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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Bali Perspective

Yes it is beautiful. And no I did not get "Bali Belly" What I got was sun every day, blue water poolside and beachfront

Offerings everywhere, often consumed by the local street dogs and cats. (I stepped on one by mistake - any idea if this brings me bad fortune?)

Beautiful scenery including Batur volcano, last active in 1972

Batur Hot Springs

Rice terraces on the approach to Ubud, the "pray" of "Eat, Pray, Love". Most yoga centric place (or yoga-tastic according to my friend Alison) I have ever visited.

and this very modern incredibly beautiful hotel, the Karma Kandara is perfect for cocktails at sunset.

Consistently good food, including fresh seafood, once with our toes in the sand, waves in front and Balinese dancers behind
Jimbaran Bay Seafood Restaurants

Funny combinations,
including this
Italian/Indonesian restaurant

When the exchange rate is 1 Euro to 15, 500 Rupiah
do not be qlremed when you see the bill!

and also, our local hangout for the week, a Greek/Indonesian bar/restaurant called Panterei with great appetizers and drinks.

Amazing cocktails, the best of all at Karma Kandara called Vanilla Passion, with vanilla vodka, passion fruit juice, caramel and fresh vanilla beans. The passion fruit kept it from being too sweet.

Two beautiful beach clubs:

Ku De Ta a rather swanky joint with a view of the surf for cocktails and a poolside table for dinner

 Potato Head, a cool place,
 perfect for pool or beach 
during the day and drinks 
and dinner at night

Ancient temples, including Tanah Lot

Tanah Lot is claimed to be the work of the 15th-century priest Nirartha. During his travels along the south coast he saw the rock-island's beautiful setting and rested there. Some fishermen saw him, and bought him gifts. Nirartha then spent the night on the little island. Later he spoke to the fishermen and told them to build a shrine on the rock for he felt it to be a holy place to worship the Balinese sea gods.[3]

This little blog would not be complete without mentioning the journey there of 21 hours, or back of 22 hours, stopping at Singapore and Doha. My friend usually has access to the various airport lounges, but my very economy ticket prevented my entry. In her words "I have never been kicked out of so many places in one day!" Oh well, it allowed us to stretch our legs between very long flights.

What do I know today that I didn't know before?
I was in desperate need of a break full of sunshine, water and sand to get some perspective on life.
Bali gave me that and more.
I have never met so may people who smile with their eyes so often.
If you sit still long enough in Bali, someone will apologize for doing something nice.
If you sit still too long, well you will get run over by a motorcycle.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Embarrassing moments Part 2: At work

Perhaps surprisingly many of my most embarrassing moments have occurred at work. A few examples come to mind.

When I first went to work at a New York ad agency, I very much wanted to make a good impression. My first presentation to one of the departments was arranged, but for some reason the meeting room we had reserved was not available. We decided to make do with a lesser used room. As I positioned my chair at a comfortable angle to the audience, I realized one small flaw with the room design. Power outlets located on the floor meant there were gaps large enough for a chair leg to fall into. Imagine the delight and surprise for all parties when my chair leg fell in a hole, leading me to do an almost perfect somersault. I did not land on my feet, but the speed with which I attacked that dismount resulted in a blur that could have led the judges to believe I scored a perfect landing. It certainly was an ice-breaker!

My next attempt at an ice-breaker was less successful. I was hired at another company to participate in an unpopular organizational change. No one was in support of this change, meaning I was in a constant battle for resources. During one of these "negotiations" I hopped up from the table to write something on the white board. Upon returning to my seat I noticed a rather odd piece of fabric at my place. Yes in fact at the start of the meeting I was wearing a cute little convertible bra  with detachable straps. And yes one of the straps had detached. And yes one of my colleagues (all men by the way) had placed it on the table for my retrieval and their amusement I suppose. No graceful recovery on this one.

In case my colleagues were not yet impressed I gave it another try. During one important presentation, I was feeling a bit stressed and even uncomfortable. I found myself trying to rearrange the designer top I was wearing, one I had no issue with in the past. At one point I touched my collar and felt the tag which should have been inside and on the back. Yup, inside out and backwards! Designer labels should be displayed I guess.

So, question of the day: are embarrassing moments more common during stressful situations, or simply more memorable?

See also Embarrassing Moments

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Afraid in a taxi: what would you do?

Have you ever been in a taxi and afraid?

There have been three such occasions in my life.

The first time I visited NYC I took a limo from my hotel to the airport. The driver tried to increase the price by 50% once I was in the car. I refused and he went a little ballistic, making me wonder where in the hell he intended to drop me.  I simply asked for his chauffeur license number, and (surprising to me) he calmly proceeded to the airport, no more discussion and politely dropped me off at our agreed upon price. I suspect he was lacking an important document.

Second event: a few months ago I took a short taxi ride in Paris. The driver was angry with me for not having the correct change and threatened to keep my €20 for a €8 fare. It was late and I was not sure I had options. Amazingly my neighbor who runs a wine store in my building was hosting a tasting which was just breaking up. They all came out to see what the problem was, and soon I had my correct change in hand and was safely home.

Today was in some ways the most shocking. When I entered the taxi, I noticed the meter was already at €20.70, a ridiculous starting amount. I brought it to the driver's attention. He began shouting at me and told me to get out of his taxi in the middle of the street! I agreed to do so providing he deposited me at a safe address, and proceeded to record his taxi number to report this to the office. While I was on the phone to his office manager, the driver stopped at a nearby office building, took my arm and forced me out of his taxi. I was equal parts shocked and angry. The office manager I spoke to was in disbelief I think.  Although I was not afraid of the driver, his behaviour clearly has no place in a civilized world. Alpha Taxi and taxi number 5059 by the way if you wish to avoid a similar situation.

Anyway the next driver from G7 was friendly, polite, and charged me only €24 for the whole ride! It was a Forrest Gump kind of day, with no way of knowing what I would get next!

My question is: what would you do in such a situation?