So we’re finally on our trip to Batam to play 80 points and other board games. We reached yesterday slightly before noon and it took about half an hour to forty five minutes to clear customs cause there were all of 3 desks for a ferry full of people (>200). They had to create an extra ferry slot at 9.55am for all the people going to batam this weekend! Things got a little scary on Wednesday when I finally collated all the passport details of the members of our little party when we discovered there were no more morning slots to harbour bay on Saturday on Batamfast, what seems to be the most major ferry company taking people over. At least, they have the biggest online presence and correspondingly the most custom from my demographic. So after some frantic googling by lz and I he found another ferry company, Prima Ferries that still had spots for us just 3 days before our trip! Their website is pretty shitty though, in that you can’t confirm whether they have a space for you, you can only send in a request and cross your fingers and hope for em to process your request asap. So we called em up immediately after submitting our online form and secured 4 spots on the extra ferry!
This is not the ferry, this is just a grounded cruise ship you can see from the window in our hotel room.
Batam is a whole lot hotter than singapore, especially after we just had the coldest day in December on Friday where it hit 21.1 degC. It was probably closer to 30 degC here and I got a headache just walking out to forage for lunch (but then again I’m also a pansy who works in cubicle land). It’s just a few degrees closer to the equator (singapore is north of the equator) but that made a huge difference. The people here are pretty tiny, like how I imagine orang laut would look. They eat tiny portions, which is probably good for Singaporeans who are looking to have a seafood feast here (Batam is known for fresh and cheap seafood) because you can try more things and not get full.
The hotel we are staying in is the Swiss Belhotel Batam which is actually the poshest place we’ve been to here. Everywhere else seems pretty run down and dingy. Which is not to say this hotel is the best either, by singapore standards this would be midrange I think, because one of our lamps was not working and there are these two small brown stains on the sheet. What, they cannot afford bleach? The hotel is really inexpensive though, so they literally might not be able to afford proper bleach lol. I can’t remember how much exactly I paid but I think it was something like $100 per person for 3 nights. When we arrived at noon, which is way before the check in time, they gave us our keys anyway, which was nice. There’s also a welcome drink, which is some pineapple-y concoction like a virgin maitai.
We had that to end off our first day while playing 80 points in the restaurant at the hotel lobby. They seem to let you do anything you want here (playing any poker card games in public is an offense in singapore and any hotel concierge would get on your case if you had the audacity to set up shop there.) we managed to complete one entire round of 80 points (lz and I won!!) but didn’t get to start on charlotte’s dungeons and dragons game because hr was jet lagged and fell asleep and I had a headache and everyone was just tired from all the wandering around and getting settled. Wow we really must be getting pretty old.
More on the food, and photos later!