Friday, August 21, 2009

My Take on Ku De Ta..

Once upon a day, I was halfway eating a bowl of Singaporean Laksa when a fly, which had been flying around trying to get a piece of our food, suddenly swooped down and decided to do a harakiri by diving into my laksa.

I froze.

I saw its tiny body wriggling around, grasping for life. Saw its tiny legs moving frantically for a few seconds before it finally gave up and just float there, motionless. I moved the dead body to another place out of my sight and didn't even bother to call the waiter to complain. I've lost my appetite instantly.

The above experience could probably represents what I feel about Ku De Ta.

A sunny view from Ku De Ta's balcony

Of course many of you would probably be familiar with this place. Opened since year 2000, Ku De Ta is still considered as the place to see and be seen in Bali. The name Ku De Ta resonates with cool and hip. One could say that this place is world renowned.

A trip to Bali wouldn't be complete without a trip to Ku De Ta. And what makes this place so special? Well, the architecture and interior are nice, the fancy food is fairly good, the drink list is impressive, the ambiance music is excellent, the party scene is hype, and the location is just perfect.

Located just off Seminyak beach, it boasts a view to remember, especially on sunsets. It is not a wonder that this place is always jam-packed almost everyday during the afternoon. Ku De Ta is definitely an excellent place to chill with friends over some cool drinks, on the lounge sofas or the outdoor sofas, while waiting for the sun to set. Very romantic, I'd say (ay ay, says everyone else).

I myself have always thought highly of this dreamy place. I've been there a few times and was always impressed and blown away that I always insisted on coming back whenever I went to Bali.

 lost memory: a cozy afternoon with a flute of Raspberry Bellini

That is, until I experienced its pompousness on my last trip.

During my recent vacation to Bali, I made it clear to my friends that we should visit Ku De Ta. Many of them haven't been there so I figured I'd introduce them to this famous spot. We went there on our first night in Bali. We missed the sunset but we still had a good fun, chatting happily over our drinks while enjoying the night breeze and ambiance, occasionally taking a few shots here and there.

On our last day, we were told that our flight was delayed. So I told my friends that we should spend the 'additional' time at Ku De Ta to catch the sunset. Even though it was cloudy and looked like it was going to rain, they all agreed instantly.

We arrived there around 4 p.m. and was forbidden by the security to park inside (or even enter) the premise because he said the parking lot was already full. This happened on the first day's visit too, but at that time we didn't really give it any bad thoughts because we thought it was indeed a busy night. So we parked a few meters in front on an empty land, and walked to Ku De Ta. We noticed that many cars were allowed to go inside the premise and was kind of disturbed with that fact but we shrugged our complaint. No point in ruining our last day of vacation.

It turned out to be signal number 1 of the unwelcoming experience.

Once we reached inside the venue, we found the place was even more packed than on our last visit. There were not a single space left on the lounge sofa or outdoor sofa to sit in. We browsed for a while, hoping to see any table left but it was a fruitless act. The only tables left were the dining tables. And we weren't allowed to sit there unless we're having dinner, which we couldn't as we had to leave around 6.30 to drop the car to my friend's cousin's house and went to the airport after that.

A few minutes after we walked in, rain started to pour down heavily from the sky. Everyone who were sitting outdoor quickly gathered their belongings to run inside. The lounge was suddenly as packed as Jakarta's public buses on weekday's busy hours.

I tried to persuade the staff to let us sit for a while on the dining table. After all, t was barely 5 p.m and we'd leave before dinner time anyway. But the staff curtly replied that the tables were all reserved for dinner and thus couldn't be seated, even though many people had to stand around with drinks on their hands. Ridiculous reasoning, I'd say.

Meanwhile, the rain was getting heavier. We figured we shouldn't waste anymore time there and look for other place. So my friend ran out to get the car. He was to pick the rest of us up in the lobby. We waited there with the rest of the guests who were leaving too, a mix of local and foreign tourists --mostly foreign.

We waited for quite a while, which left us wondering what could be wrong. Because the distance from our parking place to Ku De Ta was not far at all, it was only a few meters away. We were suspecting that he wasn't allowed to bring the car into the premise as before.

After a long while, we finally saw the car. Now we had no umbrellas but there were 1-2 staffs there who were escorting the guests to go inside their car with an umbrella. I waited for my turn when our car has arrived in front of the lobby's steps. And the most irritating thing happened.

I was practically standing in front of the staff with the umbrella, but he looked pass me as if I was invisible! He kept looking at another guest who was a foreigner. Uh, hello?? I'm a guest also and I deserved the same service! He finally noticed us after my friend inquired him and went to escort us to the car.

Inside the car, my friend told us that he had to do a little debate with the security guy to, you guessed, let him enter the premise with our car! He wasn't allowed to go in with the same lame reason, that the place was packed. But he said that he just wanted to pick up his friends (us) at the lobby, which was still denied. Funny thing is, all the while, he let other cars drove in. So my friend asked him, "Why can those other cars go in but I can't?"

And the answer is this, "Because they (the cars) are bringing tourists."

Wham! Racism inside your own country. So just because we were local tourists, we got second class service. It's as if our money worth less that their money, when actually we were paying just the same price. How ironic is that!?

So our suspicion was proven true. That security guy was lucky I wasn't there when he said that line. I think I could slap him in an instant for insulting us --for degrading us, his own countrymen. Yeah, so we don't come from other country, we don't have blonde hair or blue eyes, but we were still guests, for gawd's sake! We deserved the same service and rights!

Such is the mentality of many people here. They have the mental of a 'slave', inherited from centuries ago when our country was invaded by foreigners. What a pity that many people still want to lower themselves, even though we are a free independent country now.

What a shame. Just like that fly who ruined my appetite in a sudden, this experience made me change my mind about Ku De Ta -- 180 degrees. I won't be recommending this place to anyone and I'm not sure I really want to go back there unless they change their snobbish attitude. There are still other places just as good anyway -- and with a much better service!

  This Pink Mojito would taste better if combined with a more professional service

I strongly suggest Ku De Ta to improve the service and educate its staff more so they won't be discriminative. Don't be too arrogant and pompous, in the end you'll be jeopardizing your good reputation.

PS: The pictures were taken from a previous visit -when I still enjoyed the place. After this latest experience, I've never stepped foot inside the place again.

* Originally posted in Multiply, April 14, 2008 (click here to read comments)

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