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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.

As we go to print, we’ve just returned from another wonderful visit to the southwest coast of Lombok. The Senggigi Hackers Amateur Golf Society (SHAGS) Family Day and championships awards ceremony, held at the fabulous Sundancer Resort in Sekotong, showed a group of residents and visitors another part of this island of stunning natural beauty that many hadn’t discovered before.

The children played on the white sand beaches, swimming in the clear turquoise ocean with absolutely no waves, the adults gathered in the shady pavilions and the men grilled steaks on the sea shore… all surrounded by the sublime views across the water to the tiny island of Gili Poh, with the silhouette of Bali floating on the horizon to the west.

Sekotong and the southwest… another breathtakingly beautiful part of Lombok just waiting to be discovered!

To find out more, pick up a copy of The Lombok Guide from the locations listed on http://www.thelombokguide.com/deadline_publishing.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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This year’s Ogoh Ogoh Parade through the city of Mataram was the largest ever, with 133 participants taking part in the huge public event. The popular Hindu parade in Lombok has now surpassed the size of similar parades in Bali and shows the multicultural diversity of Lombok; uniting Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Christian and other religions in Lombok.
The Ogoh Ogoh Parade is part of the celebrations that make up the start of the Hindu New Year in Indonesia. Ogoh-ogoh is the name given to the giant monster creations, representing Hindu creatures of the underworld, known in Balinese as buta kala. The creatures are usually based on evil characters or spirits taken from traditional myths and legends, although recent parades have also featured caricatures of political figures and negative themes affecting modern society.
About one month before Nyepi, the Hindu community starts to plan and build their Ogoh-ogoh in anticipation of the annual parade. Each “banjar” (Hindu village) in Lombok takes part and the young people of the villages take great delight in competing with other villages to create the most gruesome, terrifying or eye-catching Ogoh-ogoh.
Then, on the day before Nyepi, hundreds of people gather to carry the monsters through the streets, stopping at each crossroad (considered gathering points of evil energy) to whirl and dance, bringing the monsters to life, to the delight of the crowds. While for the spectators, it is a fascinating and exciting parade, for Hindu followers the event represents a type of mass exorcism of evil in order to start the New Year “spiritually clean”.
This year’s parade, in the early afternoon on Monday, 15 March, started in front of the Governor’s office on the main road through Mataram, and continued past the Mataram Mall and along Jalan Pejanggik. The road was blocked to all traffic and lined with tens of thousands of spectators all eager to witness this magical parade.
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Royal Spa in Senggigi has introduced the same special offer as available at their salon in Mataram, with their “I Love Mondays!” promotion. Visit Royal Spa (next to Santosa Villas and Resort on the main street) on any Monday and receive a fantastic 20% discount on any of their services, including massages, reflexology, cream baths, facials and more! The popular spa is also bringing the same package deals available in Mataram to their Senggigi branch. Our favourite is the two hour package, offering one hour of massage and one hour of reflexology for the amazingly low price of Rp 125 000… deliciously relaxing and great value! Ph: 0370 693 645

Windy Beach Resort in Mangsit has been steadily transforming their beachfront area over the past couple of years, firstly building a beautiful swimming pool and lounging area, which also incorporates a special children’s pool. Alongside is a shady pavilion for guests to enjoy a drink or meal, without having to leave the pool area. The latest addition is a new purpose-built beachfront bar, with pretty tables set on the lawns in front of the beach. Now guests can enjoy the fabulous views over this superb stretch of beach in Mangsit, while sipping a cold beer or cocktail. Highly recommended for late afternoon lazing! www.windybeach.com

Most of us have things in our homes that we never use… boxes tucked away in garages and cluttering up guest rooms. We at The Lombok Guide are giving you the solution, by creating a special Classifieds section for Lombok locals and residents called Pasar Classifieds. A box display advert in this section costs only Rp 50 000 per issue and allows you to advertise as many items as you want within the space.

The same low rate applies for any type of advert you want… employment, real estate, personal or business ads. Need staff for your business? Want to sell or rent your house? Looking for a car or motorbike, or looking to sell one? You name it; you can advertise it in Pasar Classifieds. Contact us now to arrange your ad and de-clutter your life! Email: kitadesign@hotmail.com or phone: 659 4005

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The Australian government has boosted the efforts of a group of concerned Australians to construct a “peace park” in Bali, by declaring contributions to the project a tax deduction.

The Bali Peace Park Association was formed by a group of Australians who wish to purchase the land formerly occupied by the Sari Club and create a park in memory of those who died in the 2002 “Bali Bomb” terrorist attacks. The former Sari Club was one of two nightclubs targeted by terrorists in the bombings on 12 October 2002, which killed 202 people, 88 of whom were Australians.

The land, on busy Jalan Legian, has remained vacant since the bombings, although several bidders have attempted to secure the site for new businesses, including another nightclub. Many believe that the site should not be developed, out of respect for those who lost their lives in the bombing, and families and friends who visit Bali in their memory.

The Australian parliament has now thrown its support behind the group by declaring contributions towards securing the land and building the park as being tax deductible.

The controversial park project is planned to include a small museum and meditative gardens.

The special tax status for contributions to the park has buoyed the spirits of the Bali Peace Park Association, which has been bogged down in the past with internecine conflicts in trying to establish a permanent memorial in Bali for the bombing victims.

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Congratulations to Baharrudin Adam, who has joined the team at Manna Kebun in preparation for the Resort’s opening this year.

With more than fifteen years in the hotel and hospitality industry, Baharrudin was part of the pre-opening team at the Harris Hotels in both Jakarta and Batam, as well as being part of the management teams of Nirwana Garden Resort in Bintan, The Beverly Hills Bali and, most recently, Santosa Villas and Resort here in Lombok.

Baharrudin has been appointed as part of the pre-opening team at Manna Kebun and will hold the position of Residence Manager for the prestigious new Resort in central Senggigi.

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Airport management at the new Lombok International Airport has said that they will find it difficult to meet their operational target by mid-July this year, due to security problems.

The company’s airport construction monitoring deputy director, Marsidi, told The Lombok Guide’s special reporter, Panca Nugraha, that his company had set the target to finish the construction works by the end of May 2010. So far, he said, 95 percent of the works had been completed and the passenger terminal was 84 percent complete.
He said other parts of the construction, including the runway and other supporting operational buildings, had all been finished.

“But unless the security is guaranteed, we will not be able to meet the target,” Marsidi said. He raised fears that security problems would get in the way of the project’s completion.

Since 2008, the development of the international airport has been frequently marred with problems related to security. The problems include horizontal conflicts between communities in the different sub-districts in Pujut in Central Lombok regency, where the airport is located, as well as theft.

Last month, The Lombok Guide reported the theft of cabling and the newly installed runway lights, which had been imported at high expense from France. There have also been frequent incidents of theft and destruction of newly installed infrastructure at the airport compound virtually since the project’s commencement.

“We have so far recorded 56 security cases, including community conflicts, intimidations and thefts. Thanks to that we have lost 190 days (of work)”, Marsidi said.

Even though API employs 20 security guards, with another 60 police and 15 army personnel responsible for site security, theft and security remain as major problems in the area.

The new international airport is located 40 kilometers southeast of the capital city of Mataram and is being built by national airport developer, PT Angkasa Pura I, in partnership with the NTB government and the central Lombok administration.

The General Manager of PT Angkasa Pura I’s Lombok office, I Ketut Erdy Nuka, said the airport was designed to replace the existing Selaparang Airport in Mataram. Once ready, the equipment and manpower from the Selaparang airport will be moved to the new airport.

Nuka urged local administrations to address the security problems, as they are the responsibility of both the provincial and regency administrations. He underlined the importance of the airport for the province, which has been actively developing its tourism sector, saying the new airport will open Lombok to direct flights from other countries.

He reported that the Selaparang airport accommodated 18 000 flights last year, handling over 1.1 million passengers. With the new airport having an international status, he said that figure will become much higher once it is in operation.

“We are also expecting the people’s support because, once the new airport operates, it will bring positive impacts to the region.”

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Photos and story by Sid Blade

Each year the Green Army Independent Scooterists (G.A.I.S.) has held a rally for Vespa enthusiasts from all over Indonesia and, over the weekend of 20 and 21 March, the rally was hosted in Lombok. Held in idyllic surroundings on the beach at Kerandangan, this year celebrated the tenth year of the rally and was called the “DASEWARSE” (meaning, in Bahasa Bali, “ten years”).
Not being promoted on the tourism calendar, as such, this sort of event shows the diversity of local activities for people visiting Lombok to experience. Anyone who happened to wander in, or who made a special effort to go and see the amazing display of Italian Vespas and the people who live life by their Vespas, was welcomed with hospitality and courtesy.

Weird and wonderful Vespas arrived throughout the weekend from Java, Bali and the other Indonesian islands. The fact that a lot of these “Scooterists” rode their humble Vespas great distances to attend the Rally in Lombok expresses the enthusiasm these little Italian scooters create -- especially considering that most examples of the Vespas on display were around 40 to 50 years old.

The diversity amongst the Vespas was amazing: some were 3 meters long and looked more like something from another planet; while others were restored to better condition than the day they came off the production line! One devotee even rode a Norton bicycle over 65 years old from Jogjakarta just for the event. That in itself is a feat of dedication, just to attend the celebrations!

The rally for the beloved Vespas continued throughout the night and next day with everybody camping by the beach and great live bands providing entertainment at night. The music had everybody dancing and the big crowd was in a party mood enjoying the warm evening by the sea.

Sitting and having a quiet conversation with these Vespa enthusiasts, it becomes quickly apparent that there is no other means of transport that they would consider other than their beloved Vespas, and I’m referring to young and old alike from wide and varied occupations.

The Vespa motor scooter has had a cult following for decades throughout the world. Transporting people for thousands of kilometres in many countries, new models are still being produced today to meet the current world trend for cheap fuel- efficient transport. Not that it matters much to the Green Army! If one of the old G.A.I.S. Vespas breaks down, they just sit and enjoy the time out, repair it on the spot and away they go again. There’s no doubt the G.A.I.S. is a very unusual band of brothers with a dedication to the Vespa brand!

Congratulations to the Green Army for providing a great event, certainly different from the usual things tourists come here to see… Viva la Vespa!!!
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Paradise surroundings, a fun crowd and a beachside barbeque to celebrate the golf club’s Awards Ceremony and Family Day at the
beautiful Sundancer Resort in Sekotong

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

QUESTION: My wife and I have recently rented a modest villa in the popular tourist area of Senggigi. There are 3 bedrooms, one with en-suite hot water shower and one guest bathroom with hot water shower and sink. On our fist night, my wife complained of an awful smell throughout the house, describing it as similar to several dead bodies in full decomposition. I went from room to room in an effort to locate the offending stink but was unsuccessful, due to my halitosis, and my sinuses being blocked after an evening sitting in front of the band at the Happy Café. 

Over the next few days my wife tried everything from Baygon to Bayclin down the plugholes and drains. This seemed to solve the problem for a while, but within hours the unbearable stink returned just as bad as before. Taking a shower sometimes helps but quite often can make the problem worse. My frantic wife has started showering up to 8 times a day and has started wearing strong perfume. She says it’s to disguise the smell. Is she seeing another man?

MR FIXER: Your problem here is an all too common one, I’m afraid. The “U” trap, the “P” trap and the “S” trap, (or lack of them), are to blame. There is even a “Y” trap and an “X” trap, but that was designed for missions in outer space and won’t apply here.  

Most European style WC’s have a “U” trap incorporated in the design. This simple idea traps the offending gasses on the other side of a water barrier, preventing them from escaping upwards. If you have European style WC’s, you can dismiss them from your search.  

The most suspect item on your list should be the kitchen sink drain. Kitchen sinks here in Lombok are quite often fitted directly into the drain, allowing gasses from your cesspit or septic tank to percolate freely upwards, along with cockroaches and other undesirable creepy crawlies that live in your waste tank.

Shower drains are also a major culprit. Although they may look the part, the design relies on a shallow ring barrier of water which evaporates quickly and is totally useless. The only solution here is to dig up your bathroom floor and insert a “U” trap underneath the shower drain. As the shower drains are 2 inch diameter, a “U” or “P” trap can be manufactured from three 90 degree elbows (or “L’s” as they like to call them here), so that water is retained permanently in the “U” part and discharged at a slightly lower point than the inflowing water.

A similar device can be fitted to your kitchen waste outlet. A “P” trap is advisable here, as it has a screw off cap for unblocking the drain. It beats me why the people in the shop who sell sinks don’t automatically ask the customer if they require a “P” trap with every  sink purchased; they would increase sales and solve the problem in one go!
If your wife has started wearing perfume and taking showers, why not try joining her in the shower and wearing aftershave yourself.  She might start wondering about you and who knows… it could spark a new romance!

QUESTION: I am Aristotle Theodolite, architect student from Greek. I come backpacking holiday to Gili Islands to study Indonesian architecture.  I like very much to try magic mushroom pizza. All furniture in hotel room get stolen and next morning is replaced with exact replica. Met strange space alien man with bulging eyes, no hair on head and grey skin, who smell funny. Think I am a pair of curtains. Where am I?

MR FIXER: Pull yourself together, Ari. You are on Gili Trawangan. Space aliens don’t exist. You probably met my friend George.

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As predicted by The Lombok Guide in January 2010, the Chief of the Office of Transportation, Communication and Information (Dishubkominfo) for West Nusa Tenggara, Ahmad Baharudin, has now admitted that the opening of the Lombok International Airport, optimistically announced to take place in March, would be further delayed.
“It is now highly likely the soft opening in March cannot take place because PT Angkasa Pura I is itself not ready,” explained Baharudin. He then said that the soft opening of BIL can only be realised in June or July, due to failures to complete all preparations on schedule.

PT Angkasa Pura I is the state-owned airport authority for the new Lombok Airport. PT Angkasa Pura has yet to publicly comment on any delays in the planned soft opening scheduled for March.

However, as we reported in January, a spokesman for PT Angkasa Pura I had said that the commencement of operations at the new airport would be delayed by local government’s failure to provide road access and necessary infrastructure to support the international airport.

The statement prompted many tourism industry stakeholders to ask: “If the construction of the airport was commenced in 2008, why is the government only now addressing the problems of roads and access to the airport?”

According to the government, the construction of supporting infrastructure, such as the promised by-pass highway connecting the rest of the island to the new airport, is being delayed by difficulties in freeing right-of-ways needed to complete the highway.

In January 2010, the Governor created a special technical team assigned to end the controversy over the access right-of-ways for the highway serving BIL. Baharudin said that the technical team is now discussing how best to use available budgets to free the land for the road which passes through the regencies of West Lombok and Central Lombok.

An estimated Rp 10 billion (US $1.063 million) is needed to acquire the needed right-of-ways in West Lombok, while Rp 3 billion (US $319,000) is in hand for the project. An additional Rp 20 billion (US $2.127 million) is needed for the construction of the road in Central Lombok whereas only Rp 13 billion (US$1.383 million) has been allocated in that regency’s budget for the road works.

In order to meet these funding shortfalls, the West Nusa Tenggara government has said it will use part of the State’s 2010 Budget for the province.

Last week, the local government again announced that it would build a new 16km road linking the capital city of Mataram to the Lombok International Airport, at an estimated cost of Rp 500 billion.

In addition, the government also promised to resurface the southern ring road serving the Mandalika Resort area in South Lombok, where the government planned to develop a 1250 hectare mega-resort in conjunction with Emaar Properties. Since then, the agreement with the Dubai-based developer has been abandoned and the government is accepting new tenders to develop the project. Road works planned for the south coast area total Rp 1.1 trillion.

According to the Head of the Public Works Department in NTB, Pak Jalal, the new roads would be 30 metres wide and consist of two lanes, each 15 metres wide. He said the plans to develop access in the area include building a new road linking Pohgading, Ijobalit, Tanjung Luar, Keruak and Jerowaru in East Lombok regency, and the construction of a road from the location of the planned International Fishing Bay at Teluk Awang, and to Selong Belanak, Kuta and Penujak in Central Lombok.

“The fund is already prepared. If Mandalika Resort development began, the road is done immediately,” he said.

With such optimistic plans and wildly varying estimates of costs, it is hard for us to know what is really going on. We hope someone does!

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New laws regarding the import of alcohol, plus the introduction of a new excise tax, are causing a furore between policy-makers and the tourism industry, and may mean increases of up to 40% in the prices of alcohol.

In October last year, the Trade Ministry abolished the monopoly by state-owned company PT Sarinah in the importation of liquor, opening the liquor import market up to competition and potentially better supplies but, until now, no new licenses have been issued.

In the second major change to liquor laws, in early March 2010, Finance Minister, Sri Mulyani Indrawati, announced that the government would revoke the luxury tax on alcoholic drinks, winning praise from the tourism and hospitality industry. But the hope was short lived when, on 25 March, the government announced an average excise tax hike of 200 percent on alcoholic products. Both will become effective in April this year.

The Indonesia Hotel and Restaurant Association (IHRA) has asked the government to review its decision to impose high excise tax on alcoholic drinks, saying the policy will ruin the campaign to promote the country’s tourism.

IHRA chairwoman, Yanti Sukamdani, said that the plan to revoke the luxury tax on alcoholic beverages is pointless if the government simultaneously imposes higher excise. The tax is expected to see a 40% increase in liquor prices on average.

Based on the new rules, local liquor with an alcohol content of less than 5 percent, such as beer, will see tax hikes of more than 200 percent, from the previous Rp 3,500 to Rp 11,000 (US $1.10). Imported liquor with an alcohol rate of more than 20 percent will see a tax increase of 160 percent.

Yanti predicted that the new tax regulations may force foreign tourists to choose other destinations like Thailand, Malaysia or Singapore, where liquor is cheaper. “In the past, many tourists cancelled their visits after learning about the country’s liquor shortage,” she said

In recent years, hotels and restaurants in Indonesia have had serious problems providing sufficient alcoholic drinks for their guests due to restrictions in alcohol supplies.

Until late 2006, two state trading companies were given licenses in lucrative liquor trading: PT Sarinah was the sole importer of duty-free liquor and Perusahaan Perda-gangan Indonesia (PPI) for importing duty-paid alcohol for the open market. The tough campaign launched by Sri Mulyani to clean up the notoriously corrupt customs service in 2006 found how collusion between PPI and customs officials had made it possible for most of the liquor imported for the free market to evade paying any duty, causing hundreds of millions of dollars in state losses and the black market to thrive.

PPI lost its license in late 2006 and PT Sarinah was eventually made the sole importer of both duty-free and duty-paid liquor. However, lack of experience made the transition chaotic, drying up liquor stocks and setting off complaints among foreign visitors and expatriate communities in major cities.

Since the government removed Sarinah’s exclusive rights, a number of companies have applied to become liquor importers, but so far none of them have received permits. The limited availability of alcoholic drinks has forced hotel and restaurant owners to buy products at high prices.

Trade Minister Mari said eight companies had applied for liquor import licenses and she would decide soon how many of them would be granted the licenses because the new policy measures would be effective in April. Those planning to import alcoholic drinks must show documents stating they can import at least 3,000 cartons of drinks from 20 brands.

Based on past experience, it is better to allow as many importers as possible as competition creates a more efficient market. However, the measures will not make liquor available at cheap prices, as alcohol remains subject to punitively high excise taxes.

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