"I've found Bali Discovery Tours to be one of the most well informed and informative companies to deal with on Bali. They are professional and well organized. A very legitimate company that offers good discounts."
What Do a Crocodile, a Camel, and a Flying Kangaroo have to Do with a Bali Criminal Case? Read on.
A Qantas Airways Ltd. baggage handler at Sydney Airport played the clown on Wednesday, April 6, 2005. As a result, the baggage handler has lost his job, put his employer in a most embarrassing situation and brought into spotlight loose security standards on checked baggage casting further doubts on the possible guilt of a 27-year-old Queensland woman charged in a Denpasar Court with the capital offense of importing 4.1 kilograms of cannabis into Bali.
The bizarre incident happened when a marketing executive traveling from Sydney to Melbourne looked out the waiting lounge window to see a baggage handler driving past wearing a camel head part of two costumes for a camel and a crocodile he was carrying in his checked baggage.
Reportedly, by the time he informed airport authorities the larrikin baggage handler, now finished with his furtive attempt at tarmac comedy, had already returned the costume head to the passenger's baggage.
But, by that point the deed was done and the hapless baggage handler's was destined for the unemployment line where he will, no doubt, pause and consider writing "camel" in the blank for "previous job history." Caught "in the act" of manipulating the luggage labeled "containing animal costumes" on CCTV surveillance cameras, the man was summarily fired.
But the incident is anything but over. Later, no less than Qantas' CEO Geoff Dixon was compelled to issue official explanations in connection with the case addressing the "heightened community concerns around security of baggage." Not unexpectedly. the international press was abuzz and asking: Just how much tampering goes on when passengers aren't looking at their checked luggage?
The possible connection between the camel costume incident and trial now underway in Bali of the young Australian was painfully obvious. Shapelle Corby is on trial for her life resulting from the discovery last year of 4.2 kilograms of cannabis in her baggage upon arriving in Bali. Miss Corby flew to Bali on flights that connected in Sydney and were handled by Qantas baggage handlers during the Sydney flight connection to Bali.
Before the latest incident in Sydney, Ms. Corby's defense team in Bali had forwarded the theory and presented a witness in support of their contention that passengers' baggage is sometime unwittingly used to transport drugs. The Bali lawyers have argued that their client, who has no previous criminal record and no history of drug use, had her surfing bag used without her permission to send drugs from Brisbane to Sydney where the Sydney contact was unable to unload the contraband cargo.
Whether the latest developments in Sydney will be weighed by the Indonesian judges in deciding Ms. Corby's fate is uncertain.
One local observer of the local trial in Bali has asked if Sydney airport authorities checked the baggage handler before his dismissal to determine what substance he may have been smoking, and from which piece of baggage it came from, before he attempted to tamper with passengers' luggage on closed-circuit TV and perform his impromptu commedy sketch before hundreds of waiting passengers and co-workers?
One Night in Paris
Pierre Carriere's Musical Vision of Paris April 13, 2005 at the Aston Bali Resort and Spa.
Aston Bali Resort and Spa on Bali's Tanjung Benoa is offering Francophiles and Lovers of Paris a unique musical journey - "One Night in Paris' on the evening of Wednesday, April 13, 2005.
Led by well-known French musician Pierre Carriere and his orchestra direct from Paris, the Hotel's pool area will be transformed with a floating stage accompanied by a large screen projection of city scenes from the world's most romantic capital. Playing a combination of jazz, blues and cabaret numbers the music of Paris will be presented in combination with a memorable dinner of French specialties.
Tickets and Reservations
Places are limited and tickets cost Rp. 350,000 ++ per person (approximately US$45), covering the cost of dinner and concert. Follow the e-mail link provided for more information or reservations.
Commencing his musical career as a pianist in Paris in 1979, Pierre Carriere is known for his skill at both the keyboard and violin. A gifted performer and composer, he has been awarded a prize from Queen Elizabeth II and played with a number jazz legends including Chick Corea at the Straton Jazz Festival in the U.S.A.. At home with both blues and jazz genres, he excels when playing the music of Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie and Duke Ellington and performing on stage at such prestigious gigs as The North Sea Jazz Festival.
Richard Daguise, General Manager of the Aston Bali Resort and Spa has brought Pierre Carriere to Bali both to entertain his guests and share rich musical traditions with the local population. As a result, Mr. Carriere has been asked to perform in a free musical workshop for local music students at the Hotel on April 12, 2005.
Artist Voted Australia's Best Male Vocalist in Special 2 Night Engagement at Hard Rock Hotel Bali, April 21 & 22, 2005.
diesel the man voted Australia's best male artist is scheduled for a special 2 night solo-engagement at Hard Rock Hotel Bali Wednesday and Thursday, April 20-21. 2005.
Making his musical debut in Perth, Western Australia in 1987 with the band Johnny Diesel and the Injectors the group gained instant recognition and an ARIA award for the "Best New Talent" and "Best Selling Album of The Year" selling more than a quarter million copies in a album containing the hits "Don't Need Love, Soul Revival, Cry In Shame" and "Looking For Love."
One mini-album later, Johnny said good-bye to the Injectors in 1991 emerging as a solo artist with the album "Hepfidelity" that earned him ARIA's "Best Album" and "Best Male Artists" awards in 1992 with the singles "Come To Me, Tip Of My Tongue, Man Alive" and "One More Time." A consistent hit-maker, albums released in 1993 and 1994 hit platinum and saw ARIA again name the Rocker "Best Male Artist" in 1993.
Before departing on a 5-year journey of self-discovery playing New York's music scene in 1996, diesel did a departure of another kind cutting an album of blues with Chris Wilson.
Signing with the ill-fated Mammoth Label in the U.S.A. he recorded a masterful album ironically titled "Soul Lost Companion" which, due to corporate buy-outs between record companies, was never released in the U.S.A..
No doubt disillusioned with the U.S. music scene, diesel returned back home to Australia in 2001 and produced "Hear" - his first studio-album in 7 years. Hungry for the diesel sound the single "Getta Kick" was an instant hit among Australian music listeners.
Two Nights Only
diesel appears in a special solo performance on the Hard Rock Hotel's Centerstage on Wednesday and Thursday, April 20 & 21, 2005. Performances begin at 9:30 p.m. and a first drink charge applies.
San Diego Union Tribune Celebrate Bali in April 3, 2005, Edition.
In an article titled "Bali Rally" in the Sunday, April 4, 2005, edition of the San Diego Union Tribune, Suzanne Rico records in detail her recent grand tour of the island of Bali listing her favorite places to stay, sleep and capture glimpses of Bali's rich natural culture.
A successful visit to Bali by any standard was made all the more so when her travel companion and new fiancé, Ethan, used the inspiration of a Jimbaran Bay sunset to pop "the question" to Suzanne.
Although not formally confirmed in her article, we're assuming her answer was "yes!"
Suzanne traces Bali's near-complete recovery from a crippling October 2002 terrorist attack, roams the island at will and includes a list of websites for her favorite hotels, restaurants and travel websites.
Oh, and when it comes to Suzanne's favorite Bali travel websites no need to look any further; you're already there at balidiscovery.com.
Follow the link provided to read the entire story.
Where will Suzanne and Ethan take their coming honeymoon? We're guessing they'll stay with a winner and return to Bali.
Bali Medical Centre (BIMC) Shifting to a New Multi-storey Care-Giving Facility.
The numbers are truly impressive.
Opened less than 7 years ago with an initial staff of less than 10 the BIMC is now moving camp to a new, modern medical facility employing more than 120 care-givers. The initial Center, which had already grown ito 400 square meters, is no longer sufficiently large to provide the range of services provided to the many patients who now use the BIMC. As a result, the new BIMC will occupy a multi-storied building with an area 3 times as large as their old location - an estimated 1,500 square meters!
Just Down the Road
When the new BIMC opens in late April, its new location will be only an approximate 200 meters to the north on Jalan Bypass Ngurah Rai 100X, near the Simpang Siur roundabout, and across from the Kuta Galleria Complex.
Telephone, facsimile and e-mail contacts remain unchanged for the new facility.
New and Improved BIMC
The new, improved BIMC will continue to be on-call 24 hours a day 365 days a year serving Bali residents and visitors to the Island. Some of the services and facilities on-tap in the multi-storey medical center include:
4 private consultation rooms, one of which has been specially configured for pediatric patients.
An emergency and trauma unit with 3 emergency treatment areas equipped with state-of-the-art cardiopulmonary resuscitation equipment, defibrillators and emergency pacemakers.
A procedure and treatment unit capable of providing the highest standard of hygienic wound care for injuries ranging from minor wounds to more complex orthopedic procedures.
A care ward accommodating 10 beds providing private facilities, cable TVs with personalized speakers, mini-bars, sound proofing and vital-signs health monitoring systems.
A pathology department regularly calibrated and supervised by medical technologists from Australia.
A fully equipped radiology department using the latest film radiology.
A fully-stocked pharmacy providing both over-the-counter and prescription drugs.
Transfer and evacuation unit featuring Bali's most well-equipped medical response teams providing cutting-edge life support and resuscitation intervention.
A health insurance liaison center specializing on complete document handling and communication with insurance providers.
Designed and equipped to be able to respond to any medical emergency with the latest equipment and treatment protocols, the new BIMC will emphasize universal medical precaution procedures such as one-use sterilized procedure sets, sterile disposable gloves when required for medical procedures and meticulous antiseptic cleaning procedures from a dedicated and professionally-trained housekeeping department.
The BIMC welcomes both tourist visitors to Bali as well as local Indonesian and expatriate residents of Bali. Long term resident of Bali are also able to enroll themselves into medical maintenance programs designed to provide cost savings to individual and families seeking medical support and coverage.
APEC Crisis Management Meeting in Bali May 2-3. 2005.
Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Association will convene a meeting of disaster specialists in Bali May 2-3, 2005, in Bali to discuss strategies and means to better cope with earthquakes, SARs and other natural disasters.
According to the Korean Times, leading representative of the 21-member association have been called to Bali in order to prepare plans to better manage future disasters and the many negative economic effects they generate on the entire Asia-Pacific region.
The goal of the meeting is to come up with specific measures and protocols for member nations to put in place as part of their joint preparedness.
As a more urgent matter, the meeting is expected to also discuss how to prioritize responses to specific threats while waiting for an elaborated crisis response plan to be articulated.
APEC's membership is drawn from nations on the Pacific-rim and includes Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, South Korea, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam.
Nurdin Purnomo, a former presidential candidate and owner of Setia Tours, has leveled a critical broadside at the Minister of Culture and Tourism and the 6 million foreign visitor target he set for 2005.
Quoted in the Indonesian-language Bali Post, Nurdin termed the officially targeted 6 million foreign visitors spending US$6 billion in 2005 as pie-in-the-sky and unrealistic. In strident terms and tones that are unusual in Indonesia where outright confrontation and criticism are generally avoided, Nurdin said, "that target is crazy, just talk, careless and done without any mature calculations." Adding, "frankly, I was surprised to hear the tourism targets spouted by the Minister of Culture and Tourism in such a light-hearted manner."
In his comments, reported by the Bali Post to have been made in Jakarta on Friday, April 8, 2005, the respected tourism operator and tourism observer explained that in order to achieve the targeted 6 million foreign visitors some 20,000 tourists would need to fly on 200 flights every day carrying an average load of 100 passengers. Using Bali as an example to underline his point, Nurdin said that Bali only averages around 20 flights each day, each carrying between 100 and 200 passengers.
In the Bali Post report Nurdin said that "if counted logically only 600,000 foreign tourists arrive in Bali, nothing near 1 million tourists."(Editor's note: Bali, in fact, recorded slightly more than 1.45 million direct foreign tourist arrivals in 2004.)
Call for More Flights
Nurdin was also quoted in the article as saying the Ministry of Culture and Tourism needs to add more domestic and international flights in order to achieve 18,000 available seats he says are needed each day at the Country's 13 international gateways.
Suggesting the Minister may have set the high targets in order to win a higher promotional budget from lawmakers, he urged the Government not to set "high-sounding and unrealistic tourism targets."
He went on to further disdain the money wasted on overseas trade shows, saying new tactics such as sophisticated websites and cooperation with international television media were more effective means of attracting tourists.
Call to Finalize the Use of Visa Fees
Parliament calls on Government to Legalize Distribution of Visa Fees.
Indonesia's parliamentarians have called on the Department of Culture and Tourism, the Department of Justice and Human Rights, and the Department of Foreign Affairs to finalize the legislative rules governing the disbursement of funds being collected from the Visa-on-Arrival (VoA) facility now in operation at all major international gateways.
Quoted in the Indonesian-language Bisnis Indonesia, Ferdiansyah, who serves as the coordinator of the Finance Committee of Commission X of the Parliament (DPR), said it is now urgent that the legislative rules on the VoA be finalized. "We hope the implementing regulations can be finished this year in order that by 2006 a significant change can be affected in the Department of Culture and Tourism's budget."
Complaining that in the past tourism budget increases have been only incremental reflecting the rate of inflation, Ferdinasyah hope that the funds collected from visa fees will be used to cover at least one-third of the estimated more than US$100 million needed for a fully-funded promotional budget.
Based on estimates provided by the Department of Immigration some US$35.6 million was collected in 2004 from visa-on-arrival processing.
Sapta Niwwandar, Secretary of the Department of Culture and Tourism confirmed separately that discussions are underway between his department, immigration and the Department of Finance on how the funds collected from the VoA should be distributed.
Nirwandar underlined the need for additional funds in order to meet the target of 6 million foreign tourists in 2006.
We Get Mail
Article on Crackdown on Crooked Money Changers Caused Many Readers to Write to balidiscovery.com
balidiscovery.com's coverage of a promised crackdown on dishonest money changers in Bali [Don't Go Changing to Try to Cheat Me] brought a number of spirited responses from readers around the world:
Huib van Dorssen, writing from Australia said:
"Now this is the best news I have read in a long time because I am sure that we have all (as first timers) been short changed at one time or another. The last time it happened to me three years ago I was short changed $AU12 and I counted the money about four times, but still lost out. Another thing that first timers seem to have trouble with is the exchange rate with all those zeros, which for a lot of people is not easy to work out. Thanks for the excellent news letter, hope to come back to Bali soon."
A reader in The Netherlands, Aad Bol, said :
"There are many money changers who are cheating. For fun I tried them out several times. But there tricks are so good that you do not notice them. Let them never be the last ones to count your money. Before you leave them count in their presence your money, not them (doing the counting). The boards with the best exchange rates are notoriously the cheaters, which I found out several times. The fellows did not like me. I am a frequent traveler to Bali."
Mike Reynolds wrote to say:
"Quite agree with the bad image that these money tricksters create. I was in Sanur in February and went to 4 changers before I found ones I could trust. They all tried the trick of offering low denomination bills (20,000 or less) and tried to confuse me when counting. I walked out and even found them communicating with each other to warn of my approach, they then said the changer was away eating! Great shame because 99.9% of Balinese in my experience are hardworking and honest. My 5th visit to your lovely island, terima kasih!"
Writing from Italy, Edmond Schmidt, joined the chorus in support of the crackdown:
"I also was a victim of these thieves. Last trip to Bali I changed 100 dollars on the street in Kuta only to find after (when) I was in my hotel that at least 20 dollars was missing. It was counted before my eyes but his hands were very , very quick. Close them all down as fast as possible. Good luck."
Teaching Journalists How to Cook
Maya Ubud Resort Gives Kitchen Duty to Group of Visiting Australian Journalists.
A group of seven leading journalists from Australia accompanied by three executives of Creative Holidays were recently put to work in the kitchen of Bali's luxurious Maya Ubud Resort and Spa.
Enrolled in the Resort's Balinese Cooking Class the group learned the intricacies of preparing 5 Indonesian dishes from expert Balinese chefs before sitting down to sample the results of their labors over a Balinese lunch.
After Slaving in a Hot Kitchen, Some Pampering
Concerned that the visitors may have exhausted themselves in the kitchen and at the dining table, the Resorts management later arranged traditional Balinese massages at the riverside Spa at Maya.
Justin Montgomery, Managing Director of Creative Holidays, one of the Australia's leading travel wholesalers, said, "The trend of our customers now is to stay in four and five star hotels, as well as boutique resorts, where previously they preferred to stay in three star hotels."
Montgomery said this fact was one of his main consideration in deciding to let the group experience the facilities of Maya Ubud Resort & Spa, including cooking class and spa.
U.S. Earthquake Expert Says Bali, Lombok and Java Relatively Safe for Tourism.
In a story carried on April 10, 2005 in The Washington Post and on www.newsday.com, Michael Blanpied, the associate coordinator of the U.S. Geologic Survey's Earthquake Hazard Program has this to say about earthquakes and Indonesia:
The March 28 earthquake that claimed 1,300 people off Sumatra's west coast was a "well-anticipated" event that was not predictable within the limits of technology as to exact time, place and magnitude.
Geologist have three areas of current concern in Indonesia the Sunda Trench boundary which follows the coast of Sumatra, another fault line that bisects north Sumatra, and a subterranean fault near Banda Aceh.
The two most recent "great" earthquakes that shook western Indonesia on December 26, 2004, and March 28, 2005, had "no notable impact on Java, Bali or Lombok" home to the majority of Indonesias major tourist spots.
While there is "good precedence" of more shocks along the same fault line near Sumatra there is not sufficient information to say one will hit again soon.
"There might be some shaking on Java" if another quake occurs, Blanpied said, but there is no evidence that another earthquake would "seriously threaten" destinations on Java, Bali and Lombok.
Maurice de Rooij Manages Waka Resorts
Experienced Dutch Hotelier to Nurture and Develop the Waka Experience.
Maurice de Rooij has been named General Manager of Waka Resorts the hotel and resort division of the Balinese-owned Waka Experience/
A graduate of the Maastricht Hotel Management School in The Netherlands and the Institute de Management Hotelier International in Paris, de Rooij has worked in operational, consulting and senior management positions in France (Hilton International) Portugal (Howarth Consulting), Malaysia (Accor), Egypt (InterContinental), Jordan (InterContinental), The Netherlands (Crowne Plaza) and in Bali before accepting his most recent assignment.
Fluent in his native Dutch as well as English, German, French, Portuguese and Spanish with a growing command of Indonesian de Rooij will oversee the operation of all Waka Resorts in Bali.
de Rooij told balidiscovery.com, "I am happy to return to Indonesia and particularly to the island of Bali where Waka has established themselves as a reputable brand name in resorts and excursions. The existing world of Waka will soon feature a brand new sailing catamaran, The Waka, that will enhance the reputation of Waka's truly Balinese boutique resorts."
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