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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.

With Bali recording a 13.3% increase in tourism arrivals over last year’s record breaking figures, Lombok is also experiencing a surge in visitors.

Senggigi is buzzing with tourists and hotels are reporting high occupancies in comparison with previous years. Kuta is also very busy for this time of the year, with hundreds of surfers enjoying the big waves down south. The Gili Islands, especially Gili Trawangan, have been very busy since last month and travellers intending to stay during the peak season in July and August should book accommodation quickly!
We at The Lombok Guide are also busy, with this issue growing to a huge 80 pages! Just like our beautiful island, we are breaking our own records!

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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Visitors to Lombok usually spend most of their time on the beaches and mountains… and it’s true that there is no shortage of beautiful beaches and islands to explore, reefs to dive, mountains to climb and jungles to trek on our island.

But ask a “local tourist” what to do on a hot sunny day in Lombok and they’ll probably recommend heading to the hills for a spot of fishing!

As an alternative to a hot day spent on the beach or trekking through forests, an afternoon spent in the cool areas of Lingsar or Suranadi, relaxing on a balé suspended over a fish pond is hard to beat!

Lesehan is an Indonesian word that usually means a type of warung (local café) where guests sit on mats on the floor to eat. However, many of the lesehan in the quiet villages of West Lombok take advantage of the abundant water that flows in the area, creating ponds and spring-fed pools to breed fresh-water fish.
These lesehan offer guests the opportunity to relax by the pools and enjoy dining on freshly-caught fish dishes and other local specialties. Many of them also offer fishing – a unique way to unwind and catch your dinner at the same time!

You don’t need to travel very far to find a lesehan. Just a short drive from Senggigi or Mataram will take you to the rural areas east of Rembiga, where the lesehan start to crop up along the main road.

To visit some lesehan, travel straight through the round-about at Selaparang Airport, along Jalan Jendral Sudirman (the road east of the airport). Here the urban sprawl opens out to rice fields, small roadside nurseries and fish breeding farms, where lesehan are often located. Some of the lesehan here offer fishing, while others are simply nice places for a meal.

Most have attractive settings near fish ponds and serve a variety of Indonesian dishes to sample and enjoy with friends and families. Some also have swimming pools and play equipment for children, so they are popular with Lombok families on the weekends.

Travelling about 10km further east from Rembiga, there is a major intersection with a sign pointing north to Lingsar. Turn left at the traffic lights and follow the road into the lovely rural area of Lingsar. It is a very pleasant area for a drive, filled with small Hindu and Muslim villages, temples, rice fields and large orchards growing Rambutan, Mangoes and other tropical fruits.

Famous Lingsar Temple is located 3km from the intersection and there are many lesehan along this road, including Lesehan Ilir-Ilir on Jl Selatan, and Lesehan Kedai Liline near the temple. It is simply a matter of driving in and looking to see if there are fish ponds and whether this lesehan suits your taste.

A few kilometres further along the road between Lingsar and Suranadi are several more lesehan which offer fishing, including Rizky, Ridho and Alam Indah.

Our favourite is Rizky – a large, well-run place with two large fish ponds and four smaller pools in a rustic, rural setting. Balé (small roofed buildings with open sides and a raised platform for sitting) are set all around the ponds, which hold a variety of fresh water fish; mostly carp, gurami and Ikan Nila (a popular species originally introduced from Africa, known as Nile Tilapia in English). A couple of the pools also stock very large Ikan Lele (catfish), which make good eating.

Getting started is easy – simply grab one of the bamboo fishing poles and a container of pelet (burley or bait) from near the restaurant and seat yourself on a balé. Staff will come around and take your order for drinks and food while you sit back and enjoy the fishing.

Typically, lesehan sell fresh water fish either goreng (fried) or bakar (grilled or barbecued), as well as ayam (chicken), and often, bebek (duck). Rice and vegetable dishes are served to accompany the meats. Pelecing Kangkung (a type of fresh water spinach covered with fiery hot tomato and chilli sauce) is very popular, as well as sayur bening (lightly flavoured boiled vegetables) and other popular dishes such as Cap Cay (Chinese style steamed vegetables) and Gado-Gado (mixed vegetables topped with peanut sauce).

Cool drinks of all varieties are available, as well as fresh coconut water, juices, and cold beer.

Fishing with the bamboo fishing rods can be a challenge. If you manage to hook a large carp or catfish, they will often snap the line or break the rod, despite the bamboo being so flexible. You can spot the keen regulars around the ponds, with their own professional fishing rods, hooks and flies.

The hooks used on the rods are very small – suitable for catching the smaller fish, but the large ones just take your bait and spit the hook out! Some people get around this problem by using a penknife to bend open the hooks, or by bringing their own larger hooks…

The burley (often made from rice husks, flours and chicken meal) is difficult to mould around the small hooks and you’ll need to press it on firmly, otherwise it will simply dissolve off in the water. It’s far better to visit the old man out in the parking area, who will collect some worms for you, for a small fee. You’ll need worms to catch the larger carp and the catfish, anyway.

All this is assuming that you get carried away with the thrill of hooking the big fish! Most people are simply there to enjoy the food and the peaceful surroundings with their families, lazily throwing a line in to the pools and, if by chance they hook something, so much the better.

Fishing rods and bait are free and bringing a few of your own snacks and drinks is fine, as long as you buy a meal. Any fish that you catch can be purchased and are paid for by weight (prices are per kilo and very reasonable). You can have your catch cooked for you, or cleaned to take home.

Because fishing at a lesehan is so popular with locals on weekends and public holidays, it’s best to go during the week to avoid the crowds. The locals have it right… kicking back in the cool shade of a balé, surrounded by pools of jumping fish, cold beer and fishing rod in hand, is a relaxing way to spend a hot summer afternoon!

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• One of our favourite Senggigi eateries, Asmara Restaurant, has just upped the pace with the recent opening of the Asmara Beer Garden. The Beer Garden takes advantage of the lovely garden at the rear of the restaurant, as well as the undercover second storey of the restaurant (for when it rains). It’s a relaxing place to sit back with a group of friends and a cold beer, and is a great venue for private parties and get-togethers. Best of all is the live music, every Friday and Saturday night, featuring popular local guitarist Eddy from the Not Bad Band and friends. Those who’ve been missing Eddy’s smooth moves since he finished at Happy Café will be delighted with the new line up and the great new venue! www.asmara-group.com, ph: 693619

• The Puncak has just added to the beautiful and stylish accommodation options available in West Lombok. Set high on the top of The Hill – the prestigious development on the Batu Layar Bukit – this superb villa offers five luxurious private suites to discerning guests looking for a peaceful place to stay in refined comfort. All suites open onto the infinity pool which seems to hang suspended in the sky, with magnificent views over the valley to Senggigi and across the sea to Bali. www.thepuncak.com

• Also on The Hill and available for short or long-term peaceful retreats is The Studio. Located partway up the hill, this charming two 2 bedroom villa takes advantage of the forest surroundings and has fabulous views across the ocean. Created from a restored teak Javanese Joglo, The Studio is an ideal getaway for couples and small families looking for peace and privacy in a lovely nature setting. http://the-studio-lombok.page4.me

• If you’re out on Gili Trawangan, don’t miss the Blue Marlin Dive benefit, featuring Ray D’Sky on Monday, 13 June starting at 8.00pm. Tickets are just Rp 40 000 per person (includes a free small beer) and all proceeds benefit The Gili Eco Trust. It’s sure to be a great gig, with popular local artists Ray D’Sky performing favourite tunes in English and Indonesian. After the concert, dance the night away at the Blue Marlin Monday night party! www.bluemarlindive.com, ph: 370 632 424

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Dear Editor

The amount of our monthly electricity bill from PLN is around Rp 600 000. In the past, a PLN employee read our metre every month and we paid the amount corresponding to our electricity consumption over the month at the PLN office in Senggigi. But for the past year, PLN has been making a big mess of our invoices and we are not the only ones who seem to have that problem!

It all started with incredibly high invoices, far higher than our consumption. A phone call to PLN Ampenan, where our bills are produced, made clear that a lack of employees to read the metres was the reason. Followed by a “maaf”. But PLN Ampenan kept sending us much too high invoices, every time followed by a “maaf” when we applied for a correction.

Now, to get an invoice that shows the correct consumption, we have to go to PLN Senggigi (and now, to the post-office in Senggigi) first, to check the bill. Then we have to go to PLN Ampenan to apply for a correction and then return to PLN Senggigi to pay the bill. It is really annoying! 

About six months ago, an employee of PLN Ampenan told us that it was possible to inform them of the metre reading by telephone. That seemed to be a good proposal. The monthly corrections at the PLN office in Ampenan should be over. However, after a few months with correct invoices, that proposal only led to disappointments again.

Before every third day of the month, we dutifully made a phonecall to PLN Ampenan. A  friendly employee told us she would enter the information we gave her into the computer.  However, for three months our invoices were much too low; about Rp 100 000 and far from corresponding with the reading on our metre. We knew that, if we kept accepting these low invoices, we would later receive a very high bill to correct this, so we went to PLN Ampenan again two weeks ago, to get a correct invoice for April.

It was very crowded at the PLN office, with a lot of people living in Senggigi, Batu Layar and Ampenan also complaining about invoices that were much too high; but most of them, much too low. After 45 minutes it was our turn.We informed the friendly employee about the correct reading on our metre and he gave us his PLN phone number, so we could call him before every 25th day of each month. He promised to input the correct reading into his computer and to call us within two days, followed by the usual “maaf”. We would have to pay about Rp 2 200 000, because of the too low invoices from the past months. 

However, for the next three days he didn’t call us. On the fourth day, we tried to call him but there was no connection. So, back to Ampenan! It was very crowded again. Another employee told us his colleague had a day off and “maaf” the number he had given us was an old and useless phone number...

He promised to make everything alright within one day and to call us the next day. We also received his PLN phone number. But he didn’t call us. And he did not answer his phone. So, back to Ampenan again. We wanted to pay our bill and not get a fine for late payment. The place was full with people complaining again. Another employee told us that they did not correct invoices from residences in Senggigi and Batu Layar on that day. We had to come back the next day. And, of course, “maaf”!

The next day we went back to Ampenan again. The friendly employee told us the correction was finally entered in the computer. So, after almost two weeks and 120 km on the motorbike, travelling between our house and PLN Ampenan, we could finally go to the post-office in Senggigi to pay our electricity bill. 

It seems to me that PLN Ampenan does not care about its customers at all! The employees treated us like puppets on strings. But above all the PLN management is to be blamed. They get well paid to organise and run the business, to improve the procedures, to fix problems and above all, to keep customers satisfied. But they seem to do nothing – nothing at all! They just let it happen and look the other way. They even don’t say “maaf”.

Chris, Lombok
Kepada Penulis

Jumlah tagihan PLN kami setiap bulannya adalah sekitar Rp 600 000. Di masa lampau, petugas PLN membaca meter listrik kami setiap bulan dan kami membayar di PLN Senggigi sesuai dengan penggunaan listrik kami selama sebulan. Tetapi selama setahun terakhir PLN telah mengacaukan jumlah tagihan listrik kami dan sepertinya bukan hanya kami yang memiliki masalah yang sama!

Dimulai dengan jumlah tagihan yang sangat tinggi, jauh lebih tinggi dari penggunaan kami. Setelah kami menghubungi kantor PLN Ampenan, dimana tagihan listrik tersebut dicetak, jelas bahwa kemalasan petugas untuk membaca angka meter listrik adalah yang menjadi alasannya. Diikuti dengan kata “maaf”. Tetapi PLN tetap mengirimi kami tagihan-tagihan yang terlampau tinggi, setiap kali kami minta ini dikoreksi kami selalu mendapat jawaban “maaf”.

Sekarang, untuk mendapatkan jumlah tagihan yang sesuai dengan penggunaan, kami harus datang ke PLN Senggigi (dan sekarang, ke kantor POS di Senggigi) pertama, untuk mengecek tagihan. Kemudian kami harus datang ke kantor PLN di Ampenan untuk mengajukan koreksi dan kembali ke kantor PLN Senggigi untuk membayar tagihan. Ini sangat menyusahkan!

Sekitar enam bulan lalu, petugas PLN Ampenan memberitahukan kami bahwa kami bisa memberitahukan pembacaan meter listrik kami melalui telepon. Sepertinya itu adalah saran yang bagus. Koreksi bulanan di kantor PLN Ampenan seharusnya sudah bisa diselesaikan. Bagaimanapun, setelah beberapa bulan dengan jumlah tagihan yang benar, hal ini berubah menjadi sesuatu mengecewakan lagi.

Sebelum hari ketiga setiap bulannya, kami ditugaskan untuk menelepon PLN Ampenan. Seorang petugas yang ramah memberitahukan kami bahwa ia akan memasukkan data yang kami berikan ke dalam komputer. Bagaimanapun, selama tiga bulan tagihan listrik kami adalah sangat rendah; sekitar Rp 100 000 dan jauh dari angka meter listrik kami. Kami mengetahui, bila kami tetap menerima jumlah tagihan yang terlalu rendah, suatu hari nanti kami akan menerima tagihan dengan jumlah sangat tinggi untuk mengejar kekurangannya, jadi dua minggu setelahnya kami datang ke PLN Ampenan lagi, untuk mendapatkan tagihan yang benar untuk bulan April.

Kantor PLN pada saat itu sangatlah ramai, dengan banyak orang yang datang dari Senggigi, Batu Layar dan Ampenan juga komplain tentang jumlah tagihan mereka yang terlalu tinggi; tetapi kebanyakan dari mereka, tagihannya terlalu rendah. Setelah 45 menit tibalah giliran kami. Kami memberitahukan seorang petugas yang ramah tentang angka meter kami yang benar dan ia memberikan nomor teleponnya, agar kami bisa menghubunginya sebelum tanggal 25 setiap bulannya. Ia berjanji untuk memasukan data yang benar ke komputernya dan menghubungi kami kembali di dalam waktu dua hari, seperti biasa, diikuti dengan kata “maaf”. Kami akan harus membayar sekitar Rp 2 200 000, dikarenakan jumlah tagihan yang terlalu rendah beberapa bulan terakhir ini.

Bagaimanapun, selama tiga hari berikutnya ia tidak menghubungi kami. Pada hari keempat, kami coba untuk menghubunginya, tidak bisa tersambung. Jadi, kembali ke Ampenan lagi! Dan sangat ramai lagi. Petugas yang lain memberitahu kami bahwa temannya itu sedang cuti dan “maaf” nomor telepon yang ia berikan kepada kami adalah nomor yang lama dan tidak digunakan lagi...

Ia berjanji untuk menyelesaikan masalah ini di dalam waktu satu hari dan akan menghubungi kami pada hari berikutnya. Kami juga diberikan nomor telepon petugas ini. Tetapi ia tidak menghubungi kami. Dan ia juga tidak menjawab teleponnya. Jadi, kembali ke Ampenan lagi. Kami hanya ingin membayar tagihan kami agar tidak mendapat denda karena terlambat bayar. Pada waktu itu PLN Ampenan penuh lagi dengan orang-orang yang komplain. Seorang petugas yang lain lagi memberitahu kami bahwa pada hari tersebut mereka tidak mengkoreksi tagihan-tagihan dari penduduk yang tinggal di Senggigi dan Batu Layar. Kami harus datang kembali hari berikutnya. Dan, sudah tentu, “maaf”!

Pada hari berikutnya kami kembali ke Ampenan lagi. Seorang petugas yang ramah memberitahukan kami bahwa akhirnya koreksinya telah dimasukan ke komputer. Jadi, setelah hampir dua minggu dan mengendarai sejauh 120km, perjalanan bolak-balik dari rumah kami dan PLN Ampenan, kami akhirnya bisa datang ke kantor POS di Senggigi untuk membayar tagihan listrik kami.

Bagi saya sepertinya PLN Ampenan tidak peduli sama sekali dengan pelanggan mereka! Para petugasnya memperlakukan kami seperti wayang yang digerakkan dengan tali. Tetapi diatas semua itu sistem menejemen PLN lah yang seharusnya disalahkan. Mereka mendapatkan gaji yang bagus untuk mengatur dan menjalankan bisnis, meningkatkan prosedurnya, menyelesaikan masalah dan diatas semua itu, menjaga agar pelanggan tetap puas. Tetapi sepertinya mereka tidak melakukan apa-apa sama sekali!

Mereka hanya membiarkan masalahnya terjadi dan melihat ke arah lain. Mereka bahkan tidak mengucapkan “maaf”.

Chris, Lombok

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Meet Els Houttave. Els is a “Compost Master” and is passionate about all things environmental, particularly rubbish and waste management.

Els first became inspired by recycling thanks to her Flemish background, as the Flemish people are the most efficient in the world at making high quality compost in the simplest way. She later received a government education in Belgium to become a “Compost Master” and went on to work as a volunteer in Belgium, teaching people how to recycle organic waste.

After a lifetime of learning and teaching about waste management and effective methods for recycling rubbish into useful compost, Els has turned her attention to the rubbish problem in Lombok.

In January 2010, she started her programme of educating local people about the hazards of burning rubbish and the environmental damage caused by traditional methods of rubbish disposal.

“Environmentally-friendly waste management doesn’t need a lot of money… it just needs education, support and effort,” Els says. “I love the people of Lombok and I feel I can make a difference here. The people are interested and curious; they are not stupid, they just lack education.”

Els started by training the team at the Holiday Resort in Mangsit. “The Green Team” of the Holiday Resort had already been practicing “green” principles for years with recycling, composting and waste management, as well as turtle rehabilitation projects. Now, with extra training and sharing of ideas with Els, the Green Team is producing high quality compost for the resort’s gardens.

Last September and October, Else turned her attention to the small village near Medana Bay Marina in North Lombok. 20 young people from the village have been learning how to collect, separate, recycle and compost rubbish produced by the local community. With this training, the children – who usually receive little education and have few prospects for employment – are learning how to look after their environment, while creating compost that they can sell to earn money.

Els also works with the community in the small kampung of Orong, in Batu Layar. She has purchased some land in the kampung and hopes to create an eco-friendly compound as a model that the people can learn from and copy in the future. Her plans include recycling and waste management, composting, biological farming, and building a house from local bamboo and showing people how to treat the bamboo with natural pesticides to make the bamboo viable as a building material.

“Bamboo is strong, natural and flexible and – unlike brick and cement – good for the environment, because it is easily recycled and replaced,” Els said. “I want to create a model, so that the local people can understand how to make things work ecologically, without needing much money.”

Els visits Lombok twice a year to check on her current projects and teach more people. She has just finished her work in Lombok this week and will return again in September or October 2011.

She also works with local businesses, such as hotels and restaurants, to train staff in waste management and recycling techniques.

“The children in Medana are wonderful – so enthusiastic and eager to learn. But they need a leader, as I’m not here all the time. I’d love to find someone here who could help carry on the project when I’m away!”

If you would like to help by becoming a leader, want to enquire about training for your staff, or if have ideas or skills to contribute, please contact Els at elshouttave@hotmail.com

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On a short drive up the coast north of Senggigi, visitors are always amazed at the beauty of the many bays and beaches that are located within minutes of the tourism centre. We often hear: “If this was anywhere else in the world, all these beaches would be lined with hotels and resorts!” Instead, the bays lay waiting in natural splendour… white sand beaches and clear blue waters, lined with swaying palm trees.

This incredible potential is obvious to anyone who visits West Lombok and, indeed, many of those beaches and bays were snapped up years ago by canny investors who got in while the market was still low. Many of these investors are businessmen from Java who have been able to work around loop-holes in the law, to avoid developing the land in accordance with their licenses. This has created a headache for the local government; keen to see promised investment realised on the island.

Fortunately, not all the land is owned by speculators and, in the past year, we have seen real estate sales around Senggigi really take off. Land values have doubled and, in some cases, tripled in the last 18 months. Most of the beachfront land from Kerandangan to Mangsit is now owned by investors, with some of the best boutique hotels already located in this area.

It is logical that demand for beachfront land will drive the market further north, to areas like Klui, Lendang Luar and Setangi – all within 10 minutes drive of Senggigi. This is evident with the purchase of the old Nusa Bunga Hotel last year, which has since been transformed into the lovely Jeeva Klui resort on the beach in Klui.

Now the pristine beach of Lendang Luar is about to get a similar makeover with the construction of a luxury resort and villas at Living Asia Resort and Spa.

Owned by Sunny Hotels, one of the largest hotel groups in Tunisia, Living Asia is set on 3.27ha of gorgeous beachfront land facing out over the Lombok Strait to Bali. The beach here is around 1.5km long, with good snorkelling at the southern end and a lovely swimming beach at the northern end. The sunsets are sublime.

Other developments in the area include Ebano R & R, which was originally the Hilberon Hotel, and Hotel Bulan Baru (New Moon Hotel), just across the road. Further development is expected along the northern end of the beach in the near future... promising to turn the sleepy village of Lendang Luar into one of the more upmarket areas in the Senggigi tourism vicinity.

Expected to be completed later this year, Living Asia will comprise 66 villas and bungalows, a meeting and convention centre for up to 250 guests, three smaller meeting rooms, a purpose-built Spa and Health Centre with a glass walled gymnasium and a juice centre, as well as two beachfront restaurants.
Phase two of the development provides for the construction of more villas on adjoining land to the south of the property.

Founded in 1990 by the Caribbean World and Sunny Hotels group is one of the largest hotel groups in Tunisia and currently manages over 20 hotels spread over the whole Tunisian territory, totalling around 18 000 beds and employing up to 7000 staff in high season.

The group also owns a travel agency, working with international travel operators, community centres, restaurants, and a brewery which produces beer in Africa in cooperation with Heineken. The group has also diversified into the agriculture market and exports dates, Maltese oranges and olive oil internationally.
Mehdi Tabka, Sunny Hotels representative and manager of Living Asia, is a man with a vision for the group’s Lombok property.

“We are already well established in Africa and were looking to diversify our leisure market. We looked at many places around the world, but were most impressed with the natural beauty and potential of Lombok.”

“Our group has won many awards for quality of service and we have more than 20 years experience in the hotel sector, so I think we can bring a new level of accommodation to Lombok,” he said. “We employ up to 7000 people at our hotels and resorts in Africa and have a commitment to staff training and skills development, which we intend to duplicate here in Lombok. Our reputation for excellent service and constant attention to detail allows us to completely satisfy our clients.”

The stunning white sand beach in Lendang Luar is currently being transformed by the creation of the resort’s 33m infinity pool, which will feature sun decking and a beach bar catering for up to 120 guests, in addition to a 120-seat beachfront restaurant overlooking the ocean.

Accommodation at Living Asia is divided into three classes, with double storey villas, private pool villas and spacious bungalows. Quality materials and furnishings are being used throughout and Mehdi is determined that the resort will only be opened when everything is perfectly finished.

We can expect a new and stunning boutique beach resort – along the lines of the stylish and highly successful Qunci Villas and Jeeva Klui – before the end of the year.

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Popular local dentist, Dr Farida, has re-located her Kimia Farma practice to bright new premises in the Mataram Mall.

Joli Sourire Dental Care is now open on the third floor of the new section of Mataram Mall, next to the newly-opened Natasha Skin Care. The third floor, which already houses a hair salon, looks like it is becoming a one stop professional care and beauty centre… which is good news for us!

Dr Farida is the only fully qualified orthodontist practicing in Lombok. At her clinics in Mataram, Dr Farida practices general dentistry and orthodontic specialties, as well as cosmetic dentistry. In addition to Dr Farida, there are two general dentists practicing at the new clinic in the Mall.

As with her clinic at Permata Hati Hospital in Mataram, Joli Sourire Dental Care is a clean, bright and modern clinic equipped with the latest, top-of-the-range dental equipment.

As part of her on-going training, Dr Farida attends regular conventions and seminars to update her skills and keep abreast of new techniques and technologies. At the recent congress of the World Orthodontic Federation in Sydney, Australian dentists were amazed to see that her equipment in Lombok was the equal of their own clinics.

“I have duplicated Sydney – the same equipment, the same material, the same methodology. But a big difference in the price, of course!” she laughs.

Treatments on offer at the clinic range from simple scaling and cleaning and fillings, through to sophisticated bridgework and braces. Cosmetic dentistry also includes the latest UV tooth whitening processes, which is highly effective at brightening teeth in just one session and costs much less than the same treatment in Bali or overseas.

Joli Sourire Dental Care in the Mall is open every day (including Sundays) from 12 noon until 9pm. Phone (0370) 668 1797 for an appointment.

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Mark and Sopan hosted an afternoon of contemporary artwork by local artist, Karyana, accompanied by fabulous jazz and musical performances by Widi, Qisi and friends, with mobile bar by Asmara, at The Studio on The Hill.

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

QUESTION: I am a 62 year old (going on 26), single and fancy free! A rich relative has just died and left me US $1 000 000, so I have come to the idyllic tropical island of Lombok to find the love of my life! I intend to buy a sea view villa and marry a local beauty. 
I have been dating a nice local lady for some weeks now and she seems quite keen to get married. Do you think her enthusiasm for marriage has anything to do with my late uncle having left me one million dollars in his will?

MR FIXER: Certainly not! I’m sure she would marry you no matter who had left you the money.

QUESTION: My wife and I have been coming to the idyllic holiday island of Lombok for many years and have decided to make it our home. The blue skies and happy smiling faces of all of the locals make every day a pleasure. The food in Lombok is also pleasurable. The restaurants and warungs serve excellent dishes, especially those offering fish, shrimp and prawn from local catches, which are fresh every day. 

The local fruit and vegetables are equally fresh and available daily from the local markets. Carrots and potatoes taste like they used to taste in my younger days. Bananas actually taste of bananas and there are so many varieties! What are those European supermarkets doing to our taste buds?  

It makes home cooking a new-found delight. So much so that my wife has started cooking again now that we have the time to enjoy our retirement in laid back tropical surroundings. We have had a new kitchen fitted and are intending to install a proper oven so my wife can continue her home cooking in style. The only thing we have not yet decided is whether to install a gas or electric oven. My wife wants to start making casseroles and pies. I am a little worried that with all this cooking, my wife will gain more weight than she already has since we came to Lombok. 

In the last year, she has gained 50 kilos, which means she has nearly doubled in size. It is like being married to someone else! She has put on so much weight, I hardly recognize her sometimes. Add to that, all her dresses and shoes are too small, so she has had to buy a complete new wardrobe. Most of the time, she wears a dress style that resembles a tent with legs! She has started to diet but only loses 1 kilo per week of dieting. I am confused over the choice of oven. What do you recommend?

MR FIXER: Gas versus electric – The eternal kitchen dilemma! There are advantages and disadvantages to both choices. Gas is cheaper but electric is more convenient. Most homes in Lombok do not have a sufficient electricity supply to power most electric hobs and ovens, so gas may be the only sensible choice. A new kind of electric hob has become available just recently. It is based on the induction principal, as opposed to an electric element. This might be worth checking out as it is more energy efficient. A power cut, however, could still ruin your day and your meal. With regard to your wife’s weight problem, we have worked out that if she loses 1 kilo per week, you will be completely rid of her in about 2 years!

QUESTION: My husband and I have been in Lombok for quite some time and we have just had a new kitchen fitted, with a proper oven, so I can finally bake cakes, pies and chicken casseroles and we can eat ourselves silly. 

As a result of all this home cooking, my husband and I are both putting on weight. I have put on 50 kilos in the last year and so has my husband! It is his birthday soon and I would like to give him something special. He hinted that what he would like is something shiny that goes from 0 to 150 in 3 seconds. What do you suggest?

MR FIXER: How about a set of scales?

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Guests from Bali, Gili T and Lombok spent a day cruising the Gilis, before enjoying the fantastic facilities of ko-ko-mo Resort on a fun- packed weekend-long party to celebrate "Lady Di's" birthday!

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