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November 01, 2010
Apolitical Spiel, Bintan Island Indonesia

Today’s Spiel is less political than my usual write ups. I am writing from a small Indonesian island called Bintan located about one hour fast boat ride from Singapore where I have been since last Saturday.

After a long work week, I decided to leave the hustle and bustle of Singapore for a weekend in this Indonesian Island. I was hoping to spend couple of hours snorkeling or diving but the “winds’ direction did not line up with the sailor wishes” or as it is said in the West the “stars were not aligned.” It was both the short stay, and weather conditions that did not make that possible.

Instead I went for a wholesome honest 60 minutes Aromatherapy traditional Swedish massage. Why traditional, yet Swedish in Indonesia, I have no idea. Nevertheless I chose the oil from five different aromas and was sent to the massage room where I received the first ever professional massage. 

I don’t know about others’ experiences with massages, but it felt like a work out, without the physical exhaustion. Like after a hard exercise, it felt refreshing when it was over. Hitherto, I must confess that at times I was so relaxed, I may have had intermittent naps.

Towards sunset, I went discovering the area around the hotel noticing plentiful of trees growing in the seawater surf. As a water engineer, I was curious how fresh water trees could survive in salt water surf, when many nations suffer from disappearing greenery due to seawater permeation into the freshwater table.  It is very unlikely that the water salinity level is less than 35,000 parts per million, which makes it unsuitable for freshwater trees. During low tide walking the beach, I noticed water seeping back from land into the sea. That could have been receding salt water or freshwater osmosis, but either way, I suspect it would still have high salinity level.  Even if the abundance of underground water table could explain trees within the surf line, how it was possible for trees to grow then in small landmass islands located in the middle of the sea.  This is in an interesting phenomenon that may have answers to places where greenery is disappearing with water over pumping. 

The weather in this Island, like that of the neighboring Singapore, very warm and humid (in the 30s), during the one night and two days I spent here, I did not