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NEWS

ISSUE 69

DRUM ROLLS FOR LOMBOK!

TWO DAY DRUMMING FESTIVAL!

COASTAL ROAD TAKES SHAPE

WHAT'S HOT!

CLEAN UP SENGGIGI

LOCAL SCENE

MANNA KEBUN… A haven of relaxation and tranquillity

MR FIXER

LOMBOK TRIATHLON OFFICIALLY CANCELLED

INDONESIA GETS DEBT RELIEF TO FIGHT TB

LOCAL FOOD PRICES SOAR

HAPPY 10TH BIRTHDAY MANTA DIVE!

FUNDAY RAISES FUNDS FOR LOCAL SCHOOL

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DRUM ROLLS FOR LOMBOK!

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.

Lombok has a fascinating and rich culture with unique customs, dances and music. This month visitors to our island have a very special opportunity to witness a huge festival of percussions and drumming, with the Lombok Drumming Festival to be held over the weekend of 31 July and 1 August.

Festivals of this magnitude are very rare and are a great chance to experience the music and traditions of our amazing island. Read all the details on page 10 and make sure you don’t miss this exciting event!

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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TWO DAY DRUMMING FESTIVAL!

Lombok residents and visitors are in for a treat, with a two day drumming festival scheduled to be held over the weekend of 31 July and 1 August, 2010.

The Core Event Lombok Begendang (Lombok Drumming) features the Festival Perkusi Nusantara (Inter Islands Percussion Festival) & Pemilihan The Master of Gendang Beleq 2010 (Choosing The Gendang Beleq Master 2010)

The Inter Islands Percussion Festival will be held on 31 July, 2010 starting at 7pm and will be performed on the open stage at Taman Budaya (Cultural Park) in Mataram.

Taman Budaya is on Jalan Majapahit (see our cities map on page 54) west of the central Post Office. Participants from Jakarta, Banten, Central Java, Jogjakarta, West Java, East Java, Bali, Lombok, Sumbawa and the Eastern Nusa Tenggara islands will perform a range of different music from around Indonesia on traditional percussion instruments.

The Lombok Begendang Festival takes place on Sunday, 1 August starting at 9am. There will be a Gala Parade of percussionists through the streets of the city.

The parade starts in front of Bank Indonesia on Jalan Langko past the Governor’s Office on Jalan Pejanggik, returning via Jalan Catur Warga and finishing at Taman Sangkareang (Sangkareang Park) on Jalan Catur Warga.
The Master of Gendang Beleq Competition will take place on Sunday, 1 August at 1 pm in front of the Governor’s Office, when top drummers will battle for the title of Gendang Beleq Master 2010. Prizes include motorcycles, mountain bikes, camera, mobile phones, televisions, airline tickets and hotel accommodation.

While the Drumming Festival will feature percussionists from throughout the Indonesian archipelago, Gendang Beleq is unique to the NTB region (Lombok and Sumbawa).

Literally translated as “Big Drums”, Gendang Beleq forms an important part of local cultural performances. These drums are actually a variant of the Kendang drum that traditionally accompanies gamelan orchestras throughout Indonesia. The drum is barrel shaped and has a skin stretched over each end. The right hand skin has a deep bass tone, while the left hand skin produces a higher pitched slap, characteristic of these drums. The tones of each skin can be changed by banging the right hand skin with a small mallet, or by covering one skin while hitting the other. In this way a variety of tones can be produced by the drummers.

The Gendang Beleq used in Lombok is distinctive because of its huge size – usually around 1.5 metres in length and fifty centimetres in diameter. The Gendang Beleq drummers train for years to be able to master the combination of drumming, dancing and manoeuvring the size and weight of the drums, in a skilful and graceful performance.

In feudal times, when Lombok was divided into different kingdoms, the Gendang Belek was used to rouse warriors as they went into battle, and to welcome the triumphant soldiers when they returned home again. Nowadays, the big drums are often found accompanying traditional gamelan troupes at most important Lombok events.

However, like many traditional practices, Gendang Beleq was at one time in danger of disappearing in Lombok. In 1992, it was estimated that there were only around 30 known Gendeng Beleq troupes in Lombok.

With modern music, radio, TV and MTV, the young people were not so interested in the old art and style of traditional music. Local government organisations recognised the need to support and develop local traditions that were in danger of dying out, and to encourage both existing performers and future generations to carry forward their cultural heritage.

Under an initiative led by the wife of the then NTB Governor, Ibu Serinata, the first Gendang Beleq Festival was organised in 2005, inspiring a surge of renewed interest in the art.

The success of the 2005 Festival resulted in an award from the National Museum, MURI, for breaking the Indonesian record for musical events. In September 2006, the festival was held again, with 5500 drummers participating, and the national record was once again broken and an award commemorating that feat was presented at the Festival, ensuring that Lombok holds a special place in the Indonesian record books.

Currently there are around 125 Gendang Beleq groups active in Lombok and festivals such as these inspire more people to take pride in their unique local ceremonies and arts.

The Festival is sure to be a colourful, deafening event attended by thousands of people. If you are in Lombok during the festival, be sure not to miss this special event… you are in for a unique experience!

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COASTAL ROAD TAKES SHAPE

Drivers taking the road up the west coast to the north of the island would have noticed the major road works being carried out over the past few months. Huge sections of the roadside have been excavated and, although this may cause some delays, the revamp of the coastal road is taking shape very nicely indeed.

The major renovation of the road that runs along the west coast from Senggigi to Pemenang in the north of the island was initially commenced on 18 January 2008. The road is the main access to the north and to the Gili islands for those travelling from Senggigi. The only other road north runs from Gunung Sari through the Pusuk Pass to Pemenang.

The first stage of the road works was completed in 2008, with the road north from Mangsit to Malimbu widened and re-designed. Some of the steep inclines on the hills were cut out, or in some cases totally rebuilt, to enable cars and buses to travel the road easily and safely. Of particular importance is ease of access for tour buses. A safe stopping lane was created in 2008 at the Malimbu corner, where visitors often stop to admire the views and take photos.

Now the work continues, from Malimbu to Tanjung. Major sections of the road, particularly the steep hill before Nipah Beach, have been excavated and widened, with tonnes of rock and earth being removed to lower the incline on what was a treacherous stretch of road. Similar work is being carried out on some of the hair pin bends further north to lessen the dangers. From our visit last week, it appears a scenic lookout, similar to that at Malimbu, will be created at Nipah.

The west coast road was never properly designed since it was first cut through the mountains and, with the increase of tourism in Lombok and traffic to the Gilis and Rinjani National Park in the north, a major overhaul was necessary.

With many hair-pin bends and steep hills, the work involves cutting through rock and hillsides to reduce gradients and smooth out sharp corners. In some sections, up to 15 metres of rock has been dug out and entire slopes have been remodelled.

Although the road works mean a rough journey up the coast at the moment, in the near future we can expect a wide, smooth and scenic route along the beautiful west coast.

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• We love the fantastic painted statues being created at Anna’s Gift Shop in The Galleria, just north of Senggigi Abadi Supermarket. Owner, Dianne, has taken the traditional wooden statues so well-known in Lombok and given them a new look with stunning contemporary designs and colours.

The traditional statues are designed by Dianne’s local husband, Eddy, who chooses only quality Mahogany wood for the statues to ensure that they can handle the different climates of different countries and won’t split or warp when exported internationally. Dianne then hand-paints eye-catching patterns and designs on the statues, using imported acrylics that have a strong colour and fine finish, keeping the colours alive and vibrant. The result is contemporary artworks that have caught the attention of European collectors, who have already snapped up the one-off unique pieces and have commissioned more. The gift shop has also been approached to exhibit the Lombok artworks at an exhibition in Surabaya next year.

The philosophy of using only quality woods extends to all the wooden art pieces sold at Anna’s Giftshop, from statues to masks and glazed bowls and home decorator pieces. There is a fine display of contemporary and traditional artwork upstairs, and the gift shop also has a very good selection of pearl, silver and gemstone jewellery. It’s impossible to resist picking up something from this treasure-trove of gifts and collectibles, and prices are very reasonable! Ph: 0817 573 0012

• It’s been a while since we visited Kayu Manis, the small café next to Senggigi Abadi Supermarket on the main street in Senggigi. Starving for some lunch the other day and looking for something fresh and tasty, we stopped in at Kayu Manis and were drawn to the board out the front advertising Beer Batter Fish and Chips. It’s difficult to find a restaurant that knows how to make a good beer batter, so this was too tempting to pass up! We were not disappointed with the fillets of fresh snapper, encased in a light and crispy beer batter. Piled on top of a generous serve of home made French Fries, with a delicious fresh salad on the side and drizzled with a tasty mustard mayonnaise, the dish is excellent value at Rp 45 000. Washed down with healthy, freshly made mango and tangerine juices, we felt we had dined at one of Lombok’s better restaurants for just over US $10 (for two). No wonder this great little restaurant is always busy! Ph: 693561

• While visiting the north of the island last week, we stopped in to see the latest addition to North Lombok luxury accommodation: Lombok Lodge. Located on the road to Puri Medana, just past the entrance to The Oberoi, the private villas are beautifully situated on the small hillside sloping down to the beach, with gorgeous views out across the bay and to the mountains in the north. The contemporary design by renowned Belgian architect, Vittorio Simoni, has resulted in 8 very stylish villas overlooking a lovely infinity pool, which takes full advantage of the superb setting. A deck below the pool provides a cool and romantic dining area in the evening. We especially love the design of the bar, perched above the ocean with big comfortable cushions, lots of polished natural woods and views to die for. Lombok Lodge is currently celebrating their “soft opening” with special deals throughout August, but hurry – with only eight of these gorgeous villas available, openings are very limited! www.thelomboklodge.com

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CLEAN UP SENGGIGI!

It’s no secret that the main road through Senggigi is in need of a clean up. Some areas are well maintained; but others, particularly in front of the local supermarkets and nightclub are in desperate need of attention.

Local businesses and organisations such as the Lombok Hotels Association have been pushing the government for years to improve conditions, such as drainage, lighting and footpaths. In fact, members of the LHA met with Lombok’s Governor on 11 January 2009 to discuss these issues directly with the man at the top, but despite a commitment to address the problems, a year and a half later the situation remains the same.

Similar approaches to the West Lombok Bupati (Regent) have gone largely ignored and, as those who live here know, in cases like this it is always faster and easier to do it ourselves!

One business that has taken the problem into its own hands is Asmara Restaurant, on the main street in Senggigi. Asmara manager, Ibu Sakinah, has been running a gotong royong (busy bee) with their staff every month, taking care to clean up the street and area in front of the restaurant.

Now, Asmara invites other Senggigi businesses to join with them in taking care of their street frontage. Working together with the new GM of Santosa Villas and Resort, Pak Stephane, the businesses have organised a community gotong royong on Thursday 29 July, starting from 8am.

Iwan, from “e-ONE rubbish removal” will provide his pick-up truck for free, to transport the rubbish to the landfill. Santosa will provide another truck free of charge, so there will be plenty of transport available for rubbish removal.

All businesses and residents in Senggigi are encouraged to take part. Please bring along equipment and tools such as shovels, brooms, grass cutting tools, etc. This month’s gotong royong will start at the area around Galleria, to the north of Santosa Villas and Resort and adjacent to Asmara Restaurant. If enough people participate, the clean up will extend north and south from there.

Hopefully, a community gotong royong can become a regular monthly event in Senggigi, and everyone will join the effort to clean up Senggigi. The Lombok Guide will continue to announce the monthly schedule. Businesses and residents of Senggigi, please join in – even if it’s only one hour per month, we can make a big difference!

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LOCAL SCENE

HEINER’S PARTY @ ASMARA

Popular past GM Heiner and his wife Jackie celebrated a birthday in Lombok with family and friends – and a half-marathon, of course!

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MANNA KEBUN... A haven of relaxation and tranquillity

Luxury accommodation in Lombok has just taken another step up with the “soft opening” of Manna Kebun this month. The unique resort opened the doors to its pool villas and restaurant to the public on 3 July.
While Senggigi has a number of nice villas available, there has been a definite trend over the past few years with more travellers looking for luxurious villas within a resort setting, preferably with a private swimming pool. Apart from the villas at Qunci Pool Villas and Santosa Villas and Resorts, few other hotels around town offer this type of accommodation.

The Private Villas at Manna Kebun fit this niche very nicely. Seven 1-bedroom, three 2-bedroom and one opulent 3-bedroom Executive Villa, with entertaining areas capable of hosting a party for up to 60 people, provide a range of stylish options for friends and families.

Larger than most of those currently available, each villa is surrounded by privacy walls and is entered through a door off the main walkway. Inside, a large living area is divided into lounge seating and dining, with glass doors opening directly onto the private swimming pool.

Furnishings are luxurious and contemporary, with couches, large flat screen television and DVD player, dining table for four, mini bar, and a desk for laptops (WiFi is available).

Glass doors open onto the wooden deck around the pool, with a pretty garden area and comfortable lounge chairs under an umbrella. A stone seahorse adorns the edge of the sparkling private swimming pool.

Crossing to the far side, glass doors open onto the master suite… three tasteful and well-designed rooms which house the bedroom, dressing room and bathroom. A large bed dominates the area, piled with plush pillows and bedding. On the floor in front of the bed, a carpet and large burgundy cushions are arranged invitingly. Another flat screen television is in the corner; while on the other side is a window seat and more cushions for lazing. The glass doors frame the central pool, which has the effect of uniting the whole villa, with the glass doors on the far side framing the lounge area.

The spacious dressing room adjoins the bedroom and bathroom, with a large wardrobe and separate desk. The bathroom is large and lovely, with a glass enclosed rain shower looking onto a small garden and a free standing terrazzo bathtub dominating the room. Luxurious fittings and guest amenities, including handmade soaps, body lotions and sea grass loofahs provide the finishing touches.

Pak Winarno of Manna Management, the driving force behind the reconstruction of Santosa Villas and Resorts several years ago, has turned his attention to creating a unique type of resort at Manna Kebun.

Located just across the road from the Sheraton Senggigi Resort, the 14 hectare property runs deep into the valley behind, revealing natural jungle and forest areas, which will later include wooden tree house accommodation, a Spa and outdoor dining alongside a secluded water garden. To the left, the property encompasses the hillside to the north and the ridge along the top of the hill, providing wonderful vistas of the resort spread out in the valley below and the ocean in front, with coastal views across to Bali.

Manna Residences, comprising ten blocks on the top of the hill, are offered for private investment and four have now been sold. The remaining six are still available and are an ideal investment, with fabulous views and a prime location in Senggigi. Investors can choose to build private homes or villas, or work with Manna Management to develop and manage villas for holiday accommodation. Infrastructure, including access roads, is already in place and, of course, investors share all the benefits of the resort, such as restaurants, guest facilities and security.

The main reception area, bar and restaurant are also complete and now open to the public. A spacious semi open air restaurant creates an L shape to the bar/lounge area, with the focus on the large swimming pool in the centre. Wooden decking, comfortable lazy lounges and rattan table settings provide poolside options. There is a pool table alongside the bar, with couches and flat screen television. Perfect if dad wants to watch TV while the kids play in the pool!

The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and currently offers a small but tasty menu, with fresh fish and seafood dishes, pastas, steaks and chicken, in both Indonesian and international styles. Huge American breakfasts, including fresh juices, eggs, beef bacon, sausages and freshly baked croissants and pastries are highly recommended!

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

QUESTION: The as yet unspoiled island of Lombok, with its fast emerging tourism market, seems the ideal place for my company to invest in a new themed fun park venture. My name is Georges Dijoux and I am the overseas development manager of a company specialising in this already established leisure sector in Madagascar, which is a French speaking island off the coast of Africa.  

I am interested in sourcing at least 3 hectares (3 000m2) of land with main road access, with the possibility of an option to purchase more adjoining land if required at a future time. The land must be level and ready to build on and zoned for commercial tourism.

It must be situated between the main local airport and the popular tourist area of Senggigi but be located so as not to cause offence to residential properties due to the inherent noise associated with a themed fun park, with all the loud pop music blaring out from every stall and scary rides such as “Ghost Train”, “Big Dipper”, “Screaming Waltzers”, “Dodgem Cars” and the “Wall of Death”. Do you think I will be able to find such a location?

MR FIXER: Such a location already exists. All you have to do is travel between the local airport and Senggigi by any means of transport at almost any time of day or night to experience the scary rides as you describe for free. My personal favourite scary ride is by “cidomo” which is the horse and carriage ride found in abundance near the Kebon Roek Markets. For extra thrills, choose one with no lights and driven by a 7 year old boy at night!

QUESTION: We are international playboys called Gunther von Flickendorf from Austria, (known as Herr Flick), and Boris (Noneck) Ripitoff (ex KGB big boss).  

We came to Lombok for a fishing holiday in the pristine waters of the Lombok Straits.  We rented a nice secluded private villa with pool and butler service and shipped the girls in from Jakarta. We chartered a boat with crew and bought everything we needed for a 3 day fishing trip of a lifetime. The weather was excellent; blue sky with a slight breeze and not too choppy. 

Despite having all the best equipment including 6 rods with the most expensive reels and lines, baskets and bait, we only managed to catch one small fish between us. It was most disappointing, to say the least, as we spent about US $20 000 000 for the whole trip and only caught one small fish. It was the most expensive fish I have ever caught. What do you suggest?

MR FIXER: At that price, it’s a good job you didn’t catch any more. Buy the fish in the local market and take up golf instead!

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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LOMBOK TRIATHLON OFFICIALLY CANCELLED

For the past three years, the idyllic island of Lombok has hosted a demanding international triathlon, which has attracted serious and amateur competitors from around the world, as well as throughout Indonesia.

Organised by international triathlon organisers, TRIBOB, to meet Olympic standards the Lombok International Triathlon consists of a 1.5km swim, a 40km bike ride event and a 10km run.

Lack of governmental support and a seeming lack of appreciation of the importance of the event by the government last year caused some of the planned local events to be cancelled at the last moment, and led TRIBOB to speculate that they may cancel future triathlons in Lombok.

This lack of support, combined with the unreliable operations of the region’s airlines in transporting participants and equipment to Lombok, has now led to the island losing what was an important international sporting event, with excellent opportunities for promotion of Lombok both nationally and internationally.

85 triathletes participated in the Lombok International Triathlon last year and the event was watched by thousands of spectators. Competitors came from Australia, the UK, USA, Europe and Asia, as well as from across Indonesia.
The Lombok Guide recently contacted Matthé Vijverberg, the Race Director for TRIBOB, to confirm whether or not the Lombok International Triathlon would take place this year and received the following letter in response:

“Dear Lombok Guide

Indeed sadly the Lombok Triathlon will not take place in 2010. It was a very difficult decision for us as we have invested a lot of efforts and resources trying to get this event off the ground in the last 3 years. The uncertain economic environment in Lombok (hence shortage of sponsorship funds), and the lack of easy accessibility from a participants point of view, makes the event not economically viable at this point of time.

Tribob is still very much charmed by Lombok Island and strongly believes that the race course is the most scenic in Asia (If not the world!). We would very much like to resume the event in the future if sufficient funds can be obtained and accessibility to Lombok for international travelers can be improved.

Best regards,

MATTHÉ VIJVERBERG
Race Director”

While the Department of Culture and Tourism, and other local government agencies, continue to make press releases about “Visit Lombok Sumbawa 2012” and boast about attracting one million visitors to our shores by that year, they continue to miss vital opportunities to promote Lombok on the international arena.

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INDONESIA GETS DEBT RELIEF TO FIGHT TB

Indonesia is set to invest an additional AUS $37.5 million (US $33.1 million) to supplement its health budget in the flight against tuberculosis (TB), malaria and HIV/AIDS.

The investment is part of a joint program between Indonesia and Australia. The governments agreed to forgive an AUS $75 million debt owed by Indonesia to Australia as part of the Debt2Health program, a Finance Ministry official said on 15 July 2010.

Australia agreed to write off half of its debt owed by Indonesia, if Indonesia channels the remaining half to the Debt2Health program.

The Debt2Health program was expected to reduce the country’s foreign debt and to enhance public health programs to combat HIV/AIDS, TB, and malaria – the latter two of which were entirely preventable and curable, said Rahmat Waluyanto, the Finance Ministry’s Director General of debt management.

“Indonesia has the third highest rate of tuberculosis in the world and more than 90,000 people die from the disease every year,” he said.

TB is one of the biggest killers in Indonesia, with 300 deaths from the disease every day, according to recent reports.

Dr Chalik Masulili of the Global Fund – an international financing institution in charge of disbursement – said the Debt2Health funds would be distributed to finance the procurement of expensive TB, malaria and anti-retroviral drugs.

Unsubsidised anti-TB drugs can cost as much as Rp 520,000 (US $57.70) for a five-day supply. Treatment, which lasts from six to 12 months, will be available for free at government-run public health centres, he said.

“The investment will also be geared toward the improvement of directly observed, short-term treatment, known as DOTS, to tackle TB,” he said.  

The Debt2Health initiative would help the Health Ministry and non-governmental organisations to develop health-related projects to work together more effectively to fight the diseases, Chalik added.

Robert Fillip, chairman of the Innovative Financing Global Fund, said an independent body consisting of members of the government, academia and the private sector would be in charge of monitoring disbursement.

Debt2Health’s initiative would ensure TB patients receive continuous and monitored treatment. Patients in developing countries sometimes stop taking the medication when they feel free of symptoms, leading the contagion to multiply, develop drug resistance or eventually cause deaths, Fillip added.

Rizal Affandi, Deputy for the Economic Cooperation and International Financing at the Economics Coordinating Ministry, said Debt2Health was agreed upon by the Indonesian government with creditor countries under the Paris Club grouping.

The Indonesian government, he said, had implemented projects under a debt swap mechanism with four countries: Germany, United States, Italy, and Australia. Germany previously supported the Debt2Health program by repurposing a 50 million Euro debt held by Indonesia.

Earlier this month, the government targeted reducing cases of TB by 50 percent, from 443 out of every 100,000 citizens in 1990, to 222 by 2015.

The Ministry of Health recorded 1.1 million cases of malaria in 2009, while the AIDS Control Commission said there had been more than 20,500 cases of AIDS since January 1987, and 4,000 people had died from it.

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LOCAL FOOD PRICES SOAR

Market prices for staple foods are soaring, causing panic and concern for local residents of Lombok.
The price of medium grade rice (C- 4) has increased to between Rp 6500 – Rp 7000 per kilogram, while the price of super grade rice is about Rp 8000. It is feared that the price of rice will increasingly creep up ahead of Ramadan, which is due to start on 11 August this year.

Lombok has a policy of exporting rice grown on the island, which is an important export earner for local farmers. This policy works well during years with normal crops and provided the rice stock is greater than the amount needed in NTB. The problem arises when local governments continue to apply the rice export policy, but stocks in the region are low, causing the price to rice to rise above normal.

As most local people eat rice every day, even a small increase in the price can cause economic hardship for poorer communities. 

Some people are saying that the harsh effects of the El Nino weather phenomenon at the end of last year, which caused higher than normal temperatures during what should have been the start of the rainy season, has caused a shortage of rice and food crops island-wide.

Not only has the price of rice increased, but a number of other basic needs are also increasingly creeping up. It has become a habit before the start of the fasting month of Ramadan for the prices of staple goods to increase, as mercenary traders take advantage of market demand. Lombok consumer organisation “Watchlist Post” reported that the prices of agricultural goods in a number of West Lombok markets had increased by up to one hundred per cent.  

In some local markets, for example, the price of chillies (another staple in the local diet), which last month sold for around Rp 20 000 per kilogram, has now increased to Rp 40 000 per kilo. Garlic has risen from a previous average of Rp 40 000 per kilo to Rp 60 000 per kilo, and onions from Rp 12 000 to Rp 20 000 per kilo.

Sellers are now complaining that customers are purchasing very little and unsold stock is being left to rot because of the poor market.

The price of meats has also soared, with local broiler chickens rising from an average of Rp 24 000 to Rp 30 000 a kilo. Beef prices have soared even more, with prices reported to be in the range of Rp 70 000 per kilo.
Other commodities such as cooking oil have also crept up in price, putting further strain on local budgets.

Local residents fear the soaring prices of some commodities will be more severe during the upcoming month of Ramadan and have called on the government, through relevant organizations, to find a rapid solution before the problem escalates.

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HAPPY 10TH BIRTHDAY MANTA DIVE!

By Ben Hicks (Dive Trainee)

Instructors, local staff, trainee divemasters, customers, family and friends of Manta Dive Gili Trawangan celebrated their 10th anniversary year with an evening that will live in the minds of everyone involved for a long time to come! Past and present Manta instructors and staff came together to recount stories of Mini Cooper-sized turtles and suspect sightings of the oceanic black tip shark.

The festivities kicked off with a round of beer-can chicken stuffing in preparation for the roasting which, as with all Manta parties, would inevitably follow later that night! With a substantial tuna basted and the bbq’s lit, the atmosphere was bouyant and jovial, to say the least! Commemorative t-shirts were donned and spirits were aroused in anticipation.

No Manta birthday would be complete without a delicious home-baked birthday cake teeming with chocolate chips and all things nice, from local Trawangan patisserie and coffee house, Coco’s. Even before the last slice was cut, rumour spread of this culinary masterpiece and a free for all ensued... leaving crumbs and candles for those who came late.

With daylight fading, staff and customers took to the beach for the first annual three-legged egg and spoon dash. With crabs and coral causing all manner of discomfort to instructors and divemaster trainees alike, it was a tough fought and arduous battle of wits, stamina and an element of skull duggery. More games were played, won and lost; however, throughout the fun, old friendships were rekindled and new ones made!

After the formalities of the evening were complete and the dives of the following day rescheduled for midday, it was time for everyone to let their hair down and consummate the evening with a generous helping of nasi campur and fresh grilled tuna fish, courtesy of our on-loan chefs and gas bbq’s from the luxurious Gili Villas, Trawangan. A few more drinks were poured and the cats polished off the last bits of the chicken.

A big thank you for everyone involved in the celebrations and preparations for the event. Just another great day in the life of Manta Dive, Trawangan, but one which will be remembered by all for generations to come!

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FUNDAY RAISES FUNDS FOR LOCAL SCHOOL

Residents, business owners and tourists gathered on the beach at Gili Trawangan on Sunday, 18 July for a day of fun and games, to raise money for the local school.

Organised by the newly formed Gili Trawangan Development Association, the day of activities kicked off shortly after lunch time, with registration for races and sales of raffle tickets, which included some fabulous prizes donated by Gili T businesses.

Excited children joined in a host of competitions including sandcastle building, egg and spoon races, a flag race, a krupuk eating competition and a sack race. Winners received fun prizes donated by local businesses.

The fun and games continued with the big kids competing in the Adult Tacro Tournament, Tug-of-War, Flag Race and the “Sponge the Boss” event, amidst much joking and laughter.

The day ended with the Grand Raffle Draw, where tickets were drawn for the prizes which included quality villa accommodation, dive trips, boat tickets and dinners at some of the island’s best restaurants.

All proceeds from the day’s events will go toward purchasing educational equipment and facilities for the SD-SMP Gili Trawangan (the local school on Gili T).

Special thanks to the following businesses who generously donated these fantastic prizes for the day:

Gili Divers (7 Day Live-Aboard Komodo Cruise), Trawangan Dive (2 X DSD or Fun Dives plus 2 x complimentary Entrees at Mexican Café), The Beach House Resort  (1 night stay for 8 persons/4 bed Villa), Big Bubble Dive (Fun or Introductory Dive), Blue Marlin Dive (Fun or Introductory Dive), Gili Villas (1 night stay in 2 bedroom Villa), Kelapa Villas (1 night stay in 2 bedroom Villa), Manta Dive (Fun or Introductory Dive), Vila Ombak Dive (2 x Discover Scuba Dive or Fun Dives), Ko - ko - mo Resort (1 night stay in 2 bedroom Villa plus Dinner for 2), Tir na Nog (1 night accommodation plus Dinner for two), Vila Ombak (2 nights accommodation including transfers), Luce d’Alma (1 night stay in Private Villa for 2 persons), Redline (2 return tickets for 2 persons), and Island Getaway (2 return tickets for 2 persons).

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