Ok, I admit that I do feel a little guilty posting this one. Gone to Bali for the weekend? How many people in this world get to say that in their lifetime? Like many things in our decision to come to Asia, working for a company that sends their employees on weekend team-building excursions to places like Borneo and Bali was an unexpected perk. However, that is what this company does, and since they were paying the freight, I didn’t mind hauling my weary body off to Indonesia for some free R&R.

The Hard Rock Hotel is situated on what must be the largest bit of prime real estate in this part of the world. The resort is enormous, and it is right downtown in Kotu Beach, one of the great beaches in the world, and a surfing magnet. Yes I did want to try surfing again, but I waited for the friends I was travelling with to come down for breakfast and missed the morning lesson. No lessons in the afternoon, as by then it was low tide and the surf is not good when the water is that far out.

But I did get some body surfing in on a boogie board and had a hard time getting out of the water as I was having too much fun. I was also getting a little too much sun, so I had to quit. In the afternoon I stretched out in one of the cabanas around the enormous pool and read and napped til supper time. For dinner we all went out to a seafood restaurant down the road for roasted crab and broiled shrimp. We also were treated to a formal Balinese dance while we watched the sun go down and listen to the awesome surf thunder into shore.

Taylor’s provided a a tour guide and buses for our stay. On one shopping trip we stopped at a coffee factory where I sat sipping my brew trying to make sense of this odd poster in front of me. There were Jack Nicholson’s and Morgan Freeman’s septinginarian faces grinning at me from their Bucket List movie with a picture of fruit bats and some script in Bahasa. Then it clicked: oh yeah, this was the coffee that was processed through the digestive tract of bats and civit cats before being roasted and ground for consumption! I didn’t finish what I was drinking!! I must admit it was exceptionally good coffee, it is just the thought that is so off-putting.

Our passage through the intricacies of Indonesian customs was also handled by Taylor’s, vastly simplifying the process. Three of my buddies, who had gone off for a last minute jaunt and had to make their own way through check-in, got booted from the flight under the excuse that it was overbooked. Their seats remained empty while I worried and fretted all the way to Jakarta. Apparently this is a fairly frequent scam. Garuda offers a financial compensation in such cases and a rerouting on the next available flight. Airport officials hose the airline by telling people who have a seat that the plane is overbooked. Then they have the unsuspecting tourist sign a release turning the compensation money over to the corrupt officials. This time the scam didn’t work as one of the teachers knew Bahasa and these guys talked quite openly about what they were doing. As a result my friends got the next flight and the money. Fortunately for them we had a three hour layover in Jakarta, so they caught up with us for the last leg back to KL.

In was a long day to get home, but I had brought some marking with me, and I finished it all at the last layover, so the time wasn’t wasted. I am tired though, after getting only four hours sleep last night and working all day today. But I feel great, and really enjoyed the trip. The music at the hotel was outstanding, and so was the room and the food. I went to Bali for the weekend and stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel. How neat is that!

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