Monday, October 24, 2005

My Weekend Retreat.

What a weekend I had. And for the first time in a long time, I mean that in a good way! I had to do a feature on a newly opened beach resort in Kuala Penyu, namely the Bukit Naga Amanpuri Beach Retreat. It’s located some 2 and a half hours from KK by road and trust me, it’s worth every second of the journey. I wasn’t sure what to expect except that there would be a beach (BEACH retreat. Wow, I’m a genius). Sometimes having no expectations is the way to go, that way you can’t get too disappointed.

Anyway, we arrived there at around 3pm and were greeted by Max and Robert, friends and co-owners of the lodge. Max is a lanky Chinese dude with messy hair and one of the most hospitable people I know, without being overbearing. Robert is an interesting character, complete with tattoos, a perpetual tan and a devil-may-care air surrounding him. Together, they made quite an impression and reminded me of retired surfer dudes. Surprisingly, the duo are the only people running the show: they cook, clean and keep unwanted trespassers at bay (Robert: Some guy simply drove into our place and I threw stones at his car. What the hell man…You think I simply build a gate in front of my house issit?) Anyway, back to the retreat. The view is amazing. Just sand and sea as far as the eye can sea! And there’s a constant breeze and at night, the air is cooler. Robert actually lives here (it was his home and he converted it into a retreat for guests) so the whole place has a very homey feel. He’s got quite a selection of books but don’t look for a TV. This isn’t the place for you to veg out and channel surf, my friend. Rather, I’d recommend sitting in the hammock and staring at the sea. That’s what I call quality spacing out.

The rooms are built away from the main house, longhouse style. And right outside your front door is, yes ladies and gentlemen, the beach. The white, sandy, clean beach. And the water is purrrrr-fect. We took some makeshift surfboards and had fun with the waves. I’ve got a few bruises here and there but it was worth the ridiculous fun I had. The final wave I rode (I’m literally straddling the pseudo-surfboard) was a HUGE one and I slammed my butt so bad that I took it as a sign to call it day. I’m grateful I had no ‘family jewels’ to worry about, if you know what I’m saying…

Dinner- home-cooked by the semi-menacing Robert no less- was followed by more stories of how stupid people do stupid things, the state of the nation’s airline industry, politics, politicians and then some. Robert and Max then woke the boys up when they whipped out their boys toys. Playstation? Xbox? Please. I’m talking about toys for BIG boys. Believe it or not, they had quite a collection of crossbows and other archery equipment. CROSSBOWS. Not those tin, wimpy Robin Hood ones. They had these huge, camouflage-coloured, hi-tech, don’t-mess-with-me crossbows. Oh and did I mention that they used to rear pythons around the house for protection against trespassers? Three pythons. But they disappeared. Gulp.

Several beers later, we headed to our cabin but I was still up for some roaming. So a colleague and I took a midnight stroll along the beach. The full moon was out and it lit up the whole place. Nice. Next morning, we couldn’t resist charging into the sea again, followed by a simple breakfast, more lounging around and lunch. We left after noon and I took one last swing in the hammock, wishing the weekend wasn’t over yet. Oh, and I saved the best piece of info for last:

Free flow of beer throughout your stay.

How about THAT?
Photos below. Enjoy! I know I did, heh.

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