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  • Calvin Chong
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    The "Not-so" White X'mas Dreams in Balitung
    Recommended December 27, 2017 - by Calvin Chong
    Summary: Is my first-time seeing Belitung, Indonesia organised by 3Playgrounds, a new startup firm runs by 2 chins & a angmoh ladies. 1st Day: The first day ferry-flight connections from Singapore to Batam was a breeze, although there was a 1 stop flight between our destinatIon. Is a kind of small copy-designed "WWII-era" twin-propeller engine plane, which you prayed unstopperly hard when it takes off and landing cum till it touch-down and stop. Upon touching down Belitung airport, we were fetched directly to the so-called celebrating our "White X'mas" in a still operation mining field. I was so peppy to relive my childhood all over again and looking forward to recieve the first gift in my big sock from papa Santa Claus, and also never before to celebrate my first imaginary White X'mas in a warm Asian country in a cheapest way. To say the least, my cheapo-imaginary White X'mas dream in Balitung was stolen by the Grinch the moment I stepped down the coach bus. Metaphorically speaking, the whole White X'mas experience was as greyish as the mineral sands beneath our foot, and as gloomy as the sky shine upon us. My forgiveness assumption is probably the end December rainy season causes this not-so White X'mas side-effect. Warren Buffet is never wrong, money is what you pay, and value is what you get; is still at best to enjoying your White X'mas in a real snowy countries provided you willingly to pay premium. Couldn't blame the organizers though, is the mother-nature elements beyond their control. Probably they want to rename their next organised title as "Celebrating your White X'mas during Balitung's summertime" where rain is more scarce so to get the "Wow" effects. Overally, the resort accommodation room is amberly spacious and its breakfast is decently good. 2nd Day: The 2nd day trip to Leelong island trip somehow a consolation to my yester-the-crying-game of me. The all paid free watersports are a welcoming gifts, like kayaking, SUP and etc, etc (which you need to pay SG$30 an hour to try SUP in Singapore, sentosa). Surprisingly managed to balance my maneuvers without capsizing on my first try and stay dry during the whole paddling process, heehah! The water visibility is pretty bad in the beach front likely due to seasons, plenty of greyish-depressed color starfish on the seabed. But do check out the Chika beach behind the island, is an oasis from heaven. I was spending my entire second half of the day with a lady in the group, as we kayaked there after an authentic Indon resort-style lunch on the island. Upon paddled to our destinatIon spot, me took a short relaxation nap under the canopy hut rooted in the middle of the sea; while my lady paddling partner sitting on the edge of the hut steps staring aimlessly far into the ocean horizon manifesting "where am I heading next phase of my life." Thereafter, we have some small talk under the not-so-forgiven afternoon sun while dipping ourselves in the cooliness crystal clear blue water. It was like celebrating our kind of pathetic individualistic honeymoon in a fake private Maldive island experience. Anyway, It was a most enjoyable and memorable outings to sum-up this one. 3rd Day: Is another islands hopping cum snokerling day events. The day didn't start well with a pretty heavy morning rainfall. Somehow the weather is still kind enough to let us started our journey to the islands. The first island snorkelling location is totally a disaster. There are few fishing boats anchoring around the snorkeling area with their fishing nets laying beneath the ocean floor, which is strictly unsuitable for snorkelling activity. Our sampan boat managed to anchor on the next water spot not far but still a resonable safe distance away from the corals destroying fishing boats, after my raised of safety concerns snorkeling among the fishing boats (and I scared them with JAWS movie...Wahaha:P) There nothing much to view underwater as our group is snorkelling near the shoreline. So, is just pretty much splashing around in the shallow water. We have our lunch in Lebong island on the nearby shore hut, and the warm tasty food is obviously a welcoming bonus after a brief swim in the not-so-warm sea. After lunch, we carried on our snorkeling activity few meter away from the luncheon island. Finally caught a glimpse on some corals and not so my much variety coral fishes swimming among the mostly dead and bleached corals. Is a sad scenarios to speak of while the locals did try to lay some wire-mesh metal structures on the seabed to simulate corals growth. Is a fruitless result if the local fishermen still carry on their net-fishing business as usual in the corals-filled area. The lighthouse trip is skipped due to incoming storm which cut short our already not so enjoyable day. But I guessed the tasty Indon dinner and massage in the town will soothed the unsatisfactory souls of the day. 4th Day: Splashed with colorful rainbow painted windows, pillars and walls around the museum inside/outside surrounding compound where you can relive your childhoods' dreams and memories all over again. Understanding from one cutie pie in our group while on the flight home that the colorful rainbow painting symbolised some sort promoting literacy cause for the under privileged children in Balitung. Next, a political prisoner house which converts into a heroic kind of museum to support his noble cause. In a Marvel world of heroes and villians, hero always wins. Not in the case of political world scenerio, where good noble man who speaks the truth, done the right things always get thrown into dungeon and never see daylight again. You have my support (I bought one of your caricuture-designed tee) and I feel your pain, Pak Ahok. *Pondering...whether will I be thrown into the dungeon by our "White X'mas Garment" if I wear this heroic caricature figure tee out on my sleeve in the SG public...mmm....I can sense the round 'fishballs' underneath my pant start shrinking, figuratively speaking (PG-13). The children movie theme village is an emotional visit. Contemplating of shutting my heart out on this write up, but the pain in my heart lingered after witnessing 4 children singing aimlessly and repeatedly the same tune in the movie set house. I always feel unease encountering this sort of situation, especially in children exploitation although the children nor their parents ask anything in return with their angelical vocalise hard work. In the end I could not bring myself up in sharing some tokens of appreciation (included my roommate's contributions) for them, which I do not know is this a right thing to do in this case. Nevertheless, I do find a little solace of peace in the corner of my fragile heart. The last beach trip is simply a no-brainer excursion to say the least, but it do provide me an hour of lone time in front of a vast beach shoreline horizon to write this true and nothing but the truth reviews. I think I have missed out one itinerary review on the huge 'Batu' here, there and everywhere near the shoreline trip (can't remember fall on which day). Apparently it was one of a film screen shot site in one of the Indon movie from my understanding. Nothing much to scream about on the flat plateau sighting, unless you can climb to the tip of the highest batu to catch the panoramic view of the outward seascape and its surroundings, but the tide was high on that day, so no luck. Nonetheless, I did make a signature mark with my blood on the rough surface batu, when it make a cut in my middle finger as I try to jump over a gap between two rocks, ouch! Last but not least cliché, great job Geogi and Juanita for mending the group, despite the families with their pampered adorable children, and of course the tight time-perfect intineries. Although I still dislike the last day waking at 5am to catch the last round rest of the uncovered trips before flying home arrangements. I still wish that it could be more flexible and amicable in hearing us out on our opinions in certain intinery timing arrangement, and NOT to be too steadfast on the scheduled itineraries. Unless you guys want to be like the old-school by the book travel agency, then I have no say. And I wish that you guys are not. Greatly appreciated and adios; signing off for now and till we ever meet again.
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