Sunday, February 17, 2008

Barelang Bridge - Batam

I have decided to visit Barelang Bridge after taking my breakfast in Hotel Nagoya Plaza in Batam on a Monday morning. It was a sunny morning with clear blue sky. But I have a problem and that is transportation. I approached the hotel staff and they arranged for a taxi to take me there.

The trip to Barelang takes about 40 minutes from Nagoya town. Henry ( which is the name of the driver) drove slowly and pointed out the places of interest. We drove passed malls, schools, industrial estate, reservoirs, military camp and so on before reaching our final destination. At last we arrived at Barelang Bridge. I must say I was filled with excitement.
The Barelang Bridge in Batam is a suspension bridge built to link the main island of Batam to Galang, Rempang and other smaller islands. Its main purpose is to spur the development of these smaller islands, which was a great idea during the Former President Habbie era. But somehow the idea never really took off and was not translated into action. However Barelang Bridge is still an icon in Batam and certainly thousands of tourists must have visited the Bridge.

I got out of the car and stand on the bridge and the beauty of this place behold my eyes. The view of the sea and islands were spectacular. The surrounding seems to be so calm and I can feel the strong wind blowing constantly around me. The steel cables appears like web, running down from the cable towers to the concrete floor of the bridge. I was quite surprised that there were hardly any vehicles crossing this bridge. Most of the time the bridge is empty and quiet.

You can see street vendors selling food, mineral water and gifts. I spend my time walking on the bridge all alone while my driver prefer standing near to his car chatting with the street vendors. Being alone on this bridge gives me a rather therapeutic effect on my mind and body. I feel refreshed and recharged and at that moment, my mind is just empty. I was simply admiring the beauty of the vast sea and the pocket of islands. Occasionally, you can see a slow fishing boat just moving by at its own pace - no mad rush, no deadlines.

I read an article that efforts are on the way to develop the islands of Galang and Rempang into a tourist development site. There will be resort hotels, golf courses, malls, etc. I do hope that they do retain the charms of this place. I think some people do not understand that it is the simple simplicity of a place that gives out it unique charm. Perhaps they do understand, but profits override everything. Anyway, I was happy that I took the time to visit the Barelang Bridge, it is definitely a worthy trip. I be back for more.