The Asia Pacific | Day 2-6 | Indonesia | Telunas [part 1]


Sorry for the delay. Work exploded. Then imploded. Then mushroom-bombed all over. Then I got hit in the head by a flying drone (no joke, more on that later). So, sh*t’s been a flyin’! But, anyway, here I am, two weeks later from the start of JM3 recaps, picking up with DAY 2…

Telunas Beach Resort and Private Island, Pulau Sugi, Indonesia

PART 1: Getting there

As I mentioned in the last post, Dave, a friend from NYC, recently moved to Indonesia to do marketing for Telunas Resorts which some of his friends from college started several years ago. It primarily started out as a retreat center, then international schools started coming and doing ethno tours on the island, where the students do team exercises, like building rafts, and spend nights sleeping in hammocks in the jungle exploring the wildlife and fauna, and visit small villages with a Telunas translator. Wish I could have gone to an Indonesian island jungle when I was in high school. But we can’t all go to a wealthy international school. I mean they don’t have Texas high school football, so maybe they’re the ones who should be jealous. But anyway, Telunas… as more and more rich kids kept coming for the ethno tours, Telunas expanded, and bought a private island across from the beach retreat, and turned that island into a resort with private villas.

And new marketing man, Dave, felt Telunas needed to beef up their photo inventory, so he called me. CUT TO:

After my brief stay in Singapore, I took the ferry from posh Singapore harbor across the bay to impoverished Batam. Telunas has a private boat that runs two trips a day from the Batam ferry terminal, but Dave met me earlier than their transfer boat, so we took a local ferry, which was as much push and shove as Moroccan trains, or Manhattan subways at rush hour. Dave, being a native New Yorker, squeezed his way in to the crushing mass to try to get seats for us. But New Yorkers have nothing on Indonesians. Even the cripple in the wheel chair, who climbed out of his chair and crawled on his hands and knees, to which he had strapped cut-off rubber soles of old shoes, got through the crushing crowd and on the boat before us. I watched as his callused twisted feet covered in ripped patches of dead skin disappear in the narrow gaps of the slow moving fence of trousers and skirts.

I hope I don’t sound as callused as his feet because I really did respect him. Although, I admit, I really wish I had gotten a photo of him; I keep thinking what a great black-and-white that would have been of his tattered feet crawling through a forest of healthy legs. But, sometimes traveling is more about being in the moment of your surroundings instead of having tunnel-vision behind the lens of your camera. And about not being an @$$høle tourist.

Anyway… earlier in the ferry terminal, while we were waiting for the boat to arrive, his relative (I’m asusming) pushed his wheelchair next to us. I looked down at him and smiled, even though I’m not sure that was appropriate in a Muslim culture. But he smiled back at me with the biggest toothless grin of a genuinely happy and content person. And when the time came to board the boat, he didn’t let his disability slow him down. A lesson we all could stand to learn and practice more: be content in what you have because what others perceive as a weakness may actually be your greatest strength. Who knew the flakey-footed cripple of Third World Indonesia would have the biggest impact on me of Journeymoon #3.

Dave managed to grab me the last seat inside the boat, and he and another Telunas employee Efan had to squeeze in with the other non-seated stragglers in a bench on the back outside of the boat. After about an hour on the local ferry, we met the Telunas boat at a different port and headed to the resort.


I was waiting for the Singapore subway to go to Harbourfront and I noticed this sign... [go to next image]

Heeeeey. I have short brown hair and red glasses, and wear purple, and stand up on the subway. If I were shaped like a Tylenol PM, I'd be suspicious I have an admirer in Singapore advertising. #StandUpStacey

This is the Singapore Harbourfront Center at the ferry terminal. More specifically, this is VivoCity, which is a mall connected to the ferry port. [photo found on Yahoo]

And THIS is the Batam, Indonesia, ferry port just across the bay, complete with hand-written cardboard bathroom signs.

Batam ferry terminal

Batam ferry terminal

Waiting in the crowd to squeeze on to the local ferry. Not the big boat in the background. Those guys are standing on top of our boat loading the suitcases on to the top.

The inside of the ferry where Dave managed to grab me the last seat in the back.

The Telunas boat was waiting for us at the next stop on the local ferry.

Telunas boat

Dave and Efan (short for Stefan because don't you hate it when the "St" slows you down).

Here’s a short clip of the boat ride. I added some Indonesian music for authentic flare.

This boat trip from the Batam ferry is normally 1.5-2 hours. I took it on the way back to Batam four days later. For all you fellow sufferers of sea sickness, I have found the miracle drug! Meclizine. It’s an antihistamine but works waaaaaay better than Dramamine and doesn’t make you drowsy. I had no problem on the many boats in Indonesia, the country of 18,000 islands (literally).

We arrived at the resort where Dave gave me a quick tour of the property, we grabbed lunch, then I started shooting. Which was pretty much all I did in the four days I was there. I didn’t get to relax much, but that’s ok. I was there to work. I relaxed in Sydney afterwards.

I’m not going to show you all 200 photos I delivered to Telunas, but I’ll show you some of my favorites. Here are the property shots to introduce you to the resort. In the next post I’ll show you the rest of my favorites from the 4-day shoot.

Telunas Private Island:


Telunas Private Island

The Grand Lodge at TPI

Private villas at TPI

Private villa at TPI

Private villa at TPI

Complete with a gift bag of massage oil, after-sun lotion, and mosquito spray.

A view of Telunas Private Island from the boat on our way to Telunas Beach Resort.

Telunas Beach Resort:


Telunas Beach Resort

Telunas Beach Resort villas. Not quite as fancy or as private as TPI.

TBR walkway to the beach

The nicest chalet at TBR. Again, not as glamorous as TPI, but much more affordable.

Complete with bunk beds for the kids. (The TPI private villas also had twin beds in the loft.)

the porch of a TBR chalet

The porch of a TBR chalet. And me in a hammock. Not as relaxing as it looks. It is harder than you might think to take self-portraits in a hammock! But I was fresh out of models.

Birds at TBR. There were much more beautiful turquoise colored king fishers, but I didn't get a shot of them.

There were also monkeys. Hard to see in this photo so if you scan your eyes across the middle of the photo, you'll see two left of center and one on the right side of the photo.

They headed away from me and back to the jungle, not interested in having their photo taken.

And lastly, TBR is also developing a kiln in hopes of developing a pottery class. Paul was in the first day of tests. He built the kiln himself.

And his first day of firing the kiln took him well into the night, 1am according to his wife, and not the success he had hoped for. He said he'd have to rebuild the kiln because it wasn't heating properly.

Next post: more of my favorite photos from the shoot.

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JM3: The Asia Pacific
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