One of my favorite places on earth is Bali but when we first arrived we found only two things: Australian partiers and touters. It wasn’t until we got to Amed that the island came to life for us. Long story short, we left our hotel to find some dinner and ate at the little homestay’s restaurant. We got to talking with owner, Made, and I decided to look at the two-room homestay he had just built. It was about $10 a night and nicer than the room I paid for down the street! The next day we left our hotel and moved to Hoky Homestay and ended up staying for 11 nights!
We ended up spending a lot of time with Made and his family. They invited us to a ceremony at their family temple, he took us fishing in his boat a couple of times and he let us borrow his scooter to run an errand. It wasn’t long before Made told us that we were family too and told the one staff member that when they cook for the family, we were to be included… and man can they cook fish!
This Balinese family gave us so much that I really wanted to do something special for them. What do I have plenty of? Points of course. The time was coming for us to fly out soon and Made was already planning to taxi us to the other side of the island, so I asked if he and his family would be interested in going early with us and staying at the Hyatt. The Hyatt is a bit of an icon to the local community. In fact, through out our trip I must have heard a dozen times, “You’re from America? Obama came here and stayed at the Hyatt!”
The Bali Hyatt is a killer deal, 5,000 Hyatt points a night. I transferred points into my account and Carrie already had enough for Made’s family, so away we went. Made was like a kid at the thought of it. Everyone on the road had heard of our gift and they made their thanks known. He told us, “This is an opportunity that I would never have in this life… probably not in the next few lives!” That was new for me.
Made was excited! When they welcomed us with a cold towel, a flower necklace and a fruit drink he was all smiles. However his wife Wayan was quite nervous. But for both of them it was largely an opportunity to give their oldest boys who were 12 and 9. The first night when I called to see if they wanted to swim in the pool the boys were glued to the TV (oh no! I americanized them!). But trust me, we later lived up the pool as much as anyone could.
I really do look forward to to visiting them again and bringing my family. If you ever go to Bali go up to Amed and visit my friends at Hoky Homestay.
In hindsight it’s quite humbling for someone to say this is a once in a [multiple] lifetime opportunity when it’s the life we live everyday. And their kindness is inspiring. It goes to show, it doesn’t matter where you’re from or how much money (or points) you have, giving is an opportunity everyone has.