First Time on the Beach

noe's picture

Last weekend, the Hamiltons and we drove up to Mersing, on the east coast of Malaysia. Natasha drove her car through Woodlands checkpoint, which was not jammed, surprisingly. Coming from Singapore, it was refreshing to see the chaos and untidiness of Johor Bahru. The only thing that we consider funny was the countdown light on every traffic light there, what is it for?

The scenery along the northward route to Mersing was not really exciting. It was either oil palm or rubber plantation all along. But we were amazed by the fact that there are not many people loitering and hanging around by the roadside. Is this because the unemployment rate in Malaysia is relatively low compared to Indonesia? In Java, Indonesia, you can see many people by the road, killing time. They are sitting, drinking, eating, smoking, playing card by the road, sometimes bare-chested or with t-shirt folded halfway up to cool down the belly.

We stopped at MG Seafood Restaurant, just at the outskirt to have lunch. We had kampung fried rice, claypot braised tofu, and stir fry kalian. Noe really loved eating tofu with rice, but as a result, we left a big mess under Noe's table.

After lunch we drove to Air Papan. Upon arrival, we briefly surveyed several hotels before deciding on Sri Mersing Resort. It was a nice clean hotel, consisting of several bungalows. It was the only hotel with swimming pool in the area. However, I was surprised to see that people there swim fully clothed. I mean, I could understand if a lady with jilbab/tudong swim in full clothes, but here I saw bearded man with moustache wearing a shirt and long trousers for swimming! Nobody wears swimsuit. I guess this means that to be prudent, I should not wear swimsuit. I guess I could live with that

After checking in, we put Noe for a nap. After that, the sun had gone down a bit and the weather became a bit cooler. We decided to go to the beach.

It was Noe's first time to the beach, and touching the sands. We had a difficult time trying to coax him to enjoy the sea. At the beginning he was really careful, cautious, and a bit scared of the new environment. The roaring sound of the sea, the strange ground (sands) that hes on, everything. Look at how puzzled Noe look!

Finally, after a few minutes, Noe decided that he's comfortable with the dry sands instead.

Meanwhile Andi was really eager to go to the sea, Mama, cmon, change my clothes!

Natasha said: do you want go to the water with Andika?
Noe said: err... I dont think so, tante

Meanwhile, Andi did not seem to have any fear at all of the seawater that came tumbling over him. He said: More! More water please! I think he would become a great surfer.

Noe then tried to put his feet into the very edge of the seawater. He really tried to make sense of it, but still, his reaction was: EWWWW!

So at the end of the day, Indi took Noe right into the sea water, and just in time when a huge wave (according to baby standard) came and hit Indi, Noe, Natasha and Andi. While Andi seemed really excited about it, Noe was not. He was really pissed off by the waves.

After that incident, Noe became really fussy and we decided to just bring him back to the hotel. We then took a shower and get back to the car to get some dinner. We went to downtown Mersing (a very small downtown indeed), where we found Chinese restaurant that openly sells beer. There we had stir fry vegetable and grilled cuttlefish. While we were having dinner, Andika stayed asleep his baby car seat in the car (we opened the car doorof course, and we sat right beside the car in the restaurant). Andika must be really tired after all the playing in the beach in the afternoon!

Back in the hotel, we all tried to sleep. I fell asleep instantaneously because I was really tired. Indi and Natasha couldnt sleep because the guests from Johor Bahru spent the rest of the evening, until midnight, singing in the karaoke. And they were not singing nicely.

The next day, we all woke up late, partly due to the lack of sleep the previous evening. Lets blame the karaoke! We missed the sunrise, but nevertheless we had breakfast in a canteen by the sea. We had black tubruk coffee and telor dadar. In this canteen, Noe tried to show off his ability to climb up and down the stairs. He did this on a small two steps staircase. But then he lost his balance and hit his forehead. He had the biggest bump on the forehead ever. Poor thing!

After breakfast we changed our clothes and went to the beach, enjoying the morning breeze. Look at Andi, he was really in love with the sea and couldnt wait to swim there again. As for Noe, we sort of had to drag him to the beach. He hadnt fell in love with the sea just yet.

BTW, on our way into the beach we found this peculiar sign hung on a coconut tree. Hmmm why does religion must be full of threats to encourage people to do the right thing? If the right thing is really right, surely people would do it naturally? Sorry I digressed.

Since we all were going to the north side of Air Papan, which is a bit of a far walk, we decided to strap the baby into the carrier (bjorn and carriboi). Baby bjorn is really a godsend, its easy to put on, and it did not cause any back pain, very ergonomic.

Andika was really thrilled being back on the seaside. See, now he's dancing!

While Noe still couldn't get on hold of the beach. Ibu, Bapak, don't leave me alone on the sea sands, carry me, carry me!

To try to calm Noe down, I showed him how to carve his name on the sand. But no, it did not really help.

Andika come over to calm Noe down too. Natasha carved Andikas name on the sand besides Noes.

I tried to bring Noe closer to the sea again, this time at the wet part of the sea sands. But still, he wont run around freely. This is unlike him, because when I took him for a walk outside he would freely roam around away from me.

While Andika, couldnt seem to go back to the sea all the time.

Since nothing seemed to be able to calm Noe down, we decided to just give him the most potent tranquilizer ever... Mommys breastmilk! How romantic, breastfeeding under the tree! I hope Im not charged for indecency...

Look at the tranquilizing effect of the breastmilk. It was instantaneous! Noe was really intoxicated, and I hope it was not because of last nights cuppa beer.

We then returned to the hotel to have our morning shower and to pack up. After checking out of the hotel, we drove back to Singapore. But this time, we took a different route: crossing from east to west through route 50 and from there we took the North South highway to exit at the second link in Tuas.

We initially expected the route to be more scenic than the previous north south route at the east coast. However, it was the same boring oil palm plantation scenery, only now the terrain is more undulating.

The drive took us slightly longer time, total was about two and a half hours. To calm Noe down during the drive, I had to breastfeed him. Now this is technically quite difficult, since Noe was sitting in a baby car seat facing the rear side of the car. Iwas sitting in the center side, between two baby car seats. So I had to lean forward, sideway, in order to bring my right breast to Noe, and lean sideways, a bit backward, to offer my left. It was really tricky and physically challenging, that ended up with carsickness because I couldnt maintain my view scope right straight.

Finally, before entering the north-south highway, we stopped to have lunch. While Natasha went to the ladies room and I went out find panadol, Indi had to take care the two babies.

The food in the rest area was quite good. We had lele goreng (fried catfish) with some vegetables, and lime juice. We also saw a family of a man two wives with two kids traveling together, which is quite a unique sight for me personally.

After lunch we continued to drive southward. Just before entering the checkpoint, we stopped at the final rest area, where they sell fresh fruits and vegetables. We bought some Jambu Air, Mangosteen, and Papaya. When we ate them at home, it was really sweet! Really the fruits was of first class quality, and it was really cheap because we bought them at the Malaysian side.

To sum it all, we really had a great experience. But for the next time, we hope Noe would be more receptive of the sea. I think I should take him more often to the local beaches in Singapore.

Lastly, here are some artsy-fartsy photos that Indi took while in Mersing.


Dear Indi and Rani, My two

Dear Indi and Rani (and Baby Noe),

My two ratus perak on the matters below:

On countdown on traffic lights: I find this useful on some busy intersections, sometimes people panic if the light suddenly turns yellow (not sure to brake or just gas the pedal). The time left shows you how much time you have left before it turns yellow.

On lack of people loitering in Msia: employment rate maybe lower than Indonesia's yes, but also consider the Malaysian population, well below Indonesia's. You gotta admit Jakarta's frustratingly crowded. Btw you were in Mersing for goodness sake hehe.

On religious threats: Biasaaaa.... (dah boring lah kalau mau ngebahas soal ini, percuma).

yo Fay!

Fay! Apa kabar bu.. kapan ke singapore lagi.. thanks for your comments.

for the countdown indicator.. it might be useful when the people follows the regulations. But i don't think it would be implementable in Indonesia, because the countdown would be more excuse for Indonesian to break the rule of the traffic light ;>

On the lack of loiters in Malaysian, this i meant is actually a good thing, and i say it's a sign of prosperity. You see, when people are more prosper or when they are employed, they likely would not be wasting their time loitering at the road side aimlessly..

On the religious thing.. well.. this is a separate long discussion... and indeed it is endless discussion..

udah ada lho..

Udah ada lho booo, countdown indicator di Jakarta. Di slipi, sama di mana gitu, Tomang kalo gak salah. Buat gue sih cukup berguna, bisa buat mutusin apakah tepat saatnya gue nyalip bis mayasari bakti yang segede gaban itu, atau mendingan gue nunggu aja, daripada dipriwitin polisi hehe.

How's the beach in Mersing?

Hi, met kenal. Really enjoyed the travelogue on your trip. Have never been to Mersing before, so would like to ask how's the beach in Mersing? Compared to Desaru or beaches in Sentosa? :) Which hotel did you stay in Mersing and whether it's good? Thanks.

thanks for coming by! blum

thanks for coming by! blum pernah ke Desaru. Sentosa is fakey fakey beach, and you see oil tanker passing by, NOT my kind of beach.

we stayed in Sri Mersing Resort. It was quite good, relatively one of the the best in the area i suppose.

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