My first trip to Asia in five years was basically a return to the last place I had spent any time - Bali. Bali served as a convenient side trip weekend between the intensity of the Australian Lotus User Group and a few days of business meetings in Jakarta. Nonstop flights to/from made it a no-brainer choice, though with all the excitement of the democratic movement in Myanmar/Burma last week, I still regret that I couldn't find my way there. Another time.
My wife and I honeymooned in Bali five years ago, so going back without her was disappointing. I resolved that I was there more on a photography mission than anything else, and on that front I was successful. My Bali 2012 photos are posted here, though the pictures don't quite tell the whole story of course.
I used to think "an island is an island is an island", but Bali changed all that for me on our first visit. Yes, you can scuba/snorkel/sun bathe, but the Hindu Balinese themselves don't pay the water much attention. There are luxury, best-in-class hotels, but there are small bungalows as well. There are tourists drinking to excess and counterfeit goods to purchase, but thankfully these are mostly in highly concentrated areas.
For this trip I stayed at the Bali Hyatt in Sanur. TripAdvisor reviews said the place was starting to get a bit run down, but it was a great location for me and amazing service. The club level "lounge" was an outdoor thatched hut with free wifi, so I was able to Facetime my kids while chowing down on my favorite Indonesian food, mie goreng. I would stay there again.
I hired a driver through the hotel for two days. I didn't want to do an organized tour, but rather had picked out a few places on my own to visit. On my first day out, I went to the village of Tenganan, home of the Bali Aga people. Some of the tour books described this place as "disney-fied", and it kind of was. But the photos weren't too bad. From there, I went to the water palace of Tirta Gangga. This was really awesome, a collection of sculpture, water features, and vegetation laid out harmoniously. One could even go for a swim there for about US$2, but I passed on that. My third stop that day was also a water palace, the very recently-restored Taman Ujung (mentioned in same wikipedia entry). This was a wonderful surprise, a lush home laid out right near the sea. There was a couple shooting their wedding photos on the grounds, and a few dozen other people, but it was very very quiet.
In stark contrast, the next morning I set out for Tanah Lot, a temple built on a rock formation along the coast. Tanah Lot is relatively close to the main tourist cities of Kuta and Seminyak, so tourist come to Tanah Lot by the busload. It was ridiculous. I felt nothing special about the visit, and you can't even view the temple itself except from afar. It amazed me how busy Tanah Lot was -- set among row after row of crap touristy merchandise -- and how empty Taman Ujung was, all on the same island.
So while Bali, like other Asian cities, has too much traffic and too little infrastructure, it offers the possibility of making it your own experience. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to spend a few more wonderful hours exploring it.
Several European IBM MobileFirst events upcoming, my first tour
Fri, May 17th 2013 5:30a Ed Brill About a hundred days since the launch of IBM MobileFirst, we are still pretty busy creating market awareness of IBM's leadership in enterprise mobility. Thus, there are a huge number of events upcoming, including a number of them in Europe. I will be at the Utrecht and Madrid events. June 4, Utrecht Netherlands: IBM SolutionsConnect. June 5, Vienna Austria: IBM BusinessConnect. June 6, Madrid Spain: Encuentro en IBM MobileFirst. Tengo muchas ganas de volver a Madrid. Â¿Nos encontrarem [read] Keywords: ibm
News from IBM Impact 2013
Mon, Apr 29th 2013 12:20p Ed Brill This morning at Impact 2013, IBM has announced several updates to our MobileFirst initiative. The first is the announcement of IBM MessageSight, a high-volume transactional message delivery appliance, designed to enable/accelerate M2M (machine-to-machine) communications for the Internet of Things. Here at Impact, as discussed in a recent New York Times article, one of the key examples of how MessageSight manifests is in the connected car. In the Focus Electric car, he said, Ford wants to get [read] Keywords: ibm
IBM X-Force 2012 Trend and Risk Report
Wed, Apr 3rd 2013 8:06a Ed Brill Last week, IBM published the latest in its series of security threat assessment reports, the IBM X-ForceÂ® 2012 Trend and Risk Report. Mobile is clearly a place where emerging threats need attention; products like IBM AppScan are designed to meet this challenge head-on. The report is notable for some of the predictions around the mobile space, including: Prediction: Mobile computing devices should be more secure than traditional user computing devices by 2014. This is a bold prediction t [read] Keywords: ibm
BLUG and IBM MobileFirst debrief
Mon, Apr 1st 2013 7:54a Ed Brill A little over a week ago, I had the good fortune to be in Europe during the 2013 edition of BLUG. I caught the morning train from Paris to Brussels, a quick connection from there to Leuven, and after a short taxi ride arrived just in time for lunch in a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Faculty Club. Why was I there? Scott Souder is doing a perfectly awesome job as the new public face of IBM Notes/Domino, so that wasn't it. IBM Notes/Domino 9 Social Edition had shipped the day before, so the [read] Keywords: domino
Social Media Club of Chicago, March 25 meeting recap
Wed, Mar 27th 2013 8:10a Ed Brill First of two event recap blog entries...the other will be shortly about last week's BLUG event. Last night, I had the opportunity to be part of a panel discussion at the Social Media Club of Chicago. The topic happened to be "What Happened at South by Southwest", and it happened to be that IBM exhibited/sponsored/participated at SXSWi in a big way. But it also happened to be my first opportunity to participate with the Chicago edition of Social Media Club, and I was honored to be part of [read] Keywords: ibm