because we had such an awesome time at club med @ bintan last june (and i needed another tan), we decided to try out club med @ cherating which my brother suggested, and as a surprise for mum, we brought her along.
the kids were very happy just to be together. never mind that they had to wake up at 4.30am to get ready and be at the meeting point by 6am. never mind that they had to sit their wriggly butts on the coach bus for 8 hours to reach the destination. never mind that they were frozen half to death from the blasting air-con by the end of the journey. :D
thankfully, we were greeted warmly by the international cast of friendly and energetic GOs, who had us swiftly settled in our rooms and served a late lunch.
of course, the first thing the kids wanted to do was to jump into the pool. and because holidays are all about the kids, into the pool we went…
other than the pool, the kids also spent a lot of time hanging around the bar getting drunk… on mocktails. :p
they guzzled down syrupy concoctions by the dozens, like they were in a desert and just discovered an oasis. my brother joked that even mum was at risk of turning into a barfly by the end of 4 days. well, “free flow” is something us singaporeans like to take full advantage of after all, yes?
another thing we spent a lot of time on was, you guessed it – eating. a dizzying array of food for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. AND hot snacks in between at the lobby, which is especially good for kids who prefer to nibble throughout the day rather than have big proper meals like us adults. and again, “free flow” being the operative word, we pigged out. majorly.
(this morning when i stepped into a work dress and tried to zip it up, i actually had to suck in my breath. which is BAD. and the first thing a colleague did when she set eyes on me was puff up her cheeks, either indicating that i had visibly ballooned in a few short days, or she had turned into a squirrel storing nuts in her mouth while i was away. i believe she meant the former. bad, BAD, club med.) (ouh, speaking of squirrels..)
there’s a different theme every evening, which extends to the decor, the dress code, and even the stage shows at night.
it still amazes me how much effort their teams put in to transform the place, and the abundance of talent they have double-hatting day-time duties and preparing for performances at night. the GOs are so seemingly tireless and full of energy, it’s like they’re each on their tenth can of red bull every time. i don’t know how they do it, a few hours sitting at my desk in the office and already i’m pooped.
they simply CANNOT get bored! just as well, since my sis-in-law and i had laid down one rule for them from the beginning: no asking for iphone or ipad or iwhatever games. the same went with the adults. (well, easy for me anyway seeing as i do not own an iphone or ipad or iwhatever.)
i even managed to get 3 family members to try the beginners yoga. :p
i was especially pleased at my first attempt at archery. gave it a go partly thanks to my recent Hunger Games obsession ha ha. ok no, seriously, it was thrilling! to get your arrow hit *some* surface area of the target. sure, i suffered a MAJOR bruise on my left inner elbow as a result of pulling the string of the bow wrongly, but my mantra is always – come, say it with me – “pain is gain”. *inner masochist talking*
and little did we know, there was a sports tournament that afternoon, which we’d unwittingly entered, with scores and medals given out to winners for all events in the evening. izad and my brother got 2nd for the men’s archery competition, and i, err, got 3rd for the women’s. which was really a fluke because there were only 5 girls, and izad will tell you it’s “beginner’s luck”. ok whatever, i won! me, hana! for a sports event! miracles! call me katniss! now! :p
the one thing about club med cherating we were a little disappointed with was that the beach is not as accessible as it is in bintan. you have to wait for a shuttle every half hour to get to the beach, which takes about a slow and rumbling 5-7 minutes to reach, via a narrow road through the forest. you can choose to walk, but we didn’t try, because we’d probably take half an hour finding our way and fighting the muggy rainforest heat. on one of the days, the shuttle didn’t show up even though we waited quite a bit, so we gave up. we managed to get one afternoon of kayaking, although i wish i’d had more time at it.
the beach itself, well, it wasn’t as clear as bintan’s waters, which had fishes swimming in some rocky areas. otherwise, it’s quite a nice secluded cove, hidden from view from the shuttle drop-off point, so you have to walk a bit more to get there.
mum had a few firsts here – before this, she said she’d never been in the pool! because she’s scared of the water. she’s scared of a lot of things, actually. like snakes, driving, taking taxis alone, etc. but oh, while we were there, we’d met aniq’s soccer coach who’s also a teacher at his school, and he remembered mum as his teaching mentor. “you have such a wonderful mother,” he told me while chatting with mum, “she is such an inspiring mentor.” wow. that definitely trumps everything else she can’t do.
anyway, think we’ve had enough of club med? well, i doubt i’d venture another 8-hour drive up malaysia, like, ever again. (i hate malaysian toilets! and traffic!) but yeah, we’ll always have fond memories of club med and if there’s a good deal elsewhere (bali? maldives? mmm), we’ll definitely consider it. for one thing, we can be assured of excellent service, good food, and great activities for the whole family.
meanwhile, let’s dream a little more about our december holiday adventure next…