Saturday, September 08, 2007

Casting off and casting care and concern aside, D. NY EL went on retreat to the Pulai Resort, Desaru. Josh, Baggy and I brought accompanying spouses, Boss Lady brought her 2 not-so-little gremlins.

Welcome to Desaru! This is about as exciting as it gets here. No modern conveniences of a shopping mall anywhere, but enough beach, swimming pool, and plenty of food for a relaxing get-away-from-it-all. It's a place to come to when looking for a slower pace of life, and to luxuriate in the otherwise guilty pleasures of torpor and indolence. The food quality isn't great, in fact it seemed to deteriorate gradually while we were there, but there's enough palatable selections on the buffet table at every meal to keep us going.

This here's the beach. We had dry, sunny weather throughout our stay. The beach is white and sandy, with lots of washed up seashells and shell fragments. June gathered a small collection of the best looking ones. The beach is mostly free of human debris, and while we were there, quite free of human beings as well. Nice.

This is a local individual who is suffering from a severe identity crisis. It and its friends were responsible for what I initially took to be bicycle tyre tracks all over the beach. We only saw this one though. How it got hold of a land snail shell to inhabit is probably an epic story worthy of a Peter Jackson retelling. I simply don't have that kind of imagination.

It wasn't all play and no work, though. Here we take a little break from our daily inactivity to get something useful done. Yes, the never-ending marking of the academic profession goes on vacation with us.

Probably the highlight of our retreat was our night cruise down the river on a vessel that reminded me somewhat of the African Queen in search of the Heart of Darkness fireflies. To reach the jetty, our 2 mini-buses bumped their way through a near pitch-dark off-road track through a plantation of oil-palms. Amazingly, there were a few people walking the same path that we drove through. Without their own illumination, their night vision must have been incredible.

Fireflies we found, but, as Mel said, what was even more fascinating were the stars overhead. They stood out for us city folk like never before, here so far from the glare of urban civilization. The stars have never been so bright, nor as numerous, and I saw a couple of constellations I roughly know the shape of, but could never before see in our own night sky.

1 weekend left to chill, then it's back to reality again...

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