Rise and shine! 17th June 2009. Ah, the big day! Whoa, our cameras had this layer of condensation on them. Guess it comes with the location and the humidity?
Woke up at around 8am and we were at the Tamarind Terrance by 9am. As we had a boat trip at 10am, we figured 1 hour should be more than sufficient for us to have our breakfast. As usual, service was great. Mike, the resident waiter of Tamarind Terrace (I see him here most of the time) attended to us and always took the effort to ask how was the food and everything.
Breakfast was ala carte style, and we could order anything from the menu. Bacon & eggs, and french toast for us with 2 cappuccinos. Breakfast is free by the way, and you could order as much as you want. They have a nice list of fruit juices and blends, but we didn’t have it. Not used to having coffee with fruit juice in the morning, and taking into consideration we’re going on the boat in less than an hour, better not risk it! Other items like bread, pastry, pies, cereal, milk and fruits are provided buffet style so you could have whatever you want.
The cappuccinos came with whole cinnamon sticks, and not cinnamon powder. You can use them as stirrers too!
We looked around and spotted other couples who looked like they are going on the boat trip with us. Turned out we’re right! Jay, the F&B manager as well as our guide for the day, came over and asked if we’d want to get a bottle of water for our boat trip & trekking later. Considerate, eh? (I mentioned about the dual roles in my previous post) Gathered at the jetty i.e. Mandi Mandi with 2 other couples and we’re ready to go! We later found out they are from England and Holland respectively. Got into another speedboat, a cabin-less one this time.
So, there we are, coasting along the shore, overtaking a couple of other smaller speedboats =p I love Japamala’s boats! They’re fun, eh? Got off at a jetty and the 7 of us – 3 couples & Jay, our guide – began our ‘trek’ and walked along the concrete pavement in the village, and then into the jungle. After countless slopes – up and down – and about 45 minutes later, we arrived at our destination!
And .. the place was crowded. I guessed the 3 boats we passed by earlier stopped at the jetty that was much nearer to the waterfall. It was more like rapids, or a tiny waterfall? We were knee deep in the water but not swimming in it, and the water was really cooling to the touch.
The UK couple had fun in the water! Had the chance to chat with Jay and the couples. Shan and I had a nice chat with the guy from UK by the water, who commented Singapore was a strange place with English signs everywhere. Haha! And they did the tourist thing – Singapore Sling @ Raffles Hotel! Rested a little, and off we go back to Japamala. This time, we got on to the boat at another jetty that’s nearer to the waterfall. Another glass of lemongrass drink awaits to soothe our thirst. Can’t help but think Japamala always cover all aspects to make your vacation as enjoyable as possible.
It was already lunch time when we got back to Japamala. Went for a quick bath, and we’re back at the Tamarind! We’re Asian so we’re not that into Asian food that Tamarind serves. (I realize the caucasians mostly eat here) Didn’t take long for us to decide what to eat – Vietnamese crystal rolls for starters, Thai green curry for Shan and pineapple fried rice for myself. Topped it off with 2 delightful drinks to quench our thirst in the afternoon heat.
Time is a luxury at Japamala! You feel like you have all the time in the world to do anything you want. Changed after lunch and we headed to the beach. Ah, the luxury of having our Japamala’s own private beach – peaceful and quiet with the entire place to ourselves. The sun, the sand and the sea. Picked a few washed up corals, oops =x
Took a shower. Again. Think we lost count how many times we actually bathed there because the rain shower is simply heavenly! And the spa’s complimentary body soap/scrub.. Oh my gawd. Guess what we found outside our room? Food!
And that was followed by probably the most beautiful sunset I’ve ever seen in my life. The day just keeps getting better and better. Clear skies and little clouds, quite unlike yesterday. Shan and I were happily taking photos and taking in the magnificent view as the sun set over the Mandi Mandi.
Got dressed, and we’re heading to Mandi Mandi again! Carefully hid the surprises I’ve prepared in my pockets, and Shan didn’t suspect a thing at all. After all, I’ve given her 2 surprises already, and I was hoping she would let her guard down and not realize I have something else up my sleeve (or rather, down my pocket)!
Phew. She didn’t suspect my bulging pockets (I hope!), must have thought it’s my Canon G10. Made our way to Mandi Mandi, passing by the Tamarind in the process. As usual, almost everyone else is eating there. Greeted with smiles, and Michael commented that “we like Italian food?”. To which I replied, “we like to dine under the sky”.
Considering it’s the 17th of the month, we decided to have something better to celebrate our 66th month together. We were officially together since the 17th December 2003! Milanese baked chicken breast for me, and mixed seafood grill for Shan. Chatted and enjoyed our drinks as we waited for our food, during which our day 2 surprise appetizers appeared in front of us. Michael came over to surprise us with this – toasted bread with olive oil dipping.
Because the seats at the Mandi Mandi isn’t exactly like regular tables and chairs – they are more like Japanese style where our seats is actually a raised wooden platform on which we could sit cross-legged or simply semi-lie on the cushion as we enjoy our food. The flat cushion was perfect and I had discreetly placed 5 envelopes under my cushion, waiting for the right time to give to Shan.
And so, during our dinner, it was surprise #3! Whipped out my 5 envelopes, on which I labeled I, II, III, IIII and IIIII. The order is very, very important, though not at this point in time. Told her to simply open them in sequence while I took in her surprised reactions as she looked at the photos I’ve prepared. A round of applause for our mascots!
If you had read the previous post, you would have noticed that I had already given her the prelude to this last night! And it was funny enough that she asked, why was only GG (the dog) in the picture and not BB (the mouse)? It was because, my dear, BB was indeed in the other pictures! You just haven’t received them yet =) Compared to me, Shan is the real pro at this. The noobish me could only do my best and hope the pictures turned out nice!
In between our dinner, bantering, surprises and star-gazing, we somehow managed to order a chocolate ice cake and a chocolate soufflé for dessert. (A soufflé is a light, fluffy, baked cake made with egg yolks and beaten egg whites combined with various other ingredients and served as a savory main dish or sweetened as a dessert)
Not long after, we vaguely heard the sound of someone running towards the Mandi Mandi. I think I saw Michael, holding something in his hand?! I believed we ordered something that had to be baked/prepared at the Tamarind and brought to us, before the cake melted or the soufflé collapsed. Aha! Lovely sight =x
Did I mention that the sky was simply perfect tonight? Good weather with little clouds and no rain, meaning we now have countless twinkling stars directly above our heads. It was just a hour or two ago when we just witnessed an amazing sunset! Our perfect day has just turned into our perfect night. No shooting stars though, which meant Shan couldn’t wish for her ultimate surprise. Not to worry, there is always Feng to the rescue =)
Time seems to disappear into the night. It wasn’t long before Shan, myself and Michael were the only ones left at the Mandi Mandi. Michael was busy clearing up the place, and Shan was ready to go back to our room – the perfect opportunity to spring my surprise #4.
Whipped out my #6 envelope – I had given her 5 earlier – and asked her to read it by the lights. I had carefully labeled them so I wouldn’t get the order wrong myself! “This one has more words, so you can see it clearer by the light”. This was in fact a ploy to get her to move closer to the side of the table/platform. While she was getting stunned and trying to read the #6 envelope I’ve prepared, I got off my seat and stood by her side of the table. Took out my proposal ring and knelt down.
At this point in time, she would have been staring at this –
After which she would be hearing this –
“The stars will be my witnesses tonight.”
“Let me take care of you for the rest of your life.”
“Would you marry me?”
And that sealed the perfect night for us at Japamala.
Pictures taken by Shan can be seen on her Flickr page.
(those are Eva’s hands, not hers =p)