Tanjung Pinang on the island of Bintan

November 19th: We were picked up at 8:30am in the water taxi for an excursion. No one really knew what we were doing, we had been told 3 different things, a city tour, a visit to the island of Penyengat and a welcome ceremony. Turns out it was a welcome ceremony on the island of Penyengat. They picked up all the rally participants off all 11 boats. We were all squashed into the narrow timber water taxi, it was a bit overloaded but the island is only about a mile from our anchorage so not so bad. Thank goodness we never copped a big ferry wash, I think it would have tipped us all out. We were greeted on the wharf on Penyengat with a welcome band, a welcome dance and all the local dignitaries.

 

We were escorted into a large hall with very elaborate Malaysian structures and mats on the floor for us all to sit on. We had welcome speeches, a beautiful welcome dance by 5 young girls in traditional costume and then were given some lovely food which was like a samosa, an apple cake and the normal green cakes that they love. The samosas were lovely. The captain of each boat was then presented with a lovely gift, a golden desk ornament. 

We were then invited outside to plant a tree in the grounds which was really nice. Then we were taken on a short walk to the Palace of the Sultan from years ago.

We were then picked up and each couple rode in one of the motorcycles with a covered seat attached, very cute! We had a tour around the island which included: a visit to the mosque, here we had to put sarongs over our shoulders and legs, and even the men had to put them around their waist. A visit to a burial temple, the burial stones are covered in gold cloth if they are religious, which most of them were. Back to the hall for lunch, they had a beef dish, a fish dish, rice and some of the lovely finger bananas for dessert. I couldn’t eat much I was too full from the food earlier.

They had a band playing and were very insistent that we all got up and danced, which of course we did. They then wanted us to sing, luckily Chris from Yindee Plus is an awesome guitar player and singer, and he played and sang beautifully, including Mustang Sally and other such golden oldies, and we all danced. It was about 40 degrees!

 

Time to go back to the boats, and thank goodness this time they provided 2 water taxis, so it was a much safer ride back. Time to relax (or catch up on blogs) on our boats for a few hours, before we are picked up at 7:00pm again for dinner and Karaoke!

 

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