A rustic Batam trip

Over the weekend, a friend and I decided to sail (ferry across) to Batam. I had two reasons to go: one was to lie limply on a hard bed while the masseuse made me squirm in pain for 90 minutes. I will never understand how some can fall asleep under such conditions; I can only assume pain is pleasure for some. The only thought that was running through my mind was, “I am one with the pain” over and over again. There was no fooling my brain, and there was no drifting off into a state of bliss for this girl.

The second objective was to see if this friend and I could travel together. I decided rather quickly that I’d never be able to tolerate her for over 4 hours. I should’ve known this, since we’ve been friends for over 4 years, but she’s always going on about how I don’t travel with her, so I decided to take a chance.

  1. I love exploring. She loves taking pictures of her food.
  2. I don’t like shopping.
  3. I can walk hours under the sun, exploring the city. She can walk for hours in a shopping mall.
  4. I don’t assume every local is out there to get me. They have their lives to live.
  5. I’m independent. I don’t mind splitting up and regrouping later. She needs to do everything together.

She’s a close friend and a genuinely great person, but we also share different interests, beliefs and opinions. I also think our friendship is important, and it doesn’t make it any less amazing just because she’s not travel-friendly for me. Like-minded souls will get along with her fabulously. I’m also rather picky when it comes to traveling companions. I need someone who finds the night sky as awe-inspiring as I do.

The place we stayed at was slightly dilapidated, but if you love rustic wooden huts surrounded by trees, you’ll like it. There’s nothing much to do once you step out, because it’s in the middle of nowhere and hiking was out of the question, simply because I wasn’t with an adventurous soul and she’d get offended if I left her for a few hours. There was a Guan Yin temple right beside the resort, but we didn’t manage to go in because we had very little time. However, I did manage to murmur a small prayer of thanks as we drove past.

Something interesting happened during our stay, though.I kinda gatecrashed a Hare Krishna ceremony. I lingered outside, until a lady came out and ambushed her when she went to the loo. I just wanted to know what was happening.

She told me it was a Hare Krishna event and invited me to join; which I happily accepted and skipped merrily inside. Before going further, I must say this. I had no idea that Hare Krishna is an organisation that believes Lord Krishna is the supreme god above all other gods. As a non-practicing hindu, but very much proud of my religion and culture, I found this a little disconcerting.

I witnessed the Hare Krishnas at the peak of their mantra, the tempo was getting higher and faster. The lights were off, there was a small fire in front of a Krishna statue, and two priests singing and around 30-40 adults with cute children singing/dancing happily, chanting. They asked me to stay for a while more and I was tempted to, but I couldn’t, because my friend was outside waiting. It was all new to me. I didn’t expect to walk right into a Hare Krishna prayer in a Batam resort, so that definitely was an experience. I also didn’t know Hare Krishnas had a bad rep of sorts for proselytizing. Hinduism usually doesn’t have such demands, so I was a little surprised after reading up on their beliefs. But nonetheless, I had witnessed something beautiful and it was all in good faith.

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We stayed in one of these

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Snapped during our spa session

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Enjoying a cuppa Kopi Luwak

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My city’s skyline is distinct even from Batam.

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