Part 6 of our series of ten posts on our stay at Telunas Beach Resort. For the other posts, do check this link.
Another activity that was mentioned on the Telunas Beach Resort was a visit to a nearby Malay fishing village for lunch. Basically, guests will be hosted by a Malay family for a home-cooked meal, with the family possibly one of the Telunas local workers’ who might be able to receive guests on their off-day, or a family that is known to the Resort through its numerous local contacts. There weren’t many traveler reviews mentioning this activity on Tripadvisor, though one noted that it was a humbling experience to visit a local family and seeing the vast difference in living conditions against what they enjoyed back at home or even at the Resort (i.e. running and clean water, heater, fans, electricity).
The both of us have seen and experienced rural living before. Some of Ling’s relatives are in fact also Indonesian fishermen and we visited and stayed with them at Medang in 2007. But since the activity was yet another thing to do and we thought Matt would be interested in the experience too, we went for it.
Just prior to the visit, we were asked if we had aversions to spicy food. That, as always, elicited the usual nudge and winks from us since Matt was with us. We chuckled and told Elsa (one of our two Telunas hosts) that Hannah eats everything, and for Matt, the hotter the better!
The home that was hosting us was situated on Jang island, which was south-west of Sugi island. Ian, a petite staff, was our guide and we took off on Day 4 late morning for a 15 minute boat ride to the island. Like the other islands we’ve seen, getting up and down the jetty involved climbing a steep wooden ladder, and Hannah required the help of locals to hoist her up and down the boat and jetty!
The village was relatively more developed and ‘advanced’ than where we stayed at Medang. Most houses were brick, mortar and glass window constructions. There was also a relatively modern-looking school and mosque too.
The Indonesian gentleman who hosted us was a fisherman by trade, and had three children of about high-school age. He didn’t speak English, so we conversed through Ian. He seemed pretty experienced in entertaining guests to his home, showing us pictures of visitors from Singapore (including a group from what we were told to be Nanyang Girls’ School) who stayed overnight in his place to experienced living in the village. Perhaps because of the absence of fans in the house and also that there was a stillness in the air right in noon-time heat, Matt and I were perspiring profusely throughout lunch!
Our lunch comprised three dishes; a vegetable dish (bean sprouts and xiao bai cai), tomato prawns, and fishball soup. This might seem simple fare for Singaporeans, but they were marvelously done and delicious. In fact, Hannah loved the hand-made fishballs so much that she kept going for it and we had to nearly use force for her to stop.=)
Lunch done, we learned that our boat was coming a little later as it’d gone to pick up an arriving group of Caucasians to the Resort. That gave us about half an hour to explore the area. It would had been a real photographic treat for me were it not for the scorching heat though, and I made a beelilne for whichever shade I could find whenever I could. Hannah fared quite well the earlier day at our Jungle Waterfall hike, but in the about 15 minutes we were out in the relative open, she got a visible tan!
In all, I think the Malay Village Lunch will be an eye-opener for visitors who’d like to see the real living conditions of the locals. It wasn’t quite the same illuminating experience for Ling or myself, and I felt that the event was rather pricey at SGD100 though Ling suspects it’s largely because of the boat ride itself. Oh well. At least Hannah thoroughly enjoyed the food. She licked her plate clean (with some assistance from Mommy), had at least a dozen fishballs and four bananas.=)
Next post – Part 7 – on the food at the Resort.=)