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"My daughter and I travelled to Bali in March after booking our accommodation on the Internet with Bali Discovery Tours. The service was excellent. This was the first time I have booked on the net and it proved such a positive experience that I'm recommending your service to all my friends."
Local Dive Boat Runs Out of Fuel Before Finally Succumbing to High Seas in Bali's Badung Straits.
According to the Indonesian-language NusaBali, four German tourists had a "close call" on Wednesday, July 18, 2007, when the vessel they were using for a diving expedition ran out of fuel and then sunk off Bali's southern coast.
Sea Rover, a vessel operated by Yos Adventures, was sailing from Nusa Penida to its home port of Benoa when the ship ran out of fuel in heavy seas. Strong currents and large wave began to pull the powerless ship towards the rocky shores of Bali's Nusa Dua as the boat's Captain, I Wayan Tirta, put out a distress call to local Water Police.
Fortunately, search and rescue personnel were able to find the ship adrift 2 miles from Bali's shore, in a location opposite the Nikko Bali Resort and Spa. The rescue team managed to evacuate four German nationals and the crew from the ship, before unsuccessfully attempting to take the larger boat under tow. With the rescue boat underpowered to provide an effective tow to the larger ship, rescue personnel were eventually forced to abandon efforts to pull the idle ship to port.
Local press reports state that the ship with an estimated value of Rp. 200 million (approximately US$21,800) eventually sunk near a local reef of Bali's south coast.
Dec. Climate Change Conference - Book Your Hotel Now!
10,000 Plus Participants Expected First Half of December 2007 for United Nation's Conference on Global Climate Change in Bali.
With estimates of between 10,000 amd 20,000 participants, official delegations from 189 countries and hoardes of world press expected in Bali for the U.N. Climate Conference in December, we can offer two pieces of sage advice:
. First, if you're planning to make a holiday visit to Bali between the dates of December 3 -14, 2007, you might well consider changing the dates. Accommodation is expected to at an absolute premium during these dates. In addition, heavy infrastructure demands and heightened security measures certain to be in place may detract from the normal enjoyment of a Bali holiday.
. If, however, you're attending the conference and its related events or your holiday dates, for whatever reason are immovable, then we strongly recommend you secure and deposit any accommodation arrangements now!
Bali Discovery and www.balidiscovery.com Can Help
Bali Discovery Tours and www.balidiscovery.com are maintaining an accommodation clearing house, tracking hotel space availability across the island during the dates of the conference - the first two weeks of December 2007. A similar facility operated during Christmas and New Year's periods has proven valuable in assisting visitors in desperate need of rooms link-up with properties that still have rooms available for sale.
Newly Elected Chairman of Guide Association Wants Current US$10.90 Daily Fee Increased to Improve Living Standards and Professionalism of Island's Guides.
Bali's corps of official guides are seeking a 100% increase in the current daily fee of Rp. 100,000 (approximately US$10.90) they earn for leading visitors across the island.
Quoted in the Indonesian language Nusa Bali, the Chairman of the Bali Guide Association (HPI-Bali), Made Sukadana, greeted his recent election to the chairmanship of the HPI-Bali by saying, "if we can, the guide fee should increase 100%."
According to NusaBali, the HPI-Bali will adopt a easygoing approach to obtaining higher fees, seeking initially to start a dialogue with the Bali Chapter of Indonesian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (ASITA) . Higher fees for guide services, according to Sukadana, will improve the living standards of HPI's members and allow the cultivation of a more professional approach to the profession of assisting visitors to the Island.
Complaining of the growing phenomenon of illegal foreign guides in Bali, Sukadana called on the Government to spare no effort in curbing illegal guides. At the same time, he announced plans to establish language proficiency courses in Korean, Russian and Arabic to help create cadres of qualified HPI members able to meet the needs of visitors now being serviced by unlicensed guides.
At the recent general meeting of the HPI-Bali, Sukadana attacked the presence of unlicensed guides in Bali, who, he claims, know little of local culture and are only interested in obtaining commissions from local shops. These illegal guides, he maintains, are destroying Bali's image in the eyes of the world.
Bali Opens Sunset Food Court
New Food Hawker Dining Center Opens on Kuta's Sunset Road.
Occupying a space of 4,000 square meters on the Sunset Road in Kuta, the Sunset Food Court (SFC) officially opened for business on Wednesday, July 18, 2007.
SFC adopts the popular formula of open hawker food courts found in Singapore and Batam, with both international and a wide-range of Indonesian cuisine available from stall operators selected for the quality of their cooking.
Among the types of cooking available at SFC are Japanese, Chinese, Italian, Thai. Taiwanese, Korean and a variety of local Indonesian specialties.
The street stall concept currently accommodates 25 separate food stands with total seating available for 420 diners. Parking for 40 cars is also provided for at SFC.
The atmosphere is clearly relaxed with an open-air setting under an overhead shelter from the elements and a performance stage - all forming part of the new facility. Best of all, SFC features prices low enough to please even the most frugal visitor.
Bali - Exhibitionism or Fetishism?
BIASA Art Space Presents an Exhibit - 'Fetish Object Art Project' in Seminyak July 25 Through August 31, 2007.
The BIASA Art Space at Jalan Raya Seminyak No. 34 in Seminyak-Kuta is presenting the works of more than 30 Indonesian artists at "Fetish Object Art Project" from July 25 until August 31, 2007.
The exhibition presents objects, installations, photographs, video art and various other media that reveal the underlying mental dimensions of human beings that, in the words of the curator, "we tend to conceal behind the arrogance of reason and logic."
Fetish Objects Art Project #1 presents the works of Agus Suwage, Alexis, Aloysius Nindityo Adipurnomo, Angki Purbandono, Anusapati, Ari Diyanto, Arya Panjalu, Bambang Toko, Bayu Yuliansyah, Bob Sick Yudhita, Budi Kustarto, Bunga Jeruk P., Cahyo Basuki Yopie, David Armi Putra, Eko Nugroho, Entang Wiharso, Hamad Khalaf, Handiwirman, Hardiman Radjab, Jumaldi Alfi, Kokok P. Sancoko, Mella Jaarsma, Nadhiah Bamadaj, Pandu M., Pintor Sirait, Stefan Buana, S. Astari, S. Teddy D., Tita Rubi, Ugo Untoro, Wiyoga Muhardanto, Yuli Prayitno, Yusra Martunus, and other artists.
Fetish Object Art Project recognizes the reality of the objects and physical phenomena that surround us and with which we have more than a mere functional relationship. A merely utilitarian outlook towards these items proves inadequate when viewed from the perspective of fetishism. Fetish reveals nightmares, obsessions, paranoia, fervor, passions, fantasies and hidden layers of our "consciousness". Fetish exposes the fragility of human existence amid objects which we have created, while depicting the wild nature of human imagination that give "meaning" to the items, their owners and the world that surrounds them.
Some works in the current exhibit can also be regarded as the artists' confessions of their personal tendency to make fetishes of a variety of items - from cigarettes, guitars, pencils, weapons, bags and bicycles to racing cars. Others merely offer the artists' critical views on a tendency to fetishism external to themselves: the operation of certain powerful ideas and values enhanced by commodities or triggered by a power structure in certain socio-political practices.
FETISH Objects Art Project #1
July 25 - August 31, 2007
BIASA Art Space - Jalan Raya Seminyak No. 34 - Seminyak, Kuta
Telephone ++62-(0)361-8475766 or ++62-(0)361-7442902
Bali by the Numbers: June Foreign Arrivals Set New Record and nears the 750,0000 Arrival Mark Only Half Way Through the Year.
Despite stories of EU aviation blacklists and rekindled travel advisories, Bali continued to set new records with 145,174 foreign visitors arriving on the island in June 2007, earning the month the accolade of the "best June" on record.
June 2007 total arrivals to Bali increased +32.40% month-on-month as compared to June 2006.
Nearing 750,000 Arrivals
January-June total foreign arrivals to Indonesia neared the 750,000 mark, hitting 745,949 tourists - a figure well on the way to targeted arrivals of 1.3 -1.5 million for the year. Comparing the first six months of 2007 with the same period in 2006, Bali's arrivals increase an astounding +35%
Graphics presented on balidiscovery.com analyze Bali's recovery following the October 2002 and October 2005 terrorist attacks and demonstrate a much more robust recovery following the second bombing than after the first, and a trend following the second incident to return to record territory in fairly short order.
The next installment of Bali by the Numbers will take a closer market-by-market look at arrivals for the first half of 2007.
Click Images to Enlarge
Bali Needs a Cruise Port
Cruise Expert Says Bali Cruise Port Would Aid Bali Tourism and Open Eastern Indonesia to a Lucrative Tourism Sector.
The Chairman of the Indonesian Sea Lovers Foundation (Yayasan Cinta Bahari Indonesia), Raymond T. Lesmana, says the time has arrived for Bali to have a dedicated cruise port facility in order to increase cruise visitor totals and bring much-needed foreign exchange to the Island.
Speaking to Bisnis Indonesia, Lesmana said: "Bali is currently mixing the function of the Benoa port facility between handling passengers, fishing boats as well as cruise vessels. This is not beneficial to Bali's tourism."
Lesmana went on to explain that Bali should have a dedicated port facility that could act as a turn-around port for foreign and domestic cruise ships. Such a facility, he argued, would also become a stimulus for opening up the cruise industry's penetration of eastern Indonesia.
He bemoaned the fact that every year some 2,000 sailing yachts pass the southern boundaries of Indonesia without stopping at an Indonesian port. According to Lesmana, every sailing yacht that visits Indonesia carries an average of 3 passengers and spends Rp. 17.5 million in foreign exchange (approximately US$1,900).
Bali's #2 Cop Tells Legislators that Economically Motivated Attacks on Bali Via 'Travel Warnings' and Boycott Websites Qualify as the 'New Tourism.'
Testifying before the Provincial House of Representatives (DPRD-Bali) on July 18, 2007, the Assistant Chief of Police for Bali, I Nyoman Gde Suweta, warned that terrorism should not be viewed only in terms of bombings, but should also include unfounded travel warnings and psuedo-anonymous websites that launch unrelenting attacks on Bali and seek a boycott of the Island's tourism industry.
Suweta suggested that while there is always room for improvement in the safety and security of the Island, some of the warnings and admonitions against Bali clearly have an underlying economic motivation. The second-in-command at Bali's constabulary, said that "depending on your perception," it was possible to view travel warnings and website-based attacks on the island as a form of terrorism because of the fear and panic they try to provoke.
Officer Suweta, in his comments to Bali law makers reported in the Bali press, also called into question the true motivations behind the EU blacklisting of Indonesian airline and a similar threat from the Government of Saudi Arabia. Suweta wondered if those casting Indonesia's airlines in a bad light don't derive an economic advantage in the current very competitive aviation market.
Garuda Presents a Formal Debt Rescheduling Request
Indonesian Air Carrier's Crippling Debt Burden Tied to Questionable Price Paid for Six A300-300 Aircraft Between 1988-1992.
Garuda Indonesia have presented a formal scheduling proposal to JP Morgan and other creditors in an effort to address its massive debt incurred in the purchase of six Airbus A330-300 aircraft between 1988-1992.
Bisnis Indonesia reports that Garuda's debt imbroglio dates from the purchase the six Airbus A300-300 between 1988-1992 with a unit cost of US$214 million and a total tally of US$1.2 billion. Using the 2003 price for the subject aircraft of US$140 million reports the newspaper, the natural conclusion suggests a mark up of US$74 million per airplane resulting in a projected total loss of US$444 million to the Government.
Data provided by the Ministry for State-Owned Enterprises to Commission XI of the House of Representatives (DPR) indicate that Garuda's debt as of June 30, 2007, stands at US$737.38 million.
In addition, these are syndicated loans owed to Bank Mandiri of Rp. 60 billion (approximately US$6.5 million) and a loan from Bank Negara Indonesia of Rp. 130 billion (approximately US$14.1 million) - both in payment suspension until at least December 2007.
The Secretary of the Ministry for State-Owned Enterprises (BUMN), Muhammad Said Didu, confirmed to Bisnis Indonesia that Garuda must begin selling non-productive assets in order to assist current restructuring steps. "We (BUMN) will purchase Garuda's headquarters which will now move to Cengkareng," explained Didu.
He went on to confirm that the Government remains steadfast in its intention to sell Garuda to a well-heeled strategic partner who can add value to the airline's operations.
Garuda has currently budgeted US$1.6 million to rent two Boeing 737-800NG to help meet growing demand. Those funds have been allocated from a recent US$52.5 emergency cash bailout provided by the Government. The two new aircraft are expected to enter service during the third and fourth quarters of 2007.
Garuda is targeting to carry 2.53 million passengers in 2007, an increase of around 15% from the number carried in 2006.
Quick Action by Indonesian Authorities Defers Threat by Saudi Arabian Government to Ban Garuda Flights to Jeddah. A report from Indonesian Digest.
Ibu Wuryastuti Sunario, Editor of the Informative Indonesia Digest, provide the following summary of the current state of play in Indonesia's growing aviation crisis.
Minister for Religious Affairs Prepared to Stop Haj Pilgrimage Should Saudi Arabia Ban Indonesian Airlines
In response to a threatened ban by Saudi Arabia to follow the EU's footsteps and impose a ban on Indonesian airlines from flying into Saudi airspace, Minister for Religious Affairs, Maftuh Basyuni told detik.com that he was prepared to stop sending all Indonesian pilgrims to the Haj this year should the policy be enforced. Surprisingly, detik.com reports that this policy has the support of the Haj Association, as well as notable Members of Parliament. Nonetheless, Minister Basyuni hopes that this action will not come to pass when the Saudi government reviews its present stance by making its own audit and becomes convinced of Garuda Indonesia's safety record.
Last year Garuda Indonesia carried some 103,000 pilgrims on the Haj, a number expected to increase to 105,000 this year. Between January-May 2007, Garuda Indonesia carried some 115,000 passengers on the Saudi route utilizing 320 flights, said Kompas. Most of these were passengers going on a small pilgrimage outside the haj season (Umroh) and overseas workers. Garuda Indonesia is the official carrier for the Indonesian Haj, with a lesser number being carried on Saudi.
Meanwhile, Garuda Indonesia Operations to Jeddah Reported "Normal"
On July 16, 2007, Garuda issued a press release confirming that all of its Monday flights had operated normally, refuting rumors that Saudi Arabia had banned Indonesian airlines with immediate effect. Garuda spokesman, Pudjobroto said that GA-9802 flying Jakarta-Jeddah using B747-400 left at 11.35 a.m. carrying 241 passengers. Similarly GA 980 flying on the same route left Jakarta at 16.30 with 236 passengers on board.
Garuda Indonesia operates 8 flights weekly to Saudi Arabia, with 5 weekly flights between Jakarta-Jeddah and 3 flights weekly between Jakarta-Jeddah-Riyadh-Jakarta.
During April-September 2007, which is the peak season for travel to Saudi Arabia, Garuda has added two flights per week on its Jakarta-Jeddah return route to serve those going on Umroh and to transport overseas workers. This July, Garuda has added four extra flights per week to meet peak demand.
A ban by Saudi Arabia would certainly represent a considerable blow to Garuda Indonesia as well as to the Indonesian majority Muslim public, making the situation different from the European ban, where Garuda has suspended its European flights since 2004 with hopes to re-open that route in 2008.
On Tuesday morning, after reporting the situation to President Yudhoyono, Minister for Communications, Jusman Syafii Djamal negated ongoing rumors, that the Saudi ban has already been enforced.
Minister Djamal informed the press that Saudi Arabia was requesting clarifications from Indonesian authorities and that a ban was not yet in place. His Department had received communications from the Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) stating that following the decision by the European Union to impose a ban on Indonesian airlines to fly into EU airspace due to safety concerns, the Saudi Government was urged to follow in EU's footstep.
Nonetheless, considering the close relations between Saudi Arabia and Indonesia, Saudi GACA has asked Indonesia for clarifications first, prior to its enforcement of any ban. Foreign Minister, Hassan Wirajuda said that Indonesia appreciates this gesture, and an advance team is being sent to Saudi Arabia to fix an early meeting with GACA to explain safety measures taken by the Government and invite GACA to audit Indonesian airlines for themselves.
Indonesia-Saudi Arabia Authorities to Meet Early August, with EU End July
In the latest development, spokesperson for the Department of Transportation, Bambang S. Ervan said that GACA has confirmed that the organization would send an expert team to Indonesia in early August to personally check the safety of Indonesian airlines as well as receive the latest information on measures undertaken by the Government to improve Indonesian aviation safety. In the interim, Garuda continues normal operations. As far as the Haj pilgrimage flights are concerned, Garuda must meet all of GACA's requirements for haj flights, reports Bisnis Indonesia.
As regards the EU ban, Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda said that Indonesia will meet the EU delegation on the sidelines of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers meeting in Manila, Philippines at the end of July.
balidiscovery.com thanks Ibu Wuryastuti Sunario for this report taken from Indonesia Digest.
'Mengenang Sang Guru' - A Tribute to Gungkak Mandera and Niang Sengog
Former students of the legendary Legong dancer Anak Agung Mandera and traditional musician Gusti Biang Sengog will hold a photo exhibition and four days of dance and music performance from August 26 - 29, 2007 in Peliatan, near Ubud.
Gusti Biang Sengog, more commonly known more as "Niang Sengog," was once of Peliatan's most highly regarded dance instructors. Reference to her tremendous capacities as an educator and in the education of three young Balinese dancers who caused a sensation when they toured the U.S. and U.K. in 1952, is made in the book "Dancing Out of Bali" written by John Coast.
Niang Sengog's career as a dance educator spans 5 generations of Legong Keraton dancers for the Gong Gunung Sari troupe group between the years 1950- 1970. Known as a very modest person, but demanding of her dance students, she typically arrived at her dance tutorials with a basket of betel leaf & nut. Her students still relate how their teacher would mold herself behind them, hugging their bodies and using her arms and entire body to mold each step to a required degree of perfection.
Whenever holding a dance class, Niang Sengog was invariably accompanied by Anak Agung Mandera, known as Gungkak Mandera, who would sing the dance melody and play the kendang (drum) while she taught.
Niang Sengog eternally enriched the quality of "pelegongan" in Bali before she died in 1972. Although she taught for a period at the dance academy in Denpasar, her name is largely absent from any Legong literature. Yet, 3 decades after her death, the students whose lives she touched still champion her name.
After her death, her accompanist Gungkak Mandera continued teaching the "Peliatan style Legong" to several generation until he, too, followed her in death. Born in 1905 and leading the club (sekeha) Gong Gunung Sari since 1928, Gungkak Mandera is remembered as a charismatic man, brimming with creative ideas. He was invited to join a Cultural Group to the World Expo in Paris and to lead the Peliatan Dance Group to the U.S.A. in 1952. Marrying two of his Janger dancers, his progeny were to become great dancers in their own rights.
The dance style taught by Niang Sengog and Gungkak Mandera varies somewhat from other Legong dance forms in Bali. The movements they imparted tended to be more dynamic, full of vibration with bold postures leaning to the front beneath a nobly held head and chin. This style has become synonymous with the troupe of Gunung Sari Peliatan and is know today in dance annals as simple the Peliatan Style.
The sekeha Gong has evolved and merged styles with other dance groups, several pupils of Niang Sengog and Gungkak Mandera are today active dance educators. Counted among those from the first generation of pupils carrying on the Peliatan style traditions are Gusti Ayu Raka, who teaches at ARMA Museum in Ubud; A.A. Arimas; and the late A.A. Oka Salim From the third generation is Bulan Trisna, who established the "Bengkel Tari in Bandung and Jakarta," and teaches Legong Peliatan Style to her students. The members of the fourth and fifth generation of pupils continue to teach and perform and are known everywhere as the Peliatan Dancers: A Raka Astuti, A.A. Sri Utari, Niluh Man, Cok Istri Ratih Iriani and A.A. Gede Oka Dalem.
The students of these great teachers perpetuate the the Peliatan Style at the Balerung Mandera Srinertya Waditra and work with other artists, such as Guruh Sukarno Putra performing Legong Untung Surapati.
A Tribute in Photos, Music and Dance
As a tribute to Niang Sengog and Gungkak Mandera, their many pupils have organized a photo and film exhibition from August 27th until September 26th 2007, including special dance performances on August 26, 27, 28 and 29th and September 26, 2006 at the Balerung Stage, Peliatan near Ubud.
. Photo Exhibition August 26 - September 26, 2007 at the Balerung Stage, Peliatan.
. Sunday, August 26, 2007 Classical Legong & other Dances of Peliatan at 8:00 p.m. presented by the Gunung Sari & Gunung Jati Dance Troupes at the Balerung Stage, Peliatan.
. Monday, August 27, 2007 Classical Legong & other Dances of Peliatan at 8:00 p.m. presented by the Tirta Sari & Genta Bhuana Sari Dance Troupes at the Balerung Stage, Peliatan.
. Tuesday, August 28, 2007 The Works of Guruh Soekarno Putra & Oka Dalem at 8:00 p.m. presented by the Tirta Sari & Genta Bhuana Sari Marching Band & Percussion Group at the Balerung Stage, Peliatan.
. Wednesday, August 29, 2007 a performance by Bengkel AyuBulan, Jakarta and Genta Bhuana at 8:00 p.m. at the Balerung Stage, Peliatan.
. Wednesday, September 26, 2007 Closing ceremony with the Ladies and Children's Gamelan Orchestra and performance by Mekar Saro & Padma Kumara Sari troupes at 8:00 p.m. at the Balerung Stage, Peliatan.
Admission fee is Rp. 150,000 per person per performance (approximately US$16.30).
For more information and reservations call ++62-(0)361-970503.
A Strong Russian Accent
Slavyanka - Bali's Only Russian Restaurant Now Open in Sanur
Slavyanka - Bali's only Russian restaurant was recently inaugurated by the Russian Federation's Ambassador to Indonesia, H.E. Alexander Ivanov.
Located on the Bypass in Sanur, the restaurant presents an elegant dining venue for lunch and dinner replete with luxurious table settings and walls decorated with portraits of Russian Czars. A cosy bar-cum-wine-cellar, set off from a central lobby area, is conducive to relaxed conviviality over premium vodkas and traditional Hors D'Oeuvres, either before or after dinner in the formal dining room.
Russian Cuisine at its Best
Reflecting the vast area of the Russian Federation which stretches from Asia's Far East to Europe, so too does the extensive menu at Slavyanka incorporates rich stews, poultry, meat, berries, mushrooms, wild game, fish and indulgent Ukrainian desserts drawn from the rich kitchen traditions found from Vladivostok to St. Petersburg.
The menu runs to 9 pages, prompting a practical suggestion to order drinks and a plate of appetizers, while you leisurely wade through page after page of interesting dishes, such as:
. A fresh salad incorporating hunchback salmon and red caviar
. Pilgrim's Bag of Creamy Pork & Mushrooms
. Veal tongue served with sour cream and egg plant
. Chanterelle mushrooms cooked in sour cream
. Thinly slice frozen venison
. Caviar served with paper-thin blinis and all the traditional condiments
. Borsh - the rich meaty vegetable soup mainstay of the Russian menu
. Chicken Livers with Apples & Onions
. Dough pockets filled with meats, vegetables and fish
. Fresh-water perch cooked in mushroom and wine
. Grilled shashliks of marinated pork, beef or lamb or traditional steaks of beef or venison
. Luscious desserts involving pancakes, cheeses, honey and pies.
Chef Dimitri Lubichenko
Heading the kitchen brigade at Slavyanka is a talented Ukrainian who, despite his youth, already has 10 year experience at leading restaurants in Kiev - Dimitri Lubinchenko. The holder of a Chef's certificate earned at a school in his native Kiev, Lubinchenko went on to earn a tertiary degree in food technology as well as following a specialized course training as a Chocolatier at Valhrona.
In 2006, Chef Lubinchenko won awards for the "Best Dish of the Year" and the "Silver Award for Best Chef", both awarded in Kiev.
Slavyanka Russian Restaurant
Restaurant Open Daily: 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Bar Open Daily 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 a.m.
Location: Jalan By-pass Ngurah Rai, Sanur
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