Tuesday, March 14, 2006

“Bali or Bust”

When people ask me where I am from, or where I grew up, I say everywhere. Growing up all over the world was a great lesson in life and in flexibility. In 1979, we moved to Ft. Walton Beach Florida for the second time and we lived on the panhandles inter coastal waterway. Some people refer to it as “Baby Alabama.” It is pretty close either way. As a surfer and a world traveler I am here to inform you that the Gulf Coast may not have a lot of waves, but when she pumps, they are world class perfection. For those that surf, keep believing the lie about the dry, as it keeps those beauties to me, oh my.

Anyway, during the early 1980’s, I watched a surf film at the base of the Destin bridge, in an old shack of place. This was way before the new Destin of Glamour, it was just a dirty old fishing village. My friends that lived in Destin were called “Fish-heads.” The title of the surf movie is “Fantasea.” In the movie, I believe I experienced and fell in love with Bali, Indonesia. I said, “I am going to surf Bali one day.”

In 2004, this dream came to fruition. I was traveling all over the globe training PeopleSoft, version 8.8, and intercultural know how, in a class I developed, called “Working with the World.” My training audience included; Staffing professionals and Hiring Managers in China, Russia, Singapore, Malaysia, and England. This journey was an eight week long road trip. Opportunity knocked when I had ten days off between China and Malaysia, so I negotiated a ten day trip to Bali on the company. My company was spending $2600.00 dollars on a return flight home from China. I decided that instead of flying back home I would stay in the region for the sake of staying in the time-zone, jet-lag relief, and personal convenience. I realized a cost avoidance or savings for the company of $600.00 dollars and lived my boyhood dream. Important to remember, be creative if you travel and always negotiate. A wise man from Malta, code name: “Good-Time Charlie,” once told me, “If you don’t ask, you don’t get.”

All my surfing friends and business peers (except one), warned me that I was going to die and asked me if I had lost my mind. If you are not familiar with the reason, it is the unfortunate, first 2002 Bali Bombing, which claimed 202 lives. However, Bali was calling me. In my opinion, everyone should continue to travel.

One of my business peers, and my training partner for Malaysia joined me in Bali for the fun. Made (second born) and Tut (third born), were our personal island surf guides. All I can say is, “The Indo surfers rip!” We paddled out at Uluwatu, Padang Padang, Dreamland, Balian, and of course Madewi. My good friend can now claim having surfed his first time in Bali, as all the other surfers drool.

Indonesia and the island of Bali are beautiful. In fact, everything is beautiful in Bali, except the smell from the Duren fruit. To avoid making a cultural faux pas, please try the island fruit, especially, DurenKing of Fruit.” This fruit smells worse than Limburger cheese, but tastes divine. The locals will love you for your spirit of adventure. Everyone else will run from you like you have the plague.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's true - all true! I was very fortunate to have been able to join Mike in Bali. I had never ever considered a trip to Bali, but with a little convincing from Mike (and a lot of pleading with my wife), I got to go to Bali. I "accidentally" failed to tell my wife that there had been a terrorist bombing in Bali recently (she doesn't follow the news - she still thinks Nixon is president). The people were all friendly, the experience rather exotic, and the "Fuck Bin Laden" t-shirts everywhere helped put it all in perspective. Thanks Mike for getting me to take the leap and join you in Bali!