I reach the Changi airport at 5pm and check in immediately. It was raining and it somehow reflects my feelings then. I start to miss my children. By 7pm, I was on my flight to Bali.
When I reach Bali, it pretty surprised me about the condition of the airport. Being one of the top tourist spot in Indonesia, the airport does not reflect the status of it. Immigration is terrible. There is only 1 queue for visitors with a valid visa but more than 6 lanes available for non-visa holders. Reason is tourist can apply visa on the spot and there is where the cash cow is. It took me almost 30 mins to clear customs.
After the immigration process, I look for our event co-coordinator and found her with other attendees. The trip to the hotel is horrible. The jam is bad and I think we got stuck for about an hour where we estimate it will actually take us only 10 mins without the jam.
Fortunately the check-in is fast. The hotel is so so. The room looks nice and what surprise me is the floor is laid with tiles and not carpet. With the air-conditioning turned on, the tiles are cold to step on. I try to look for slipper and guess what? They wanted to charge me RP20,000 for it. I really think that this is a scam.
The hotel offer a welcome fruit called snake fruit. By the sight of it, it doesn’t really appeal to me.
I rememberd the hotel cafe used to have a slogan called “Love All Serve All”. Seems to me now they have extend this slogan other area as well.
No matter how good is the hotel, I have difficulty turning in. I wonder what my kids and wife is doing. Finally I doze off at 2am.
Woke up at 6am. I left the TV turned on through the night. I just stare blankly at the space. I finally got up and brush my teeth and by 7:15am, I went down for breakfast.
Compared with the standard American breakfast, the variety that this hotel offered is pathetic. I wonder who will pay so much for such a hotel. They may have the biggest pool there but that is not enough.
Lesson commences on time and end at 6pm. I must admit that the snacks for their tea break are better than the meals. We have dinner at Hard Rock cafe and let me tell you, the food is again pathetic. I really miss laksa then.
After having a quick dinner, together with other Singapore attendees, we went out shopping. As I am wearing my wife’s track shoes, my feet by then are already screaming with pain. The shoes are old and are already too small for me. I always wanted to buy a new pair but I just could not find the time to do it.
With a painful foot, I shop along their busy streets. The street that we walk offered branded goods like Prada and Polo. Nothing fancies me there buy I did bought some DVDs. My god! They are real cheap there. Imagine for each DVD, it cost only RP10,000 (S$1.60) per piece. Furthermore, if you buy 5, you get 1 free. You buy 10, you get 4 free. We pool in our orders and the price per piece is only RP6,600 per piece.
By then, my foot really hurts and I went back to the hotel for some rest. This time, I turn in at 1:30am.
The next day is the same. Lousy breakfast. I can’t wait for tea break. As this is the final day of the training, we were let off early before the Gala dinner. My friend there asks me whether to go for a massage. To be honest, I have not been to a massage before despite I have been to Thailand for more than 4 times. I tell myself, well, why not?
I felt strange really. I have never been touch by any woman except my wife since I can’t remember when. After the message, the before and after feeling is the same. My friend told me that Thai massage is better. Despite the massage cost RP175,000, which is considered on the high side, I still tip the lady RP5,000.
The Gala dinner is held at the same beach which is actually a man made beach right in the middle of the big pool. Again, the food is lousy but I must admit it is still slightly better than the rest of the meals. We have quite a number of Singapore style Yum Sing too! During the training, we have an idol competition which is like a singing competition. Each country will record a song in the hotel recording studio. As expected, the Filipinos won. Let me tell you, they are born songbirds. We knew all along that they would win. They even sang their recorded song “Build me up Buttercups” live without any music in the background. The host arrange for a local performance called fire dance where the dancers actually dance with fire. The show is really cool!!!
The night ended with some of the Singapore attendees going for a drink together. I tried the Bali sling. For a non-alcoholic drinker like me, I started to feel heavy after half a cup. The food that we ordered tastes nice!!
Soon, it is the day we are leaving. My flight is in the afternoon so I still have some time for shopping. We went to the beach and it is really nice. The water is clear and the wave is pretty strong. The sand on the beach is really fine unlike the Singapore beach. The feeling is great when the sea breeze is like kissing me all over. How I wish my wife is here with me……
We went for a little shopping at one of the local street and I bought nothing except 3 used story books. They are from Sidney Sheldon and with S$5 a piece, it is a real bargain. I later stroll down to the branded street and bought myself a pair of new shoes. I really could not take it anymore and I immediately dump the old shoes once I reach the hotel.
I start my final packing and soon, I am on my way back home.
I would say this is quite a good trip considering the fact that I have not been to Bali. But the hotel really disappoints. I will not choose this hotel except for the location as in the Kuta area.
Another thing worth mentioning is that it has been quite sometime that I fly with a full service airline and 7 years ago is the last time I fly with SQ. I feel proud of our national carrier and though there may be some hiccups in their service level some times, I still feel that they are doing a good job.
I wonder when I will get such free trips in the future. Hahahahahha