RSS

Tag Archives: travel

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.

20170806_145738.jpg

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!

20170808_181013

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.

20170806_195434.jpg

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:

20170825_085935.jpg

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 15, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , ,

Still a Great Traveler

As we’ve seen, Nyan racked up a lot of frequent flier miles this summer. He’s been traveling across continents and oceans since he was literally four-and-a-half months old, so he’s very much old hat at it. Let’s check him out as he showed off his expertise on this most recent trans-oceanic voyage.

He knows his way around an airplane, whether he’s watching a video, having a meal or a snack, or passed out:

He’s also adept at navigating airports themselves. He still loves watching planes on the tarmac,  goofing around at airport cafes, pulling luggage, and – when he can – hanging out with Grandma and Grandpa

And sometimes, there’s nothing to do but wait. And be silly.

We also did a fair amount of driving. He’s good at that too, whether he’s drawing, napping, or – once again – being silly.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 31, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Tags:

Galesburg, Illinois

We saw a notice of some sort of railroad festival going on in a small railroad town called Galesburg, Illinois. It’s about a two hour drive from Iowa City and when we asked Nyan if he was interested, the answer was – of course – a resounding “Yes!” So off we went.

It’s not the most vibrant town ever, though it has a very active railway, a couple of adjacent museums and some old train cars on display. Some scenery from the town:

As it turned out, most of the festival activities were on another day. But the museums had special tours and activities going on. So we checked out the kid’s museum, which wasn’t very train-centric, but was still fun. It was full of dress-up-and-play areas (grocery store, fire house, vet’s office, etc) and various activities, like building ramps to slide balls along. And there was a tractor simulator!

And a little table with jets of air coming out, and you put the ping-pong ball into the jets of air so they seem to be floating. Nyan enjoyed that too.

As mentioned, Galesburg has a very busy railroad running through it, and we happened to catch a really long grain train rolling through.

The train museum was maybe the highlight though – inside was full of memorabiliia from a hundred years of trains. And outside were a Pullman car, a mail car and a steam engine, all of them real, all of them open for walk-throughs, and all of them having special guided tours this day. The steam engine was huge, impressive, and a big hit with our young engineer.

All in all, a very pleasant day. Let’s wrap up with some random pics: Nyan and Daddy being silly, Nyan signing the museum guest book, and all tuckered out on the drive home.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 18, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: ,

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.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 6, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: ,

California Dreaming

We spent a few weeks in the U.S. in June, starting with a few days in the lovely Bay Area of lovely California. There was some serious jetlag going on, of course, but we didn’t let that get in the way.

Our first full day, after some multi-hour midday naps, we climbed into our rental car and headed west from Silicon Valley, over the mountains and down to the coast at Half Moon Bay, where we played in the chilly surf and enjoyed the bright late afternoon sunshine. And took goofy pictures.

As mentioned, we had some major jetlag, which involved Nyan waking up at 2 or 3 am (and thoughtfully waking up Daddy too!), then playing or just goofing around inside our rental place. Then, around 5, when the nearby coffeeshops would open up, Nyan and Daddy would go for a pre-dawn stroll and marvel at all the gorgeous flowers. We do love California.

Finally, a few random pics from this leg of our trip. Notice a sleeping theme going on?

Up next: more California fun, with giant redwoods and moon rocks and more. Stay tuned!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 3, 2017 in Photos

 

Tags:

Holiday in Cambodia

We’ve said before that one of the great things about living in Singapore is that it’s easy to jet away to all sorts of spectacular places. In late April, we did just that with a weekend trip to Siem Reap, Cambodia, home to the famous Angkor Wat and other thousand-year-old temples deep in the jungle.

Most famous is Angkor Wat itsslef, a UNESCO World Heritage site and, in fact, the largest religious monument in the world. It’s 162 hectares — thanks, Wikipedia! — and comprises a moat and numerous stone buildings, plus lots of open space.

This video gives a hint at the size:

And that’s just one small section of the place, just outside the main temple.

Here are a bunch of photos from in and around Angkor Wat. Click on any photo to enlarge it – and trust us, it’s worth it! A very photogenic place.

Just up the road is Angkor Thom, an ancient walled city with numerous old temples and monuments inside. It was the capital of the Khmer empire and established around 900 years ago.

This was our second stop on the day, and to be honest, we were a little worried that Nyan’s attention would quickly lag. There wasn’t a lot to actually *do* at these places besides walk around and ooh and ahh and be amazed at the sculptures and architecture. But Nyan was a trooper and was really into it! Here we are exploring around Angkor Thom, including a few shots of the moat outside the wall and the wall itself.

As awesome as Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom were, Ta Prohm was definitely Daddy’s favorite temple. Unlike the other two, officials have made a conscious choice not to do much if any restoration work here, so there are tumbled-down stones everywhere and, most stunningly, huge jungle trees and vines crawling all over everything. So beautiful.

The trip wasn’t all temple trekking though. We also spent some time in our hotel’s very nice swimming pool.

And maybe the highlight of the trip, for Nyan at least, was the tuk-tuk rides we took around town.

Finally, random shots from the trip. Including one of Nyan, before the flight, wearing a toy crown he had made at school. He slapped it on and took to calling himself the “King of Cambodia.” Alright then.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 7, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: ,

Return to Myanmar

In early March, Nyan and Mommy joined Phwa Phwa and Uncle Nyi-Nyi for a short visit to Yangon, Myanmar. It was definitely a trip they will never forget, since both Mommy and Nyan caught some sort of stomach bug and spent a fair amount of time convalescing in their hotel room!

Still, they managed to see some temples — including the famous Shwedagon Pagoda — and hang out with various aunties and cousins, including Nyan’s favorite Kiki.

Some of the temples:

Nyan was really into the bells:

 

And the incense too:

And just hanging out with his young cousin Htun Htun:

And finally some random shots from around Yangon:

So you can see, they managed to have a good time in spite of the sickness. Next time we will all stay healthy and see more of the country!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 17, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: ,

 
%d bloggers like this: