Chef Nic Watt fell in love with the Maldives but got shortchanged in Bali


We once stayed on an atoll in the Maldives and it was absolutely stunning. I truly think it was the most beautiful place on Earth. There were white-sand beaches, turquoise water, and it was so remote you could get there only by sea plane. The place we stayed at was called Six Senses Spa and Resort, where I was a guest chef. I was cooking Japanese food and was getting the freshest tuna and seafood, caught right off the reef. We were staying in the Robinson Crusoe Hut, which was totally eco-friendly and all about getting back to nature. We really did feel like Robinson Crusoe on this tiny, isolated place in the middle of the ocean. It was just magical.

Last year we got stuck in Bali airport. My wife Kelly and I had been in England with our two kids, and we had just come off a long-haul flight from London. At Bali airport you had to pay a duty of $US25 cash before you could clear customs, so I went to the ATM machine but for some reason my card wouldn't work. I talked to the guards to see if there was another way to pay, but it had to be cash. Eventually I managed to get someone to walk me through customs to try another ATM machine outside - you can imagine what it looked like, walking through customs in Bali with a guard on either side, I felt like the guy who had been caught with dope in his boogie board bag! Everyone was looking. The ATM outside didn't work either. By this stage the kids were exhausted and it had gone way beyond the point of embarrassment. The only way we got through was because my aunty lives in Bali, and she was able to drive to the airport and give me the cash. We spent two and a half hours trying to leave the airport, and if my aunty didn't live there, we would still be stuck!