Service in South East Asia

Service standards are rightly famous across South East Asia; supported by the fact that people are generally kind and polite in this part of the world. It’s a cultural and often religious thing; we have mostly abandoned both of these influences in the west.

It can however get ‘a bit much’. The place I’m staying in at the moment is a smallish hotel in a trendy part of Bali; I guess you could use the word boutique if you were so inclined.
It would also seem that I am the only guest at the moment so the staff are hyper attentive; and no matter how familiar you are with this level of service, there is something distinctly unnerving about looking up from your breakfast and seeing 3 vigilant staff watching you intently from behind the bar; knowing that your slightest movement or glance is being interpreted as a request of some kind, when in fact you just need to scratch your arse.
It’s also somewhat disconcerting that the second you finish with a dish one of them sweeps in to clear it, reaching almost comic proportions when they come in on a parabolic trajectory to try and fool you, it was obvious he was coming for me, there was no one else there…

They also seem a bit wary of me, which is my fault entirely; whilst I am normally sweetness personified, I was somewhat fractious when I got here yesterday. The result of a 2am wake up call and a very early departure from Bangkok. After a four and a half hour flight I then had to deal with the taxi twonks at Bali Airport, who, whilst sitting in front of a sign stating that the price to my destination was 80,000 asked for 120,000. (now; the value is not important, but the difference is, and no one like to feel ripped off; however I have also learnt that saving 50p and ending up making the journey in the back of a cattle truck is not really a win…)
On arrival at the hotel there was some shenanigans with my credit card, then they took me to a room with some building work going on nearby, and I might have accidentally said ‘if that doesn’t fucking stop right now I’m out of here’.
The direct approach doesn’t usually work here, but the building and drilling was wrapped up quickly and the staff have been on pins ever since.

There are also a lot of staff, some of them are tarting the place up with fresh paint, but there are loads of people floating about – often with brooms – and others involved with ‘security’… Security against what I have no idea, as it’s hard to imagine a calmer place. One of the security peoples’ main duties seems to be to keep an eye on me, or at least it seems that way as he’s stationed across from my room just watching all day. Perhaps he works for Obama. Obama follows me on twitter actually, so that would be pointless. You can check, Hi Barak…

Anyway, I digress…

I’m sure the service will calm down a bit when another guest arrives – but until then I guess I will learn to live with it. What with all this being watched and the smell of fresh paint I think I know how the Queen feels.

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