Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Week to Remember in Bali

When people think of Bali, normally they would think of a romantic trip or a perfect paradise complete with white beaches, unique Balinese Hindhu temples, beautiful spa, super nice villas, orchids or plumerias behind your ear, sumptuous food and so on and so on.

The view from my hotel.

They would say, how lucky you are to be in Bali from the office for a week. However, all the fun that we ought to have was just a little bit too happening than we thought.

Last week, finally I had a chance to give a closure to one of my office projects in Bali. It was our first time running a pretty big conference in Bali. At the beginning, we thought we were going to have fun and pretty much excited in running an event there (well, except the logistical parts when we had to deal with pretty demanding speakers prior to the D-Day of course). What a colorful conference to run! From day 0 to day 4, we had all kind of entertainments you could imagine. We had thrillers, comedies and a large dose of dramas.

Day 0: After setting foot at the Hotel in Bali

Ended spending the first night in Bali at the hotel's Business Center - extremely busy printing and copying the tomorrow's workshop materials until 11pm. Speaker didn't release their materials until the very last day and made us worked like new on-the job trainees in a printing and photocopy center. We learned a lot there! Guess how much we spent in that Business Center for the papers and ink! ... Millions Rp! You don't want to know and you won't believe it!

Day 1: Pre-Conference Workshop

Received a hoax call from pranksters who claimed to be a government dignitaries and asked for Rp. 30 Millions to be delivered that very day in cash. Lucky we know that it was merely a practical joke from local rascals!

Day 2: Conference Day 1

Conference started a bit late as the Chairperson thought there was a significant time difference between Singapore and Bali. When we rang him at 9am, he thought it was only 8am. Oh well, he came down pretty late but everything was under control until 11 am when the government dignitaries' secretary suddenly dropped us an email asking for speakers' honorarium which has never been mentioned all the while! What is this? What they say about under-the-table money to successfully run business in Indonesia... So true!

Day 3: Conference Day 2

The facilitator of the site visit suddenly charged the site visit fee of 50 pax although we have told her way way in advance that there would be only 25 people attending. This is another Indonesian way to rob you! Just charge everything without the other party's consent and let you know about it at the very last minute when there was nothing you could do but duly accepted the terms they set. You think we run a bank and dispense cash just like that? This is what happened when people are not contactable via email and prefer texting in running business. Lesson learnt: Better do everything in B&W and carry all the B&W agreements wherever possible to attack them back!

Later on, we enjoyed the entertainment of the day when a foreign delegate asked about the geothermal site in Bali to the local host/site operator. "How is the architecture around the area?" "What? Agricultural?" "No. Architectural." "Oh... Agricultural. Well, in that area, we can grow potatoes, .. ,.. " In seconds, people started looking at the other fellows who sat right next to them and broke loud laughters. Oh well..

Day 4: Site Visit

Pretty fun. Enjoyed the day but afterwards both my colleague and I agreed, working in a travel agency is indeed not an option for our career move in the future. Herding people to stick together and come back to the bus on time are unquestionably not an easy job! Must say it was pretty scary when you realize you've lost one too active participant during the tour.

Overall, I had fun running this conference. Met great people and made new friends from different parts of the world (This is what I like most from my current job!!!), however I must say that I am just glad that the drama at the conference was over (for the time being).... Phew!!! Hope the next Indonesian events would not be as dramatic as this one.

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