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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.

Every year the island of Lombok plays host to a spectacular extravaganza of international dance, with the Lombok International Dance Festival. This year, the Lombok International Dance Sport & Cultural Festival will be held between 2 and 4 July in the Grand Ballroom at Santosa Villas and Resort in Senggigi.

The World Dance Council has awarded the 2010 Open Asian Championship Series to Lombok, which will feature competitors from six Asian countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand and China; together with a further twelve countries that include top professional dancers who will compete in the Professional WDC Asian Cup for Ballroom and Latin categories.

Ballroom and Latin American world champions participating at the event include World Champions Eldar and Anna Dzhafarov from Azerbaijan (Europe), who are rated in the top 12 in the world; top professional couple, Evgeny Ryupin and Yana Prokovskaya from Russia, who were crowd-pleasers and won the Professional Latin Championships in Lombok last year; together with champions from Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Poland and more.
There will also be a special performance at the Gala event on Sunday, 4 July by Bali-based international concert violinist, Robert Brown, who will accompany an original dance work created by Bali’s internationally acclaimed choreographer/dancer, Nyoman Sura. This unique duo spellbound spectators at the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival in 2009!

World class dance, a beautiful tropical island with plenty of sunshine and perfect white sand beaches… now is the time to dance over to paradise!

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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When you make the boat crossing between Bali and Lombok, you travel across the Lombok Strait. This body of water separates Bali and Lombok and is also known as “The Wallace Line”. This section of sea has a deep channel that is about 35kms (21 miles) wide at its northernmost point and connects the Java Sea and the Indian Ocean.

The Strait is well-known for its strong currents and north-south ‘through-flow’ which can run at several knots and is very deep. At the northern end it starts with a depth of 1 500 metres and then averages around 400 metres until the southern end, where it increases again to 1 500 metres and eventually to 3 000 metres.

Tankers with large drafts and submarines regularly pass through the Strait avoiding the much shallower and congested water of the Malacca Straits. The Japanese controlled the Strait during WWII. In 1942, the battle of Lombok Strait took place when an American destroyer squadron engaged a large Japanese naval force.

However, most passengers who travel to Lombok or the Gilis know nothing about the other name associated with this part of the world: the Wallace Line.

In the second half of the 19th century, the English explorer and naturalist, Alfred Russell Wallace (1823-1913) spent a number of years travelling around the region studying and documenting the human culture of the Malaysian and Indonesian islands and their flora and fauna.

During his years of travel, he noticed how species of animals and plants differed greatly between the islands in the western part of the Indonesian archipelago and the islands to the east. One of his greatest interests was to explain why this was so and much of his work revolved around the idea of “survival of the fittest”, or natural selection.

What particularly struck Wallace about his discovery was that some islands that were very far apart had the same distribution of animal species, while some that were close together had very different species. Nowhere was this more striking than between the islands of Bali and Lombok, which are separated by only 22 miles (35km) of water. Yet, numerous species of plants and animals – especially birds – that are found on Bali and other distant islands to the north and west, were absent on Lombok, which had species found on other islands far to the south and east.
Wallace observed that there was a marked difference between the flora and fauna on either side of the line -- for instance, there are tigers, rhinos and bears west of the line that do not live to the east; while there are marsupials, cockatoos, Komodo dragons and other animals that live in the east but not to the west of the line.

In between constant bouts of malaria and other tropical illnesses, he finally came up with the theory of “The Wallace Line”. While survival of the fittest didn’t explain these differences, he concluded that ancient geological changes must have been the cause. He concluded that an imaginary boundary ran from between Borneo (Kalimantan) and Sulawesi in the north and down between Bali and Lombok in the south.

From these differences, biologists concluded that at one point the land masses of south-east Asia were connected to Australia but eventually moved apart and the deep Lombok Strait acted as a barrier to the movement of species west across the Wallace Line.

Later research showed that the Wallace Line was not a clear cut boundary and that many similar species do in fact live on both Bali and Lombok. However, there is a definite transition from the Australasian species found in the east and the Asian species found to the west of the Line.

The fundamental insight that the division between the different species must have been connected to ancient geological shifts put Wallace far ahead of his time and remains a remarkable achievement to this day.

Today this zone of transition is still called the Wallace Line and, in honour of Wallace’s work, naturalists now refer to the area around the line as “Wallacea”. The region around the Wallace Line is considered to be amongst the most ecologically diverse in the world, alongside the Amazon Rainforest and the Congo Rainforest.

Wallace also has one other claim to fame. In the 1850’s he was busy formulating a theory of evolution, in parallel with the work being undertaken by Charles Darwin – a theory that was considered quite heretical at the time. Wallace first published a paper on the “introduction” of the species in 1855.

Wallace had a lot of respect for the work of Darwin and was willing to share information. Whilst working in Borneo, he sent him a manuscript, which Darwin received in June 1858. The manuscript further advanced Wallace’s theories and may have been the spur for Darwin to ‘go public’ and publish his own work, “On the Origin of Species” in November 1859.

Wallace’s name and work will always be remembered for ‘the line’. However, he came very close to being credited in history with the theory of evolution.

Our thanks to Howard Singleton, who contributed sections of this article.

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The long-awaited rental generators promised by the PLN (State Electricity Company) have arrived in Lombok and, hopefully by the time this issue of The Lombok Guide hits the streets, most of Lombok’s electricity problems will have diminished.

26 containers carrying the generators and related equipment arrived in Lombok on 16 June and were transported under heavy guard to the PLN headquarters in Mataram the next day. The transportation of the generators, rented by the PLN to make up the 40 megawatt electricity shortfall in Lombok, in itself was a major undertaking.

Some of the equipment came from Singapore, while more came from as far as Dubai, and was transported by ship to Lembar Harbour, on the southwest of the island. It was the first time the local port had handled a cargo shipment of this size, according to PLN Regional Technical Manager, Ali Akbar.

Heavy equipment was bought in to unload the machines and the PLN compound remained under guard as machinery was unloaded and placed in position. It is still unclear exactly how many generators the PLN has imported, with a rental value of around Rp 500 billion per year.

Some reports say there are 11 generators of varying sizes, which will be installed at Mataram, and at substations in Ampenan and other locations around Lombok, including Central and East Lombok.

Special technicians were also flown into Lombok to oversee the installation of the generators, which the PLN administration estimates will take around one week.

At the time of going to press, Ali Akbar told reporters that he hoped the installation of the machines would be finished by 24 June, but at the very least he felt confident that the PLN could meet their promise to the Lombok community that the rolling blackouts would be over by the end of June.

In the meantime, he warned that power cuts and longer than normal blackouts would be necessary in different areas as old cabling was disabled and the new equipment was installed.

The PLN has been under considerable pressure from the Lombok community to find a solution to the frequent power cuts that have plagued the island for months, due to an electricity deficit of around 40 megawatts. As a result of escalating demonstrations and threats by local communities, amidst allegations of corruption and bad management, the PLN promised to have the deficit problem solved by the end of June 2010.

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• The hottest event on this month’s calendar is the Lombok International Dance Sport & Cultural Festival, to be held at Santosa Villas and Resort in Senggigi on Friday, 2 July, Saturday 3 July and Sunday, 4 July.

The three day extravaganza of dance and performance takes place at the Santosa’s Grand Ballroom, with competitions and performances every day. Entry to daytime sessions is free, with spectators having the chance to see some amazing performances by world class dance champions and aspiring champions.

In addition to fabulous exhibitions of Ballroom and Latin American dance, this year Lombok is host to the inaugural 2010 Open Asian Cup Series featuring competitors from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand and China.

Coinciding with this Asia Cup series, the programme has been expanded into a dance festival in 2010 and will embrace Indonesian traditional and cultural dance for the first time ever, together with modern styles such as Hip-Hop, Street Dance and Break Dance. The Closed Indonesian Championships for cultural dance is open to contestants throughout Indonesia.

This is a unique chance to see not only traditional and modern dance styles from the west, but also traditional performances from Indonesia, as well as the latest in street dance trends and non-traditional performing arts.

This year, 120 performers from 18 different countries will be competing for a top place in the Asian Series, which culminate with the Gala Event at the Ballroom on Sunday 4 July, starting at 6pm. The Gala is an occasion to dress up (dress: semi formal) and witness world class entertainment of a standard usually only seen in Europe.

Based on the quality of the past few years’ performances, this year promises to be a spectacular occasion with world champions visiting Lombok from Azerbaijan (Europe), Russia, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Poland and more. One of the most important social events on the Lombok calendar… this is one not to miss! Phone Puri Mas for details and bookings on 0370 693831

• Residents and frequent visitors to Senggigi will have noticed that the building on the main street, to the right of the entrance to Senggigi Plaza, has been transformed over the past few months. Years ago it used to house the Outback Bar and Restaurant and, up until recently, the Senggigi office of Exotiq Real Estate.

The restaurant section is now home to the Grand Corner Café, a cozy bar and restaurant that is getting good reviews for its good value and tasty meals of late. The interior is looking very comfortable with separate areas for dining and lounging, particularly for those looking for a place to relax and watch a movie or take advantage of the free WiFi internet while enjoying a drink and a snack. Free movies are on offer every day and at the moment the bar is doing brisk business with football fans and World Cup fever! Join the crowd for screenings of all matches and a chance to win Happy Goal Prizes! Ph: 0813 3725 0893

• Meanwhile, the Exotiq Real Estate office next door has been taken over by Lombok Property and Villas, which must have one of the largest and most comprehensive ranges of listings for properties all over Lombok, judging from the photos on display in their windows.

Whether you’re looking for a small block to build your dream home, a few hectares for a new resort, or a villa to buy or rent – or even a hotel! – you’ll find it here! Charming owners Iain and Dewi are on hand to offer their services with helpful and honest advice… drop in and see them if you’re in the market for a slice of paradise! Ph: 0812 3734 0117 or visit www.lombokpropertyandvillas.com

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The Chief of the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG), Dr Ir Sri Woro B Harijono, recently held a press conference to explain the delay in the ending of the rainy season in many regions of Indonesia.

Sri Woro told the press that medium to heavy rainfall patterns would persist in many areas of Indonesia, including Bali and Lombok, for a month longer than usual, until mid-July, due to higher-than-normal sea surface temperatures.
BKMG’s predictions are that rains in many areas of Indonesia will persist until mid-July followed by a dry season that will have higher than average levels of rainfall. BKMG is also predicting that the dry season in 2010 will be shorter than normal.

Quoted in The Jakarta Post, Sri Woro said, “We recorded the highest ever sea temperature in June 2010 that still caused huge evaporations, impeding the coming of dry season. The main cause of the delay is sea temperature rise, but the negative index of the dipole mode and the likelihood of La Nina phenomena also contribute to the extreme changes of weather in Indonesia.”

The Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) is an ocean-atmosphere phenomenon in the Indian Ocean. It is normally characterised by uncharacteristic cooling of sea surface temperatures (SST) in the south eastern equatorial Indian Ocean and abnormal warming of SST in the western equatorial Indian Ocean.

Associated with these changes the normal convection situated over the eastern Indian Ocean warm pool shifts to the west and often brings heavy rainfall over east Africa and severe droughts and forest fires over the Indonesian region.
Observational data collected over the past 40 years shows a dipole mode in the Indian Ocean, with uncharacteristically low sea surface temperatures off Sumatra and high sea surface temperatures in the western Indian Ocean, with accompanying wind and rainfall abnormalities.

This air-sea interaction process is unique and inherent in the Indian Ocean, and is shown to be independent of the El Niño/Southern Oscillation.

El Niño is characterised by unusually warm ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific and can result in increased rainfall across the southern tier of the US and in Peru, causing destructive flooding, and corresponding drought in the West Pacific, sometimes associated with devastating brush fires in Australia.

High sea temperatures can have a devastating effect on the fishing industry and coral reefs in the islands, as well as on weather patterns throughout the world.

The region experienced a short El Nino period at the end of 2009, which delayed the start of the rainy season and caused higher than normal temperatures in Bali and Lombok for several months.

El Niño phenomena are often followed by a corresponding period of La Nina weather phenomena, which causes the opposite effect to the El Niño pattern. The US Climate Prediction Centre, one of the organisations that monitor equatorial sea temperatures, predicts the transition to La Nina conditions between June and August, 2010.

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World Cup fever came to Villa Qusia with a Mexican / French cook-off
(thanks to Norma and Frederick!) when Mexico played France on 17 June

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

QUESTION:  I am a semi-retired single male in my late 40’s and I have recently rented a nice quiet villa with swimming pool just outside the popular tourist area of Senggigi. I am not particularly handsome. I am slightly overweight and a bit thin on top.

When I was born, I was so ugly, the midwife got a slap. I wouldn’t say I was unwanted as a child, but my mother used to wrap my lunches in a road map before sending me off to school. One day my dad went to the local shop for some cigarettes and never came back.  It got so bad one day, I went to the doctor complaining that people keep ignoring me. He just said “Next!” All this has left me with a bit of an inferiority complex. 

Everything changed the day I met Wanita. She was a beautiful Indonesian princess with long black hair, all down her back and some on her head. Her teeth were like stars… they came out at night. I called her Wanita because she only had one tooth. One day we went to the dentist and I paid for her to have a new set of dentures fitted. Then she left me.  Some time later, I saw her on the other side of the road and she just stood there and laughed at me. Laughed at me! With my own teeth!  I feel so humiliated and alone, I don’t know what to do.

MR FIXER: This is an all too common story, I’m afraid. Think positive and tell yourself in the mirror that you are handsome and desirable. Do this every day for 2 weeks. Drink plenty of beer and learn to tell dirty jokes in a loud voice. That’s what the rest of them do in The Birch Club. Failing that, do what my friend George does: go for the ugly ones. There is less chance of them leaving you!

QUESTION: My name is Wanita. I am a single, buxom Indonesian lady with long black hair who is happy and outgoing.  Recently, I met a nice man who lives in a rented villa just outside the popular tourist area of Senggigi. I think he is quite good looking for a fat, bald man, but that’s the way I prefer them; very cuddly and clean shaven!  
Everything was going fine until one day my new boyfriend found out I had false teeth. He insisted on buying me some new ones. The dentist must have given me the wrong set of teeth, as they didn’t fit properly. I looked like a horse. On my way back from the dentist, I saw my boyfriend across the street. The traffic was so busy, all I could do was wave and shout. The teeth were such a bad fit I could hardly close my mouth. It looked like I was constantly laughing. I was so embarrassed and distressed I couldn’t go home for two days. 

My boyfriend has started drinking beer and telling dirty jokes with his mates in the Birch Club or some such place. I have also heard he has found another girlfriend. She is so ugly! Even the dogs in Green Valley stop barking when she appears. I feel so humiliated and alone, I don’t know what to do.

MR FIXER: Well at least you have something in common. Go down to the Birch Club and find your boyfriend. Tell him you love him even if he is fat and bald. Tell him you will never leave him, not even to go to the dentist. Have your hair cut short and put on lots of weight. Don’t wear any make up. Practice breaking wind in public and swearing. If you need any tuition with this, my friend George has a girlfriend who would be glad to help. Failing that, find yourself another fat bald man. There are plenty of them about!

Got a question for Mr Fixer? He’s always got a quirky answer your personal building problems! Just email your problem to “Mr Fixer” at kitadesign@hotmail.com

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Recent street theatre protests enacted by taxi drivers who are members of the Tourism Transportation Association (PJWB) have apparently deeply wounded Bali’s Governor, Made Mangku Pastika.

On 7 June 2010, a group of “Anti Blue Bird protesters” ritually cremated the Governor’s effigy in front of Pastika’s office in order to show their displeasure with his apparent refusal to take punitive action against competing taxi company, Bali Taxi.

Quoted on beritabali.com, Governor Pastika told a group of Balinese religious leaders that he was saddened by the lack of morality demonstrated by the protesting taxi drivers. The Governor reportedly cried when he heard the epithets of the protesters accompanied by religious chants, explaining, “I was not angry, but instead sad. This was an affront to religion.”

Pastika expressed the wish that Bali’s sacred rituals not be mocked, asking, “Didn’t they know that the items burnt were sacred symbols?”

Half in jest, the Governor suggested it was no longer appropriate for him to serve as the island’s chief executive. “The current Governor has been cremated. That means all that’s left of me is my spirit,” he said.

On a more sober note, however, the Governor warned that if he pursued legal action against the nine men known to be behind the mock cremation, they could be charged with three separate legal violations. First, criminal insult; second, defaming his good name; and, finally, with religious blasphemy.

Sounding an ominous message, Pastika said, “If I want to look for these nine guys, I'll find them.” Referring to his capture of the now-executed Bali bombers, Pastika added, “I caught Amrozy, didn't I?”

The street violence is part of a long-standing dispute between PT Praja Bali Transportasi, also known as Bali Taxi (who operate under the Blue Bird brand), and a group of competing taxi companies in Bali affiliated under the umbrella of PJWB.

Central to the dispute are contentions by PJWB that Blue Bird operates illegally in Bali, the company’s overwhelming popularity with the public, and Bali Taxi’s desire to add new vehicles to their fleet; all seen by PJWB as unfair competition to their members.

A judicial review team recently reviewed PT Praja Bali Transportasi operations in Bali and determined the company and its operations to be legally constituted.

Bisnis Indonesia says that PT Praja Bali Transportasi – Bali Taxi – is suffering a 40% decline in revenues following recent attacks on their fleet by competing taxi drivers operating under the Tourism Transportation Association (PJWB).

In those attacks, on 8 June 2010, twenty-three Blue Bird taxis were damaged and two members of the press suffered damage to their cameras. Subsequently police have made several arrests among PJWB members and civil charges are pending against PJWB, filed by PT Praja Bali Transportasi.

A spokesman for Bali Taxi, Nyoman Mertadi, said, “Many hotels and corporate partners have temporarily stopped cooperation, awaiting a more conducive situation.”

Mertadi estimates the cost of the damage done to the 23 damaged taxis at more than Rp 100 million (US $10 640), with 43 drivers forced to be deployed to the remaining fleet.

Mertadi warned that the attack on the Blue Bird fleet may prove self-defeating, with many people calling him to explain their fear and reluctance to ride in any taxi in Bali at the moment.

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(6/12/2010) Bisnis.com reports that the proposed ceiling for the budget of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in the 2011 State Budget is set at Rp 2 055 trillion (US $218.6 million), an increase over the current year’s budget of 27.22%

Commission X of the National House of Representatives (DPR) and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism are jointly proposing the higher allocation in next year’s budget.

The Ministry has adopted eight main programs for 2011 and beyond, including developments in the areas of culture, the arts, film, historical preservation and museum development. Tourism projects will focus on destination and market development.

The proposed budget will also seek to improve the working synergy of the Ministry by enhancing accountability, the improvement of management systems and a better standard of infrastructure support for the Ministry.

The Minister of Culture and Tourism, Jero Wacik, recently announced that the State Audit Board has given “validation with exceptions” for the Ministry’s bookkeeping for 2009. This is an improvement in financial accountability for the Ministry, for which in the two previous years the State Audit Board refused an opinion.


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Customs Officials in Bali raided a warehouse in Jimbaran on 12 June 2010, and seized 4 000 liters of alcoholic beverages which, according to Kompas.com either had false duty stamps or no duty stamps at all.

The seizure took place after authorities stopped two delivery trucks carrying illegal booze in the Kuta area of Bali. Information from the drivers led Customs Officials to the Jimbaran location and the large cache of contraband liquor.

The head of the Investigative and Enforcement Division of the Bali Customs and Excise Office, Bagus Endro Wibowo, estimates the illegal haul of imported liquor and wine to have a value of Rp 1 billion (US $106 000).
An unnamed individual taken into custody by the Custom’s office and believed to be the owner of the seized alcohol is reported to be a recidivist.

Police and customs officials are now tracing the distribution network to local night spots, which are believed to have purchased untaxed booze from the warehouse.

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Fujitsu Limited, Norddeutsche Seekabelwerke GmbH (NSW) and state-owned telecommunications company, PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia (PT Telkom), have announced the completion of a US $100 million submarine optic-fiber cable network for the Indonesian islands of Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Java, Bali and Lombok.

Optical fiber cable consists of one or more filaments of glass fiber wrapped in protective layers. It transmits light which can travel over extended distances without signal loss. Fiber-optic cables are not affected by electromagnetic radiation. Transmission speed may reach trillions of bits per second. The transmission speed of fiber optics is hundreds of times faster than for coaxial cables and thousands of times faster than for twisted-pair wire.

The completion of the project, named JaKa2LaDeMa, gives businesses and residents of these islands their first direct access to high-bandwidth Internet, e-commerce, video, data, and voice services, a Fujitsu spokesman said.
Having been successfully installed and tested by the end of April 2010, JaKa2LaDeMa will significantly enhance data transmission capacity between the islands.

This is particularly important for Bali, which is of key commercial importance to Indonesia, as well as Mataram, according to the statement.

In addition, the interlink within Kalimantan and the Kalimantan-Sulawesi link give businesses and residents not only their first high-bandwidth services, but also ensure the robustness of the entire network in Indonesia.
Fujitsu was responsible for the overall system design of repeatered solutions with its terminal equipment, submersible repeaters, branching units as well as the associated services, including the integration of repeaters with NSW cables.

A repeater is an electronic device that receives a signal, cleans it of unnecessary noise, regenerates it, and retransmits it at a higher power level, or to the other side of an obstruction, so that the signal can cover longer distances without degradation. In most twisted pair Ethernet configurations, repeaters are required for cable that runs longer than 100 meters.

“The JaKa2LaDeMa project is a strategically important system for all of Indonesia. The new links will convey not only voice and Internet data, but also friendship between Indonesia and the world,” Gensei Katano, Fujitsu Group Vice President, Submarine Networks, said.

NSW’s scope of work comprised a full turn-key solution, including survey and route engineering, submarine cable manufacture, marine installation, civil works, including terrestrial cable supply and installation, as well as transmission and full commissioning services.

Rudolf Stahl, chairman of NSW, said, “The cooperation with Fujitsu as a consortium partner has been very productive and we continue to go from strength to strength in this partnership, having delivered the second large-scale contract for repeatered cable in the space of 24 months.”

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