Premium ESL Podcast Debuting Soon | Business English!

This is another MASSIVELY monumental moment for me. For the first time since the ESL podcast’s inception, I will be creating a premium ESL podcast on a new Canadian Startup site called mocha.fm. I’m unbelievably excited about this because I was reached out to from an individual from China who’s doing his BA and graduating Waterloo University in Canada. Him, and a band of team-members, created this unbelievable premium podcasting site that gives creators, such as myself, an amazing opportunity to profit and monetize with everything I’ve been doing so far.

Now, some of you may know already about my Patreon. I wouldn’t so much consider it to be a failure, but I haven’t been advertising it much at all and I would have to shove it down the throats of my listeners to get them to subscribe. Now, having a premium podcast and launching exclusive content is going to be unbelievably key. Oh, and completely different from what I’m doing now.

Because I’m in the Advanced Level of my ESL podcast, there isn’t a next level after this. In fact, I would be switching back to the lower levels while kicking off business English.

Well, for 10$ a month, you’ll be able to access my exclusive business English course (and will be different from the business English course I will launch around May of this year), firsthand, and learn a variety of different things. Well, some of you may be asking: “what’s the difference?” Well, here are some of the things I’ll be featuring in my business English course down below.

  • Developing Fluency
  • Reading
  • Vocabulary
  • Phrase Bank
  • Listening
  • Grammar
  • Interviews
  • Roleplay (International Guest Speakers
  • Workplace Scenarios

As the levels go up, there will be more context, HR, Logistics, Working Across Cultures, Banking and other things implemented. There are so many things to cover within Business English, so this will surely be a 6-season gauntlet that will last for a minimum 3 years.

Nonetheless, I’ll be letting everyone know what’s the premium podcast debuts! Also, I’ll discuss further for any ad-ons and implementations.

Business English

Traveling Pod: Episode 011 – Malaysia for the First Travel of 2019!

YES! Omg, this year is going to feature some super interesting travels, but none are better than kicking off the inaugural flight to one of my favorite places in the world — MALAYSIA!

YES! Omg, this year is going to feature some super interesting travels, but none are better than kicking off the inaugural flight to one of my favorite places in the world — MALAYSIA!

Yes, Spartan Super…..really not looking forward to it (this will be my first and last of the year), but it has to be done and i have to test my body and see if it has progressed since last November (absolute sure).

Nonetheless, this is kicking off with some sneak peeks.

Klook.com has helped me significantly. I’ve already bought my KLIA eskpress train ticket (QR code rather than going to the counter) and it’s on my phone. The SIM card is ready to go, too. So right when I land and stand in that 45-minute line, I can send messages and communicate with the world. It’s pure BRILLIANCE!

Amari Don Meung

What a smooth ride all the way over. Going to this side of town gives me nervous jitters because it was a place that I used to live for 3.5 years. I can’t say they were bad years, but more character building years. The last time I had flown out of this airport had to be July of last year, so to see the surrounding facilities and the massive skytrain develop the way it has…is pretty amazing.

When I arrived at the hotel, I had to walk through the restaurant, which was serving some DAMN “smelling-good” type food. I went down an escalator and arrived at check-in. For the first time in years, I was greeted with a smile and check-in was smoother-than-ever.

HOWEVER!

There was a bit of an issue. A guy smiled at me….well, I thought he did. I looked over my right shoulder and didn’t see anyone.

He did it a second time before coming over from where he was sitting….to sitting directly behind me at the check-in counter. This was reminisce of the mayhem I went through when I first visited Bangkok.

Some of you are asking yourselves “who was he? Who are these people?” Well, let’s just say these are sex solicitors. How do hotels allow these types of monsters to operate ON PROPERTY, is beyond comprehension. They try selling dumb ass services such as suits, sex massage, and other repugnant things. Luckily, I knew exactly what he was going to ask me. So while the lady was checking me in, I was like “speak Thai to him….he’ll go away in an instant.” These types of people target non-Thai speaking foreigners/solo travelers (especially men because they know the men want to experience a lot of exotic things). I, on the other hand, was too difficult to solicit because I knew his malicious game. He tried giving me a high-five at the end and I kinda blew him off (didn’t want to be that much of an asshole….but it happened). It was a quick exchange, he knew I was a teacher, and once I told him “yes,” he shifted his body language and turned away because he knew I wasn’t falling for his scam. BOOM!

The room was very quaint. It had a like a 90’s retro feel to it. Spacious, comfortable seating, and a dated alarm clock (which I actually liked). I didn’t go swimming or anything, but it was somewhat quiet. And although the price may seem a bit steep for a lot of travelers (about 90$ a night), you can also stay at other hotels in the area but you have to walk through sweltering traffic to get there and it’s not connected to the airport.

Upon check-out, I literally woke up, walked downstairs, got my deposit, and walked across an air-conditioned pedestrian bridge to the airport, and took an elevator one floor up to get to the departure lounge. Honestly, other than Changi Airport, tell me a more convenient way? Transit hotels are popular only at Changi airport….or else you would have to pay a lot of money to stay at big-name hotel chains.

Rating – 9.0 out of 10

Yes, Spartan Super…..really not looking forward to it (this will be my first and last of the year), but it has to be done and i have to test my body and see if it has progressed since last November (absolute sure).

Nonetheless, this is kicking off with some sneak peeks.

Klook.com has helped me significantly. I’ve already bought my KLIA eskpress train ticket (QR code rather than going to the counter) and it’s on my phone. The SIM card is ready to go, too. So right when I land and stand in that 45-minute line, I can send messages and communicate with the world. It’s pure BRILLIANCE!

Amari Don Meung

What a smooth ride all the way over. Going to this side of town gives me nervous jitters because it was a place that I used to live for 3.5 years. I can’t say they were bad years, but more character building years. The last time I had flown out of this airport had to be July of last year, so to see the surrounding facilities and the massive skytrain develop the way it has…is pretty amazing.

When I arrived at the hotel, I had to walk through the restaurant, which was serving some DAMN “smelling-good” type food. I went down an escalator and arrived at check-in. For the first time in years, I was greeted with a smile and check-in was smoother-than-ever.

HOWEVER!

There was a bit of an issue. A guy smiled at me….well, I thought he did. I looked over my right shoulder and didn’t see anyone.

He did it a second time before coming over from where he was sitting….to sitting directly behind me at the check-in counter. This was reminisce of the mayhem I went through when I first visited Bangkok.

Some of you are asking yourselves “who was he? Who are these people?” Well, let’s just say these are sex solicitors. How do hotels allow these types of monsters to operate ON PROPERTY, is beyond comprehension. They try selling dumb ass services such as suits, sex massage, and other repugnant things. Luckily, I knew exactly what he was going to ask me. So while the lady was checking me in, I was like “speak Thai to him….he’ll go away in an instant.” These types of people target non-Thai speaking foreigners/solo travelers (especially men because they know the men want to experience a lot of exotic things). I, on the other hand, was too difficult to solicit because I knew his malicious game. He tried giving me a high-five at the end and I kinda blew him off (didn’t want to be that much of an asshole….but it happened). It was a quick exchange, he knew I was a teacher, and once I told him “yes,” he shifted his body language and turned away because he knew I wasn’t falling for his scam. BOOM!

The room was very quaint. It had a like a 90’s retro feel to it. Spacious, comfortable seating, and a dated alarm clock (which I actually liked). I didn’t go swimming or anything, but it was somewhat quiet. And although the price may seem a bit steep for a lot of travelers (about 90$ a night), you can also stay at other hotels in the area but you have to walk through sweltering traffic to get there and it’s not connected to the airport.

Upon check-out, I literally woke up, walked downstairs, got my deposit, and walked across an air-conditioned pedestrian bridge to the airport, and took an elevator one floor up to get to the departure lounge. Honestly, other than Changi Airport, tell me a more convenient way? Transit hotels are popular only at Changi airport….or else you would have to pay a lot of money to stay at big-name hotel chains.

Rating – 9.0 out of 10

Listen to “Traveling Podcast: Episode 011 – Malaysia, Don Meung, Renaissance – GLORY!” on Spreaker.

Stephen Covey’s Season 4 – Episode 2: The Economics of Trust

Here we go, people.  Here’s a simple formula that will enable you to take trust from a variable.  Trust affects two outcomes — speed and cost.  When trust goes down, speed will also go down and costs will go up.

When trust goes up, speed will also go up and costs will go down.

Stephen Covey talked about the historic situation that happened on September 11th, 2001.  His trust in flying in America had gone down significantly.  When he would travel before the attacks, it was very easy for him to get through airport security and home in the quick airport routine.  Now there are procedures that take a lot longer at airports.  In recent years, FAA and airport security had come under fire because apparently they were sexually molesting a lot of passengers, including children.  Since then, the reports have plummeted, but you guys get the drift.  His trust went down, speed also went down and the cost went up. 

He also had flown out of a high-risk area in the Middle East.  His trust was super low in this area and had to arrive at the airport four hours before his flight, significantly reducing the speed.  He had to go through several screenings, and his bag was unpacked and searched multiple times by multiple people.  I also saw this when a passenger flying from Dubai to New York (on the flight that apparently 100 people were sick) had the same exact problem.

Clearly, extra security measures were necessary, and in this instant I was grateful for them, but the point remains the same: Because trust was low, speed went down and cost went up.

So, how can I relate this to my life? Well, when I had first flown Southwest Airlines in August of 2006 to Arizona, I flew alongside my friend Ty.  When we took off, I was terrified and tears were running down my face because of the September 11th events. I no longer trusted Americans, flights, airports or anything after that happened.  However, as time went on, I got maybe a fraction better — but still didn’t trust them.

Fast-forwarding it to present day, I live in a hot zone where planes crash quite often (Indonesia).  My students always tell me, “Nok Air and Air Asia are cheap!”  I would say, “I don’t have a cheap life.”  Air Asia, with two inexperienced pilots, got slammed four years ago when a flight going from Jakarta to Singapore fell into the ocean.  The pilots tried climbing elevation too fast and they fell out of the sky.  Human error.

A week and a half ago, Thai Lion Air, which is based at the airport I hate just north of Bangkok, also crashed leaving Jakarta airport.  Jakarta is known for having the worst crash-safety (Russia and north Africa, too), in the world and that scared the hell out of me.

Will I ever fly Air Asia or Thai Lion Air if I go to any part of Indonesia? Absolutely NOT.

I flew Singapore Airlines 2 years ago. Why? Trust is extremely high with them and the speed is fast — however — the cost is high, too.

When the Bali bombings happened in 2003, I asked a colleague (should I go to Bali)? I was terrified of going to Bali after bombings, such as that, had happened.  I then realized my trust in Bali was low because of one event.  If that’s the case, I can NEVER go to New York!

See how silly that is?

So I went, and it was the best trip of my life.

Anytime I travel now, I take the best airlines.  Travel to HK? Cathay Pacific.  Back to America? Singapore Airlines.  As of this year, I told myself I’ll never fly Air Asia again.  The flight attendants are stupendously unprofessional and don’t care about anyone.  The last time I flew with them it was a shaking rollercoaster and a tube with F1 Race car seats inside. I can’t do it anymore.

When I fly now, I fly out of the main airport.  I don’t go to the old airport anymore in the north. Why? I don’t trust the security, check-in, staff, food, or ANYTHING there.  Sure, the speed is high and the cost is low, but without trust, I just can’t do it.

 

Podcast

Next Trip: Hong Kong & Macau! Pre-Bookings & Efficiency!

Oh, how unbelievably elated I am to announce my first ever trip to HK.  I was suppose to go there last year on a layover, but I cancelled my trip back home to America (for so many different reasons).  So, discussion ran rampant in class one day and I was trying to tell my students to list the pros and cons of going to specific countries and it went a little something like this.

First, when deciding a flight, always look at multiple sites.  I’m telling you this because I almost paid $450 USD for a flight that was jut under $300 USD on another website — a whopping 33% difference.

After searching for flights, and with along some other students at another location, it came down to the Philippines and Hong Kong for my August travel (and again, hopefully this is the last travel until October/November).  After reviewing the metrics and figuring out what Manila had to offer, of course I went with Hong Kong, a city that has so much more to offer and a ferry ride to Macau.

So, here I am on the cusp of going to Hong Kong, a country I never thought I’d go to while highlighting one of my goals on my 101 goals list (flying 5 ***** Cathay Pacific) and I’m just amazed how I’ve kept at my goals and aspirations.

Self Control: Episode II – Thainess & How I Get Over The Racial Humps

Here’s the follow up of what I mentioned in the Ramble of Positivity blog.

Situation 1: Check-In Desk Ignorance

This girl was all smiles and started asking questions to the girl sitting on her side.  I heard her mention months June and July.  She was checking the validity of my passport, which has 11 months left (renewing in October), but it’s the simple fact that maybe she was just being newbie (which is completely fine), or maybe she was told to check “blacks” passport rigorously.  This happens to all colored people around the world, and it won’t stop until medias stop the ignorant berating of black people on their news outlets.

Ok, a rant.  Got it.  Check.  Speaking from the heart here.

After everything was done, she asked, of COURSE, if I was checking in a bag.  After all the supposed fuss, there was nothing left to be done and she smiled while giving me my ticket.

Yawn.  Typical Thainess.  Label the black man as the “Nigerian scammer.”

Situation 2: Ignorant Immigration

Yeah, let it be said.  I have no reason to not call out the racial discrimination that WOMEN dish on black people.  Remember, I was standing in line behind an African just last year and the immigration lady labeled the living hell out of her and took her into an office.  I stood right before her and was hoping she said something to me — didn’t.

Anywho, I go to the window (after telling other people that they’re idiots while standing in line).   Guy before me goes in about 15 seconds, I had to wait three minutes.

She looked at the main face of my passport, browsed through my pages, scanned my page — and then she put on her glasses.  I laughed, shook my head and said “calm down, Arsenio, they’re just time-wasters and seeing if you’re a drug dealer.”  After two more minutes of purely nothing and her looking to get a commission, she was FORCED to stamp my passport.  I slammed my hand on the table where my passport was and scampered away.

After all that fuss and wasting my time, looking to see if my passport was real (which reallllyyyyy pissed me off because I’m American and I have an insane amount of rights in this country), she couldn’t do a god damn thing.

Yes, No More Women Immigration Officers!

Today marked the last day that I will ever go to a female immigration officer.  From 2013’s most racist woman at the southern border of Thailand, to what happens with women on a routine basis…..it’s completely sickening.  Let me give you an example.  Last time I left to Laos, the male officer cracked a joke saying, “last day.” Ughhhh, yeah! Last day of my visa! Sorry, no 33 USD for you, buddy.  I winked and left.

Coming back in there was a young guy and he was cooler than ever.  I’ve actually had the nicest immigration officer EVER at that same southern border.

I know how to avoid ignorance now.  Big check.

But what can be learned from this?  You, the reader, what can you take away from this?

Just because one ignorant mindset, opinion, or adjective gets you ticked off DOESN’T mean the end of the world.  In relations to that, if you get mad, they win.  If you let an ignorant mindset win you over, you no longer have control and you make your decisions based on fight-or-flight.  Your blood pressure would start to climb and your nervousness would boil over into an explosion. Not what you want to do.

Looking back at the situation, I can see how it all happened.

  • Malaysians with thousands of luggages before me makes me irritated.
  • Malaysian, who was clogging up the counter, didn’t move her luggage, which forced me to go to the other counter where the girl acted like an asshole.
  • Family at passport control completely disingenuous and Chinese guy says something to me, waving me behind him before I started yelling.
  • After the confrontation, I get into the wrong lane where a woman looked at my passport for five hours.
  • At security check, a Chinese girl had some flatulence and it smelled horrible.

 

When you connect the dots, you’ll notice how it all happened.  From each event, it got worse and worse.  It all could’ve been avoided if I used the toilet before going home,

LOL!

 

Traveling Pod: Episode 4 – Vientiane, Laos — The Roots! Stunning Human Beings & Gratitude

Air Asia flight bound for Wattay International Airport in Vientiane.  Hmmm, I’ll just let the nostalgia sit in for a bit.  Just 3 years ago, I was scampering across the streets of Vientiane with a Frenchman who couldn’t handle his alcohol, got snubbed by some tuk-tuk drivers (just like Thailand), and ended up walking home angrily, leaving the Frenchman behind (had no idea where he was after a few drinks).  I know, it sounds like a trip from hell, and it sorta was.  I paid next to nothing to stay in a garbage garbage room ($10 USD a night) and it was infested with mosquitoes (ripped me to shreds that night) and had spider nests in each corner of the bathroom.  That was the last time I was cheap (LOL).  The next day, however, I stayed in something sexy, met a funny guy in the immigration line, came across a wonderful breakfast with great locals and so many other things.  I wanted to go back to my roots — just a bit — to relive some of those special moments.

Check-In + Security + Immigration = 5 minutes

Like, how can you beat that? Hey, I went from checking in, to the immigration line, to going through screening in FIVE MINUTES at Don Meuang International Airport (the sister of the massive one in Samut Prakan — located in south Bangkok).  Now, the other airport that I refuse to spell does a pretty good job, too.  However, I went from a traffic jam, to walking 400 meters to the airport, weaving through traffic (and I mean pedestrians) and got to my counter exactly 3 hours before check-in.  Wow! Oh, throw in a workout I had this morning  that included a crazy amount of arms and legs (which equates to soreness) and there you have it! It hasn’t even reached 10am and it feels like I’ve been awake for 8 hours already.

Arrival

I was a little bit scared about my hotel (S Park Design Hotel) because I received a number of emails from them….same emails.  I received the 8th one over the course of four days and said, “guys, I’ve already emailed you! What’s happening?”  Thanks to my instinct, I checked booking.com’s messaging screening through my email and they had responded to me, giving me their whatsapp number.  So, I contacted them and they confirmed everything with suburb service!

[9:34 AM, 6/13/2018] S Park design: Hello Mr. Arsenio Buck, Thank you very much for contacting me.
[9:37 AM, 6/13/2018] S Park design: We will be there waiting for you for sure. Actually, we planned to pick you up even if we might not have your flight number. Anyway, it is perfect now. By the way, my name is Phonepasith PHENGVILAY, Executive Assistant Manager. My team and I are delighted to be part of your good stay at our hotel. See you soon. Take care.

Now that’s some damn good service!

Flight Mayhem

Ascending was already a pain in the ass, but what was even worse was descending.  We were flying around some pretty dark clouds and it was tossing the plane as if was a god damn toy.  After descending to about 1000 feet, we could finally see the ground.  What guided me through this turbulence? Aloe Blacc’s “The Man.” LOL!

Failed Visa — Again!

I had no idea that I needed a visa on arrival.  Last time I came to Laos, which was three years ago, I didn’t need a visa.  But because I didn’t check this time around, I was in for a rude awakening.  I had Lao Kip (local currency) and I brought only 66$ with me.  The visa was more than half of that, so now I have about 20$ USD left! DAMNIT! I’m so pissed because I didn’t learn from my past mistakes!

The Arrival At My Hotel

And these are the days I live for.  The overwhelming sense of joy when meeting such gracious people who are willing to help you.  From the customer service, to the hospitality.  It’s pretty remarkable to see the willingness of other people’s actions.  All smiles (just as last time), funky hotel (pictures down below), and a very quaint room.  This is only the beginning!

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The rest of the stay is in my podcast. I don’t want this blog being insanely long.

Podcast

Preventing Lost Luggage

There are plenty of nuisances while traveling.  Just recently I experienced a brain-fart delay of 2.5 hours.  Why? Malaysia Airlines has a culture of being late.  On top of that, I was late again coming back to Thailand.

If we talk about other annoyances, lost luggage could be the absolute worse one.  Sitting here typing this and still sweating from the problem I had 11 years ago with Southwest Airlines torments me in my dreams.  Well, not really….I got my luggage back after five days.

Now, how can you prevent the silliest things from happening? Can I say fly Emirates from New York to Los Angeles? Absolutely not…because Emirates doesn’t fly domestically in America.  It’s all about doing research on the airline.  Southwest Airlines apparently is the most notorious for lost luggage with a whopping 400,000 complaints having been filed in the last calendar year.  Which is the best domestic Airline in America? Apparently United.  UNITED! Is it worth the risk? Nah, I won’t be evil.

Personally, I can go on with stories, but out of all the years I’ve flown, my luggage, going from Las Vegas to Phoenix, was lost for five days.  Apparently it went to Chicago.  That feeling of being at the conveyor belt and it suddenly stopping…I knew I was in it, and not to win it, either.

Since that happened, every time I go to the conveyor belt, I sway from side-to-side biting my knuckles.  Shame on you, Southwest!  Flying internationally and losing your luggage along the way could be the worst feeling ever, but it’s never happened to me before.  So, let me just give you some simple steps.

  1. DON’T FLY! Ship it!

I’m kidding.

2. Identification for your bag! Yes, it could be a microchip or just filling out the basic information in the side panel of your luggage.  For example, I bought a wonderful bag tag and strapped it up to my luggage with my name, email address, and international phone number.  If my luggage disappears, they just have to email me and that’s the end of it.  Look how easy THAT IS!

3.  Double-check the check-in counter.  That’s right, I wait until they print my ticket to see if it has the correct arrival destination acronym on it.  If I’m going to Thailand, I better see BKK.  Since doing this, I never lost my luggage again and I’ve never even seen a misprint.  Please, it doesn’t hurt to look on the belt and see her strap it on…securely.

Podcast if you want the audio version and the funny stories…….

https://www.spreaker.com/user/thearseniobuckshow/prevent-lost-luggage

 

4. Take photos! It’s not that difficult.  When you’re done packing, take a photo of the size, width, and everything dimensional about the luggage so you can send them an email of what it looks like.

5.  Get a FREAKISHLY ugly color.  No one gives a damn about what color suitcase you have; and if they do, it’s none of your damn business – quite frankly.  I have……an off brown Bonny luggage and a gorgeous chocolate brown with lime green stripes type of luggage for my dispersion.  Yes, they’re way different from the standard and ridiculous black one you see coming out one-by-one.  Get a “viva Las Vegas” luggage.  Hell, I recently saw a shocking yellow – National Geographic one.  Stand out from the rest so no one dares to put hands on yours.

6. Check-in right when the gate opens and avoid short layovers.  These hilarious stories are on my podcast….so tune in, damnit!

Get ready for handful of blogs and podcasts coming soon from my Maldives trip!

Bali, Indonesia + Tough Mudder + Singapore Airlines = Trip of a Lifetime!

I was on a treadmill with one of my colleagues thinking about the Bali bombings and trying to conjure up an excuse NOT TO GO to Bali.  Given the events that took place a decade and a half ago –  a person, such as myself, would be terrified of heading to a resort island because of extremist groups.

“What? Are you seriously afraid of something that hasn’t happened in 15 years? Are you just making excuses? Stop it.  You sound ridiculous. Just go!” he said.

The next couple of weeks of pondering lead to me finally booking a ticket of course on Singapore Airlines (the fear of flying disintegrates when you fly with 5 star airlines).

I’m going to Bali!

The Lead Up

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Booking a hotel at the famous Baiyoke Sky in Bangkok was essential in terms of traveling to the airport  in the morning.  Is the area around the hotel legitimate? Not necessarily.  A bit dodgy once you step downstairs to be honest, but it was quiet and good enough for traveling instead of hauling from the outer suburbs while trying to beat the traffic.  Not worth it.

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Bangkok Airport, which is still technically new to the area, has it’s own nice perks.  Over the last four years, massive renovations have taken place to whereas you can charge your phone at stand-alone-kiosks! Yeah, Americans….I know.  Delta Airlines provides passengers at Sky Harbour International Airport in Arizona this for free, but Thailand is a completely different place.  When I saw some of the flight attendants and airport personnel setting up shop for the flight from Bangkok to Singapore, I bursted into excitement before the gorgeous Singapore Airlines A320 (smaller version) came roaring into the gate.  Ahhhh…alas! Here’s the beginning of my crazed trip!

Changi International Airport – Singapore

I was extremely critical of Changi the last time around because at the wee hours of the morning, there isn’t anything open.  Given the fact that skytrax and other award giving websites deemed this to be the #1 airline in the world, I expect there to be currency exchange counters open and at least trains running through the terminals. NOPE!

However, during the day…it’s wonderful.  I still believe that the signage is just too much at times.  Too overwhelming and very hard to figure out what to do.  For those traveling to Changi, be sure to figure out exactly what you’re going to do upon arrival or you’ll just be running in circles.

Bali, Indonesia

Gorgeously amazing flight attendants with caramel skin (Balinese I’m guessing) doing a last run of assisting passengers before the descent.  Unfortunately, it was nearing 9pm at night, which takes away the gorgeous daytime view of the island, Mt. bromo, and a few other places. I recall seeing some lights in the distance outside my window, but the terrifying part about it was the glare coming from the ocean. We were literally 100m from the water with no airport in sight.  FINALLY (which seemed like forever) the landing came and I took a huge breather.  Wow, as an African American, being from the neighborhood I’m from…..I’ve arrived to Indonesia, which is my first time arrival and 11th country. CHECK!

From immigration officers telling Chinese people to go away, from them not even checking my bags or suspecting anything suspicious of me.  Thank you, Bali.  First time here and there isn’t any racial profile going on.  Once I walk outside the terminal, my hotel (Sintesa Jimbaran) and private driver greeted me.  He took my luggage, went to the car, and then spoke about Bali in FLUENT ENGLISH about the language on the island, people, religion, and just about everything else.  The most important part of the trip…..why? I felt there was a connection.  He was talking from the soul, unlike most Thai taxi drivers who sound overly friendly and make the wrong left turn to make more money on the meter.  This gentleman spoke with genuinty and such truthfulness that’s even indescribable.  When this happened, I then knew that these were going to be some amazing people.

Sintesa Jimbaran Hotel

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This hotel was the definition of sheer beauty.  I arrived and was greeted by smiles; men who were wearing these large, gown like robes and accommodating everything about me.  They already knew who I was and greeted me by name, too.  After getting to the hotel around 10:00pm, the concierge opened my door and I walked into an ice cold room (just the way I like it) and saw just how massive it was.  Spa in the tub? Rain shower? Enormous bed and jazz music playing?

I sat down.  I cried.  “Arsenio, I’m so proud of you.  What you’ve done these last several years overcoming immense obstacles in Thailand – look where you are now.  Look around! If you would’ve asked yourself back in the summer of 2012, hearing your family complain about not having 10$…..do you think you would be here four years later.”  I held my hands up to my face and let out a “YESSSSSSS! I’m so happy and grateful for everything I’ve achieved!”

Is this happiness?

The Morning After – and I’m not talking about remorse, either.

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Sunrise, greenery, cloud formations, wonderful breakfast, 5 star concierge greeting me and talking to me as if I’m part of their family, running beachside, impeccable breakfast.  Should I say more?  I recall staring with a large grin at my face at the water coming onto the beach.  The sounds of the waves crashing.  Surfers from Spain laughing while trying to catch some low-tide waves, wife sitting in awe with her chin to the sky – breathing deeply.

My goodness.

This is what happiness is.

Night Safari

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Since living in Thailand and reading up on famous authors, I’ve grown to love animals much more than before, and cherish everything about these gentle giants.  Having a tiger, sniffing away on top of a caged truck, was pretty terrifying to say the absolute least.  The brown cows that have horns whereas if you cut their horns off, they would bleed to death.  The infamously famous komodos that lay as if they’re dead in pure darkness and a stand-alone elephant (very ominous) just waving his trunk in pure darkness. HA! Damn, I love animals!

Met one of the most lovely Australian families EVER during the trip.  The little boy, who was five, felt like a son.  He asked me so many questions and I felt as if I was his teacher.  The daughter was like, “omg my name is shanequa and I want to go to New York!” A 12 year old utterly infatuated with America and parents telling me, “hey, you’re young! Don’t worry about getting married right now!” HAHA! What an incredible night safari.  Oh, and temple run? The game that took the world by storm a little over 5 years ago? Yeah…I found out where that tradition comes from. RIGHT HERE! The girls…..phew, lets just leave it at that.  I proposed. THERE! I SAID IT!

Tough Mudder – The Monster From Hell

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And the reason I came to Bali to begin with.  To push myself not only mentally and psychologically, but physically.  The hellish course (what it was suppose to be) turned into one of the funnest events I’ve ever done in my life.  The variety of cultures from the Singaporeans who flew in from Singapore, to some of the people in the picture above who work for a newspaper in Jakarta, Indonesia, to some of the finest women I’ve seen in my life from other parts of Indonesia.  Oh, man….WHAT A DAY!

Yeah….Bali was another mental barrier that was crushed.  The mental barrier thinking I was going to get blown to pieces because of events that took place at the dawn of the new century.  See, these things that we see on TV can drive us to insanity.  I met some of the most wonderfully wonderful muslims on top of that, too.  The banjo playing band at the airport whom was singing, “la bamba” almost brought me to tears because their symphonic rhythm while playing in such a harmonious way…..these people were….happy.  Very happy.  I felt something on this island that I’ve never felt anywhere else on this planet, including Hawaii.

I felt serenity.

I felt bliss.

And getting aboard an absolutely gorgeous A777-300ER, I set off back to Singapore-Bangkok with a completely different mindset about my Balinese.

Thank you so much.

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Mount Bromo says HI!

Bali Podcasts 

Arrival –  https://www.spreaker.com/episode/9519588

Day 2 – excursion https://www.spreaker.com/episode/9529788

Day 3 – Tough Mudder https://www.spreaker.com/episode/9538900

Day 4 – Tough Mudder Conquered 

https://www.spreaker.com/episode/9541901

The end of Bali – https://www.spreaker.com/episode/9545169