Monday, February 7, 2011

At Sibu island

I am sitting in the porch of a chalet. The chalet has two rooms- a bedroom and a living room, a small bathroom.

"Why our houshe having no kishen?", asked Sophia, on the first day that we landed here.

Apart from the fact that the houshe has no kishen, even Sophia is impressed by the place.

The kids are both sleeping. They were worn out because the whole three days has been one long picnic with mom and dad. A picnic made all the more better by the fact that mom and dad are not cooking/ looking at the computer/ there are no televisions/ and there is unlimited amount of sand and water.

Given that the children are sleeping, husband took the time off to chase after some shells that have long caught his eyes.

There is a small palm tree right in front of where I am sitting that is swarming with humming birds (does the word swarm apply to humming birds?)

Sometimes, a peacock, or two struts by where we are lounging. The girls got pretty excited the first time they saw the peacock and began to run after it. Fortunately the peacock was running in the direction that we wanted to go. Now they are used to the peacocks, and dont give them more than a passing glance

So far, I have seen three peacocks and one peahen at the same time. There may be more.

Of course, less easy to habituate to are the deer. About 20 of them live on the island, And they all flock out at around 5pm to be fed. They eat right off the girls' hand, and they like being touched when they eat off your hand. I have made about 20 photos with the girls and the deer in various clothes and angles.

And when you get past the peacocks and the deer, there is the beach itself. Beach 1 and beach 2 are sort of the same distance from our chalet. Beach 1 is littered with seashells. It is by far the girls' favorite beach. Husband and I found seashells on the beach. Such sea shells that I have seldom seen outside a shop. Clam shells thrice as big as my palm. The one husband has ran off to get is about five times as big as my palm. Conches just as big, and there are ever so many of them. Of course, we dived and took as many as we think we can carry. Husband has gotten this huge conch which he claims is going to replace all the rubbish that he puts on top of his computer table. I think it will make a very unique flower vase. The first evening that we were here, we collected ever so many seashells and put them all in a big plastic bag.

The next morning, we sorted them out in the porch according to size and color to decide which ones to take with us home and which ones to leave behind.

"Take them all", I said to him. I had never seen shells this unique and perfect elsewhere, even in Tioman, where I had collected a whole bagful of corals and had to bleach them in boiling water several times to get rid of the fishy smell that they gave off.

Maybe we could take some of the more uniform shells and use them to make a photo frame. Anjali and Sophia against the backdrop of the ocean, in a photo mounted on a seashell frame. Mmmm... its a nice idea.

In the dining hall, they have little bowls with seashells in them for decoration. Its a cool idea, but I am thinking woven baskets. Palm baskets will be the best, but newspaper weaving wont be amiss either

Yesterday morning, we went hiking in the jungle. The guide took us to the top of a little hill which overlooked beach 3 and a viewpoint. Then we walked down to beach 4, which required us to come down some rather steep slopes and climb them using ropes.

One thing that I found interesting was how Anjali often asks us to carry her in the road but never when we are climbing the rocks or the forests – something that even thattha noticed in Yercaud. Nevertheless, anjali's climbing skills were a bit rusty – if I am not wrong, her last rock climbing was in Taman Negara and that was nearly eight months ago. I dont know how much of Taman Negara Anjali actually remembers, but she was very surprised with her forest and root climbing agility.

"Anjali, you have been climbing rocks every since you were as small as Sophia", we told her.

"Huh?" she asked. Quite surprised.

Sibu island resort seems to be one of those places where the children can roam around as and how they like. There are no cars – the whole island is so small. The guide said 65 acres, with most of it left as jungle and hill and probably a third of it developed into the resort.

Husband is back, not with one, but five huge seashells. I wonder how we are going to get them out of the border.

Anjali tried the flying fox. I will be putting a video of that in the archives. She was quite brave about the whole thing, and w encouraged her very much. Sophia stood at the base of the flying fox contraption and threw a good little tantrum when she discovered that no one was serious about making her go on it. We couldnt. The thing was three storeys high and I am sure they didnt have a harness small enough for her

This morning we tried a bit of snorkelling. It was more of an experiment, but didnt turn out as well as we had hoped. The children were too young, the waves too violent, and the water not clear enough for a good visibility – at least not near the shore. I guess snorkelling is an experiment that we will leave for a couple of years down the road.

The island of snorkelling though was beautiful. I do have some pictures.

Anjali's sum up: Anjali, mummy, Sophia and daddy went to the rainbow trail. When we went to the rainbow trail, we saw a beach. We built some sandcastles, holes, and filled them up with water.

I miss the deer and the swimming pool with the blue slide and the peacocks and the flying fox.

The funniest part was having Anjali explain to thattha in Tamil about her experiences in Sibu while we were showing him the photos and videos on the computer. It went something like

nama botala ponom, boat turn over pannithu, nama waterla fell panninom, yenna appo shark varum.

"What is this", asks patti, in Tamil, pointing to a photo of a peacock

"idhu mayil", says Anjali

"No. Peacock!" says Sophia

"Mayil in tamil", says Anjali

"No peacock!", insists the contrary one very stubbornly

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