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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.

There’s much excitement in The Lombok Guide office as we release this year’s edition of our popular annual full colour magazine. The Lombok Guide 2011 Magazine contains 120 pages of useful information about Lombok and magnificent photos of our island in all its stunning natural glory.
5000 copies of our magazine will be distributed over the next month to international travel agents throughout Europe and the UK, Japan, Singapore, China, Australia, New Zealand and more. Copies are also distributed at international and national trade fairs throughout the year.

TLG 2011 Magazines are available at Garuda Airlines sales offices world-wide, Qantas, Silk Air, Merpati and Trans Nusa airlines, as well as major hotels and selected travel agencies in Lombok, Bali, Jakarta and other national capitals. If you are planning a holiday to Lombok soon, ask your travel agent for a copy!

To find out more, pick up a copy of The Lombok Guide from the locations listed on http://www.thelombokguide.com/distribution.html or visit www.thelombokguide.com and discover the magic of Lombok for yourself… like thousands of others, you’ll be enchanted!

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Lombok Hashers lend a helping hand

©2011 Contributed by Mark Heyward

Some people describe “Hashers” as drinkers with a running problem. This may not be far from the truth!
Established in 1985, Lombok Hash House Harriers is the island’s leading fitness organisation, with more than 300 active members and a twice-weekly turnout of more than 100. As well as running – and partaking in the odd ‘down-down’ drink after a run – the Hashers of Lombok recently helped to provide clean water to an isolated village in the hills above Senggigi.

Hashing originated in 1938 in Kuala Lumpur, when a group of British colonial officers and expatriates began meeting on Monday evenings to run, in a fashion patterned after the traditional British Paper Chase or ‘Hare and Hounds’. The aim was to rid themselves of the excesses of the previous weekend.

The name ‘Hash House Harriers’ came from the Selangor Club Annex, where the men were billeted, known as the ‘Hash House’ for its notoriously monotonous food. Now there are now almost two thousand Hash Clubs spread throughout the world, even including two clubs in Antarctica.

Here in Lombok, runs are held on Mondays and Fridays at different locations. You don’t have to be a keen runner to take part; this is a mixed, family-type hash. Many children participate and many more people walk the routes, rather than run. There is no pressure, other than to enjoy yourself.

Hash runs take the runners to places they would not otherwise get to see. As Walter, the venerable linchpin of Lombok Hash, says: “It’s a great way to see the countryside, meet Lombok’s indigenous people, keep fit and make friends.”

But, inevitably, on their runs Hashers come face to face with the poverty of the isolated villages they pass through. On the hills of West Lombok, the runners found they were passing many local folk on the narrow tracks lugging buckets and plastic containers of water up the steep hill.

The chore, especially in the dry season, has always been a part of life’s daily rhythm for the people of Duduk Atas, (a small village on the top of the hill in Senggigi), where there is no permanent water supply.

It was this that inspired the Hashers to donate funds to build a water collection and storage facility for the village of Duduk Atas. Working with the Rotary Club of Lombok the Lombok Hash House Harriers recently constructed a reservoir, which stores rainwater collected off the roof of the local school in the isolated village.

Rotary has been helping out this community for many years now”, explained Mark Heyward, a member of the Rotary Club of Lombok. “We recently helped them to build two new classrooms for the school but we had insufficient funds to complete the project and build a facility to collect and store fresh water. This is where the Hashers came to the party!”

There is an irony in all this. Visitors to Indonesia are accustomed to the signs in hotel bathrooms warning: ‘Don’t drink the water’ but here in Lombok we enjoy some of Indonesia’s cleanest town water. When one international visitor took a sample of tap water home with him and had it tested by the water authority in Perth, Western Australia, the results were surprising. The quality of Lombok’s water was reportedly judged to be better than that in Perth! The Government water supplier, PDAM, is aiming to declare the water supply in Lombok as fit for drinking in the coming year.

The irony is that the great majority of people in Lombok do not have access to town water. People living in villages use water from wells, bores or streams for drinking, cooking, washing and often toileting. Untreated water and inadequate sanitation cause diseases and illness such as diarrhoea, intestinal worms, pneumonia and trachoma. Infant mortality in Lombok and Sumbawa is five times that of Bali.

Here are the facts: Lombok has a population of over three million people living in 443 villages. According to government statistics, just 9% of drinking water comes from PDAM. The remaining 60% is from wells, 14% from road tankers, and 17% from springs and rivers.

Over half the villages have no toilets. Sewage is treated in septic tanks but a large amount of human waste is dumped in rivers and on land. Most toilets and septic tanks are built too close to wells, allowing contaminated ground water to seep through and as a result, 80% of wells have pathogens (bacteria). Boiling the water before use is one solution but the wood for fires is expensive and the practice results in deforestation.

Over the last six years, the Rotary Club of Lombok has worked to address this issue, building toilets, conducting hygiene and sanitation education in schools and installing low-tech bio-sand filters in villages to purify the water.

Around 1,000 water filters have now been installed in villages around Lombok. Some 40 toilets have also been installed by Rotary and two more blocks are under construction.

Now, working together, the Lombok Hash House Harriers (LHHH) and The Rotary Club of Mataram, Lombok are making a difference to the lives of people in Duduk Atas. Where in the past the villagers relied on water carried up the long hill (mainly by women and children), they now have their own local supply to see them through at least part of the dry season.

So – are you looking for a chance to expand your network, make friends and do something useful to help the local community?

The Rotary Club of Lombok usually meets on Wednesdays, 5.00 pm, at The Office Bar and Restaurant in Senggigi. Meetings are not too formal; a social event as well as an opportunity to organise service programs in Lombok. If you would like to know more, contact Club Secretary, Lily Heyder on 081339599154. 

Lombok Hash House Harrier runs are held from 3.45 pm on Mondays and Fridays. If you would like to join a run, the latest location information is available from Senggigi Abadi Supermarket. Locations may change at short notice, so visitors are advised to check first by calling (0370) 632550; (0370) 624804; (0370) 6646606; or 081907456300.

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Want to get in shape for the summer season in Lombok? Need to improve your fitness and flexibility? Or just need to release stress and clear your head in relaxing and peaceful surroundings? Join the new Yoga Classes starting at Puri Mas on 3 May 2011.

The classes will be held every Tuesday and Thursday at 5 pm in the beautiful purpose-built Yoga and Herb Garden in the grounds of Puri Mas Beach Resort in Mangsit. Classes will be moved to the resort’s gym if it is raining. A qualified instructor leads the class and yoga mats are provided. Yoga classes are priced at a very reasonable Rp 30 000 per session. Yoga is suitable for all ages and levels of fitness, and is wonderful for increasing core strength, building strong muscles to reduce aches and pains, plus a great way to relax and reduce stress. Ph: 693831 to reserve your place.

• Welcome home to The Beach Club owners, Glenn and Dee, who have been away in Australia for far too long! We’re sure that all the regulars who have been keeping the bar stools warm are happy to see this popular couple return, especially with the footy season on. You can catch all the Aussie Rules action on the big screen TV in this friendly and comfortable bar on the beach in Batu Bolong.

No doubt Mr Gleen will be making sure the beers are cold and Ibu Dee will checking that the barbecued chooks are up to standard, and keeping the Aussie pies and pasties hot! www.thebeachclublombok.com

For all our footy mad readers, here are the fixtures for the next two weeks:

Fri 6 May: Port Adelaide v Hawthorn
Sat 7 May  : Western Bulldogs v Sydney 
Sat 7 May  : Geelong v North Melbourne     
Sat 7 May: Richmond v Fremantle   
Sat 7 May: Gold Coast v Brisbane   
Sun 8 May: Essendon v West Coast  
Sun 8 May: Melbourne v  Adelaide 
Mon 9 May: St Kilda v Carlton      
Fri 13 May: Geelong v Collingwood
Sat 14 May: North Melbourne v Melbourne
Sat 14 May: Adelaide v Gold Coast
Sat 14 May: Brisbane v Essendon 
Sat 14 May: Sydney v Port Adelaide
Sun 15 May: Hawthorn v St Kilda
Sun 15 May: Western Bulldogs v Richmond
Sun 15 May: West Coast  v Fremantle

AAMI Stadium
Manuka Oval
Skilled Stadium
Melbourne Cricket Ground
Etihad Stadium
Melbourne Cricket Ground
Etihad Stadium
Melbourne Cricket Ground
Etihad Stadium
AAMI Stadium
Sydney Cricket Ground
Melbourne Cricket Ground
Etihad Stadium
Patersons Stadium

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your say logo

Dear Editor,

In recent weeks, there has been an apparent effort to clean up Senggigi Beach and make it an attraction for tourists. As you reported in issue 86 of The Lombok Guide, at the
Pensil Festival held on 26 March, the Bupati of West Lombok, Zaini Arony, talked about the effort to clean up the beach and make it attractive. Fishing boats from other areas of Lombok that had been illegally ‘squatting’ on the beachfront were forcibly removed.

However, there are still problems. The jogging track was never completed. There is a large gap in front of the Senggigi Beach Hotel where the track has not been built. In front of the Art Market, most of the track is covered in sand and the track stops some 50 metres short of the Sheraton Hotel.

The new jetty ends at a height that is way above the high water mark. How are passengers going to get onto and off the boats?

Finally, some of the fishing boats have come back. On 13 April, I counted forty fishing boats in front of the Santosa Hotel and a further twenty boats in front of the Art Market. Then there was another function at the Santosa just over a week ago and all the boats were moved to the front of the Art Market – parked three deep and making it impossible to walk along the beach front or get to the restaurants from the beach.

Why not license the legal boats and put identification on them, so that it is easy to spot which boats belong to Senggigi and which are the interlopers? Are Dinas Pariwisata and the Bupati really serious about creating a tourist beach or is this just more hot air?

S (Green Valley).



Kepada Penulis

Beberapa minggu terakhir telah dilakukan beberapa usaha untuk membersihkan pantai Senggigi agar menarik bagi para wisatawan. Seperti yang anda beritakan dalam The Lombok Guide edisi 86, pada acara Pensil Festival yang diselenggarakan pada tanggal 26 Maret lalu, Bupati Lombok Barat, Zaini Arony, berbicara tentang usaha untuk membersihkan pantai Senggigi dan membuatnya lebih atraktif.

Beberapa perahu nelayan yang berasal dari daerah-daerah lain di Lombok yang menempatkan perahu mereka secara ilegal di sepanjang pantai telah dipaksa meninggalkan area pantai.

Bagaimanapun, masih ada beberapa masalah. Jogging track (trotoar) yang dibuat, tidak pernah selesai. Ada jarak yang besar di depan hotel Senggigi Beach dimana trotoar ini tidak pernah mulai dibuat. Di depan Pasar Seni, kebanyakan trotoar ini telah tertutup pasir dan pembuatan trotoar ini terhenti sekitar 50 meter sebelum hotel Sheraton.

Jembatan pelabuhan berhenti dikerjakan dengan keadaan dimana ujung jembatan ini berada jauh diatas permukaan air. Bagaimanakah para penumpang akan menaiki jembatan tersebut dan atau menuruninya menuju ke perahu (boat)?

Dan sekarang, beberapa dari perahu nelayan telah datang kembali. Pada tanggal 13 April lalu, saya menghitung sebanyak 40 perahu nelayang di depan hotel Santosa dan 20 perahu nelayan di depan Pasar Seni. Kemudian pada saat hotel Santosa menyelenggarakan sebuah acara sekitar seminggu yang lalu, semua perahu nelayan tersebut dipindahkan ke depan Pasar Seni – dan mereka menempatkan perahu mereka di seluruh area pasir pantai sehingga tidak memungkinkan bagi wisatawan untuk berjalan disepanjang pantai atau untuk mencapai ke restoran-restoran dari pantai.

Kenapa tidak menetapkan ijin legal untuk perahu-perahu tersebut dan menaruh identifikasi pada perahu mereka, sehingga memudahkan untuk melihat yang mana perahu yang berasal dari Senggigi dan yang mana perahu ilegal dari luar Senggigi? Apakah Dinas Pariwisata dan Bupati benar-benar serius tentang menciptakan pantai yang bersih dan atraktif bagi wisatawan atau ini hanya kabar burung saja?

S (Green Valley)

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Peace, love and flower power took over Asmara Restaurant at the 50th Birthday celebrations of Southwest Lombok's "Child of the 60's", Martine!


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

QUESTION: I have just arrived from Europe on the beautiful idyllic holiday island of Lombok via Bali. My original intention was to buy some land in Bali, until I found out how ridiculously expensive it was and how crowded the roads were. 

I have decided to buy some land in Lombok – which is much cheaper and just as nice – so I went to see a lawyer to find out what the process of ownership was for a foreigner.  

Apparently, I need a “nominee” and I have heard horror stories of how foreigners are getting cheated and robbed blind by “nominees” who can misbehave within the law and virtually demand whatever they like at the last minute before sale or purchase. 

To put it simply, if I purchase land in a “nominees” name, I am effectively giving that person my money. Are there any safeguards to protect my investment purchase? My lawyer friend (who seems like a very nice man) suggested I get POWER OF A TURKEY! What does he mean?

MR FIXER: Your lawyer friend (who, I’m sure, is a very nice man) is almost right. What he meant was POWER OF ATTORNEY or Surat Kuasa, from your “nominee”. 

What he did not tell you is that you would also be well advised to obtain a Loan Agreement or “Deed of Acknowledgement of Debt” from your “nominee.” 

In addition, you should get your Notaris (public notary) or lawyer to draw up a DEED OF NOMINEE STATEMENT or Akta Pernyataan, literally a sworn statement in which it should be clearly stated how much the “nominee” is to be paid for the use of his / her name and, more importantly, how much they are to receive when you sell. This agreement must be binding on the heirs and successors of your “nominee” in case of their demise. 

Only a Notaris is allowed to record land or property transactions. Lawyers have to employ the services of a Notaris to do this for them. To become a Notaris, you have to be more qualified in land law than a lawyer. It is a common (but understandable) misconception that a lawyer is more qualified in such matters, as is the case in Europe, the UK or Australia. 

If you fail to obtain these extra essential documents to protect your purchase, you may well finish up with the POWER OF A TURKEY! Gobble, gobble!

QUESTION: I love Lombok! I love it so much that I bought a house and finally got married to a local beauty. I especially love the relaxed atmosphere and the many Aussie friends I have met at The Beach Club where you can get a cold beer in a frozen glass, have a bar snack and swear your head off without offending hardly anyone. 

Since getting married, however, my wife’s attitude seems to have changed.  Just the other day, I said to my wife, “Honey, I’ll be right back.” 

“Where are you going, honey bunch?” my wife asked. 

“I’m going to the bar, pretty face. I’m going to have a beer,” I lovingly replied.   

My wife said, “You want a beer, my love?”  She then opened the fridge door and showed me 16 different beers from 7 different countries: Germany, Holland, Japan, Australia, even India.  

I didn’t know what to do. All I could think of to say was, “Yes, lollypop… but at the bar they have frozen glasses…” 

My wife interrupted me by saying, “You want a frozen glass, puppy face?”  She then produced a frozen glass from the freezer. I swear she was turning blue from just holding it.

“But at the bar, they have those hors d’oeuvres snacks and things. They are really delicious. I won’t be long… I’ll be right back, I promise,” I said. 

“You want hors d’oeuvres, poochie pooh?” my wife said, as she opened the oven and pulled out a tray of chicken wings and other snacky delights. 

“But my sweet honey…. At the bar… You know… there is swearing, dirty words and all that,” I stuttered. 

“You want dirty words, D*ckhead? Drink your f***ing beer in your f***ing frozen glass and eat your mother f***ing snacks because you are married now and you aren’t f***ing going anywhere! Got It?”  
I’m gob-smacked! I don’t know what to do. Is this normal behaviour?

MR FIXER: Yes, completely normal. In my friend George’s case, however, his wife used dirty words before he met her. Now, she doesn’t speak to him at all. You can’t have everything! See you at the bar…

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Contributed by Mike Doran

Motocross fever in Lombok has revved up with the Blue Coral Motocross Race held on 24 April 2011.
The event was organized and sponsored by Mr Akok, the owner of Blue Coral Dive. Mr Akok is a keen supporter of motocross and wants to help develop the sport in Lombok. Classes competing at the event included 50cc (aged 5 – 7 years), 65cc (aged 8 – 12 years), and 250 cc (open class). 

The Blue Coral Motocross Race was held at the Gunung Sari Motocross track and was attended by many local motocross riders who are keen to hone their skills in preparation for The Surya Powercross Championship, where they will race against the best in Indonesia.

Sponsored by Surya, the major manufacturer of clove cigarettes in Indonesia, The Surya 12 Powercross Championship 2011 is an International Motocross event that will take place over 5 series for two months, every weekend in May and June 2011. For the first time ever, Lombok has been chosen to host the first of the series.

In its third year, the Powercross Championships is contested by professional riders and attracts competitors from around the world, including legendary Australians, Kim Ashkenazi, Nick Shutterland and Josh Adams.
This years Championships will also feature extreme Free Style riding by Matt Lewis, Brenton Jay Dragger and Woolley from Australia.

Lombok was chosen to host the first series as the island has many young aspiring riders, including 15 year old Adi and 13 year old Wahyu, as well as the current National Champion and Pro rider, 19 year old Alexander Wiguna. 

Alexander Wiguna was last year’s National Powercross Champion and is Lombok’s local star. He has recently returned from USA where he spent two months motocross training.

With many international pro level competitors at this year’s Powercross Championships, young local riders will have the opportunity to witness world-class racing and learn from the best in the field.
The Surya 12 Powercross Championship 2011 is scheduled to be held in Mataram on 21 May at Gedung Olah Raga (GOR) Turida.

In addition to the motocross event, there will be a Free Style event featuring international riders. I attended The Powercross in Bali last year with family and it was very spectacular.

For anyone who is interested in motor bike racing and motor sports, this is an event not to be missed, especially as Lombok does not often have the opportunity to stage such international events. GOR Turida is a large venue and is sure to be packed with excited crowds, so bring along some cold beers and snacks and make a day of it.

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Air Asia plans to start a new flight between Mataram and Kuala Lumpur soon to develop tourism between Malaysia and Lombok, and to meet the needs of migrant workers from West Nusa Tenggara (NTB).
Flights are expected to commence around July-August, before the start of the fasting month of Ramadan (due to begin around the beginning of August).

According to the Head of the Department of Transportation, Communication and Information NTB, Ridwan Shah, Air Asia could begin with flights four times a week between Lombok and Kuala Lumpur.

The airline has said that there is no need to wait for the opening of the Lombok International Airport (BIL) being built in Central Lombok.

Air Asia will use an Airbus 300 for the route, which has a load capacity of 138 seats. Using the Airbus will allow the aircraft to land at the existing Selaparang Airport in Mataram, which has a 2100 metre long runway; rather than wait any longer for the opening of the Lombok International Airport, which has a 2750 metre long runway.

At present, Garuda Airlines operate a Mataram - Kuala Lumpur flight (via Jakarta) daily and Merpati Nusantara Airlines also operate a daily flight between the two cities, via Surabaya.

Around forty thousand migrant workers (TKI) leave NTB (Lombok and Sumbawa) every year to work in Malaysia. Lombok has the second largest Malaysian migrant worker programme after East Java.

However, many of the workers already return home via Denpasar, Surabaya, Yogyakarta rather than flying direct to Lombok, as they can get cheaper tickets with Air Asia on those routes.

Air Asia Strategic Analyst, Airport and Planning, Joanne Melissa Chow, met with officials of the Provincial Government of NTB on 14 April 2011 to discuss feasibility of the flights.

The government asked Air Asia to commence flights prior to Lebaran (the Idul Fitri holiday at the end of Ramadan) so that TKI workers could pulang kampung (return to their villages) for the holiday, taking advantage of the cheap airfares offered by Air Asia.

Most importantly, during the meeting Air Asia discussed the possibility of opening direct flights between Perth (Western Australia) and Lombok.

Australia is a huge potential market for Lombok, as an alternative holiday destination to Bali, with a similar flight time as that between Perth and Bali; being just 3 ½ hours.

Australia was the number one source of tourists into Bali in 2010, displacing Japan from the number one position in 2009. In 2010, Australian arrivals into Bali comprised 25.99% of the overall market share of 2.49 million tourists, increasing 45.25% in 2010 and up 111% from 2009 arrivals.

Air Asia has recently increased flights between Perth and Bali from twice to three times daily. However, the airline has said that this may increase again this year to four times per day, to meet demand from the West Australian market.

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As we first reported in issue 76 of The Lombok Guide (1 November 2010) and updated again in issue 81 (10 January 2011), the controversy continues as the government makes unilateral changes to Senggigi Beach.
The Lombok government often “trots out” Senggigi as a tourism icon to visiting dignitaries and tourism stakeholders, but many Senggigi locals and business operators are wondering whether they have any real idea of how a tourism destination – and an area rich in natural beauty – should be developed.

Since last November, the Senggigi beachfront has been steadily transformed, thanks to an abrupt decision by the West Lombok Department of Tourism and Culture (Dinas Pariwisata dan Kebudayaan Lombok Barat).
The Tourism Department decided to build a jogging track along the beachfront, without consultation with local businesses or approval from all local authorities; resulting in a public outcry by both business owners and the Senggigi community.

Despite objections, the project went ahead, with labourers constructing a paved path along sections of the beachfront. Curiously, the path did not extend in front of the Santosa or the Sheraton Resorts, nor was it completed in front of the Senggigi Beach Hotel. This led many to speculate that private deals were done with the government.

As predicted by local business operators at the time, the poor quality of the construction has failed to last even six months.

When we inspected the beach last week, we found that most of the path is now completely covered with sand washed up by the recent high tides. The only section visible is in front of The Office Bar and Restaurant (and that is only because staff sweep away the accumulating sand every day).

Some sections that are partially visible show that the paving has sunk and large sections of the foundations have been washed away. This is because the paving was laid directly on the beach sand, with only a thin layer of cement to hold it (temporarily) in place.

Now buried under the sand, with local fishing boats parked on top of it, the so called “jogging track” is a complete waste of time and government resources. Basically, in less than six months, shoddy construction and poor planning has resulted in yet another white elephant from the government.

However, it is not just the “jogging track” that has local businesses frowning. The 36 metre jetty that was supposed to be used to facilitate local boat trips out to the Gili Islands is almost complete – an eye-sore sticking out of the middle of the beach, suspended high above the water. Most boat captains, who have observed tidal movement in Senggigi bay for years, say that the jetty is too high above the water level; making it impossible to use for embarking and disembarking.

What next? Build stairs to reach the jetty, perhaps?

Sources tell us that Rp 1.5 billion (approx US $170 000) has been spent on this “revitalisation project” to date and another Rp 3 billion is expected to be injected into the coffers during 2011.

Meanwhile, the problem of too many fishing boats parking on the beach continues.

Although the government has repeatedly told local fishermen that only boats registered in Senggigi are allowed to park on the beach, fishing boats from other areas continue to crowd the sand, making it almost impossible to walk along the beach.

Recently, the government sent in the police and army to move the boats from the beachfront once again, the result of which lasted only days. Because the fishermen know that this rule will not be enforced on a regular basis, they simply wait a few days until the police have stopped watching and move back in.

While some may argue that the local people should be allowed to park on a public beach, the situation exasperates even the Senggigi fishermen. Boats are often jammed onto the beach, three and four deep, locked outrigger to outrigger.

Some fishermen also stay on the beach, cooking, washing and “doing their business” there. The unhygienic conditions are simply unacceptable on a public beach. In addition, many carry out boat repairs on the beach, leaving bits of broken wood and nails in the sand.

While the major hotels seem to be having some success in moving the fishing boats away from the front of their properties, this is only forcing them to relocate to the front of the Art Market. This means that tourists can’t walk along the beach from their hotels to the Art Market, and entrance to the Markets is blocked by a wall of boats. Small traders who own restaurants and cafés there are frustrated at trying to keep the beach clean and maintain access to their businesses.

While a public beach should be open to all, it seems reasonable to expect that Senggigi Beach, being at the heart of Lombok’s main tourism centre, should be kept clean of rubbish and crowding by fishing boats be controlled, so that the beauty of this beachfront can be preserved as a tourism icon.

The Senggigi community is disgusted, saying that the Rp 4.5 billion budget for this project would have gone a long way to improving the condition of Senggigi’s main street by rebuilding footpaths and repairing drainage along the roads, as has been requested numerous times.

Alas, the building continues and only time will tell what the end result will be for Senggigi.

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Bank Indonesia is expressing concern at the growing amount of counterfeit Indonesian currency in Bali. According to Bank officials, cited by Kompas.com, the amount of bogus rupiah bills in circulation has increased from 1,800 bills in 2005 to 2,800 bills in 2010 – an increase of 55%.

Fears have been expressed that Bali may be experiencing a surge in high quality illegal tender, following a recent raid by Bali police that uncovered a syndicate that had in their possession Rp 50 million (US $5,500) in counterfeit money – all in Rp 100,000 bills.

Adding to the problem, law enforcement sources say they are concerned that the quality of the counterfeit money circulating in traditional markets is “near perfect” and almost indistinguishable from genuine legal tender.

The illegal tender manages to closely duplicate paper quality, watermarks and security threads that distinguish genuine rupiah notes. The only indication noticeable to most users is that the fake Indonesian bills all bear identical serial numbers.

”The counterfeiting of money in Bali is trending upwards. If this is not controlled, this will result internationally in negative press and a loss of public confidence in the rupiah as a currency,” the chief of Bank Indonesia in Bali, Jeffrey Kahuripan, told the press.

A joint team of police and bank officials has been established to help enlist public support in limiting the use of counterfeit currency in Bali.

Bank Indonesia is also coordinating the Indonesian police and prosecutors to deter counterfeiting by seeking maximum penalties for those caught involved in the passage of bogus money.

Nationwide, Indonesian police estimate the amount of counterfeit currency in circulation has a face value of around Rp 14.2 billion (US $1.6 million). Of the 177 cases of counterfeiting handled nationally by the police in the past year, 13 cases (7.4%) took place in Bali.

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