds kept us at bay. (That, and jetlag that always seemed to mean we slept more than sight-saw.)

This time around, we zeroed in on Big Basin Redwoods State Park, about an hour and a bit south of San Mateo, just to the west – along some climbing and winding two-lane roads – of Cupertino. We headed out early one morning (thanks, again, to the jetlag) and got there not long after they opened, around 8ish. It was quite chilly, especially for us equatorial residents who lack much warm clothing, but it was not crowded, the morning sun was glorious, and the trees were superlative.

Let’s just check out some pictures and videos. Words don’t do it justice.

And some videos too.

We were all suitably impressed. Then, while driving on from the park, in the middle of the redwood forest, we suddenly chanced upon…a Burmese monastery! What? How random. We stopped, of course, and checked out the stupa. Didn’t see any people at all; it was peaceful and seemingly deserted. Then we found the monk – yes, there was just one monk – and then we found some other Burmese folks who come up every weekend to cook up a week’s worth of food for the monk to eat. They promptly offered us a huge Burmese spread for lunch, which we gratefully accepted.

Totally random, but totally special.

Our final stop on this busy morning was at a NASA museum, not far from Google headquarters. It was a small affair, but kinda neat. It had some replicas of modules from the International Space Station, displays about various satellites and space missions, and an actual moon rock brought back by one of the moon missions. It actually wasn’t as awe-inspiring as we had hoped – it was just a little rock, encased in a glass display. It was so uninspiring, in fact, that we forgot to take a picture of it. Oops.

Then it was off for a drive through the nearby Google corporate campus before heading back to our rental apartment. Nice day overall.

Let’s end with some more photos of those majestic redwoods.

 
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Posted by on July 6, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Lots More Soccer 

Is Nyan becoming better at soccer (football), now that he’s been at it for five months or so? We’d say so, marginally. What’s really important, though, is that he’s still enjoying it.

One important change: we found a stash of soccer/football jerseys in the closet – shirts we’d been waiting for him to grow into. He’s just about grown into them, so we’ve been busting htem out for practice. Looking good!

Let’s take a look at some live action. Here he is practicing his shots on goal. Practice makes perfect, eventually.

Soccer practice is usually a lot of drills, followed by a scrimmage of some sort. In this game, Nyan shows a little bit of defensive prowess (relatively speaking) And we also see the passion as tempers flare after a goal:

Speaking of defense, check out the boy’s defense in this drill!

Practicing ball control and footwork:

Scoring a goal (eventually) in practice:

Boys being boys:

Here’s some sort of game drill, in which Nyan decided he’d just stand in front of the goal, apparently:

Last but not least, it’s fun to wind down after practice by doing a little climbing on the nearby playground equipment.

 
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Posted by on June 25, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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