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ISSUE 100

 

THE LOMBOK GUIDE… 100 ISSUES STRONG!

With this issue we celebrate our 100 issue Anniversary! We’ve got a new look front cover, a new format and a whopping 88 pages… more news, more stories and more colour pages to show off the natural beauty of our island!

To find out more, pick up a copy of The Lombok Guide from the locations listed on http://www.thelombokguide.com/distribution.html 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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LOMBOK INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT… OPEN FOR BUSINESS!

I remember when I visited Lombok for the first time in 1991, sitting on the beach in Senggigi and talking to the local watch sellers who happily told me: “… and next year we will have a new airport to bring tourists direct to Lombok!”

Twenty years and many stops and starts later, that statement is finally reality.
Lombok International Airport (LIA), locally known as Bandara Internasional Lombok (and abbreviated to BIL), celebrated its “soft opening” on 1 October 2011 amid much fanfare.

Huge crowds flocked to the airport on opening day, with over 10 000 people crowding into the terminal and parking areas. Trucks and minibuses filled with people from areas as far away as East Lombok, motorbikes with four or more people perched onboard, and villagers on foot flooded through the entrance all day. Cidomo (local horse cart) were stopped at the gate.

Many of the villagers from more remote areas had never seen an airplane before, or watched one take off and land, so thousands were there to see this modern miracle taking place on their island.

Airport management had agreed to a three-day “free period” to allow local people free access to the airport to see and understand what all the excitement was about.

What we saw when we attended the opening was a far cry from an airport opening in the west!

Thousands of people milled in the car park and lined the chain link fence surrounding the apron and runway, watching in amazement as the first planes landed.

In the terminal building, thousands more gathered at the arrival doors to catch a glimpse of the arriving passengers. Mamas in sarongs sat on the floor, gossiping and playing with their children, while old men wandered around selling roasted peanuts and helium balloons to the excited crowds.

Indeed, enterprising villagers have flocked to the airport during its first week of operating, keen to cash in on the business opportunity. Makeshift stalls selling drinks and snacks bloomed in the terminal and car park, prompting local media to dub it “Pasar Kaget” (a local term meaning a sudden or spontaneous market place).

As we have reported in the previous issues of The Lombok Guide, and in our story “Coming… ready or not” in our last issue, the airport is far from complete and there is still much work to be done to bring it up to truly international standards.

Unofficial reports say that airport authority Angkasa Pura I wanted to delay the opening by another two weeks to allow for more finishing work in the terminal and further testing, but any further delays were vetoed by both the Governor and Indonesian Vice President Boediono, who ordered, “Open 1 October or else!”

Landscaping at the airport site is virtually non-existent, with weeds and rubble covering most of the surrounding grounds, including alongside the main terminal entrance. The entrance road to the airport is badly pot holed, and car parks and paving laid years ago have cracked and deteriorated, much buried under weeds and overgrowth.

Little had been done to rectify this eyesore at the time of the airport’s opening, although some attempt had been made to direct attention away from the mess with temporary banners and signage erected in front of the vacant land.

Inside the terminal building, it is obvious that it had been a last minute rush to make the domestic terminal operational in time for the opening. Elevators were not working, electrical cables still dangled from holes in the ceiling, dust covered the floors and none of the retail shops were outfitted in time for the opening. The sound of electric grinders and workmen hammering could be heard from the arrivals area, as workers raced to complete the international terminal.

However, fears that Lombok would be left without an airport with the closure of Selaparang Airport on 30 September and the uncertainty of LIA being operational by 1 October, were put to rest with the successful first landing of a Garuda Boeing 737-800 JR flight on the morning of 1 October 2011.

NTB Governor, Zainul Madjdi, was among the168 passengers who travelled aboard the Garuda jet from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta.

At a press conference held at the airport, Governor Majdi said that he hoped the airport would boost tourism in Lombok, as well as make international travel easier for people from Lombok working overseas and those embarking on the annual Haj.

When asked by The Lombok Guide if Air Asia or any other international airlines had committed to opening a direct international route to Lombok, the Governor replied that he had met with one of Air Asia’s directors who had said that Air Asia could start operating flights into Lombok International Airport in early 2012.

 “I asked him to start in October, as soon as the airport commenced operations,” the Governor said.
He added that he would continue to try to persuade Air Asia to implement its plan to fly to the island sooner, hopefully by the end of this year; saying this desire was shared by many.

Also at the opening of LIA were Fredrik Kasiepo, past GM of Garuda Airlines NTB and Pak Sudarmadi, present Garuda NTB GM. Both Garuda officials were excited to see Garuda as the first airline to land at the airport and voiced hopes that they would see the national airline operating international routes to Lombok in the near future.

At the time of going to press, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is tentatively slated to visit Lombok on between 19 – 21 October to officially inaugurate the new airport.

Despite the opening of LIA being obviously premature, everyone we spoke to at the airport opening was optimistic for the future and relieved that the long wait for an international airport was finally over.

Two international tourists we interviewed were Richard and Brenda Webster from Perth in West Australia. Richard and Brenda first visited Lombok 30 years ago and have seen many changes to their favourite island over the years. The couple travel to Lombok twice a year for holidays.

“It’s very exciting to be among the first passengers to fly out of Lombok’s new international airport,” they said. “Hopefully soon, we will be able to fly here direct from Perth and not have to go through Bali any more!”

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WHAT'S HOT!

DAMRI buses are already operating the route between Senggigi and the new Lombok International Airport. The 40 seat, air conditioned Mercedes buses have a regular schedule of departures every day and are an easy solution to the 1 and 1/2 hour commute from Senggigi to LIA in Central Lombok.

DAMRI operate two airport shuttle services – one from Mandalika Terminal in Sweta (city to airport) and the other titled “Pasar Seni” or Art Markets (Senggigi to airport). However, the actual location of the bus stop is on the Senggigi main street at the Galleria shops, between Senggigi Abadi and the Art Markets (and diagonally opposite Asmara Restaurant). At the time of going to press, a bus shelter is being constructed on the road verge.

This is a comfortable and economical way to get to and from the airport, with “soft opening” fares currently Rp 25 000 per person (a metered taxi costs around Rp 140 000 from Senggigi). There is also ample space for baggage in the luggage storage compartments under the bus.

The service operates every one and a half hours, from 3.30am to 8.00pm daily. Current departure times from Senggigi are: 3.30 | 5.00 | 6.30 | 8.00 | 9.30 | 11.00 | 12.30 | 14.00 | 15.30 | 17.00 | 18.30 | 20.00

Purchase tickets on the bus.

• The Berugaq Coffee House and Gallery, on the way to Selaparang Airport, has a great new entertainment programme for guests, supporting the up and coming talent from SNA (Sekolah Nusa Alam). Students from the SNA music programme will be providing entertainment for guests at the Berugaq on the following dates:
Saturday, 5 November at 11am: Featuring SNA guitarists, Tom, Stephen, Alan, Katie, Max, Laura and Jack
Saturday, 3 December at 11 am: A special Christmas Concert featuring all SNA music students
Stop in and support the students, soak up the music, and enjoy one of The Berugaq’s delicious coffees and home-made cakes. Phone: (0370) 616 2667

Melbourne Cup Day, held on the first Tuesday in November, is the day when everything comes to a halt in Australia and the whole nation tunes in to the famous horse race. For all Aussies (and those who love the Australian horse racing event of the year), join in Melbourne Cup Day madness on Tuesday, 1 November. It’s a chance to dress up in silly hats and costumes, consume large amounts of champagne, cheer on horses you know absolutely nothing about and generally kick up your heels!

The Beach Club (on the beach in Batu Bolong) is the place to celebrate in Senggigi. The popular bar and restaurant “does” the Melbourne Cup in style every year, with the race televised on the big screen at the bar and followed by a delicious lunch. Join in the fun, with all traditional Melbourne Cup sweeps and prizes and don’t forget your Cup attire! There are free cocktails for ladies wearing Cup Day hats and prizes for the best outfits on the day. The fun starts at 10am. Ph: 693637, www.thebeachclublombok.com

• If you’re out on the Gilis, The Cup Day at The Beach House is the place to be. Last year’s event was huge, with almost the whole island partying at the bar. More fun is planned for this year, as well as lots of ice cold champers and other bevvies, live telecast on the big screen, sweeps and Cup Day fun! Haul out your craziest hat and join the party crowd at the bar from 10am! Ph: 642352, www.beachhousegilit.com

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THE PAVILION… Fabulous Seafood in the City!

Since it opened last year, Kura Kura Water Park has established itself as an exciting and ever-expanding family entertainment centre in the city.

Located on Jalan Sriwijaya in Mataram, just east of the Grand Legi Hotel, Kura Kura embraces the concept of providing a complex for the whole family, with a complete range of facilities for mum, dad and the children.
The swimming pools, waterslides, fountains, miniature train rides, mini bungy jump and the Lazy River, where you can float along on big inflatable tyres, provide hours of fun for both little and big kids.

A food court houses a number of stalls for cheap snacks and meals all day, and the adjoining arcade has a surprisingly good selection of retail stores selling everything from swimwear to books.

Rumah Pohon (the Tree House) Spa is a peaceful little sanctuary where mum can escape, with hair dressing, facial and massage services all available at very good prices. There are also plans in the future to construct a full fitness centre with sauna, karaoke room, and more.

The latest addition to the complex is the recently opened Pavilion Restaurant – a large purpose-built dining space located away from the pools and noise of happy kids playing.

Spacious and modern, the Pavilion specializes in fresh seafood and provides a more upmarket dining facility at Kura Kura. Comfortable table settings for up to 120 guests are spaced well apart from other diners and set with starched tablecloths and linen napkins.

There is a small raised stage area inside where musicians play on Saturday and Sunday evenings, and the interior is air conditioned for comfort. Seating is also available outside at tables on the terrace, and the restaurant can cater for private functions and parties.

But the real draw card here is the food, which features both local produce and imported seafood not normally available in Lombok’s restaurants. When we visited recently, we decided to try a selection of our favourite dishes to see how this new restaurant stacked up against the competition.

Firstly, Pavilion has a chef who knows his seafood and doesn’t make the mistake of so many local restaurants by barbecuing and overcooking the delicate meats. Each dish we sampled, from the scallops to the vegetables, was perfectly cooked and beautifully presented.

A glance at the menu shows that there is a substantial selection to suit all tastes, including Peking Duck, and popular beef and chicken dishes for non-seafood eaters. In addition, there are hotplate selections, Japanese tofu and Sapo dishes, as well as various noodle and rice specialties.

Meals are available in different sizes, from individual plates to large serves suitable for sharing with a group. Some of the tables are fitted out with a Lazy Susan for just this purpose.

Crab in Padang Sauce is a dish we both enjoy and they do it extremely well at Pavilion. Diners can choose the size and how many crabs they want, depending on appetites. Gently steamed and covered with a piquant and spicy sauce, this is a delicious dish reminiscent of the famous Singapore Crab.

Service is excellent and the meal was accompanied by finger bowls and special crab tools to crack the crab and extract every morsel of the meat from the shell. This is not a delicate meal and diners can expect to get a bit messy while enjoying this dish!

Another palate-pleaser was the imported scallops served with broccoli. Large, juicy and perfectly cooked, the plump white scallops were served in a delicate sauce and surrounded by florets of bright green al dente broccoli. 

From the large variety of fresh fish available, we selected a big Grouper, which was steamed and served Hong Kong Style. This method of gentle cooking preserves the flavour and flesh of the fish, and married well with the tasty sauce of spring onions and spices flavoured with a dash of soy.

It would be impossible to list all the dishes on offer at Pavilion, not to mention the vast variety of sauces and cooking styles – from salted eggs to black pepper; Thai to Hong Kong.

The restaurant bar has a good selection of beverages, including fresh juices, milk shakes and smoothies, as well as cold Bintang beer.

Needless to say, this is a city eatery that stands out from the rest. Prices are not cheap, due to the quality of the produce and the fact that many items are imported from as far away as the US; however, the meals represent good value for money.

If you are in the city and looking for an impressive place for a business meeting or to take visiting friends for an evening meal – or, if you just love good quality seafood – put Pavilion on your “must visit” list now!

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LOCAL SCENE

IRENE AND ANATOLY… Wedding at ko – ko – mo

Family and friends from Europe, Australia and Indonesia joined together for a week of celebrations – including the Groom's birthday on Gili Air and a Jewish New Year celebration at the Beach House – before the beautiful wedding of Anatoly and Irene on ko – ko – mo beach on 1 October.
Guests enjoyed a special menu and signature cocktails created by ko–ko–mo, and danced to tunes by renowned Bali DJ, Ari and local musicians on a dance floor under the stars…on a day that will be remembered by many for a long time.
Instead of accepting gifts, Anatoly and Irene asked their wedding guests to contribute donations to the local Gili Trawangan School.

 

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MR FIXER

(Tongue-in-cheek answers to your personal building problems)

QUESTION: I have just seen an advert for a 2 bedroom villa with pool and sea view.  The price includes a load of personal stuff I don’t really want. One of the items was a Rolex Oyster watch with the flash band strap. Those straps are rubbish! The holes are too close together and are really for a girly wrist. 
Most of the watches I have bought with these kinds of straps from the boys on the beach have ended up broken and I keep finding them in drawers. They are really only meant for hairdressers. The owner also wanted to include the cat as part of the deal. What do you think?

MR FIXER: Pet ownership (especially on a holiday island) should not be entered into lightly. Buying a holiday villa can be a good investment and a lot more fun than owning a cat. In today’s market, the worst thing that can happen is that you will get your money back. You can’t say that in Europe at the moment… just ask the fat cats in the good old US of A!

QUESTION: A friend of mine has just told me that someone has a Rolex Oyster watch that might be for sale. Can you tell me how much it would cost to post it to Australia?

MR FIXER: As everyone knows, time goes backwards in Australia and everything is upside down and there are Dingos that steal babies; so it’s anybody’s guess if the watch would even work down there!  

QUESTION: My 9 year old son has just returned home wearing a Rolex Oyster watch with a white flash band strap.

As these watches are very expensive, I demanded to know where he got it from. He said he bought it from a man who was selling everything including his house. Imagine my alarm when my son said he only paid the equivalent of 2 dollars for it. Has my son started stealing? Can you help?

MR FIXER: We are aware of someone advertising his house including his personal possessions, so out of concern for your situation we contacted him to ask if he had sold a Rolex Oyster watch with a white flash band strap to a 9 year old. He said indeed he had. 

When we asked him why he had sold the watch, he said he had been contacted by his ex-wife to sell the watch and send her the money. So that’s what he did!

QUESTION: I have been on holiday on the Gili islands for two weeks and am returning to Europe in a few days. While I was there, I bought a Rolex watch from a little kid on the beach. If I wear the watch, do you think it will make me more attractive to the girls back home?

MR FIXER: Indeed it will! Well spotted! Why not apply a generous helping of suntan cream to your beautiful hard-earned iron forearm muscles. The combination of the white sports watchstrap and your brown muscular arm is sure to establish both your sporty manliness and subsequent attractiveness to all females!

QUESTION: I am Nigerian prince. Hope for inherit USD 45,000,000 but need watch!  Are you consider sending watch on approval? This is big opportunity! Just need watch.

MR FIXER: Yes, sure. Where would you like me to send it? If you are not short of food or anything, perhaps I could include some live ammunition.

QUESTION: I am a Rolex Oyster watch with a white flash band strap. I am sick of being associated with hairdressers and other girly types. I am slim and reliable and prefer a manly wrist; and am designed to be worn as an expression of wealth and personal achievement. 

MR FIXER: My friend George had one. It was waterproof, shockproof, antimagnetic, and the face glowed in the dark! It caught fire last week.

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TRANQUIL HIDEAWAY AT SUNSET HOUSE

On the main road in Batu Bolong, just south of Senggigi, is a sign advertising “Sunset House” and a small paved parking area for off road parking. Looking at the entrance, it is difficult to imagine that behind the wooden doors lays a spacious and tranquil hideaway, just minutes away from the centre of Senggigi.
Stepping through the entrance, the property opens up into lovely gardens that lead down to the beach, with an open air restaurant and several berugaq (lounging pavilions) overlooking the ocean.

Green lawns and colourful tropical plants provide a pretty setting for the 14 rooms spaced out across the grounds. The rooms are in two separate two storey buildings; the original building houses the Superior Beachfront rooms, while the newer building comprises Deluxe Sea-view and Poolside rooms. All are equally comfortable and have views to the ocean.

Each room has been designed to create a sense of space and comfort, and have generously sized bedrooms and large modern bathrooms with built in wardrobes. The mattresses and bedding are plush, the air con is cold, large screen televisions feature 60 channel satellite programmes and there is a small fridge which guests are welcome to stock with their own drinks and snacks.

Many guests like to stay in the upstairs rooms, which have private balconies overlooking the gardens and beach. The downstairs rooms, however, have their own charm with small terraces leading onto the garden and the beachfront swimming pool, only steps away.

The pool itself is beautiful – elevated to take advantage of the beach views and surrounded by wooden decking with comfortable sun lounges for lazing the day away.

The views extend across the beach to Senggigi Point and out across the ocean to Mt Agung on Bali and Nusa Penida on the horizon… providing a perfect place to sip a cool drink and watch the glorious Lombok sunsets at the end of the day.

The open-sided restaurant is set right on the beachfront, with a small fish pond and pottery fountain alongside. Fast WiFi is available free of charge to guests and complimentary breakfasts are served here in the mornings.

The menu offers a good selection of well-priced snacks and meals. Choices include traditional Indonesian, as well as Thai and Italian specialties. We particularly recommend the big, juicy chicken satays, served with a thick and spicy peanut sauce, and the crispy and fresh calamari rings.

At night, diners can choose to have a romantic and relaxed dinner lounging on one of the berugaq by the beach. It was here we sampled some of the best lobster we have eaten in Indonesia and Sunset House can supply fresh lobster to suit your tastes and budget if you order in advance.

Lobster is so often overcooked in Indonesian restaurants, so it was a pleasant surprise to find a kitchen that knows how to prepare this delicacy with skill. Tender and fresh, our lobster was steamed to perfection and accompanied by tangy garlic butter sauce.

In addition to meals on the restaurant menu, guests can also order a special seafood feast with steamed lobster, barbecued fish, stuffed squid and king prawns; all accompanied by Indonesian vegetables, rice and a selection of sauces.

Owned by a young Indonesian couple who started off with just three rooms only a few years ago, Sunset House is a true success story, and has evolved into a charming and relaxing beachfront hideaway.

Best of all are the room rates, which start from just Rp 450 000 per night… excellent value for this standard of accommodation and location!

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YAK-ING IT UP IN BALI!

Bali’s ultra-chic and irreverent leading lifestyle magazine, The Yak, hosted its 7th Annual Yak Awards on Saturday, 30 September 2011.

The Annual Yak Awards – which started as a bit of tongue-in-cheek fun – has grown in popularity over the years and (though they’re loathe to admit it), has nominees scrambling to take a coveted Yak award home.

This year’s event had the theme “Bali Bohemia” and attracted hoards of Bali’s bold and beautiful to the Tugu Hotel in Canggu to quaff champagne and gourmet nibbles while rubbing shoulders with the island’s famous and infamous.

Guests enjoyed a magnificent array of food prepared by some of Bali’s most notable establishments including Sardine, Hu’u, Mozaic, The Oberoi, Como Shambala, Lobre Grill, and more; washed down with lots of bubbles, beer by Heineken, wine by Indowines and Bohemian Yak cocktails.

The night of star-studded bohemian revelry was best summed up by The Yak’s brightest star, Sophie Digby, who said: “The 7th annual Yak Awards brought out the best of Bali and its people. Heroes, we salute you!”

Congratulations to those walking off with awards this year:

Best Newcomer: Potato Head Beach Club Bali, Petitenget
Best Retail Space: Deus ex Machina, Canggu
Best Chef: James Ephraim at Mozaic, Ubud
Best Sunset Venue: Rock Bar at Ayana Resort & Spa, Jimbaran
Best Restaurant: Sardine, Petitenget
Best Wine List: Sip, Seminyak
Best DJ: Eric Entrena
Yak Woman of the Year: Emily Bayliss, Potato Head
Yak Man of the Year: Dustin Humphrey, Deus ex Machina
Best Community Services: Christina Iskandar, YPAC Handicapped Children
Best Bar: Word of Mouth, Jl Kunti
Best Villa: The Edge, Uluwatu
Best Spa: Karma Spa
Best Fashion Label: Biasa
Best Jewellery: Luke Stockley from Jemme
Best Resort: Alila Uluwatu
Best Ad Campaign: Biasa
Best Event: “Empire of the Sun” at Potato Head
Outstanding Achievement: Janice Girardi, BAWA

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NEW POWER PLANT ALREADY OUT OF STEAM

The controversial steam power plant (PTLU) located in Jeranjang, West Lombok, has yet again run into problems with project developers saying the power plant is unable to operate at present.

Under construction for past several years and touted as the solution to Lombok’s electricity supply problems, completion of the project has been delayed many times and is well behind schedule.

In June 2011, the President Director of PT PLN, Dahlan Iskan, threatened to cancel the project because of delays and lack of confidence in the contractor, PT Barata Indonesia and sub-contractor PT Cemara Semitama.

In the latest deadline, the power plant was due to be operational at the same time as Lombok International Airport and authorities had planned to have President Yudhoyono inaugurate the plant during his planned to visit Lombok later this month to inaugurate the airport.

However, these plans have now been put on hold due to the lack of coal to fuel the plant.

When finally complete, the plant, at Taman Ayu village in West Lombok’s Gerung district, will have two generating units – one with a capacity to produce 25MW of electricity and the other 2 x 25MW.

Development of the second phase of the Jeranjang plant, with a budget of Rp 600 billion, was in response to Presidential Decree No 71 of 2006 to accelerate the supply of 10,000MW of electricity from coal-fired plants throughout Indonesia.

Speaking at a coordination meeting chaired by NTB Governor, Zainul Majdi, Hakim Nawawi, General Manager for West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) network development for government power company PLN, said: “The plant’s engines cannot be operated. We need to use coal. We do not dare use oil and we lack guarantees to bring in coal from Kalimantan.”

He also said that the company was concerned that, if the President inaugurated the plant while electricity outages were still common on the island, it could trigger a public outcry.

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EXPLORING THE SOUTHEAST PENINSULA... Part 4

© 2011 David Clegg

Tanjung Ringgit, on the southeast corner of Lombok, is a largely unexplored area – surrounded by towering limestone cliffs, pristine beaches, and superb views – and steeped in history.

In Part 4 of our series of articles preserving the history of Tanjung Ringgit, our special feature writer, David Clegg, continues his exploration of the southeast peninsula. 

NB: Part 1 of this series was published in issue 92, part 2 in issue 97, and part 3 in issue 99; all can be read online at our website: www.thelombokguide.com

Continuing our exploration from the site of the lighthouse, there is a small sign on the fence, facing the road, which indicates the gun (meriam) is 300 metres away and the Giant’s Cave (Gua Raksasa) is 600 metres away.

From the corner of the fence at the bottom of the track can be seen another rough track curving downward to the left, and then around to the right, finally disappearing round the headland. At a point around 100 or so metres before it “disappears”, (and around 400 metres from the lighthouse), is the location of the remaining WWII gun.

The rough rocky track is driveable, but it may be wiser to walk down and avoid a puncture. Follow the track down and around to the location mentioned. Looking down at the cliff top, just before the gun, is a small square cave entrance, apparently excavated by a teacher and pupils from a school at Jerowaru to provide access to a small waterfall; it has no connection with the Japanese.

The gun is not easy to spot, so walk slowly and keep looking uphill off to the left. The barrel of the gun can be seen 50 metres away, through a gap in the bushes. There is no signpost or anything at all to indicate its location.

The rusty 6" or 15 centimetre gun (referring to the bore of the barrel), pointing to the south east, is sitting in a pit, and sadly, has had a large section of the barrel cut off and doubtless sold for scrap. The total length of the gun is now 4.73 metres.

Behind the gun is a small concrete ammunitions bunker set in the ground and a further buried bunker is off to one side.

There is nothing left on the gun to indicate its origin, although it seems most likely that they are German 15 centimetre guns, possibly L40 calibre, made by Alfred Krupp before WWI and were either naval guns that were remounted in Surabaya (Java) naval shipyards or coastal artillery pieces.

The emplacement for the elusive second gun is further to the east of the remaining gun, hidden among the scrub and bushes. To see it, you will have to walk eastwards a couple of hundred metres and then work your way back around to the area of the first gun: it is not easy to find!

Although it is only some 50 metres from the first gun, it is not possible to reach it directly, unless a few men were employed to cut through the heavy and often spiky overgrowth.

Chopping our way through the prickly bushes, we first came upon a large thick round rusty steel plate with bolt holes around the edge. This was the two metre diameter base plate of the elusive second gun. A further 20 to 25 metres up the slope a large wall appeared through the vegetation, around 3 metres high, made of small rounded rocks cemented together and parts of it looking, after all these years, in remarkably good condition! (Or had an attempt been made to restore it?)

This was the embrasure for the second gun. The embrasure consists of two walls, both of small boulders cemented together, with bends in them which enclose the gun emplacement on three sides, except for a gap at the rear from which a trench leads away to underground accommodation. Alcoves were built into each of the two walls probably for protection again air raids or as temporary storage areas.

Presumably a camouflage net would have been draped over the top of these high walls. Alas – no gun! All that remains is the concrete base left behind after the gun was taken away.

It would have been interesting to have had a crew of men to spend a day or two clearing the area and following the trench to the accommodation area, and from where, doubtless another trench ran out to the first gun, and who knows where? There were lookout points around this gun battery which were connected by trenches.

Stories of the missing gun abound. One story is that it was removed by the military, in the 1990’s, for display at their camp. However, this is not true. I visited three military camps on that particular wild goose chase!
The chase did, however, turn up two small, very old cannons of the muzzle loading type. They are at the Koramil army camp in Keruak and due to be mounted and put on display in the next few months.

My local guide, Pak Sahdi told me another story. Apparently, over 30 years ago, the gun was to be taken for scrap and, somehow, the people involved managed to load it onto a truck. However they were unable to move the truck because the uneven terrain would have caused the top-heavy vehicle to topple over.

They managed to tip the gun off the truck and it landed on its side some distance away from the concrete base. It was later dissembled and taken away in pieces. The heavy steel base-plate, some 2 metres across, still lies on the ground with the concrete base, about 25 metres from the walled gun emplacement.
Fact or fiction? I have my doubts obviously, and am still pursuing this elusive piece of artillery; hopefully someone, somewhere, knows something!

One thing is clear: it would have been a huge task to dismantle and transport one of these guns from Tanjung Ringgit to any nearby town, and it seems very odd that no-one seems to remember anything about it!

It is very doubtful it was moved by sea, as the local vessels are too fragile to withstand having huge lumps of steel dropped on them!

This gun battery, unlike the one near Bangko Bangko in the southwest, was not bombed by the United States warplanes, thus leaving us a tangible reminder of one of the darker periods in Lombok’s history.

Historical Note: Sadly, the last submarine lost in the war was the SS - 332 “Bullhead”, sunk with all hands on board, when it was depth-charged in an air attack from Bali just after leaving the northern end of the Lombok Straits and heading west on 6 August 1945. The other US submarine operating around Bali and Lombok, SS – 374 “Loggerhead”, survived the war and later returned to America.

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14-YEAR-OLD AUSTRALIAN ARRESTED IN BALI

A 14-year-old boy from New South Wales, Australia, is currently in police custody in Bali after reportedly being arrested with a 3.6 gram bag of marijuana on a Kuta street.

According to Tempo Interaktif, the boy is the youngest Australian ever arrested in Bali. Police are reportedly keeping the child in an isolation room at the police headquarters, separated from other prisoners.

Indonesian law does not permit the publication of the names of minors involved in criminal acts. Press reports suggest the boy has been traumatized by his arrest, is crying continuously and unable to eat.

The boy, on holiday in Bali with his parents, was returning from a massage when he paid Rp 250,000 (US $28) to a local man, who reportedly told the Australian he had not eaten and needed money.
Formal charges have not been laid in the case, which is still under investigation by police.

Officials from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs have been ordered by Foreign Minister, Kevin Rudd, to make the boy’s case a top priority and seek an early release of the child.

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ANOTHER BALI COWBOY!

The Bali Post reports that Sangit in Buleleng, North Bali was awash with frantic activity on Tuesday, 4 October 2011, as the entire village gathered on the ocean’s shores to participate in the ritual drowning of a cow.

The ill-fated cow, sentenced to an early, watery grave, was known to have recently been sexually violated by a 25-year-old man from the village, identified only by the initials “MS.”

Sexual concourse with an animal is viewed by most Balinese as “salah karma”, entailing grave consequences in the order of the cosmos. The incident between the man and the bovine occurred in September, and became known to the entire village, who termed the encounter a “disaster”, demanding group prayers and special offerings be made.

According to the village chief or “Klian” of Sangsit, Made Subakti, the required cleansing ceremony demanded the drowning in the ocean of the cow that had been known carnally by MS. On Tuesday morning, the hapless animal was ritually cleansed at a village temple and then dressed in colourful cloths, symbolizing the adornments of a "bride” to be wed to MS.

Afterwards, the cow was loaded into a local boat, hauled out to sea and pushed overboard, where it was allowed to drown. Meanwhile, MS was compelled to remove his clothing which were symbolically thrown into the ocean with “his bride”, representing his own drowning. Fresh clothing was given to the man on the boat who, when he returned to shore, was considered ritually cleansed of his sin.

The entire ceremony cost around Rp 40 million (US $4,450) and was paid by contributions from all members of the village. Surprisingly, MS, (known to be a man of limited financial means), was not asked to make any financial contribution for the ceremonies by his fellow villagers.

The traditional and ritual head of the village, Jro Gede Segara, told The Bali Post that the act was committed by the village member while the perpetrator was under a spell and not conscious of his actions. “The incident was part of a natural cycle committed unintentionally. (Because of this) the village must receive the consequences as matter of fate,” explained Segara.

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