This is Part I of a couple of articles I wanted to write on my weekend meeting in Bali, Indonesia almost a year ago. I was one of the participants at the regional meeting on tourism ethics.
I attended the regional meeting on Global Ethics in Tourism June last year. The meeting was jointly hosted by the United Nations World Tourism Organization and the Indonesian Government on the alluring and beautiful island of Bali.
Papua New Guinea was the only Pacific Island represented at this regional meeting.
Upon arrival at the Ngurah Rai International Airport (sometimes known as the Denpasar International Airport) we were whisked through customs and immigration formalities and onto our bus. Denspasar is also the capital city of Bali.
It was a very hot day but being from Port Moresby we rose to the challenge. In the bus, the aircon kicked in soon after so we were saved from having to change our clothes yet again in less than 6 hours!
I was once again struck by the seeming chaos on the streets where more than one person is riding pillion on a motor bike – hundreds of them darting in and out of the traffic and in between buses and cars as we wove our way towards Nusa Dua beach.
I wondered how often there were accidents. My recollection was that very few but once in a while when an accident happens it is a very big thing and quite saddening as it is preventable!
My colleague and I were accommodated in the Grand Bali Nusa Dua and grand may be a bit of a misnomer but the rooms were so spacious I could have my whole family sleeping in this one room.
The rooms were cool with no views to speak of but I was very comfortable. The aircon was working and that was what I needed at the beginning and end of each day.
I took quite a lot of photos upon arrival at the hotel and realised that I was in tourist mode. In fact one of the great things about this job is that you can be ‘on duty’ and be a tourist at the sametime. An enviable position to be in no doubt.
I also went for a foot massage which is my favourite thing whenever I am in Southeast Asia. It is a soothing sort of thing to do and it kind of introduces me gently to the rigours of meetings or shopping whichever I happen to be in that country for.
I went to the spa before the evening’s programme. I was glad I did because that was the only time I was able to enjoy being pampered. Oooh lala.
Our meeting was scheduled for all of Saturday (which was the next day) and over the weekend so there were not many guests in our hotel. The meeting was held in another much bigger hotel and most of the other participants were accommodated there.
I was trigger-happy and my Nikon D90 was working overtime.
The hotel grounds were so beautiful and tranquil. I was glad we stayed here. But then again there are so many hotels large and small spread across the Nusa Dua beachfront and no doubt other beaches in Kuta and Legian, as well as all over the island of Bali. This was a tourist mecca.
Wooden houses, floors and so on hold a special fascination for me but we were here to discuss the global code of ethics in tourism and I wondered whether the use of large amounts of wood in hotel construction was going to be sustainable in the long run. Food for thought.
I took quite a few photos around the hotel because I’ve never been in this hotel before and secondly, because I wanted to capture some of the spirit of the place.
The stone sculptures are everywhere but again I did not have the time to ask.
There was no time to ask and also there was a slight language barrier. I think the Conference organizers hired university or secondary school students to man the number of ‘help desks’ set up to fascilitate our hassle-free stay at the hotels where the participants were staying and most of these kids could not speak English or if they did it was spoken haltingly.
That wasn’t a problem on the whole but I could not ask many questions outside the usual stuff like asking for directions and when the bus will arrive and so on. I found these help desks very comforting – a lot of people engaged to ensure that we did not want of information. My attempts, haltingly at Bahasa Indonesia did help.
One of the things I loved about the hotel was that it was open on all sides. Which meant there was a free flow of fresh air.
The breeze flowing through large windows and doorways, reminded me so much of the South Pacific Forum Secretariat in Suva.
We left the Grand Nusa Dua on Monday morning when hotel staff were back at the posts and the hustle and bustle of preparations for a number of meetings in various wings of the hotel.
The new week had begun and soon our meeting was a blur in the past and tranquility of the weekend.
The weekend meeting in Bali was a wonderful way of ending the week – part of it was spent in Port Moresby.
During our short stay in Bali and as part of the social and cultural programme of the meeting we were treated to a number of cultural performances. It was one of those memorable times I’ve spent in any one place where it was short enough to take in as much as I could take in of the place thanks to my faithful Nikon D90 and the other was long enough to enjoy what the place had to offer.
Terima kasih banyak…