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The year of horse is here again. Another Lunar New Year to celebrate. Another two public holidays. Taking this opportunity, like we did last 3 years, we booked a short trip to Desaru. We had stayed in Desaru Impian before. This trip, we booked La Cemara Resort. I had decided to book the whole package that included ferry and land transfer and room with breakfast for two. Needless to say, I had to pay extra for my daughter, Jia Hwei. Fortunately, I had booked in advance through E-hotel booking. It was packed with holiday-makers.
From my home in the west to Changi Ferry Terminal was very far at the remote corner near Changi Airport. We took LRT and MRT trains to Bedok station. Then the only public transport to reach there was taxi. In retospect, I think it was more worth it to take a cab all the way from my home. Well, you learn from experience.
Our ferry departure time was 11.00am. One thing that I am glad to leave by ferry is no human traffic jam as you can find on the causeway, especially during holidays. I did not notice much change on the Ferry Fantasy now and two years ago. They even showed the same Mr Bean !! What’s more, the sound system was cracking this time. Can you imagine how painful to watch !!! If you miss your breakfast, you can buy it in the ferry but at exorbitant price ! One chicken wing=S$2.00. A plate of nasi lemak was S$4.50.
After about 45 minutes comfortable ride, we reached Tanjong Belungkor jetty. We were met by a representative of the resort who was also the driver of the van.
Another 45 minutes of passing through lush vegetations (things seem to be same since last 2 years), we finally arrived at La Cemara Resort. It was beautifully decorated in red, auspicious colour during the Lunar New Year. I told my wife the owner must be a Chinese. We never did find the answer. The resort must be doing well because there was construction in progress for new additions of rooms.
One distinctive difference I noticed was we were the only Chinese family among the holiday makers. Later during dinner, I saw three other Chinese families. I reckon most of the Chinese were spending time having re-union dinners at their own homes on the eve of Lunar New Year. However, event took a change on the first day of Lunar New Year. Multi curtural. Multi holiday-makers.
Generally speaking, a seaside resort needs to have a must thing – a pool big enough for her guests. When I mention ‘big enough’, I really mean ‘big’ . Legend Resort at Cherating has two big nice pools. At La Cemara, the pool is big. However, I noticed the pool kind of got over crowded during peak times especially with children.
One consolation was the beach. Long stretch of black sandy beach, most of the times deserted. I could sit at the beach for hours because it was so windy and pleasant. My mind was clear. My mood was jovial. My temperament was sane. It was such a nice feeling. Perpetual wind. Good.
If there was one thing I would like to mention about the beach, it had to do with maintenance. Dead leaves were not cleared. Inadequate shade. No pool chair was provided. I wish something could be done to improve the condition of the beach. The sea was also very wavy.
Accommodation was simple. Apartment style with a ceiling fan at the hall. Air-con at the bedroom. The undecorated bedroom smelled musty.
This kind of room is suitable for a large group. Yes, bring lot of snacks and food. The only place to eat was at the resort. Food there was nothing much to talk about. I was not impressed by the buffet and steamboat dinners.
Lady Luck was not with me for this trip. Before my depature on 11/2/02, I developed a sty at my right eye. After a swim in the pool, my swelling got worse. Probably it was due to the contaminated water. What to do in a resort if you do not swim ! To protect myself, I did not remove my goggle once I was in the pool the next time. It did help. Poor me, what a sight to behold – one eye bigger than the other ! Imagine size of Eddie Murphy’s right eye and Steven Segal’s left eye placed together side by side. Gorgeous !!!
However, Lady Luck was with us when we were leaving. We were there three days. The first two days were so sunny that it burnt. Jia Hwei who refused to listen to her parents was badly burnt, so to speak. She did not protect herself from the scorching sun despite I repeatedly told her. As a result, it was pain and burn. Parents are not always right, I admit. However, sometimes it is better and wiser to listen to your elders.
On the departure day, it started to rain like dogs and cats. What a weather ! However, with the rains, it was a little inconvenient to move around. We were all drenched when we reached the ferry. No cover linkway from ferry to the jetty. However, umbrellas were provided but inadequate. Too late. Too little.
Another hassle was getting a cab from Changi Ferry Terminal. Yes no causeway jam but public transport is lacking. The only way to get one was to call. So many people were calling at the same time. In addition to that, it was raining. Somehow, I find, cab is always difficult to hail during raining time. After about 30 minutes of incessant calling, we managed to make our way home…..