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Sunday, January 2, 2011

Bali adventures Part 2 - How may I be of assistance?

Still enjoying the peace and serenity from 1pm each day.

Still loving the Nanny more dearly than most of my immediate family.

Just a quick bit of background - Bali is our usual holiday destination, and we launch on our usual hotel at least once a year, twice if we can.  I say "launch" because that's pretty much what we do.  You can probably hear us before we turn the corner - what with my feral 3 kids, hubby and I usually hissing threats at each other after a horror flight, and the extended family of my parents and siblings, gleefully witnessing the train wreck that is our arrival.  The noise factor is probably akin to a shuttle launch.  There is also a similar amount of smoke and fireworks.  Hence, we launch.

We've been launching on the same hotel, the same staff, for around 10 years.

I say this as a precursor to the following Blog, just so you don't think any less of me as a parent, for how I'm about to describe Miss5's trip so far - because the staff are lovely, and we think of them more as friends and a sort of extended family - they are not strangers who I am entrusting my kids to.

So, back to the Blog.

Miss5 has known the staff since she was a Miss -0.4 and I squeezed in a last trip before having her.  She's been to Bali more times than she's had birthday's (super jealous of her for that).  So it's no surprise that she really makes herself at home in the hotel from the moment we arrive.  Since she no longer stays with the Nanny, she's Miss25-ing her way through the trip in general - you know, being too old to stay with a Nanny means you're old enough to do ANYTHING else now.

So within 2 days of our arrival she is SERVING behind the pool bar.  Not sitting on the step, not sitting on a seat in the pool on the usual side of the bar where you would expect to see a guest.  She is plonked in the middle of the pool bar on the lap of one of the female bar staff.  She has, of course, been invited in - I would never have let her in myself, but it seems the rest of the family who I had entrusted with Miss5's care (during one of my siesta's!) has let her wander off.  She is now serving Bintang (local beer).  Well, not quite - before you go calling Welfare on me - she is eating fruit, having her hair plaited, and drinking watermelon juice - but only when it is put in a cocktail glass, complete with the poncey garnish and umbrella on the side of the glass.

As I approach she says "hey Mum, what can I get you?  You want drink?".  Yep, proud moment.  And yes I would like a drink, no, I NEED one.

It doesn't stop there.

Whenever we pass the hotel's restaurant, the staff call Miss5 in - but not to a table, not even to the the kitchen.  And this happens a lot, as you have to pass the restaurant to get in and out of the hotel.  I've stopped counting the number of times a day Miss5 disappears into the kitchen while I'm absently talking to her as we're heading out - only to materialise back by my side a few minutes later, with a plate of hot chips.  On a few occasions I have had to go in and look for her, and found her directing the construction of an impressive icecream sundae-come-pyramid.

As a result of this, whenever we go to the restaurant for breakfast, Miss5 does not sit at the table with us. No. She goes up to the counter, grabs an order pad and a pen, and comes back to take our orders.  AND every other table's.  Miss5 won't stop the act until we've all ordered.  And you can't just order toast or anything quick and easy like that.  It has to be the full fry up, juice, fruit, eggs, bacon, toast, tea, coffee, pancakes and so on and so on.  Miss5 spends an eternity writing all of this down on her order pad...partly because she is only just perfecting the art of writing her own name and hasn't a clue how to write anything else...and so we wait, and wait, and wait...breakfast takes FOREVER.

Her latest thing is the Reception desk.  The ladies are lovely, and they're getting in on the act, having watched her in fine form in the restaurant.  I'm sincerely hoping they let her at the computer, so she can wipe out our room service bill.  I've racked up a few hefty cocktail bills over the past week or so, and if they were to disappear I could start all over again.

Or at the very least, a staff discount.

Despite my sarcasm, I am completely mortified that I am the owner of the over-indulged Australian child who seems to have the run of the place.  And I have tried to stop her (arched eyebrows all round as you wonder how I can "try" and stop a 5yr old and not, ultimately, succeed - being that I am the adult of "approximately" 20 years her senior).  The problem is, she's happy, they genuinely don't mind, she's not actually getting in the way (she only does it when they're not busy and rushed off their feet), and the hotel where we stay is certainly not a 5 Star Hilton or such establishment.

And I am hoping that some of the service skills will rub off on her - and she will be able to make Mojito's, serve breakfast in bed, and handle the phones when we get home.

This is my New Year's wish for 2011.

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