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Massive 8.9 Richter Quake Off Sumatra Leaves Bali Untouched in Wake of Wide-Spread Destruction.
Bali completely escaped any of the catastrophic destruction resulting from the massive 8.9 Richter earthquake that struck just off the coast of northwest Sumatra on Sunday, December 26, 2005.
The quake, now considered one of the planet's largest shocks in the past 40 years, wreaked a path of international destruction causing death and injuries in Africa, the Maldives, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Thailand and western Indonesia. While it will take days to asses the full extend of the total loss of human life, injuries and property damage caused by the earthquake and the resulting series of tidal waves – the estimated number of dead was approaching 15,000 just 24 hours after the initial tremor occured.
Damage in Western Indonesia Extensive
The Indonesian Meteorological and Geophysical Agency (BMG) placed the epicenter of the quake at a depth of 20 kilometers below sea level at a position 149 kilometers off the southern coast of Aceh, North Sumatra. While thousands of deaths in Western Indonesia resulted from the massive destruction of buildings in Loksumawe and Aceh in North Sumatra and from the effects of tidal waves along Sumatra's northern and western coasts, other areas of Indonesia remained largely untouched by the catastrophe.
Violent shifting of the tectonic plates – creating a sub-oceanic fissure estimated to be 600 kilometers in length – generated a massive tsunami that caused damage as far away as the coast of Mozambique in East Africa. However, the major brunt of the wave and heaviest loss of life took place in a broad northerly arc that swept over Sri Lanka, India's eastern coast, Bangladesh, Thailand and Malaysia. Major resort destinations packed with holidaymakers, such as Phuket in Southern Thailand and Sri Lanka's beach resorts, were among the worst affected by the tidal wave.
Bali-based travel operators, hotels and foreign consulates are reporting numerous enquiries from people seeking news of friends and relatives holidaying in Bali.
Bali – located some 2,500 kilometers away from the earthquake and well-shielded by numerous large intervening land masses, did not feel the earthquake or experience any of the deadly waves it generated.
Peace on Earth, Peace in Bali
Indonesia's 2004 Christmas Celebrations Pass without Major Incident.
Churches across Bali and the rest of Indonesia held traditional Christmas services this year under conditions of strict security, allowing the highest holy days on the Christian calendar to pass without major incident.
While past Christmases have seen attacks launched on churches on the island of Java and other outlaying areas of Indonesia, this year's celebration was marked by a fierce determination by the Government and the Nation's citizens that Indonesia would once again be known as a society famous for its mutual respect and religious tolerance. This renewed commitment was perhaps best demonstrated in churches in Jakarta and elsewhere where young men representing some of the nation's leading Islamic organizations, such the Muhammadiyah, Pemuda Madjid and Nahdlatul Ulama, stood shoulder to shoulder with police outside places of worship guaranteeing their Christian neighbors could conduct Christmas services unmolested. Similarly in Bali, pacalang - traditional Hindu religious constables usually deployed only at Hindu temple festivals, stood guard outside the island's churches together with Bali's police, welcoming Christians to worship without fear.
Such demonstrative acts of mutual concern and solidarity did not go unnoticed. The Archbishop of Jakarta, Monsignor Julius Kardinal Darmaatmadja, commented in his midnight mass sermon, "on behalf of Indonesia's Catholics, I express deep thanks to all who are involved in protecting and ensuring that Christmas celebrations can proceed smoothly and peacefully."
At Denpasar's Catholic cathedral and other Christian churches a heavy police and military presence was very much in evidence, with all vehicles and worshippers undergoing security screenings before being allowed to enter into church premises.
Government Issues Nyepi Guidelines
Formal Circular Establishes Framework for Bali's Day of Silence Observance March 11, 2005.
Nyepi is the day marking the first day of the Balinese Saka calendar - a day of strictly observed island-wide silence and introspection observed during which a virtual "shut down" of Bali takes place for a 24 hours.
Observant Balinese Hindus observe the start of the Caka New Year of 1927 for a 24-hour period from sunrise to sunrise by refraining from creating any light utilizing fire or other means; abstaining from the satisfaction of any human desires; avoiding any work or physical exertion in favor of meditative reflection; by not leaving their places of residence remaining inside throughout the period; and by avoiding any recreational or entertaining pastimes during the established interval of time.
Meanwhile, non-Hindus on the island during Nyepi which starts at 6:00 a.m. on Friday, March 11, 2005, until 6:00 a.m. the following morning, are expected to respect the predominant religious sensitivities of the island by remaining in their homes with their lights off. Special dispensations, however, are extended to local hotels which are required to ensure guests to remain within hotel grounds throughout the 24-hour period and that any external lighting visible to surrounding communities be extinguished. Hotel staff on duty during Nyepi remain at their places of employment from March 10 until March 12, 2005, with sleeping accommodation provided by their employers.
Government Issues Guidelines
The Government of Bali has now issued clarifying guidelines for the public during the coming Nyepi celebrations.
These guidelines stipulate:
• Nyepi will be officially recognized starting from 6:00 a.m. on Friday, March 11, 2005, until 6:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 12, 2005.
• Government offices, public services (e.g. hospitals, prisons, utilities), and hotels that remain in operation during this period are requested to provide on-premises accommodation for their workers required to remain at work during the entire Nyepi observance starting from Thursday, March 10, 2005, until Saturday, March 12, 2005.
• Bali Ngurah Rai Airport will be closed as a domestic departure or arrival airport during the 24 hour period of Nyepi.
• Domestic Transit flights will be allowed to land at the airport and serve genuine domestic transit passengers, but will not be permitted to disembark any Denpasar-bound passengers or pick up any passengers originating from Bali during the specified period.
• All international flights originating or ending in Bali during the 24 hour period of Nyepi are cancelled.
• International transit flights are allowed to land at Bali's airport during the Nyepi period and disembark or board genuine transit passengers. No passengers with Bali destinations will be allowed to disembark from these transit flights and no Bali originating passengers will be allowed to join these flights.
• Technical landings, island over-flights and emergency flights (including medical evacuations) will be permitted. Crews of flights making technical landings will not, however, be allowed to leave the airport premises before the end of the Nyepi observance.
• All seaport gateways to Bali will be closed during the 24-hour Nyepi period.
• Special dispensations approved by local village chiefs will still be issued in cases such as injury, illness, or child birth.
Conflict with Christian Good Friday and Islamic Friday Prayers
Additional instructions from religious leaders of the Islamic and Christian faiths will be issued on the rescheduling of traditional religious observances of Friday prayers for Moslems and Good Friday services for Christians will be issued in due course.
The Melody Lingers On
Reunion of Surviving Members of Historic 1952 Balinese Dance and Music Tour at Ubud Re-Launch of John Coast Book 'Dancing Out of Bali.'
On Thursday, December 23, 2004, a modest celebration of the new edition of John Coast's "Dancing Out of Bali" was held at the Agung Rai Museum in Ubud. Out of print for 50 years, the book is the personal account of a young Englishman, John Coast, then just recently freed from a Japanese prison camp and his efforts to promote Balinese dance and culture to the world. Mesmerized by the music and dance of Bali, he went on to organize a ground-breaking 1952 tour of Balinese dancers and musician to the U.S.A. and U.K.
The troupe appeared at the Winter Garden Theatre in London, the Fulton Theatre in New York, and major venues in Europe and the U.S.A.. The public reaction to the troupe was overwhelming. Ed Sullivan presented the dancers to a TV audience estimated at 30 million; and the dancers and musicians were feted by the likes of Walt Disney, Bob Hope and Bing Crosby.
The troupe captured the minds and imagination of a war-weary word, not least for the captivating dance artistry of its three pre-teen dancing Legong troupe of Ni Gusti Raka, Anom, and Ni Oka.
At the Bali book launching rare kinescope films of the Bali troupe's performance on the Ed Sullivan program were presented – the first time after more than 50 years the surviving members actually were able to view their American performance.
Freezing two moments in time more than 50 years apart, the three Legong dancers posed for balidiscovery.com side by side in the same order as a picture of them made more than 50 years before with Indonesia's President Soekarno.
Thrice Weekly Service to Provide Additional Seats to Serve Bali's Largest Source of Tourist Visitors.
Effective December 27, 2004, Air Paradise International flies three times each week between Osaka (Japan) and Denpasar (Bali).
Osaka to Bali – AD 77
The AD 77 flight from Osaka to Bali will operate on Monday, Thursday and Saturday departing Japan at 11:05 a.m. and landing in Bali at 5:05 p.m..
Bali to Osaka – AD 76
The flight from Denpasar to Osaka flies on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday leaving Bali at 11:05 p.m. and arriving in Osaka the following morning at 06:55 a.m.
Air Paradise. the fast-growing airline owned by local businessman Kadek Wiranatha, is the 70th foreign airline to offer passenger services to Japan.
American Express Launches 'Ultimately Bali'
Added Incentives for American Express Cardholders Visiting Bali in 2005.
American Express has launched its "Ultimately Bali 2005" campaign offering a range of benefits to their cardholders visiting the world's most popular island destination. Involving 80 quality establishments, 25 hotels and 60 merchants from across the island - the program is aimed at increasing visitor flows to Bali from among the millions of cardholders worldwide by providing tangible benefits whenever an American Express card is used with a participating supplier.
"Ultimately Bali 2005" is the second program of its type, following on the heels of a successful similar program in 2004.
Sylvia-Marie Challita, Country Manager of American Express, in commenting on the new program said, "American Express" commitment to Indonesia goes back a long way. As a leading worldwide travel company, we believe it is our responsibility to support promote tourism to into Bali, especially when such support is needed most. We regard Bali as one of the foremost tourist destinations in the world. Over the years, American Express Cardmembers have come here to the island in large numbers."
Running until March 31, 2005, "Ultimately Bali" will be driven by multiple communication channels including an attractive travel wallet given to arriving domestic and international travelers at Bali's Ngurah Rai Airport offering special privileges and added value at the Island's leading establishments. Benefits include discounts on purchases at local restaurants and shops; savings on golf packages and air tours of the island; special offers from local spas; admission discounts at local attractions; and specially priced tours from Bali Discovery Tours.
Another good reason to never leave home without your American Express Card.
John Zürcher Honored by Austrian Government
Bali's Consular Agent for Austria Officially Recognized with a Silver Star for 13 Years of Dedicated Service.
On December 1, 2004, John Zürcher, the Consular Agent for both Switzerland and Austria stationed in Bali, received a singular honor from the Austrian Government for 13 years of dedicated service to Austrian travelers and residents in Bali.
At a special ceremony held at the Austrian-managed Hotel Puri Madawi in Petitenget, H.E. the Ambassador of Austria to Indonesia, Dr. Bernhard Zimburg, inducted John Zürcher as a Knight, 2nd class, of the Austrian Republic by bestowing the Decoration of Honor in Silver for Services to the Republic of Austria (Silbernes Ehrenzeichen für Verdienste um die Republik Österreich).
Rarely presented to individuals who are not Austrian citizens, John Zürcher a Swiss National who also serves as his Country's Consular Agent in Bali, was sited for his professionalism and high level of service to the Austrian Republic through his support of Austrians visiting or living in Bali.
Local Hero: Wayan Yuni Sartika
Local Household Worker Saves a Life Two Weeks After Completing BIMC First Aid Course.
20 year-old Wayan Yuni Sartika was recently able to make all the difference in a life-and-death household accident situation as the result of life saving and first aid training provided by the Bali International Medical Centre(BIMC).
Less than two weeks after completing a 4-hour program provided by the BIMC covering household accidents and poisonings, common illness encountered in Bali and how to handle them, and life-saving emergency first-aid, Wayan, who works as a domestic helper for a local family, found herself in a situation calling on her to put into practice her newly acquired medical skills.
While at her own own home in downtown Denpasar she discovered that a 20 year old neighbor girl had accidentally electrocuted herself by grabbing the frayed cord of a household iron.
Recalling the lessons taught by BIMC's emergency medical team on how to deal with accidental electrocution, Wayan sprang into action and took charge. Delegating someone to call an ambulance while she disconnected the power source, Wayan immediately assessed the vital signs of the accident victim. Finding a weak pulse but no breathing she began CPR, alternating between chest compressions and and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Her patient, 22 year-old Ani, slowly began to revive and was conscious for the ambulance ride to Bali's Sanglah General Hospital, where, after a 5 day stay, she was eventually released in good health with only the scars of residual burns to her hands.
Doctors at the hospital credited Wayan's quick action with having averted a tragedy, comparing her clear thinking under fire to that of a professional health care worker.
balidiscovery.com met Wayan Yuni Sartika at the BIMC where she shared her story and demonstrated the CPR method on a teaching mannequin for our camera.
Sarah Forbes, Wayan's employer and the lady who sent her on the BIMC course said, "I'm very proud of Wayan. I wonder how many deaths are preventable in Bali if people knew Basic First Aid? I am very grateful to BIMC for providing the opportunity for people to gain this kind of training."
Craig Beveridge, the Managing Director of the BIMC and the man who invited Wayan back to the BIMC Clinic to meet the press and receive a number of congratulatory prizes from the Centre and supportive local merchants, said, "everyone at BIMC is beaming with pride and satisfaction that Wayan's first aid lessons played a direct role in saving a life. Saving lives and promoting health is what initially drew all the health-care workers at BIMC to their vocations. That they can share their knowledge with the community and see such concrete results is so very gratifying to all the members of the BIMC team."
The BIMC offers a regular series of 4 hour first aid workshops and a two-day certificate programs in first aid training. Medical educators from BIMC are also available for on-site staff training for local hotels, companies, and tour attraction operators.
Our Innovative Recipe for Kalkun Pelalah That's Perfect for Disposing of That Turkey Meat Left Over from Holiday Celebrations.
"Kalkun" is the Indonesian equivalent of turkey and the main ingredient of this twist on the Balinese recipe for Ayam Pelalah - a delicious and spicy way to dispose of any excess turkey lingering in your refrigerator after the holidays.
Bali's masterful chef Heinz von Holzen taught us the original recipe and provided the illustrative photo featured on balidiscovery.com.
Base de Siap - The Turkey Spice Paste
Ingredients: • 14 shallots, peeled • 26 gloves of garlic, peeled • 2.5 cm (1 inch) of Kencur, peeled and chopped. (Lesser galangal, a ginger-like root Kaemferia galangga). • 4 cm (1.5 inches) of laos or galangal peeled and chopped. • 10 candlenuts • 12 cm (5 inches) of fresh Kunyit or turmeric, peeled and chopped. • 4 tablespoons of palm sugar, chopped. • 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil. • 2 stalks of sereh or lemon grass, bruised. • 2 salam leaves – this is NOT the same as bay leaves. Omit completely if you don't have the real thing. • 10 bird's eye chilies, finely sliced.
Put the shallots, garlic kencur, laos, candlenuts, turmeric and palm sugar into a food processor and grind coarsely. Heat the oil and fry all the ingredients, stirring frequently, until a rich golden color of the sauce is achieved, Set aside to cool.
Sambel Tomat - Tomato Sambal
Ingredients: • 4 tablespoons of oil. • 15 shallots, peeled and sliced. • 10 cloves of garlic, peeled and slice. • 14 large red chilies, seeds removed and sliced. • 2 medium-sized tomatoes cut into wedges. • 2 teaspoons of dried shrimp paste. • 2 teaspoons of freshly squeezed lime juice.
Heat the oil in a saucepan or wok. Sauté the garlic and shallots over low heat for 5 minutes. Add chilies and sauté for another 5 minutes, and then add tomatoes and shrimp paste simmering all for another 10 minutes. Finally, add lime juice before putting all the ingredients in a food processor to achieve a coarse consistency. Add salt to taste.
Putting it All Together
Take approximately 1.2 kilograms (2.5 pounds) of left-over turkey meat (not the skin) and hand shred into fine strips.
Combine 1 cup of the Turkey Spice Paste in a skillet with the turkey, stirring over a low heat until the meat is well coated. Add one-half cup of Sambel Tomat and season with salt and lime juice to taste, stirring continuously until well coated.
Hint: Unused Sauce can be stored in freezer or refrigerator for future use.
This is a delicious variation on an old Balinese recipe and the perfect way to cure Post Holiday turkey fatigue.
The Beauty of Nature
Painting Exhibition by I Wayan Suarmadi at Maya Ubud Resort & Spa.
Maya Ubud Resort & Spa presents a solo painting exhibition by a young, talented Ubud artist - I Wayan Suarmadi through January 31, 2005.
Born in Bali's arts community of Ubud, Wayan Suarmadi started painting while still in elementary school. He was inspired by both his great grandfather, I Wayan Gerudug, and his grandfather I Wayan Durus, both well-known and distinguished painters in the traditional Balinese style. Naturally gifted and growing up surrounded by painters in his extended family, Wayan went on to further perfect his craft studying for one year under I Nyoman Daging.
Early recognition was achieved in 1992 when he won second place in a national painting competition in Jakarta held by the Ministry of Tourism, Post and Telecommunications.
Painting in acrylics, Wayan expresses his admiration of the beauty of nature and all God's creations while at the same time urging the preservation and protection of our natural environment.
The exhibition is open daily through Monday, January 31, 2005 at the Maya Ubud Resort and Spa.
Balinese Dance, Drama and Music
New Book Just Released by Periplus Editions by Dr. I. Wayan Dibia and Rucina Ballinger, with Illustrations by Barbara Anello.
Beautifully illustrated with 150 watercolors by Barbara Anello and 100 supporting photographs, this 128-page hardcover provides a comprehensive introduction to the Balinese performing arts of gamelan, dance, drama and puppetry.
Examining the history and function of each art form, "Balinese Dance, Drama and Music" manages to meet both the needs of the first time traveler seeking a guide to the profusion of lively art forms found in Bali as well as the serious scholar of Balinese culture in search of a valuable reference work. Scholars will be instantly drawn to the book's extensive bibliography and a discography.
Co-authored by the renowned Balinese dancer and choreographer Dr. I Wayan Dibia - a professor of choreography at the Indonesian College of Arts, and Rucina Ballinger - a Bali-based educator on Balinese culture, "Balinese Dance, Drama and Music" was released by Periplus Editions on December 15, 2004.
Nik and Gusman Just Got Married
Bali Discovery Tours Celebrates a Marriage Made in our Reservations Department.
On December 24, 2004, members of the Bali Discovery Tours team travel to Banjar Dukuh on the outskirts of Tabanan to celebrate the joyous wedding of two members of our extended family.
Gusti Agung Nyoman Wiadnyana Putra - better known to his colleagues as Gusman, married our Senior Reservation Supervisor Ni Ketut Yuliani - a charming young lady known better in these parts as Nik.
There's little doubt that this love affair got its start at Bali Discovery Tours where both the bride and groom were employed. When cupid first struck his bow, Gusman was first employed as our transportation manager, although he recently moved on to a position as an Assistant Sales Manager with Alila Hotels in Bali.
Following a very brief honeymoon in Bali and the completion of a cycle of ceremonies that accompanying a Balinese wedding, we look forward to having Nik back at her computer terminal early in 2005.
Best wished for a long life of love and happiness to Nik and Gusman.
Christoph Voegele Returns to Hotel Sanur Beach
German Hotelier Returns to Bali to Head Aerowisata's Sanur Property.
Christoph Voegeli, a native of Germany and a graduate of the Suidlich Weinstrasse School of Hotel Management, has returned to Bali after an absence of two years.
Effective December 2004, Christoph has assumed the General Manager's role at the 425-room Arowisata Hotel & Resort – Hotel Sanur Beach Bali. Two years previously he served as Executive Assistant Manager at the property.
In addition to his Bali posts, Christoph has worked with Carlton Hotels in Singapore and held a number of professional posts in European hotels and at sea on cruise vessels.
During a recent visit to balidiscovery.com, Christoph expressed his desire to play an active part in working with other tourism operators in helping to re-establish the Sanur Community as a premier tourism destination within Bali.
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