If you notice that The Lombok Guide is looking a bit thicker these days, it's because our little paper just keeps getting bigger. This issue, we grow to a massive 96 pages!
With 3500 copies distributed every two weeks in Lombok, Bali and throughout Indonesia – and around 600 visitors to our website every week – it seems people just can't get enough of our beautiful island!
For over 10 years now, there has only been one resort in south-east Lombok on the eastern side of beautiful Ekas Bay. The roads are bad, there’s no water, no electricity, but Heaven on the Planet (HOTPlanet) has simply ignored and overcome the problems.
Over the years, they’ve built their own roads, power grid, water reticulation and sewerage systems on their amazing 35 hectare (more than 80 acre) pristine property of coconut plantations, forests and farms.
• Everyone thinks they might have the worst road in Indonesia running past their house, but the road in south-east Lombok around the beautiful Pantai Surga region is so bad it was recently featured in local papers, showing photographs of motor bikes trying to negotiate the thick mud.
For many years, the local villagers of this region have waited patiently for a little bit of attention from the government ... but still no road, no electricity and no water.
QUESTION: There's no doubt about it. Mobile phones have changed the world we live in. When I first came to the tropical island paradise that is Lombok, hardly anyone had a mobile phone. Nowadays, even my cleaner has one and it's better than mine!
My daughter has one glued to her head every time I see her. My wife has invented an elastic headband device so she can tuck it under the strap and chat to goodness knows who while she is cooking or even driving. Do you think that all this micro wave activity so close to the brain will lead to any permanent damage? There is even talk of mobile phones causing brain tumours.
The Jakarta Post reports that plans by South Bali officials to increase the cost of a license necessary to sell alcoholic beverages by as much 300% is angering both Bali business owners and tourism leaders.
Denpasar's increase in liquor licensing is yet another cost that must be factored in to the retail price, in a country where import and other taxes imposed on alcoholic beverages are among the highest in the world.
EUROPEAN TRAVEL DECLINES AS ASIA PACIFIC TRAVEL INCREASES
Following the announcement of AirAsia's withdrawal of its European and Indian flights, the accelerating decline in European travel is further underlined by an announcement by the Indonesian flag carrier, Garuda Indonesia, that it is reducing flight frequencies to Amsterdam.
"In accordance with the economic condition in Europe that remains in recession, effective March 1, 2012, Garuda will reduce its flight frequency to Amsterdam from seven to four times a week," Pujobroto, Vice-President for corporate communication for Garuda Indonesia, was quoted as saying in Bisnis.com
Antara (The National News Agency) reports that PT Merpati Nusantara, Merpati airlines, once again sits poised on the verge of bankruptcy if it is unable to secure a Rp 250 billion cash (US $27.8 million) injection before June 2012.
"Earlier I met with the management of Merpati to discuss the company's condition. If in June, they do not obtain funds of Rp 250 billion, the company is certain to collapse," explained the Minister for State-Owned Enterprises, Dahlan Iskan.
As we reported in our last issue, taxi drivers at Lombok International Airport are on strike, cutting taxi services from the airport.
The protests began on 26 January, 2012, when around 150 taxi drivers held a noisy protest rally at the offices of the Department of Transportation Communication and Information (Dishubkominfo) NTB and demanded an end to the DAMRI bus service.
One of Lombok's most important and popular festivals is "Bau Nyale", meaning "to catch Nyale" in the local Sasak language. It is a cultural tradition, deeply rooted in local legend and drama, and unique to the island of Lombok.
The sea worms are a rare variety of Palolo worm found in tropical waters in certain parts of the world, including Lombok, Sumba and Savu in Indonesia. Once a year – when seasonal, marine and lunar conditions combine – the Nyale come to certain beaches around Lombok to spawn and for a few days, the seas are filled with wriggling sea worms in a variety of colours, ranging from simple brown to red and green.
The internet is probably a traveller's best friend, especially if you are interested in a particular location. You can set up "Google Alerts" to notify you whenever a certain name or word is mentioned, for example: "Gili Air".
This is a useful tool when you work in retail, as it means that you can monitor what is being said about your business. I, of course, have this set up for Karang Divers, but I also have it set up for the three Gilis.