I don’t travel for work and have never stayed in big hotel chains when I travel. All I usually have with me is my trusty backpack, dusty pair of slippers and my travelling wallet, which is the most tattered of all wallets (the kind that even pick-pockets would shun).
So when I went on a holiday with my five friends who frequently travel for work, it was a sharp learning curve, getting used to the idea of relaxing on a rattan chair (with a leg rest) at the balcony of one’s hotel while enjoying the sunset without having to go down to the beach. The idea of soaking in a private swimming pool with watching TV had never crossed my mind. It’s the stuff of Hollywood movies with millionaires in them.
It was also the first time I came across tipping – (most of the time The Father or The Brother would be paying the hotel bill), and I didn’t know that tipping was a must for restaurants and hotels. (I never had to tip those folks at the backpacker’s hostel).
I may never travel for work, but if I ever do, at least I’d know what is ‘travelling etiquette’ – how to carry myself gracefully across big hotels and restaurants without appearing like a country bumpkin. I wouldn’t say that I yearn to stay in big hotels and resorts in future trips, but I can appreciate the fun and enjoyment one gets out of staying in them.
Last but not least, I just want to say a big thanks to my friends who have organised and made the bookings for this trip. It’s not the most easy getting everything and everyone together. While it did take quite an epic-ally long time to get to Gili Islands (that’s for another blog post), all was worth it when we saw our accommodation – a 3 bed air-con villa with our own swimming pool : )
Like most things in life, it’s about balance. In my backpacking “career” of six years, I must say it’s nice to be enjoying sandless sunsets and a private swimming pool for the very first time, in the presence of good friends.
That was my first brush with luxury. The travel posts on Bali and Gili Islands will be up next, after the Vietnam series. Stay tuned.