Mar 24, 2013

Batam, Indonesia

23 (Sat) - 24 (Sun) Mar 2013

Lodging: Mercure Batam

Day 1

It all started from the purchase of travelling vouchers from All Deals Asia (SGD43 per pax), for this 2 days 1 night getaway to Batam, Indonesia.

We departed 6am in the morning from NUS to Singapore Cruise Centre for the half hour cruise from Singapore to the island of Batam. Apart from the voucher purchase of SGD43, we still had to pay SGD20 for fuel surcharge, SGD7 for Batam Terminal fee and SGD2 for local guide and driver tipping.

Our tour guide is a female Indonesian Chinese. Surprisingly she speaks Mandarin better than English. Even more surprisingly she speaks a couple of Chinese dialects.

As we're following the tour, we had to stick to their schedule before our free and easy session. Our first stop was Polo Ralph Lauren boutique shop. Well, apparently I ain't gonna spend any cents on those overpriced T-shirts which are not even fashionable.

Second stop - Maha Vihara Duta Maitreya Buddhist Temple. Only Susan and Chern Yik entered the temple, and there's entrance fee.

Next stop was Batam Layer Cakes (Jalan Sumatera Blok A No. 1 Bengkong Laut). We tasted their layer cakes and thought they're delicious. Chern Yik and I shared an order of a box of Mocha flavored layer cakes (placed into two separated smaller boxes).

It's lunch time and the restaurant where we had the 8 course seafood lunch is just within the vicinity of where the layer cake shop is located.

Golden Prawn 933 Restaurant

Batam Miniature House
The next attraction was an interesting spot - a park with miniature houses.

I guess initially Wilsen was asking the tour guide whether we can sit on the houses, in a joking way. The answer turned out to be an astonishing 'yes'. LOL~~ And some of us just turned into savages by putting weight onto the houses.


The next attraction was the Pondok Wisata Cultural Show which made us bite fingers - coconut peeling with teeth, fire eating, glass eating and fire hoop jumping which kids shouldn't imitate at home.

Chocolate House
Chocolate House was where we the cheapos spammed all the sample chocolates. Haha...

Only Susan made her purchase there, for a chocolate bar.

The shop has this interesting looking chocolate container made of aluminum in the shape of a book.

We're brought to Batik & Factory Outlet and Batam City Square after that, which we spent time there stoning and waiting for time to pass. Can't help with that as we're following the tour before being free and easy.

And finally, the last stop before free and easy - 1 hour traditional body massage, and it's included in the package. We all had to strip to our underwear and put on their pants before the massage. I was one cubicle next to Wilsen's, so we just opened the curtain partitioning our cubicles so that we could talk and see each other. We had a good massage service from our respective masseuses, but I couldn't stand when Wilsen kept flattering his masseuse.

It's a practice to tip the masseuse or masseur in Indonesia after the service. I initially tipped IDR5,000, but I got this 'HUH' look from my masseuse and was told 'this is not even SGD1', besides feeling embarrassed, I was really stunned by her explicit way of demanding more. So I gave her another IDR5,000.

We went downstairs and were served ginger tea. It smells nice but well to me, taking a few more sips is really like wanting my life.

And finally we've reached the hotel (Mercure Batam). We went swimming after depositing our bags. At the swimming pool, somehow 3 of us the guys turned into monkeys by performing cheerleading stunts.

Javin Tham A master's degree graduate in engineering, a musician at heart, loves playing with soft toys.

Mar 8, 2013

24th Birthday

3 years ago, there's dance vetting on 7th March night, the night before my birthday. Same thing happened this year. Not only that, after leaving from dance vetting, there's band practice, and I told my band members that I need to go at 11:30pm.

One reason: Wilsen was already inside my room for my birthday and I had to go back and entertain him. Another reason is to standby, LOL~~ so narcissistic omg. My band members kept asking why, I just told them you'll know later.

Wilsen bought me a cake and a necktie. FYI, Wilsen's birthday is a day after mine. Two years ago he bought me cake as well, and that really makes me feel so bad to him that I didn't prepare anything for him.

D4, Temasek Hall
As soon as Wilsen left, I saw my band members walking towards my room, and at that point of time I realized I was tricked!! Haha. They knew it's my birthday. And what Justin got in his hand was Sheares chicken!! And I was like, ya hor, it's Thursday. My band members are fantastic, I swear I was really touched.

And the band practice was actually an excuse for them to celebrate for me in the band room. The plan was destroyed once I left the band room. That made them complain that they had to walk all the way to my block.

Besides, Justin even informed my Malaysian hall friends to refrain from celebrating for me that night to accommodate the celebration with THreshold. So nice of you all ♥♥

They bought me a Tiramisu cake

Terie was late so too bad no chicken left for her...

The next day (08 Mar 2013), which was my 24th birthday, Wilsen (09 Mar), Li Ming (08 Mar), Cyrus (25 Feb) and I (08 Mar) shared a birthday celebration with current and ex-Temasekians at Ichiban Sushi, Clementi Mall.

They are Chu Luei, Wei Zheng, May, Eric, Eddie, Lik Ling, Kar Kay and Kei.

That dinner was their treat, which made me feel so paiseh again.

2D1N Soju Bang Korean Restaurant
The next day (09 Mar 2013) was Wilsen's 24th birthday and Wilsen, Emilia, Susan, Chern Yik, Calvin and I went 2D1N Soju Bang Korean Restaurant for buffet dinner ($20++).

Well, Chern Yik was acquainted with Calvin on that day. Calvin, Wilsen and I were in the same project group for ME3101. Emilia and Susan know Calvin during our trip to Jakarta and Bandung in Indonesia last December.

The buffet was sumptuous, but they only have refillable plain water and lime juice, and because I don't drink lime juice, I drank only water that night. Oh, the beef was juicy, tantalizing and really delicious.

The girls bought us cakes, and it's already my 4th cake. :)

We wanted to chill somewhere for a drink and chat after the buffet dinner. We ended up drinking tea, beer and playing card games at Calvin's house. Pretty random.

It's been two cycles of the Chinese zodiac since I was born. Old enough, I am. I'm graduating in a few months, stepping into another dimension of the society. There're too many things to miss after this.

Thank God for protecting me all the way till today. In the past I had 'near-death experiences' before but I survived.

To those who spent time celebrating my birthday, a 90º bow for you. I feel fortunate having you all accompanying me on my big day, as well as everyday.

Last but not least, I really really do look forward to my birthday wishes to come true! ^^

For more photos, please check out my photo album 24th Birthday on Facebook.

Javin Tham A master's degree graduate in engineering, a musician at heart, loves playing with soft toys.