November 20th: Picked up at 8:00am in the water taxi with all the other remaining rally participants, there is now 11 boats left out of the original 23. We were taken across to Sennggarang which is a large village of houses on stilts over the water. Some houses quite nice and others ramshackle huts. As we approached the jetty, a woman walked up and threw in 3 large plastic bags of garbage. Could not believe it, she was shamed by the groans of disgust from us all. Well I don’t know if shamed is the right word, but she knew we were not impressed. There was about 5 other bags of rubbish in the same place, just floating on the water so I guess it’s the norm. We really love Indonesia but they need a big education on the littering and throwing rubbish in the water, and in the street, they need to understand that it is not acceptable and they will not get tourists coming and or returning unless they do something about this.
We walked through the village to a Hindu temple which was built in a Banyan tree, very unique and was lovely and cool inside. We then boarded a bus which took us to a beautiful area with 3 Chinese temples, with absolutely beautiful, huge statues in the gardens. There was a dragon, and a number of different Buddha statues.
We continued on the bus through the country side, past a number of Bauxite mining sites. The guide informed us that Bauxite mining is now illegal in Tanjung Pinang, apparently there was a lot of unapproved mining going on and they have put a stop to it. Can’t really understand this as I would have thought it was a good export income for the country. Our guide showed us the newspaper which had our photo in from yesterdays visit to the Mosque, we all look a bit funny with the sarongs that we had to cover ourselves with! Thats me with the checked sarong aroundmy shoulders, on the right hand side.
We crossed the river and then proceeded to a large Buddhist Temple called Avalokitesvara monastery. Wow – very impressive, it’s renowned for its Dragon Fruit plantation surrounding the temple. It was opened in 2009, and has a huge 24 karat Gold Buddha Statue that is about 30 metres high. The building itself had magnificent stone carvings, with minute detail. A lot of money has been spent on this temple. There was a female monk in attendance lighting candles and incense.
We were then dropped at a shopping centre for lunch and a bit of shopping. Then taken to the jetty where we boarded a ferry and taken for a river cruise up the river. The guide told me there were Buaya (crocodiles) and it certainly had that appearance, with very muddy, murky water and lots of mangroves. The whole way up the river was very industrial with a lot of ships, barges, shacks on stilts and dead ships. Apparently the customs impound a lot of ships and they are just left there to sink and die. We were taken back to our boats and had a couple of hours rest before 8 of us were picked up and taken back into town for a real steak dinner! Robbie had requested if Bj the chef could organise this and he did and it was really nice. For 220,000 rupiah per head or $22 it included our transport to and from, the tenderloin steak, salad, vegetables western style ,French fries, dessert and red wine. It was a very pleasant change to Nasi Gorgeng! Raymond our Indonesian contact joined us and there were also a couple of the tourism staff that had looked after us whilst in Tanjung Pinang. I have to say, the staff have worked really hard, and really looked after us in this location. Indonesia’s beauty consists of its landscape, and the friendliness and willingness of her people! Tomorrow we leave for last anchorage in Indonesia.