Monday, August 17, 2009

From Dubai to Perlis (Part 2)

This part of the story is called: Seeing is believing.

As usual, I woke up early before 6am and came down to breakfast area after fajar prayer and a quick 'cold-shower'. I was early and taking my sweet time finishing up my coffee. I usually wait for the other partners to start my breakfast. I was reading the newspaper and saw some of our pictures from the previous night event. It was nice.
I saw the Americans' partner rushed towards my breakfast table. They seemed to be quite upbeat.

Well, I will keep all their 'nice words' about their experience that night in my book (if I decide to write later on). It wasn't too bad from a local perspective but to foreigners, it did matter.

"We should find a better place for tonight, can you get your guys here to help out?" said Dr A. I totally agreed and told him that everything will be taken care. We quickly finished up our breakfast and get ready to see the area. After sightseeing the area, we decided to chill-out a bit from our non-stop actions from yesterday's event. Since arrangement had been made to check out the area, we just went along.

We visited a beautiful lake area and a quick stop at one of the hills to get a bird-view of the area. It was simply beautiful! Hey, this was my hometown! These were my people! I kept on joking with my business colleague. I knew that they were quite impressed too. One of the partner, T had indicated all possibilities in developing the area. He primarily liked the mango plantation area that can be turned into a nice tourist attraction.

Perlis with a size of merely 810 sq km made our trip easy and fast. Well, that's have seen all!

I've made an arrangement to spend the following nights in Langkawi. They have a nicer accommodation. We were expecting more people from Dubai office to join in later. We reserved a private yacht to take us to Langkawi but changed our mind when we found out that the 'yacht' was too small. For a 45 minutes ride, the Americans didn't want to take any chance! We took the big vessel to Langkawi and reserved for the first class seats. Well, it was first class alright but the Americans were not happy..and neither did I. No complaint :-)

This part of the story is called: Langkawi the savior!

We were tired. We just need to get into a nice hotel's room in Langkawi. We arrived at Datai Resort late in the evening and it didn't disappoint us at all. It was a beautiful resort! Everyone fall in love with Datai. After a professional haggling on the room's rate as usual, we settled in for 3 rooms. Fyi, we never take any rate's offer at face value, there always rooms to negotiate! Anything in life can be negotiated. We got 15% off from RM2000 per night per room. So a little over RM30,000 was the price we paid after few days of corporate retreat plus business meetings in Datai (and golf).

Langkawi was really an eye opener to all of us... It's a beautiful mystical island. (I knew it from the beginning since I've been to the area before plus my 'honeymoon' at Renaissance Hotel few years ago!) Now, we started to look at this trip differently. For the rest of our stay in Langkawi that week, we had came up with several different business scenarios and how to leverage Langkawi in the 'big picture'. Things were getting more and more interesting!
No more 'nightmares' from the Perlis experience; it was just a milestones in business due diligence - we kept on justifying the experience, again and again.

$ figures were flying back and forth. We figured that we need to put together a $100 million as an initial start up cost to get the project rolling. Calls were made back and forth with our shareholders and investment committee. Checking on our funds all over etc etc. One interesting conclusion that we kind of agreed during our Datai stay was, we need to get a peace of action in Langkawi. I got the words out and surprisingly, there're takers. We want to look at Langkawi too for a very strategic business reason (not to be shared until everything is settled).

A rustic luxury look of Datai resort clearly blown our expectation away!

The famous Datai's monkey...they're everywhere. We need to make sure our hotel room was well kept lock at all time, otherwise these 'smart' creatures will let themselves in and 'share' some of the fruits in the room. If you notice the one to the right...we named him cyclops (like the X-Men). One of his eyes was somehow 'trashed' during a fight! Almost every time we made our trip there in the following trips, he will be around!

[ This was a nice Restaurant at Datai. It has grills during dinner and the atmosphere was out of this world. No wonder we keep on coming back! For business that is...]

And the beach was a spectacular! A nice secluded lagoon and a warm water. I got a call from Naz while we were discussing the matter. He told me that His Majesty Tuanku Raja Perlis would like to meet us.

I asked, where?

In the palace of course.

OK, I said and asked him to keep me posted for any changes.

It was already noon. Dr A was busy calling Dubai to sort out our Dubai Fund. He had put together few international IPO placement for our Fund. After finished talking, I informed him about the news and he immediately called Y, the other partner who was still in London. Y told us that he's at Heathrow Airport in London waiting to board the plane for KL. We asked him to fly straight to Langkawi.

To be continued...

(p.s - read the disclosure from Part 1)

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