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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.

The Lombok Guide team has just returned from almost two weeks visiting Perth in Western Australia. We were delighted to find that, unlike a few years ago, many Australians now know where Lombok is and are eager for more information about our beautiful island. We were happy to oblige by distributing copies of The Lombok Guide 2009 Annual Colour Magazine in the cities of Perth and Fremantle!

Australia has now replaced Japan in the number one spot it has held for years as having the highest number of tourists arriving into Bali in 2009; with 227 402 Australians arriving in Bali up until the end of July, 2009. According to official figures, this is a 38.07% increase on the same period last year.

Our Garuda flight from Perth to Bali was filled to capacity with holidaymakers flocking to Bali and beyond. Garuda now has 17 flights per week to Bali from Perth, with more daily flights serviced by Australian operators Jet Star and Virgin Blue, as well as two Air Asia flights every day.

While few can dispute the appeal of Australia, the economic downturn and the severe winter the country has just experienced make Bali a very attractive holiday destination for Australians. Now we just have to convince them to jump on a plane or a fast boat over to the true paradise: Lombok… just a jump to the right of Bali!

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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It’s that time of the year again and the 2009 Lombok International Triathlon, held over the weekend of 7 and 8 November, looks like being the biggest and best triathlon yet!

This will be the third year that the idyllic island of Lombok has hosted the demanding international triathlon, which now attracts serious and amateur competitors from around the world, as well as throughout Indonesia.

This year the event has been modified by Triathlon organisers, TRIBOB, to meet international Olympic standards and will consist of a 1.5km swim (previously 1.8km), a 40km bike event (previously 55km) and a 10km run (previously 12km).

The triathlon became an Olympic event at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia, when 48 women and 52 men competed in separate triathlons. The distances used were the “international” or “standard” ones, with a 1.5 kilometre (0.93 miles) swim, 40 kilometre (24.85 miles) cycle, and a 10 kilometre (6.21 miles) run.

The Lombok Triathlon showcases the beautiful scenery of Lombok with the swim being held on Senggigi Beach, the bike course covering the scenic northwest beaches, and the 10km run through the coconut grove along the beach at Kerandangan, just north of Senggigi.

Billed by TRIBOB as the “toughest course in Asia” and described as “unparalleled in its difficulty and beauty”, the Lombok International Triathlon is centred in Senggigi, with the Sheraton Senggigi Resort as major sponsors of the event. Saturday 7 November will see plenty of action with race registrations open between 12 noon and 9pm at the Sheraton. In the afternoon, either participate in the races below or join the crowds at Senggigi Square to cheer the competitors on in the Fun Run, Walk-A-Jog and 500m Kids Dash.

Senggigi Fun Run and Walk-A-Jog: If the Triathlon sounds too daunting, you can still join in the fun with two special events: the 5km Senggigi Fun Run or the 3kmWalk-A-Jog, both held on 7 November, starting at around 4.40pm. Races are open to all participants and teams willing to compete, so get a team of friends or work mates together to join in the fun! Around 300 contestants competed in the Fun Run in 2008, with the race winner completing the course in17 min 36 seconds.

Kids Dash: This year a special 500m Kids Dash has also been added to the programme, so that all the family can take part in the Triathlon weekend. The Kids Dash starts at 4.30pm on 7 November in Senggigi Square.

Triathlon: On Sunday, 8 November competitors will assemble on the beachfront between Santosa Villas and Resort and the Sheraton at 7am to commence the first leg of the triathlon with the 1.5km swim out into Senggigi Bay. Watched by a crowd of enthusiastic spectators, the swimmers complete two laps of the swim before sprinting up the beach to the Sheraton and frantically shedding swimsuits before jumping on their bikes to get a head start on the gruelling 40km bike course.

The cycling leg takes place on roads especially resurfaced for the event and covers the stunning coastal road that runs past the beaches north of Senggigi. For many this is the most challenging part of the triathlon – 40kms of steep hills, with an ascent of over 6.5kms, counter-pointed with steep downhill runs and twisting hairpin bends. Cyclists will need stamina and fitness to conquer the many hills, bends and steep inclines of this circuit.

Exhausted and red-faced cyclists will then arrive back at the Sheraton, leaping from bikes and grabbing a quick drink as they race back to the road to start the last leg of the triathlon. The 10km run, with a short slope at the start before tackling “Senggigi Hill”, the steep hill overlooking Senggigi Bay, and then the swift descent into Kerandangan; is the final test for triathletes. The shade of the coconut grove and the breeze from the beach helps cool things down a little, but most runners are exhausted by the time they complete the second lap back to the Sheraton, trying to put on a burst of speed to cross the finish line.

Last year’s Triathlon Champion was James Easson from the United Kingdom, with a total race time of 3 hours and 24 minutes.

There will be plenty of prizes and give-aways at this year’s Triathlon, with all participants receiving a special Dri-fit Lombok Triathlon t-shirt and Lombok Triathlon string bag when they collect their race kit and event booklet at the registration desk at the race venue.

A special, locally hand-crafted trophy will be awarded to the top three winners in each age-group category. The top three male and female runners in the 5km Senggigi Fun Run also receive a trophy. All finishers of the Triathlon, Senggigi Fun Run, Walk-A-Jog and Kids Dash will receive a “finisher” medal.

Star Awards will also be handed out at the event to celebrate participants that simply stand out. You may be the best dressed, worst dressed, have the slowest transition time, or be the fastest to zip in and out of transition. Whatever you do during the race, organisers will be on the lookout to catch you in action! Recipients must be present at the Awards Dinner to collect their prizes.

The Lombok Triathlon is an international event and facilities are first class, with medical teams, professional organisation and the full support of the Lombok government and the Lombok Hotels Association.

If you would like to compete in the Lombok Triathlon, visit the website at www.lomboktriathlon.com. You must register before the event. Registration will be closed once the race reaches maximum capacity or 2 weeks before the event date.

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It’s going to be a totally Horizontal Weekend on 30 & 31 October, with the popular Gili T establishment officially launching their new bar, More Horizontal, on Gili Meno on Friday, 30 October. Lucky guests will enjoy sunset cocktails and canapés on the beachfront, followed by a decadent Desert Island Dinner featuring oysters and lobsters, accompanied by Arabic dancers, groovy beats and a bonfire on the beach. Indulge from sunset to sunrise!

Then on Saturday, 31 October, Horizontal celebrates its 4th Anniversary with a huge Full Moon Party on Gili Trawangan. Horizontal commemorates 4 years of setting the scene with lots of free drinks, cocktails and canapés, and giveaways to celebrate their birthday. Special guest DJ’s, including Matt Goldigger from the UK, will keep the uber-chic lounge buzzing. Party theme is Halloween “Lick or Treat” with special witches’ brews, free drinks for people in costume, and prizes for best costumes. Fun starts at 8pm until late. Wine, dine, recline or decline… but don’t miss this one! Ph: 0370 639248 or 0819 1605 1813 for bookings, www.thegiliislands.com

The other day, I was dismayed to find one of my favourite places for breakfast, Bar’u on the Senggigi Strip, closed. Walking a few shops further along toward Happy Café, I decided to try the American Breakfast at another café, which will remain anonymous (and deservedly so!) After being assured they had freshly squeezed orange juice, a glass of pale sugary water eventually arrived, laced with the faintest whiff of orange. This was followed by a plate of the most rubbery, sad scrambled eggs I had ever seen, accompanied by a piece of ham so full of gristle as to be inedible. Alongside was a plate with two slices of cotton wool bread that had been compacted in a jaffle maker, with a blob of that foul-smelling chemical blend known as Blue Brand “Butter”. Another noxious orange blob alongside masqueraded as jam. Even the tomato sauce was a thin, bright red concoction of artificial flavours and colours that had never been near an actual tomato. It’s amazing that anyone can produce such a cheap and unhealthy meal and still be in business. For the same price of Rp 45 000, I could have had a delicious and healthy breakfast at Asmara instead! So not hot…

For all Aussies and those who love the Australian horse racing event of the year, don’t miss Melbourne Cup Day on Tuesday, 3 November at The Beach Club (on the beach near Café Alberto). The popular bar and restaurant celebrates the Melbourne Cup with the race televised on the big screen at the bar and followed by a delicious BBQ lunch. Join in the fun, with all traditional Melbourne Cup games and prizes and don’t forget your Cup attire! There are free cocktails for the ladies wearing Cup Day hats and for the best outfits on the day. The fun starts at 10am. Ph: 693637 www.thebeachclublombok.com

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What a pleasant surprise it was to see steam-rollers and trucks loaded with gravel roll into town to start the much-needed road repairs in Senggigi last week!

The road works, which have revamped the main street at the southern gateway to Senggigi, extend from Café Alberto to the small bridge opposite Casanova’s. The road has been widened and resurfaced, while new drains have been constructed and topped off with concrete slabs to create a smooth new footpath into town.

Most importantly, the work has cleaned up the unsightly entrance to Senggigi and created a more tidy appearance at the front of the Sahid Tamara Hotel, where we hear a new restaurant is shortly to open…

Road work contractor, Pak Dewa from Mataram, confirmed to The Lombok Guide on Tuesday, 13 October that the road works were instigated by the Governor, Zainul Majdi, and is in preparation for the upcoming TIME 2009 event to be held between 16 and 19 October in Lombok.

TIME (Tourism Indonesia Mart & Expo) is an annual travel industry event to promote Lombok and Sumbawa to domestic and international buyers. This year will be the first time the event has been held in Lombok.

TIME 2009 was officially launched in February this year and we are trying very hard not to question why these much needed road works, for which many Senggigi businesses have been lobbying for years, were finally started just five days before the big event. Pak Dewa confirmed that his team is working around the clock and that the re-surfacing will be finished before TIME starts on 16 October.

Whatever the reason, we’re thankful that the road has finally been fixed and hopeful that the road and drains in the centre of town will be next in line for a revamp. It’s about TIME!

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One of the best things about travelling to Lombok is the great range of accommodation options available to visitors. World class resorts, medium-budget hotels and cheap home-stays are all readily found on our beautiful island, making it accessible for people of all means and budgets.

However, those travelling on a tight budget need not sacrifice price for comfort, especially when there are places like Losmen Tjabe Merah to be found! This great little home-stay is located in Ampenan, just down a small lane from the main road, before the traffic lights at Kebon Roek Market.

The word “Losmen” means a type of boarding house or home-stay in Bahasa Indonesia, and “Tjabe Merah” translates as Red Chilli -- the emblem of this quaint place, close to the city of Ampenan and only minutes from the airport.

The comfortable rooms sit in two wings in an attractive and peaceful garden of papaya, coconut, mango and citrus trees. There are five rooms available, with another five currently being renovated, and each has a verandah with chairs out front for relaxing. Two rooms feature air conditioning, while the other three are fan cooled, and all have private bathrooms with a traditional shower (mandi) and western-style toilets.

Ibu Siti, who owns and runs Losmen Tjabe Merah, is a friendly local lady who is happy to make her guests feel at home and to share her wealth of knowledge on everything from how to catch a bemo to the city to where to find the best value meals for dinner. She also cooks delicious meals on request, including authentic nasi goreng (fried rice), mie goreng (fried noodles) and other tasty local dishes. There is a small shop on site, selling snacks and cold drinks for guests’ convenience.

Tours around the island, motorbike and car hire, and laundry services can all be arranged at Tjabe Merah. The Losmen is an ideal base for travellers who wish to explore the old port town of Ampenan and the nearby cities, browse in the traditional market at Kebon Roek, or spend time in Senggigi, which is only ten minutes away. It is also a perfect location for those with planes to catch, as the airport is less than five minutes away.

Prices for rooms are exceptional value, with air conditioned rooms available for just Rp 100 000 per night and fan cooled rooms offered at Rp 60 000 per night. These rates are for two people sharing and include tax and service charges, as well as free tea or coffee in the morning. Maybe that’s why they called it Tjabe Merah… because the value is red hot!

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Join the happy crowd and make new friends at the open table (or Stammtisch)
every Friday night at Asmara Restaurant

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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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The National Police’s Counterterrorism Unit raided a boarding house on Friday, 9 October 2009, in Ciputat, South Tangerang, killing two brothers. Both were suspected terrorists, based on information given by a third brother, who was arrested earlier.

The two slain brothers – believed to be linked to the late Malaysian-born Noordin M Top – are Syaifudin Zuhri bin Jaelani Irsyad and Muhammad Syahrir. National Police spokesman, Insp Gen Nanan Soekarna, said the two were shot dead after throwing three homemade pipe bombs at police officers from their boarding house. Only one of the explosives went off.

“We had to do something because they had jeopardised the operation,” he said at a press conference. He added no police officers had been injured in the raid. Inside the house, police found seven similar explosives, but no firearms or bomb-making materials.

Syaifudin and Syahrir have been the subjects of a nationwide manhunt after police linked them to the 17 July bombings of the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels in Jakarta, in which nine people were killed and more than 50 injured.

Police believe Syaifudin’s role in the terrorist network was to recruit martyrs. He was credited with successfully recruiting the two suicide bombers, Dani Dwi Permana and Nanan Ichwan Maulana, for the hotel bombings.
Syahrir, a former technician with national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia, was allegedly involved in the planning of the attacks. He was identified as a trusted aide of Malaysian-born Noordin M Top.

Syahrir, a skilled bomb maker, is believed to have helped Noordin plan out the bombings, along with Ibrohim, his brother-in-law, who was killed in police raid in Temanggung, East Java in August.

Noordin was killed during a shoot-out in Surakarta, Central Java, in September. Also killed in the September raid were bomb maker, Bagus “Urwah” Budi Pranoto; Susilo alias Adit; and Aryo “Aji” Sudarso, one of Noordin’s protégés.

Police suspect Syaifudin played an important role in fund-raising for the terrorist network that was once led by Noordin. Police say Syaifudin was the one who introduced Mohamad Jibril to Ali Muhammad bin Abdullah.
Ali, a Saudi Arabian national, served as an international courier for terrorist funding and possessed a list of potential donors wishing to contribute to attacks from across the globe.

Ali was arrested in September. Jibril was arrested just days after Ali’s arrest for his role in fund-raising for the terrorist group.

Experts say Syaifudin, with his many skills, was likely to replace Noordin as the head of the group.

With most of the top terrorists on the police’s wanted list now dead or in custody, analysts are pointing to a decline in terror attacks. Nanan said police had earlier on Friday arrested a third suspect in Bekasi, West Java. He added the police had managed to track down the suspected terrorists to their boarding house from information they got from that suspect.

“We have managed to arrest or kill all 21 people involved in the July 17 bombings," National Police spokesman Insp Gen Nanan Soekarna said. “Thus we can say we have been able to complete the July 17 bombing investigations.”

Eleven out of 21 people who were linked to the 17 July bombings are currently being detained by the police. The remaining people, including the suicide bombers, have either killed themselves or have been shot dead during police operations.

Nanan said the arrests and the deaths of the terror suspects did not signal the end of police operations in rooting out terror networks. He said the police had established a number of special teams to conduct surveillance across the archipelago to prevent the rebirth of terror cells, and the possibility of new terror threats.

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