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An Expat visits Bali

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An Expat visits Bali
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By Irfan Ahmad
February 23, 2010

Living in Dubai has its downsides. A few years back, when we landed at Heathrow, my then five year old son looked around and said, “Why is this airport so dirty?” Granted, London Heathrow's Terminal 5 was still a couple of years away, but the aseptic environment of Dubai poses a number of challenges for destinations targeting the Middle East traveler.

Even before we had come to Dubai, we had acquired the habit of taking off on an annual summer vacation on the day the children got their final reports and the school closed for the summer. Having lived in Dubai for five years, this desire to get away from the menacing summer heat had developed into more of a vengeance.

It was the summer of 2008. We had done Reykjavík the previous year and decided to go East. Jakarta and Bali were our holiday destinations. We took in Jakarta without any incident but when we checked into one of Nusa Dua’s upscale resorts in Bali, the excess of expat life in Dubai became painfully obvious. Despite the 48°C scorching heat outside, Dubai’s homes and apartments, its ubiquitous shopping malls, its restaurants and even its public transport system remain permanently set at a pleasant 20°C. The resort at Bali was, let’s say, more eco-friendly.

The humid beach resort had moist beds. The air-conditioning was there but it felt warm. A damp breeze was rustling the leaves of the palm trees outside. The sound of waves gently caressing the sandy beach also filtered through. But my children had called the resort’s maintenance crew and had them working on ways to lower the temperature in their rooms.  If we had staked a tent in a camping ground they would have accepted the dank surroundings. We were paying top dollars to the resort and there was to be no compromise. bali resort
We were asked to go for dinner and promised that everything would be fine once we got back. Grudgingly we went. While returning to our rooms we saw European tourists who had come to soak in the sun calmly go into their warm and humid rooms without any complaints. We, who had come from a country where you can almost fry an egg in the sun, could not take the heat. Spoilt brats? Or, quality conscious travelers?

The next morning we checked out and moved into The Laguna Resort & Spa - one of the neighboring resorts - after first inspecting the thermostat in their rooms! A nice cool bed taken care of, we set out to be charmed by Bali.


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