Benoa to Benoa

Selemat malam,

It’s been a quiet day today – bit of a sore throat. But I did get out to Benoa this afternoon.

First, the pool is alive!

Pond life

These are the first swimmers I’ve seen all week. I think they’re looking for coins.

I took a taxi out to Benoa at about 5pm hoping to get something comparable to this:

Gunung Agung 1986

I’m not sure where I took this from, but it was somewhere near Benoa, I think.

Well, it was a nice drive this afternoon, but Benoa is now so developed as a port that it’s not very nice any more. Not that it’s bad:

Riverboat steamers?

It’s just crowded and seedy. But I liked this:

I miss my Minnie!

By the way, what do Indonesians say when they answer their mobile phones? ‘Allo? Yes they do.

Here’s a bit of video – see how this goes:

This is HD from the Pentax SLR. I find it’s fantastic to only have one device to carry, but trying to refocus my eyes from the distance to the rear LCD of the camera is hopeless. In video mode, all I have to go on is the rear LCD. In bright light, I really can’t see much of what I’m shooting. I think the answer is going to be to buy another Pentax body, so that one is always set to video and I won’t have to swap lenses or reset the camera.

Besides, I suspect a new semi-silvered mirror model is coming in January. Gotta have the latest!

I hope I’ll be hearing from the estate agent and the villa management tomorrow, so that I can move on with securing the villa. The estate agent sounded quite offended in a reply email when I asked him why I needed to deal through him when I can deal direct with the management, but gosh, mate, who are you acting for? Me or the owners of the villa? Where are your loyalties? What do you add to the deal for me?

I hope Xmas has calmed him down. He’s a Catholic. All will be forgiven, I’m sure.

Dinner time. The restaurant frustrated me again last night. I had a beautiful prawn soup for entree, but the salt and pepper squid for main was NOT the same as I had earlier in the week – just not as good at all. Different chef, different dish. The most reliably enjoyable dish? Nasi Campur. Always good. After I’ve added extra chili, of course! What will tonight bring?  Oh well. Malam.

The Year of Living Dangerously

Hummer H2 – for rent

Boxing Day – it’s just Sunday here and another grey, rainy day. I love it. The rain was so heavy outside I could hardly hear the staff in the restaurant at breakfast. Nice!

The pic above shows the hotel driveway – the rain makes a heck of a din on the roof above. How about that vehicle, eh? It’s available for rent. Just the thing for a drive up to Kintamani. Don’t worry about the roads – just take a shotcut straight up the mountainside.

The title of this post refers to my concerns about this hotel. I dunno whether to say anything or just let it slide, but that’s literally what could happen and it could happen to me.

There are so many dangerous things about this hotel that if I fall and injure myself, I would definitely take action against the hotel for damages. I’m afraid my legs have become very weak in the past year and I’m having to use a stick. But:

  • There are about eight steps up from that Hummer level to get into the lobby. There’s a sloping ramp on one side, but it’s so steep that I have trouble negotiating that too, especially when it’s wet.
  • When you reach the top of the steps, you have to go through a security scanner. But to get through it, I have to put my stick and bag on a table and sidle sideways with nothing to hold onto along a slippery tiled route no more than 400mm wide. As I do this, the steps are just behind me. If I slipped, I’d go backwards down the steps!
  • Everywhere in the hotel is glossy smooth tiled, including the room. It looks great and feels nice, but if any water gets on the floor, for example outside the bathroom or in front of the fridge or after I come back from the pool, it’s a skating rink!
  • I may have mentioned the shower floor, but I will again. It’s also smooth tiled, with not a single handhold to be found. Once soap gets on it, it’s like walking on glassy ice. I asked the hotel for a rubber mat and to their credit, I had one within two hours, but it’s a hard industrial mat and a bit hard on the feet. This morning I found that they’d laid it down with the spikiest side up! By turning it over, it’s not so bad.
    Hah! I whinge when it’s smooth and I whinge when it’s rough. But it’s not difficult to get it right. There should be those friction strips or similar in the shower, or just the simple suction cup white bath mats.
  • The pool is completely railing and ladder free! There’s not a handhold to be found. I had a swim yesterday and getting out, up some underwater steps, as I stepped onto the paving I fell over. Not hard, but because I can’t get up again, and because there’s no railing, I had to slide myself back into the water and try again, successfully this time. No harm done, but…!
  • To reach the pool, you open a glass door and are confronted by a set of cement stepping blocks for a pathway. They’re about 500mm square and about 400mm off the ground, with gaping gaps between. It looks sort of pretty, but it’s a disaster waiting to happen. Smooth cement, water, and big gaps. If someone doesn’t slip and break a leg or hip I’ll be very surprised. There’s no alternative – no way to avoid them. You’d have to step off, down about 400mm onto a muddy surface. No thanks.

In the room, the deficiencies are so glaring that although I’m quite enjoying my stay, I’m getting frustrated. The hotel Sales Director with the marvellous first name of Ulysses seems to have taken a shine to me, so I think I’ll have to write him a letter for when I leave on Tuesday. There are so many silly little annoyances that could be fixed at almost no cost, yet are spoiling my stay:

  • No pen in the room (ball point pen, I mean) or note paper. There’s the usual folder of A4 paper and envelopes, but I just want a jotter, not a bloody letter.
  • The soap is not replaced as it wears down. I had to ask for more soap!
  • There are only two small glasses, and even one of those went missing one day.
  • There was a plastic swizzle stick which had a spatula end that I used to make my coffee, but after I threw the used one in the bin, it hasn’t been replaced! I have to take a teaspoon from the restaurant, but I keep forgetting, as now.
  • The packet coffee in the room was like leather it  was so old! It smelt like leather too. I had to buy Nescafe cappucino packet coffee – but you can’t get it without sugar.
  • OK, so I bought powdered Bali coffee. But I’ve got no spoon or milk.
  •  There was no creamer for the coffee. I had to ask.
  • The fridge is inside a cupboard which has a door with no handle or even a finger recess. It’s one of those push-push latches, but it doesn’t work, so I break my fingernails opening the door.
  • Being inside a cupboard, there’s no way for the fridge heat to escape, so it’s pushing sh..t uphill to keep cold.
  • The ice cube tray is very small and I can’t get the ice cubes out! I’ve actually broken the tray while twisting and turning it to extract the ice. When I do get the cubes out, they fly out onto the desk and floor. Now, of course, when I fill it with water, it leaks on the floor, making the floor dangerous as I said.
  • Again, being inside a cupboard, the ice is struggling to form overnight, because the fridge is so inefficient. Crazy!!
  • There’s no bottle opener in the room. Luckily I’ve brought my own, but if I hadn’t, I’d be damaging the furniture trying to remove bottle caps.
  • I’ve brought stainless steel wire rope cables for suitcase and laptop security, but there are absolutely no holes in the furniture to thread them through. I can’t use them. All I ask is some eye bolts or something to loop the cables through.
  • There’s a small room safe, but it’s too small to take this laptop, and this is only a 13.3″ one.
  • The desk chair is all fashion with white fake crocodile skin vinyl covering, but so uncomfortable!

See what I mean? All these are simple, almost no cost items, but they annoy the hell out of the customer. Not to mention laying themselves wide open to liability and damages.

I dunno why they don’t employ me as a hotel consultant, flying all over the world checking out hotels and advising them of my assessment of their rooms. Oh, Mr Croft, we’re so grateful, have a week in this 5 star in Nusa Dua and tell us what you think. Ha!

Waffle on, can’t I?