Being the community manager


My role is community manager for BootsnAll and today felt like it. My day started around 6 am when I awoke and went for a walk down to the beach just like Sean and I used to. I was expecting a call from Sean to see how I was progressing and to touch base. I quickly showered and awaited the arrival of our cleaner Katut. She came and was in her usual quiet, good spirits, getting to work immediately.

Shortly after at around 8.30am Sean called and we talked about how things were going in Eugene and Bali. Since Sean has left I have received our new Baliblog t-shirts and business cards but as far as daily life, much is the same. I feel as though more has probably changed for him in the time we parted.

It felt good to talk and keep the momentum going.

After Sean’s call I was expecting a visit from our friend Putra from Taman Sari restaurant. He’s a really nice guy and asked me if if had time to discuss a problem he has away from the restaurant. I knew I’d be home on Tuesday morning so I told him to drop by. Putra sat on our couch and I gave him some orange juice. He was quiet and I found out that he and 4 other staff were being let go at the end of the month. Our friends Katut, Putu, and others included. Putra then told me the main reason he was coming to see me. A few days ago I gave out 6 shirts to him at the restaurant and told him to give them out to the staff. Here in Bali word spreads like wildfire, give one person a shirt and they’ll tell 10 people, give 10 people a shirt and you’re Santa Claus. As it worked out the kitchen staff didn’t get a shirt and were majorly pissed at him / me.

Putra asked if I could give Putu a shirt and one for his mom. He said if I gave him shirts in the restaurant the kitchen staff would be ‘very angry’ with him. I had a shirt handy and gave it to him. He seems satisfied. This is a learning experience. Giving things to part of a group sends all kinds of messages.

I then got a call from Chimene Hickey, an old friend from Santa Barbara who has lived all over the world including spending 2 years in Bukit Luwang Sumatra. She has just returned from Sumatra and was in Bali shopping for batik and silver jewelry. Chimene has a business visiting fairs in California as well as working as a landscape gardener. She came with a friend of hers, Rudy, who is from Singaraja and is helping her.

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Anyway I zoomed off to Global Extreme, the large cyber cafe / ISP that is managed by Mimi from Java.

I got a call from my friend Yumi who works at Stadium Cafe and who wanted to help me with my Indonesian, that has been lagging recently. We agreed to meet at the house at 1pm. Yumi arrived and we had lunch at the Mykonos Cafe, bumping into Gerry Williams from BaliEats.com. Yumi had never eaten Greek food and pecked at the kebab and vegetables, finishing off all the rice. Many people in this part of the wolrd eat rice with each meal and it’s their ‘go to’ item when in doubt.

We headed back to the house and went through my phrase book for a couple of hours until Chimene and Rudy’s arrival. It was a great reunion, I haven’t seen Chimene since ’97 and she’s good energy, locals like her a lot. Rudy told us amazing stories of Balinese magic including how his grandad could fly and his dad came back from the dead after being buried. Yumi was enjoying the interaction and was agreeing that in years past the magic used to be stronger when people believed more and were observant.

Yumi took off for work and we chatted for another couple of hours on our patio area. We all went down the street to a 2 level Indonesian restaurant that is made of bamboo and rattan. We sat at Japanese level tables on cushions and ate Balinese fish wrapped in banana leaves. I tried to explain Baliblog and how we’re communicating with travelers and helping people explore the world. Rudy thanked me for believing in Bali and helping the economy.

While we were getting into our conversation my phone rang. “Hi, this is Bill, just arrived in Bali and want to get together tonight.” Bill is a BootsnAll member who a wonderful article on getting shot in El Salvador which I have forwarded to many people since. He’s travelling in Asia with his girlfriend Susy and I had to meet them.

Finishing dinner and bidding farewell to Rudy and Chimene I took a taxi down to Internet Outpost where they were waiting. We moved on to Warung 96 and chatted over a 7 up and a beer. Bill and Susy want to spend 2 months here in Bali and Bill is a pretty good surfer. Tomorrow I’m will be helping him look for a place to rent, get a motorbike and hook up with Paul, an Aussie surfing guru I met.

This was a fun and busy day. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.

More details will follow.