Indonesians like to sing. A lot. From the latest Indonesian pop songs to Jason Mraz, we hear them after we pass their little warungs, or doing karaoke in the electronics store, or as they pass us on the street. It isn’t always pretty, but it’s often followed by a laugh just to let us know that it isn’t so much about being in key as it is about being happy.
Mari and I were reflecting on this after having just secured our next day’s plans of visiting an off the path village and temple hopping. With the rest of the day free, we decided to just walk around the beach the rest of the afternoon before heading back to our hostel. There are times when we have time to kill in spades and this was one of those afternoons. We passed a group of uniformed guys who asked us if we had a minute. And we’re used to usually just walking right by them (Mari after politely refusing, and me usually without any acknowledgement), but today decided to give them a chance to do their spiel. One of the guys gave us two prize cards and asked us to open them. Mari opened hers and “won” either A) a digital camcorder B) a week free in a resort or C) $500. In sing-song English the guy exclaimed how excited he was for her and told her if we went to listen to a holiday club presentation, we were guaranteed one of the three for free. We balked a little, but he threw in a $20 food voucher for us. We balked a little less and he threw in free drinks, and a free taxi ride back to our hostel. Sold.
As we entered into a van to go to the resort where the presentation was Mari started to freak out a little and exclaimed, “for the record I don’t like this one bit.” I asked her what record she was speaking of and tried to calm her down by telling her it sounded like we were going to sit through a timeshare pitch and come away with some freebies. She said fine, but she wasn’t talking at all throughout the pitch. She yelled her last words of, “we are not giving you any money!” to the sales guy as we pulled into the resort.
It turns out, the Royal Resorts are the largest Holiday Club in Australia and expanding almost exponentially after its 18 years in business. With luxury apartments or suites in Goa, India; Phuket, Thailand; and Bali, Indonesia we had the opportunity to OWN a studio for a week a year in India if we purchased that day. And if we did that, we’d receive airline and cruise discounts up to 50% off public prices, and be tied into a network of partners that offered luxury holiday stays for about $200/week.
I smiled through the presentation sipping my cold coca colas and asked a few questions to seem interested. It seemed too good to be true, but I was assured people from all walks of life made the jump and took advantage of it. In fact, it was pointed out to us that we could sell our week or even the cheap holiday stays and make our money back within 6 months. And despite the numbers not adding up, us knowing nothing about this company, not even knowing where Goa, India was, and us not having gainful employment, their pitch did get our minds turning. Do we have friends and family who we could share this wonderful gift with? YES… Did we think we could travel enough to take advantage of this remarkable savings? YES! Could we put just $1500 down today to start cashing in on these guaranteed rewards for the next 25 years? And see, that’s the sticking point we keep coming back to…no.!
In the end, we wizened up maybe because of cash flow and maybe because it was a silly dream to begin with, and told them no. We finished our drinks, took our food voucher and free week in a resort in Phuket, Thailand. And we left to return back to our hostel in our air-conditioned taxi ride. And as I looked out the window, scooters rushing by, I caught myself barely and nearly inaudibly, but definitely, singing.
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