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NEWS

ISSUE 48

LOMBOK IS CRUISING!

SAIL INDONESIA A SUCCESS FOR LOMBOK

WHAT'S HOT

SHARING THE WEALTH AT RAMADAN

BALI DECLARED A RABIES INFECTED AREA

LOCAL SCENE

TOP TERRORIST FINALLY ELIMINATED

BUREAU CONSIDERS SUIT AGAINST PLN

ROMANCE AT VILLA OMBAK AND BEACH HOUSE

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LOMBOK IS CRUISING!

Welcome to The Lombok Guide – Lombok's complete tourism paper and your guide to the best that the island has to offer. The Lombok Guide is published on Lombok every two weeks and contains valuable information for all visitors to our magical island.

Lombok's first ever Sail Indonesia event has been a resounding success with hundreds of yachts from around the world visiting the island. This is the first time Lombok has officially been on the itinerary of the international sailing event and Rally participants are raving about fascinating Lombok and the perfect conditions for sailors at Medana Bay Marina on the north coast. See our special feature on page 10.

It's also been a busy time at Lombok's ports and airports as thousands of people visited the island for Idul Fitri celebrations to mark the end of Ramadan. Lombok is a popular destination for people living in Jakarta and other parts of Java, so many took advantage of the Lebaran holidays to get out of the crowded cities and spend time in the peace and natural beauty of Lombok.

The end of Ramadan was also celebrated with huge Takbiran parades all over the island. The largest event was held in the city of Mataram and attracted hundreds of participants and thousands of spectators to view the brightly lit displays and floats.

Senggigi also held a special celebration to mark the “Festival of Light” with a street parade from Senggigi to Batu Layar. See our pictorial feature in “Local Scene” on page 20.

To find out more, pick up a copy of The Lombok Guide from the locations listed on page 32 or visit www.thelombokguide.com and discover the magic of Lombok for yourself… like thousands of others, you'll be enchanted!

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SAIL INDONESIA A SUCCESS FOR LOMBOK

  

Lombok's first ever participation in the Sail Indonesia Rally has been a resounding success with hundreds of yachts visiting our shores, particularly at Medana Bay Marina in North Lombok.

Boats from around the world have been arriving in Lombok for the past three weeks, although the Sail Indonesia Rally calendar lists the dates of arrival in Lombok as between 24 and 28 September.

This is the first year Lombok has been officially included in the international sailing event and the success of the programme has been largely due to the efforts of Ace Robin and her team at Medana Bay Marina.

  

“I've been in Lombok for a total of 3 weeks now! I sailed to Bali last week and picked up my wife, Linda… then brought her back here to see how fantastic Lombok is!”
Reece Duncan, from Brisbane, captain of “Windy Spirit”

Ibu Ace and her husband, Peter, had held the dream of creating a marina in the beautiful calm bay just north of the Oberoi Resort in North Lombok for many years and it is particularly satisfying seeing the dream become a reality. Judging from the reactions of the hundreds of visitors to Medana Bay over the past weeks, Lombok will now be a fixture on future Sail Indonesia Rallies.

  

At the official “Welcome Sail Indonesia” event on 24 September, around 70 yachts were moored at Medana Bay Marina and visitors from around the world were welcomed to Lombok by hundreds of local people, as well as government and tourism industry representatives.

Sail Indonesia participants were officially greeted by the Bupati of North Lombok Regency, Pak Lalu Bakrie, and showered with flower petals in a traditional welcome ceremony featuring Sasak dancers and musicians. The guests were entertained by traditional Gendang Belek music and watched a Peresean performance (Lombok's popular stick fighting event), organised by Pak Lalu.

  

“The dancing was fantastic and the fighting looks so real! This Welcome Ceremony is the best we've had in Indonesia!” Anne Bonnie and Timo Saukko from Vancouver Island, Canada aboard the yacht “Sisu”

Afterwards, the visitors had time to relax and mingle with other guests, while having a few drinks and discussing their impressions of Lombok.

  

A Gala Dinner was held on Saturday, 26 September with around 300 people and over 90 Sail Indonesia participants attending. The praise for Lombok from all visitors, and their appreciation of the facilities and hospitality of Medana Bay Marina, ensures Lombok a place on the Sail Indonesia fixture for 2010.

  

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Talented local artist, Karyana, has just had a fabulous solo exhibition of his artwork at Taman Budaya (the Cultural Park near the Governor's office on Jalan Majapahit in Mataram). The exhibition was held for six days from 28 September to 3 October and featured new works by Karyana unveiled especially for this exhibition.
Karyana has gained a reputation as a gifted and highly collectible local artist and works in acrylics, oils and water colours. His art appeals to a wide audience, with both classic painting styles and startling original contemporary works. If you didn't catch his exhibition in Mataram, you can still view (and purchase!) Karyana originals at Karyana Gallery in Senggigi (next to Happy Café).

What could be more relaxing than lounging on soft cushions on a berugak near the beach with a bright moon overhead reflecting onto the waves? This is one of the reasons we love dining at Coco Beach Waroeng in Kerandangan. Casual and peaceful, with good service and lovely presentation, Coco Beach serves up a delicious range of tasty and inexpensive meals and drinks to suit everyone. Highly recommended is the barbecued fish, served with spicy sambal (or other sauces, if you don't like it hot), the tender Chicken Curry and the local Singkong Curry (tapioca leaves in a delicious curry and coconut cream sauce). Wash it down with a Mojito filled with fresh mint leaves from the organic garden or, if the night is chilly, warm your body with the fragrant and healthy Badrun Tea.

There's many reasons why Square Restaurant is known as one of Lombok's best fine dining restaurants… good service by professional and friendly staff, a menu filled with delicious and tempting dishes created by a talented chef, and a wine list to be envied are just some of them. On a visit there last week with friends from Australia we enjoyed a classic Caesar Salad with Grilled Garlic Prawns and Parmesan Crisps, a tender Australian Leg of Lamb with Rosemary and Olive Sauce, served with baby potatoes, and the most succulent Canadian Scallops in a Beurre Meuniere Sauce, served on Sautéed Bok Choy and Saffron Risotto. Whether for a special occasion or just because you appreciate fine quality, Square is the perfect restaurant for a memorable meal. www.squarelombok.com

While still on food, we continue to enjoy the Sushi Bar at Happy Café for the only real Japanese cuisine in town. If you have a craving for some delicious sashimi, the finely sliced tuna and salmon sashimi served on the rocks and accompanied with the obligatory wasabi and pickled ginger, is excellent value at less than Rp 50 000! There's also a fabulous selection of rolls (including California Rolls) with delectable fillings such as smoked salmon, soft shell crab, teriyaki chicken, avocado and more. The range of sushi is also very good – with a couple of set platters, or tempting individual morsels to snack on while having a drink or two and listening to the great live music every night!

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SHARING THE WEALTH AT RAMADAN

An important tradition during Ramadan is the giving of Zakat or “alms giving” to the poor. Zakat is seen as one of the “five pillars of Islam” and involves the sharing of one's wealth or possessions with those less fortunate than oneself.

Ramadan is seen as a time for kindness and charity and most of Lombok's Muslims, even those with little to share, will find a way to donate either food or money to the poor in their community during this time. However, the practice of Zakat is not just limited to Muslims, with many westerners living in Lombok seeing Ramadan as the time to “share the wealth” with their local friends, neighbours and employees.

Usually donations of money are given to family and friends to help share the cost of the Idul Fitri celebrations; employers give gifts or money to their staff, and neighbours make donations of money or rice to the local mosque, where it is distributed to the needy in the local community… prompting many to call this “Rice Donation Day”!
The Office Bar and Restaurant in the Pasar Seni (Art Market) at Senggigi is one local business that has a long-standing tradition of giving rice to the kampungs (small villages).

Starting in 2002, the Office donated 2 tonnes of rice to kampungs in Kerandangan, Senggigi and Batu Layar… that's a lot of rice and goes a long way to feeding local families!

The Office owner, Howard Singleton, initiated the programme in 2002 and has continued the tradition every year since.

“The objective is for us to recognise Ramadan and Zakat,” he said, “I realise that Ramadan, and especially Lebaran, is a time when people are hard up and are expected to provide presents to their families – the rice helps a little in easing the financial burden.”

Staff from The Office and Howard, accompanied by his father Frank (who, at 87 years old, is probably Lombok's eldest expatriate!) presented their gift of 2 tonnes of rice to Pak Ilham, the Village Head of Senggigi, on 17 September, 2009.

Howard has lived in Lombok for the past eight years and, although he still doesn't speak the local language, his community knows he's speaking their language when Rice Donation Day comes around!

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BALI DECLARED A RABIES INFECTED AREA

Beritabali.com reports that Bali has been declared a Rabies Contaminated Region (Daerah Tertular). This declaration follows the growing number of outbreaks of the disease in Badung, Denpasar and Tabanan.
The remaining 6 regencies of the island have been designated potential areas (Daerah Rawan) for the spread of rabies.11 people are believed to have now died on Bali as a result of being bitten by rabies infected dogs.
The Head of the Livestock Department on Bali, Ida Bagus Alit, told the press on Wednesday, 9 September, 2009, that the decision to declare Tabanan as rabies contaminated region took place after confirming rabies cases among dogs in that area. Previously confirmed cases of rabies were limited to the Badung regency and the city of Denpasar.

In those two regions of the island the government responded with systematic culling of stray dogs and the vaccination of pet populations. Alit said he had submitted another request to the Government for an additional 400,000 dosages; the number of dogs estimated to populate the entire island.

Meanwhile, the provincial government of Bali has allocated around Rp 1 billion (US $100,000) to purchase rabies vaccine for the people of Bali who are bitten or scratched by a potentially infected animal.

However, Balidiscovery.com reported on 25 September that Bali's Sanglah Hospital has run out of stocks of the rabies vaccine.

The head of the rabies prevention team at the hospital, Dr IGB Ken Wirasandhi, is blaming the lack of rabies vaccine on the long holiday period of Idul Fitri. As a result, a number of dog-bite victims, sometimes numbering as many as 50 in a single day, are not being supplied with the life-saving vaccine.

The doctor said that with the current shortage of vaccine his team was trying to optimise the situation by giving the small amount of remaining vaccine to people bitten by dogs in areas known to be heavily infected with rabies.
Adding to the public's concern over the continuing rabies epidemic in Bali, Radar Bali confirmed the fourth rabies-related death in Tabanan regency with the death of a 78 year-old-man on 23 September.

The elderly farmer presented himself with all the clinical signs of rabies, expiring 18 hours after his admission to Sanglah General Hospital.

The 78-year-old Tabanan man is the 11th person to die of rabies in Bali since November 2008. Sanglah Hospital has taken brain-fluid samples from another three victims hailing from Tabanan in order to verify the illness.
A doctor at the hospital explained that once clinical symptoms of the disease have manifested themselves there is little that doctors can do to forestall death. Among the clinical symptoms are nervousness; a fear of water, light and open spaces; and foaming at the mouth.

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LOCAL SCENE

TAKBIRAN SENGGIGI

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets to celebrate
Takbiran “The festival of light” at the end of Ramadan. While the
biggest celebration takes place in Mataram, the parade from
Senggigi to Batu Layar was just as much fun!

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TOP TERRORIST FINALLY ELIMINATED

The hunt for Noordin Mohammad Top, on the international “most-wanted terrorist” list for the past nine years, ended at the hands of the National Police's Anti Terror Unit during a raid on the Central Java village of Wojosongo on Wednesday, 16 September 2009.

Fleeing the Malaysian government's crackdown under the Internal Security Act (ISA) in early 2000, Top and his Malaysian partner, Dr Azahari, who was later killed in a police raid in Batu, Malang in 2005, crossed the Malacca Straits to Sumatra, to open a new chapter in anti-American terrorism in the country.

The deadly team of Noordin and mentor Azahari, a bomb expert, began with the explosion of a car bomb in front of the Philippine Embassy in August 2000. This was followed by bomb explosions at several churches in Jakarta and Sumatra in the same year.

The two launched terror attacks in several areas and avoided police arrests while recruiting local students, which rapidly increased their numbers, as demonstrated by the recent bomb blasts in Jakarta.

A master of disguise, Noordin, a Malaysian Technology University graduate, was also a former student of the late Abdullah Sungkar and of Abu Bakar Ba'asyir, both believed to be cofounders of the terror organisation Jamaah Islamiyah. Noordin was listed as the principal of the Islamic boarding school Luqmanul Hakiem in Johor Baru, Malaysia, which was founded by Sungkar and Ba'asyir.

While Azahari focused on his bomb-making skills, Noordin spent his time spreading radical Islamic values. He reportedly used his strong communication skills to persuade locals to become his disciples and raised local and foreign finance for terrorist activities.

Noordin and Azahari were added to the police's most-wanted list due to their direct participation in designing and preparing the “Bali bombs” that killed more than 200 people in Bali in 2002.

Noordin escaped at least three police raids between 2003 and 2006. Many field operatives who wished for anonymity acknowledged that Noordin was passionate about his vision.

Mardigu WP, a psychologist who was often hired by the police to de-radicalise arrested terrorists, said Noordin was a meticulous man that paid serious attention to every detail of each operation.

“There are hundreds of families who would help him even though these families did not agree with his ideas. Thus the combination of being meticulous and charismatic is what actually saved Noordin so many times,” Mardigu once said.

While most people around the country are delighted the man known as “the leader of the Al Qaeda Movement in Southeast Asia” has finally been silenced, police remain vigilant in seeking his companions. Bali's Chief of Police, General Sutisna, said his officers are working with local fishermen to report any movement of passengers or goods which raises suspicions and were keeping a careful watch on side roads across Bali, which are preferred by terrorists when they move personnel or equipment. Police have also increased surveillance of local gold stores which have become a favored target of terrorists seeking to raise money for their operations.

The Head of the Bali Promotion Board (BTB), Ngurah Wijaya, has heralded the shooting of Top by police as a “significant influence in favor of Indonesian tourism.”

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BUREAU CONSIDERS SUIT AGAINST PLN

With both Bali and Lombok dependent on the state owned electricity board (PLN) and both islands struggling under deficient power supplies, a consumer group in Bali is now raising the issue of being able to sue the PLN for power failures.

Frequent brown-outs caused by the lack of power supply on the islands negatively affects tens of thousands of businesses, particularly those in the tourism industry. Occasional black outs have been known to affect the entire island, particularly if generators fail on Lombok or there are problems with under-sea power lines in Bali.
The head of the Bali Consumer's Bureau, Putu Armaya, has criticised the PLN for their second major power outage to affect Bali this year, claiming the failures could form the basis for formal claims by consumers affected by the outage.

Armaya said that if PLN does not compensate consumers, his group could lead such a class action suit against the utility.

Bali was plunged into darkness when a sub-sea interconnecting high-voltage cable carrying power from Java to Bali failed on Wednesday, 15 September, 2009. Frantic efforts to restore the peak demand capacity of 440 megawatt returned power in some areas within a half-hour, however many consumers sat in the dark until late in the evening before power was fully restored.

The failure was traced to an interconnection circuit beneath the Java-Bali straits that officials claim was stuck by lightning, resulting in the sudden loss of 100 megawatts of transmission power.

As the PLN is owned by the State, it is generally considered to be immune from legal action and, if the Bali Consumer's Bureau does decide to bring action against the government controlled utility, it will set an important precedent.

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ROMANCE AT VILLA OMBAK AND BEACH HOUSE

Two of Gili Trawangan's most popular businesses hosted a romantic and special wedding on Monday, 14 September 2009.

Robert and Wiwi Spark from Melbourne, Australia chose the paradise island of Gili T, where they first fell in love while on holiday, as the place to celebrate the start of their married life together.

Together with around 20 family and friends from Australia and Indonesia, the happy couple sampled some of the best services and facilities that the island's two top Resorts have to offer.

The nuptials began with some luxurious pampering in the Roemah Spa at Hotel Vila Ombak, where the groom's nerves were soothed with a relaxing pedicure and foot massage.

Meanwhile, bride-to-be Wiwi received the full treatment - facial, manicure and pedicure, bridal make-up and hair styling to make her beautiful for the big event.

Vila Ombak also provided a private room for the guests to dress and get ready for the marriage ceremony, held on the beachfront next to the Resort's Blue Bar.

  

Meanwhile, guests gathered on the beach at the Blue Bar where they were served delicious canapes and drinks before the start of the ceremony.

The beachfront was superbly decorated by Vila Ombak for the event, with exquisite floral arrangements featuring exotic Lilliums and white flowers flanking the carpet, which led to the raised platform where the nuptials took place.
White draped seating for guests lined the central walkway and a romantic archway of flowers framed the podium, with the sparkling sea as a picturesque backdrop.

After a photo shoot and sunset cocktails, the wedding party regrouped at The Beach House for a fabulous reception upstairs on the Upper Deck, overlooking the ocean and coastline of Lombok.

The Upper Deck formed a perfect private setting for the group and was decorated with traditional woven coconut decorations, flowers and romantic candles.

A delicious buffet dinner of giant prawns, Indonesian and western dishes was served at the multicultural gathering. Great music by the trio, Bali Hai, and free-flow cocktails and drinks kept the party dancing into the late hours.

As the guests said on the night... It would be hard to beat a wedding on Gili T!

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