Thursday, July 30, 2015

Paradise aka Aseania Resort

For the umpteenth time since I arrived here I have thought is this really my life? Imagine a beautiful tropical island with a perfect beach resort and a really cool boss. That is my life for the next few days/weeks. Aseania is the  beautiful pristine island retreat that I arrived at after Tioman Islands to do my next HelpX thing.

My first night I tried to help out and even awkwardly carried my first tray of fancy drinks. As I reached for the tray I had a sudden flashback to the only time I'd ever done serving for a catering company in Ottawa. When clearing the tables at the end the person who was paired with me piled tons of wine glasses on the tray and said "go". I made it to the kitchen  before having the giant tray topple over. Needless to say I was not called for a second shift. This is what was running through my mind as I started to do a simple task that servers could do with their eyes shut. Luckily no beers, margaritas or tequila sunrises were harmed that night. At least not at my hands.

Over the next while my main task appeared to be manning the beach bar/snorkel rental hut from 12-2 and 4-7 and if we were fully booked then I'd help out at clearing dinner plates and helping Halim out at the bar. Not a bad gig and on slow days  at the beach bar I would get an exceptional amount of reading done. I got to also speak with John a bit, the Indonesian  guy who ran the beach bar during the day. His english wasn't to great but my bahasa malay and Indonesia is nonexistent so no judgement here. We'd talk a bit in broken English and would occasionally refer to his malay-english dictionary whenever one of us would say something that elicited a blank stare. After a week I had a new job added to my tasks. If the beach bar wasn't busy I'd close up early and go for long sunset walks on the beach with Strix, a good looking boy. Only downside was that boy was a dog but who am I to be picky?

I definitely can't go on without mentioning the staff here - the staff and Bosd Jasbeer are amazing. Jasbeer took over about 7 years ago, personally hired all his staff and takes care of them and stands by them and is very proud of his workers; something I definitely believe because there is no turnover, many have been there 7 years. When a communication error leads to a staff making a mistake or bringing something to the wrong table he laughs it off with the guest and makes it seem like he intentionally sent it to them. With the exception of the Malaysian kitchen staff the rest of the staff are from India, Indonesia and Bangladesh and every single one of then are amazing and really nice, somewhat shy, guys. The only female staff here are Watiih and Eewen.  Watiih I have not spoken with much but Eewen is a firecracker who has even invited me to hang with her after work before. She may describe everyone as 'her best friend' but I still am happy to have made the cut even if it's not too exclusive.

Jasbeer has been a fantastic boss and I've thoroughly enjoyed all the late night talks (over beer, wine, mojitos, or whiskey) and I've been lucky enough to have him share his love of food with me in the form of chicken pies and some great Chinese food. The Chinese food was during a Mersing field trip where we went to this Chinese place that's been open for 25 years or so and unlike the "Chinese food" you get in North America this stuff was legit. It's now looking like I'll be staying here for the next month, and if my first week has been any indication  of how things are here it's going to be a great month.

Things I've done: taken drink orders and carried 7 drinks on one tray (I list this as something I've accomplished since I was sure I'd drop it), started to seem like I know a bit around here, drank plenty of brandy with some of the Chinese guests who invited me to join them one evening, bartended (only easy stuff so far), snorkeled a ton on Besar island, and ate way too much food....every single day.

What I've learned: The staff here are troopers. Every time I see their cell phone background and ask who that cute kid is 100% of the time it's theirs. They work here all year long any only see their kids at monsoon  season.  I'm almost afraid to ask one of the guys "who's that kid?" because he looks like a kid himself.

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