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Bali News by Bali Update
BALI UPDATE #477 - 31 October 2005

Seeking a Fare that's Fair
In the Face of Higher Fuel Costs, Bali Tax Drivers Demonstrate for Higher Tariffs.

Hundreds of disgruntled Bali taxi drivers protested outside the office of Bali's Governor on Monday, October 24, 2005, demanding official permission to increase their government-mandated tariffs by at least 30-40% in order to cover recent increases in fuel charges. [See: Fuel Prices More than Double ]

Proposed New Tariff

In a letter, signed by a number of Bali taxi operators and sent to the Island's Governor, operators are demanding that:

• Flag fall tariffs be increased from the current Rp. 4,000 (approximately US$0.40) to Rp. 5,000 (approximately US$0.50).

• Per kilometer meter charges be increased from Rp. 2,500 (approximately US$0.25) to Rp. 4,000 (approximately US$0.40).

• Stand-by charges for a taxi to wait be increased from Rp. 20,000 per hour (approximately US$1.98) to Rp. 30,000 (approximately US$2.97).

Problematic Times for Bali Taxi Drivers

Bali taxi drivers have been confronted with a multitude of problems since October 1, 2005. On that date, fuel prices for premium fuel increased 87.5% making it extremely difficult for drivers to achieve "targeted turnovers" set by fleet owners after paying increased fuel costs from their daily fare intake. Further complicating the taxi drivers' plight on that date was the bombing of three Bali night spots which many drivers blame for a 30-40% drop in passenger loads.

Observers are certain that the Governor will eventually approve a hike in fares for Bali taxis. Meanwhile, taxi drivers are hopeful that the requested approval will come "sooner" rather than "later," claiming that the convergence of current conditions has brought them to the brink of bankruptcy.


Closer to Heaven Than Earth
Heal, Revitalize, Relax and Be Pampered at Ubud’s Newest Day Spa – Villa Imogiri Luxury Day Spa.

Bali's newest luxury day spa has just opened nestled between the quaint villages of Bangkiang and Kliki, only 8 minutes from Ubud's town center.

The Villa Imogiri Luxury Day Spa is designed in the style of a contemporary Balinese water palace offering guests unrivalled standards of spa treatments provided in the luxury of a private villa, within a setting of breathtaking vistas and gardens scented with frangipani, hibiscus and tropical orchids.

Upon arrival at the Spa guests receive a royal welcome from butlers in formal Balinese court dress who offer floral lei welcomes and cold towels. Guided to a comfortable seat overlooking the jungle river valley, guests are presented with the "spa menu" suggesting an entire range of beauty and spa treatments ranging from 2 to 5.5 hour's duration.

A Divine Spa Brunch Program begins with a consultation with a highly experience therapist and the opportunity to selects from a range of essential oils for use during your treatments. This is followed by an indulgent footbath and foot scrub incorporating fresh flowers and essential oils that progresses into a very pampering foot and leg reflexology session. The preliminaries out of the way, serious work begins with body lightening - a signature treatment that releases weight from the body through a series of stretching and rocking motions. Next, a relaxing Balinese massage followed by a luxurious milk bath, indulged in while sipping a traditional jamu elixir, a herbal beverage specially formulated to suit each customer's needs.

The spa therapies completed no one wants to go home. And, why should they? The final chapter to your interlude of Ubud pampering is a silver service spa brunch chosen from a menu of carefully selected spa cuisine.

Special "soft opening" 30% discounts are available through the end of November 2005.



Thanks, But No Thanks
Bali's Police Chief Refuses Cash Grant from Tourism Industry.

Bali's Police of Chief Irjen. Drs. Made Mangku Pastika surprised many local tourism industry figures on Monday, October 25, 2005, when he politely declined a Rp. 200 million donation (approximately US$19,800).

Claiming the police are unable to legally accept and account for revenues provided outside the state budget process, Chief Pastika said: "the provincial police thank the tourism entrepreneurs who have shown their concern for the difficulty being encountered by the Police. But, I'm sorry; I don't want to see the police corrupted."

The Rp. 200 million donation intended for the police was comprised of donations from the Bali Hotel Association, Air Paradise and a number of leading Australian travel wholesalers - gathered to help provide emergency bridging financing for security following the October 1, 2005, bombing attacks while awaiting new emergency funding from the Central Government.

Quoted in the Indonesian-language Bali Post, Bali's Chief of Police emphasized that the Police are forbidden to receive donations in any form from the public and that no mechanism exists for channeling private funds into the police accounting system.

The Police Chief said he hoped the money intended as a donation to the police be directed instead to upgrading security at hotels in accordance with the standardized safety guidelines for hotels devised by Bali's police. Pastika said; "I would be proud and feel calmer if all hotels in Bali met the safety guidelines. Please install CCTV (surveillance cameras) and security gates."


Top Level Bali Delegation in Japan
Governor Leads Bali Recovery Team on 3-Day Visit to Tokyo to Reassure Island's Number One Source of Inbound Visitors that Bali is Safe.

A delegation of top Bali tourism and security figures led by Governor Dewa Beratha departed with Garuda Indonesia for Tokyo on Saturday, October 29, 2005, to seek Japanese support and understanding in the wake of the most recent bombing attack on 3 Bali dining venues.

During the three day visit to Tokyo the Bali delegation, representing the "Bali Recovery Team," will be communicating a number of points to their Japanese hosts, including:

• Bali's sincerest sympathy and condolences to all the victims and their families of the tragic October 1, 2005, attacks, which included one Japanese death and a number of serious injuries.

• The people of Bali have been propelled into rescue, relief and restoration efforts by these horrendous attacks which have sullied the good reputation of Bali. The people of Bali are calling on the Japanese and the rest of the world not to surrender to terrorism by refusing to visit the island; to do so would constitute capitulation to the forces of evil and terror.

• The people of Bali have responded efficiently and well in assisting the victims of the latest attacks, providing, together with assistance from the government in Jakarta, free-of-charge medical assistance to all affected.

• Bali has been proactive in providing clear and transparent information surrounding the bombing through the establishment of a Media Center.

• Complementing a long-standing tradition of community policing in Bali, Bali is now establishing a Bali Security Council intended to coordinate security measures and crime prevention on an international, national and local community level.

• The new Bali Security Council will include participation by elements of the police, local villages, representatives of Bali's tourism industry, local village security teams (pacalang), the military, and a security force numbering 3,000 members on the island.

• Steps are underway that will require hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions to install security equipment and employ trained security personnel.

• Bali's international airport continues to maintain a high level of security, regularly and successfully undergoing safety audits by Indonesian civil aviation authorities as well as a number of foreign aviation review agencies.

• The Government of Bali is presently upgrading security procedures and equipment at its four entry seaports.

• The Government of Bali has established a Bali Recovery Team charged with formulating a detailed international marketing plan to accelerate the rate of Bali’s recovery.

• The Government of Bali remains optimistic that, despite the recent bombing, total tourism targets for foreign visitors to the island will reach 1.6 million.


Power to the People
PLN Bali - the Bali Electrical Board Pledges to Provide World Class Service to Island Customers.

The Bali division of the State Electrical Board (PLN-Bali) have pledged to do everything possible to reduce both the number and duration of power interruptions experienced by their Bali customers.

Claiming his team was striving to provide "world class service", Wahyu Sulaeman, the Manpower Chief for PLN-Bali, said his office was constantly upgrading its network and technology to meet Bali's changing power requirements.

Quoted in the Indonesian-language Bisnis Indonesia, Wahyu said, "we have already prepared the framework to increase the competency of our workforce to permit them to deliver the standard of service to which we aspire."

According to Wahyu, the system average interrupt duration index (SAIDI) shows that Bali PLN customers are currently experiencing an average 260 minutes of power interruptions per year. Meanwhile, PLN-Bali is targeting to reduce that average to only 100 minutes in 2006.

According to PLN-Bali, local electrical customers are currently experiencing and average of 5 power interruptions each year.


Bali Scores in TTG 16th Travel Awards
Conrad Bali Resort & Spa and Bayu Buana Travel Among the Winners in Prestigious TTG Travel Awards.

The 16th Travel Awards presented by Travel Trade Gazette-Asia (TTG) held during the IT&CMA and CTW Asia-Pacific Conference in Pattaya, Thailand, saw several Bali-based travel operators recognized in the list of winners.

The TTG Awards cite airlines, cruise companies, hotels, resorts, travel operators, airlines car rental companies and individuals for outstanding performance and achievement in Asian travel.

During this year's award ceremony, Hertz Asia Pacific joined the elite ranks inducted into TTG's Hall of Fame for being chosen Best Car Rental Company 10 times. They now join Singapore Airlines and Singapore's Changi Airport - both former inductees into the "Hall of Fame" in 2002.

Some of this year's key winners, numbering several Indonesian travel operators, include:

• Airline of the Year Cathay Pacific Airways.

• Best South-east Asian Airline Malaysia Airlines

• Best Asian Low-Cost Carrier Air Asia

• Best Global Hotel Chain Accor

• Best Regional Hotel Chain Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts

• Best Budget Hotel Ibis Slipi(Jakarta)

• Best New Beach Resort Conrad Bali Resort & Spa

• Best Travel Agency Indonesia Baya Buana Travel Services


Security Check at Bali's Ngurah Rai Airport
Balidiscovery.com Takes a 'Behind the Scenes' Look at the Departure of CO 901 Denpasar to Guam.

Through the kind invitation and cooperation of Continental Airlines, balidiscovery.com was invited on a "behind-the-scenes" tour of security and safety measures in place at Bali's Ngurah Rai Airport.

Accompanying Continental Airline's Bali Manager, Ms. Dara Mustika, during the arrival and departure process of their Sunday, October 23rd flight, I was permitted to view some of the elaborate security precautions in place to ensure the safety of passengers, crew and cargo flying on the only U.S. carrier currently landing in Indonesia.

A Much Audited Airport

Following the 2002 attack on the World Trade Center in New York and the bombing of a Bali night spot, international air travel safety both in Bali and around the world has come under intense scrutiny. Bali's busy airport undergoes regular safety reviews and audits conducted by, among others, Australian, Japanese, U.S. and Indonesian aeronautical authorities – each bringing strict standards and safety protocols that must be carefully adhered to for the airport to continue to service international air traffic. Failure to meet the exacting safety standards of any of these reviews could potentially result in a "no-fly order to Bali" being issued to the respective airlines governed by each national safety board.

In fact, just 2 days prior to the most recent bombing attack on three Bali dining venues, Bali's airport had just undergone a rigorous review by Indonesia's Civil Aviation Authorities, ensuring the airport confirms to the constantly evolving standards for safe airport and flight operations.

Uncompromising Layer Upon Layer of Security Controls

After clearing an initial x-ray screening of all luggage and passing through metal detectors at the departure halls entrance, Continental Passengers must then line-up in an area just before the check-in counter to undergo an interview with a highly-skilled multi-lingual screener, each of whom has undergone extensive training both in Indonesia and abroad. While specific details of what screeners are looking for during the vetting process remain classified, you can be sure that each passenger's general demeanor and bearing are assessed while screeners determine absolute ownership and responsibility for all luggage and trained eyes look for any clues of falsification and tampering with travel documents. Politely apologizing for any inconvenience caused, each piece of carry-on and checked luggage is opened and carefully examined by other members of the security staff.

This initial screening out of the way, passengers then step forward to present travel documents and tickets to the check-in staff who verify flights and make seating assignments while being constantly on the look-out any tell-tale signs from passengers or their baggage that would immediately trigger special safety procedures.

Once in possession of boarding passes, passengers with their hand-baggage proceed through the immigration and customs departure process where, once again, all travel documents and their possessors are personally verified by Indonesia's officialdom using computer-based data bases.

Most passengers standing in line at immigration queues are largely unaware that out of sight and within the bowels of the airport their baggage is traveling down an enclosed conveyor tunnel to a baggage staging area where each piece is carefully logged, filmed and subjected to another state-of-art screening by sophisticated machinery designed to detect any prohibited and dangerous materials. Once logged and cleared, each bag is assigned to a specific container that is carefully monitored and under full-time guard until it is formally sealed and sent to the aircraft loading staging area.

Life a Well-Choreographed Ballet

Meanwhile, CO 900 from Guam is landing and taxiing to its assigned passenger bay where in-coming passengers will be disembarked, cargo and luggage unloaded, and the entire interior of the aircraft swept for any extraneous objects before cleaners and caterers scramble to do the rapid turn-around of the aircraft for its departure, just 30 minutes away.

Operating like a well-choreographed ballet, carefully-trained members of staff appear, each committed to doing their well-orchestrated part of the aircraft arrival-departure process. Well in advance of the aircraft's arrival - cleaning crews, runway security staff, and maintenance staff are assembled in a specific sterile area under the passenger bridgeway where security staff carefully inspect each ID, examine each item of cleaning equipment to be carried on board the aircraft, and conduct a lengthy and detailed body-frisk inspection of every member of the service staff coming into contact with the aircraft.

We can personally attest to the serious intent of those assigned to do this inspection. On the night of balidiscovery.com's visit, our access to the aircraft included a very thorough "pat down," followied by the required presentation of shoes, wallets, hand phones and the contents of every pocket for closer examination by the guard. Following this personal examination of many minutes' duration, the security guard then cautioned me that it was a condition of my special invitation that I would readily submit to another complete re-examination if, at any time during my visit, I did not remain in close visual contact to my escort, Ms. Mustika. Now, here was a guy who took his training and his job seriously.

Swept and cleared by security and confined to the sterile area, I saw the appraoching B737-800 Continental Airline jet roll to a stop near our location. As wheel chocks were put into place fuel trucks and luggage cans – held at separate sterile and secure staging points – slowly advanced on the aircraft while the mechanical air bridge above hummed and lined-up on the plane's door. No doubt unnoticed by the passengers on the plane preparing to bolt as soon as the seat-belt sign went off, a phalanx of armed Air Force Guards emerged from the shadows forming a circle of protection around the planes perimeter that would remain steadfastly in place until flight CO 901 was "pushed back" and began its taxi roll for take off clearance for the flight back to Guam.

Cut to the Departure Lounge

Meanwhile, passengers who had completed their immigration clearance made their way past through duty-free shops, restaurants and special lounges to departure gate #2. There, once again, documents and personal luggage were x-rayed, screened and, more often than not, hand-searched before their owners were admitted to the the final departure lounge. However, before being permitted to take their seats in the departure lounge, each passenger encountered trained male and female security guards who physically "patted down" them down and carfully inspected the contents of all pockets and clothing compartments.

While no doubt viewed as an inconvenience by many travelers, there's an obvious seriousness with which the Continental team carries out their security checks; a seriousness, born of the very real threat of air terrorism existing everywhere in the world today. When I asked one passenger if he minded the extensive and time-staking security precautions he had undergone, he said "yes," but quickly added that he'd never board any aircraft today where no security screening was in operation.

For security systems to work, they must by nature be uncompromising. That harsh lesson was driven home to two young female Japanese passengers during my visit who arrived at the check in counter only minutes after the check in process was formally closed. Insufficient time remaining for all the required layers of security screaning, the women were told that their holiday in Bali would now be six days longer while they waited for the next Continental Airline departure scheduled for the following Thursday.

After push back and as CO 901 began its taxi out for take off, Ms. Mustika convened here large boarding and security contingent in the departure lounge for the regular post-departure briefing. There each member of the team was asked to forward for discussion any problems encountered in the night's departure, each member charged with constantly looking for ways to enhance customer safety and convenience.

That done and with the clock nearing 11:00 p.m., Dara Mustika closed the meeting by repeating her mantra to all assembled: "Know you job, Do it well, and never compromise on matters of security."

January - September Arrivals: Peak or Precipice?
Bali by the Numbers: January – September Foreign Arrivals Examined by Key Markets from 2001 – 2005.

Arguably, made only interesting from an academic perspective due to the October 1, 2005 bombing attack, cumulative foreign arrival statistics for January – September do provide some insight on the general vitality of the key markets feeding Bali’s tourism industry.

Focussing on arrivals from key source markets for 2001 – 2005, balidiscovery.com presents the totals and graphics that demonstrate:

• Japan - At the end of Q3 2005 Japanese visitors were setting new record highs for Bali, up 10.9% against 2004 and representing a 23.2% market share of all Bali's foreign arrivals.

• Taiwan - Although still holding firm to the number 3 position in terms of all Bali arrivals, Taiwanese visitors have eroded badly, down 25.15% at 110,605 January through September 2005 – a 30% drop in Taiwan’s market share in just one year! Local observers blame the Formosa down turn on lingering tsunami fears and competition from mainland China which recently liberalized its entry requirements for Taiwanese visitors.

• PRC - Although endlessly lauded for its great potential as a Bali source market, mainland China managed to generate only 13,282 visitors to Bali in the first 9 months of 2005, a figure down a discouraging 18% from the same period in 2004.

• South Korean - South Korean arrivals continued to grow nicely through Q3 2005, increasing 18.9% over 2004 and up 170% from figures recorded just four years before in 2001.

• Australia - Prior to the October 1st bombing, it was obvious that Australian’s just couldn't get enough of Bali. Q3 totals from Australia set a new record high at 218,905 – a 7.5% improvement over 2004 and representing an 18.8% market share of all arrivals to Bali.

• New Zealand - Perhaps complicated by the lack of direct air connections, New Zealand arrivals were in the doldrums at 14,837 through Q3 - a figure down 10% from one year before and lagging 30% behind the numbers recorded in 2001 (21,136).

• U.K. - U.K. visitors were charting strong recovery signs through the end of Q3 2005, up 58.9% over just one year before. Despite this strong performance, U.K. visitors were still in a game of "catch up" - lagging 33.6% behind the kind of numbers recorded through the end of Q3 2001.

• Italy - Arrivals through the end of Q3 2005 are almost on a par with 2004, but still 43.2% behind the performance for Italian arrivals in 2001.

• Germany - Despite a very trouble economy in Germany, arrivals to Bali through the end of Q3 2005 had improved 15.3% year-to-date and were only 6% behind the more robust arrivals recorded in 2001.

• France & Switzerland - An excellent performance through the end of September – up for the year 15.3% for France and 12% for Switzerland – both operating at levels largely reminiscent of the "very good year" of 2001.

• The Americas - Representing all North and South American arrivals to Bali, this market was up 16.7% through the end of Q3 for 2005 as compared to just one year before. Reasons for joy but not rejoice; these figures still lag 26.6% behind the totals for the same period in 2001.

• Singapore - Despite a masterful performance over the past 4 years, improving 111% over arrival totals recorded in 2001, Singapore arrivals had failed to regain lost vigour following the tsunami and are down 5.9% from 2004.

• Thailand - Thai travellers also seemed to have forsaken seaside holiday destinations following the 2004 tsunami with arrivals down 35.6 at the end of Q3 2005 as compared to one year before.

• Malaysia - Bolstered by cheap air fares in abundance, Malaysians are continuing to enjoy cinepxensive holidays breaks in Bali improving 33.8% over 2004 and up a dramatic 318% from the "pre-cheap-fare-era" of 2001.


Dialogue: Helen Flavel - Aussie Humanitarian
Balidiscovery.com Meets the Founder and Main Force Behind The Helen Flavel Foundation - a Lady Making a Difference in the Lives of Hundreds of Balinese.

Over 10 years ago, Helen and her husband, Ron, two successful Adelaide, South Australian business people, formed a foundation to provide a legal framework for charitable projects they had established in various parts of Bali.

Over time, the foundations's Bali projects have grown and expanded, together with the Flavel's love for their adopted island. Balidiscovery.com recently caught up with the fast-moving and perpetually-busy Helen Flavel to find out more about the work of the foundation that bears her name.

The Interview: Helen Flavel

balidiscovery.com: Helen, what is the Helen Flavel Foundation and when was it started?

Helen Flavel: The Foundation started in early 2004, and is now registered in Indonesia as the Peduli Sesama Helen Flavel Foundation. A key part of the Foundation includes the Sukma Helen Flavel Learning Center, currently under construction in Singaraja.

Since its formation the Foundation has grown to the point where we have provided 200 students with scholarships. In addition, should a student have need of medical attention, or their family has a specific need, we are often able to fund those requirements. For instance, we are able to find resources for funding the repair or construction of houses, and the provision of wheel chairs and walking aids. The Foundation also currently assists in some of the funding needs of the Wanasraya Old Men's Home in Denpasar which is home to 50 elderly men and women.

The work undertaken by the Foundation started in a small way over 11 years ago when I helped families with housing, purchases of furniture and other living costs. I have also located funds for children's operations and actively assisted in the establishment of an animal shelter in Denpasar.

Currently, our focus is more and more on the provision of education and scholarships, within the Singaraja regency. (Editor's note: North Bali.) This is where we assist the poorest of the poor families. We believe that if you can give a child an education, it will help them in their future life more so than anything else. The second stage of the Sukma Helen Flavel Learning Center is planned to have accommodation for high school students coming from the mountain regions of the Singaraja regency.

balidiscovery.com: You say 100% of any money donated goes to those you're trying to assist. How does that work on a practical basis?

Helen Flavel: All of our donated money goes directly to the registered Foundation in Bali, which is under the direction and control of our Coordinator, Nyoman Sukadana MBA, and the Principal of our new learning Center, Dr. Nyoman Padmadewi.

All of mine and my husband’s out-of-pocket expenses in operating the Peduli Sesama Helen Flavel Foundation, amounting to well over AUS$ 9,000 per annum are covered from our own capital. My Husband, Dr. Ron Flavel has a Doctorate in Business Administration and is a CPA. He maintains the accounts for the Foundation, including monitoring the income and expenditure recorded by Sukadana Nyoman in Singaraja. Annual income and expenditure, and balance sheet are prepared as at 30 June each year.

balidiscovery.com: Your community assistance projects are many and varied: You assist schools, local community, animal welfare, and the aged in Bali. Where, in your opinion, is Bali's most pressing need for charitable assistance?

Helen Flavel: There is a need everywhere we look in Bali. Unlike Australia, there are very few government funded support programs. However, we realise that if we try to become 'all things to all people in need' our efforts will be dissipated. Hence, we now focus on provision of education and scholarships in the Singaraja regency. There are many other individuals, and organizations, that are meeting the needs of the Balinese in other regions. We only hope and pray that the latest bombing atrocity does not dampen tourists and sponsors willingness to assist.

balidiscovery.com: Helen, you've been at this for a while now. Is there a wonderful 'then and now' story you could share?

Helen Flavel: Last year Nyoman Sukadana asked Ron and I to visit a very elderly woman who lived with her widowed daughter and her 10 year old grandson in a tiny one roomed house. The aim of the visit was to see if we could have electricity installed. The house was in a very poor condition and the room where they slept, was so dark it was difficult to see inside. Ron managed to have a look at the roofing timbers and it was obvious to him that there was no way electricity could be installed, until the badly leaking roof was repaired. Nyoman organized a builder to see what could be done and on further inspection, large cracks where found. It was decided that repairing the roof was useless, as the walls were near to collapsing. Like many of the houses in this area, there was no kitchen; all food was cooked outside under a tree. The toilet was a hole in the ground in the back yard.

After a discussion with the family, we offered to knock the house down and rebuild. Fortunately, the neighbourhoods next door offered a room to the family while we proceeded with the rebuilding.

This was July 2004 and we needed the house ready before the wet season. We ask that the male relations help where possible. We also brought in workers from the village. The house was finished by the 23rd of November. When the house was finished it still only had one room for sleeping, but we had added a small room for cooking and a small bathroom and toilet.

The daughter supported the family from her little stall, where she made and sold flower offerings to the village people. She had to buy the flowers which allowed very little in profit. Nyoman talked to the daughter about making her little stall more viable. He told her she needed to plant seeds and grow her own flowers in a garden on the house site. This was done straight away and now they family have a little more money and their self esteem has risen dramatically.

Also, early last year whilst waiting to meet a group of children seeking sponsorship, I saw a man sitting on the floor. It was obvious that this man had a suffered a serious injury. I was told that his spine had been severed fifteen years previously, whilst working on the side of a river when the embankment gave way. He had been house-bound ever since. At that meeting we enrolled his two children into school and were in the position to immediately supply him with a wheel chair.

The wheel chair was donated by the Rotary of Largs Bay in Adelaide South Australia. This opened up a new life for him. He could actually join in with the village life again. We saw how a small gift can make such a large difference to a person's life.

During January of this year the wheelchair-bound man submitted a written proposal to us. He asked if it were possible for us to allocate funds to buy some tiny chickens, vaccinations, feed and help with making an enclosure to house the chickens. His aim was to sell the chickens when they were large enough and also to breed from some of the initial stock. He is successfully running this small business and is so happy to be able to support his family. He also embroiders dresses to earn extra money. To see the pride in this man's face is simply wonderful.

I firmly believe that, people don't want hand-outs; they simply need a hand to get them started.

balidiscovery.com: Wow, it seems there are many more similar stories you could share, if time permitted. If one of our readers wants to assist you in your efforts, how best can they do so?

Helen Flavel: People may wish to sponsor one or more students. Or, they may wish to send a donation for a specific purpose. Currently we need funds for:

• Furniture, books, bookshelves required to set up of the new learning center.

• Medical treatment, for those who are ill and have no money.

• Our aged care home.

• Improving the living conditions of many families as we find a need.

Whenever donations are sent for a particular cause, we will send the donor photos and a report showing how their funds have been used.



BIWA Christmas Ball Saturday, December 10, 2005
Bali International Women's Association hold Ball to Celebrate the Season and Raise Fund for Important Community Projects.



On the ninth day of Christmas,

my true love sent to me,

nine ladies dancing . . .


Bali International Women's Association (BIWA) will how the BIWA Christmas Ball on Saturday, December 10, 2005, at the Ballroom of the Hotel Padma.

Festivities commence with pre-dinner cocktails at 7:30 p.m. followed by a Gala Christmas Dinner at 8:00 p.m.. Dancing and music provided by a live band will enliven the evening together with a host of exciting raffle and door prizes, and a special appearance by the BIWA Christmas Choir.

Ticket prices are only Rp. 250,000 (approximately US$24.75) per person.

Proceeds from the evening with be used for a whole range of community projects supported by BIWA including health and nutrition programs for under privileged children in North Bali, the purchase of school furniture and school text books for kids in East Bali.

BIWA is a non-profit organization comprised of Indonesian and expatriate women who meet on a monthly basis and undertake projects in support of the community, with special emphasis on education and health care issues.

Tickets and Reservations

For reservations, tickets and more information call the BIWA Center at ++62-(0)285552 or ++62-(0)361-7469607, or follow the e-mail link provided.



Fewer Australians, Fewer Flights
Qantas Offshoot Australian Airline Reduces Bali Flights.

Qantas Airways cut-price subsidiary Australian Airlines have announced a reduction in flight services to Bali following the October 1, 2005, bombing attacks on three Bali dining spots.

The Airline, currently operating seven flights every week from the gateway cities of Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, is suspending its Perth and Melbourne services starting from November 10, 2005, through January 29, 2006.

The temporary suspension of flights will leave Qantas and its subsidiary Australian Airlines with just three flights each week from Sydney and two flights each week from Darwin operated by Qantas.

Australian Airlines top management have expressed confidence that the curtailment of flights is a temporary situation and that demand will return to more normal levels early in 2006.


Dialogue: Lonely Planet’s Ryan Ver Berkmoes
While Attending a Bali Conference for Readers and Writers, Veteran Travel Guide Author Ryan Ver Berkmoes Takes Time to Talk with balidiscovery.com.



Guide book author Ryan Ver Berkmoes came to Bali to attend the Ubud Readers and Writers Festival held November 6-11, 2005, and stayed on to tour the island that is the subject of several Lonely Planet guides for which he served as principal author. Balidiscovery.com caught up with the writer of some of the world's most well-read travel guides towards the end of his latest Bali tour for an interview.

The Interview: Ryan Ver Berkmoes

balidiscovery.com: Welcome back to Bali! You've just attended the 2nd Ubud Readers and Writers Festival. How did the festival go? In your opinion, is this festival likely to become a permanent fixture on Bali's calendar of annual events?

Ver Berkmoes: The festival really came into its own this year. The range of writers presented was very impressive as was the organization. I certainly hope it becomes a key fixture on the island's calendar. Certainly it was good to see interest continuing to build. I ran a session where people got try their hands at my job: guidebook writing. I learned a thing or two from the students!

balidiscovery.com: With the Festival starting only six days after a tragic bomb attack on three dining venues in Bali did you ever consider canceling your trip to Bali?

Ver Berkmoes: Not at all. These sorts of horrible things happen all too often in all too many places. It is sort of like the old "Are you afraid of flying?" question where the answer is always: "No you stand a greater chance of dying in the car on the way to the airport."

balidiscovery.com: You spent a number of days traveling around Bali following the festival. What's you assessment of the general mood of the Balinese and fellow travelers you met?

Ver Berkmoes: It's really a shame to see locals worrying about their futures again. They had a few months of good business, which gave them a taste of things to come and now this. I hope it passes quickly. As for other travelers, the ones I met were the ones who either didn't go home or still came. They love Bali and weren't going to be put off by the acts of a few fanatics.

balidiscovery.com: Any thoughts on the dangers confronting tourists visiting Bali? Do you think the Balinese will meet the challenge ahead and undertake the steps needed to reassure future visitors to come back to Bali?

Ver Berkmoes: I think Bali remains a very safe place for visitors overall. The low incidence of petty crime alone - something that plagues other resort areas worldwide - continues to impress me. The simple fact is that terrorists will always be able to strike almost anywhere if they combine persistence, planning and a bit of luck. But that said, I think Bali needs to significantly upgrade the amount of money it spends on law enforcement. There are sincere people who do care working now, but in order to have the kind of security and/or police force that I think is demanded by the island's popularity will require a lot more money so that the level of professionalism can be increased by an order of magnitude.

balidiscovery.com: You've been traveling to Bali for 14 years. What are some of the changes, both for the good and bad, you've detected over the years?

Ver Berkmoes: Let's get the bad out of the way first: growth unhampered by long-term vision or planning is a huge threat. When I see tall buildings going up in Legian thanks to their influential owners (just one of a myriad of examples), it's a real sign that what makes Bali special can easily be lost to greed and a lack of care. There is so much money coming into the island, it seems that much more needs to be diverted to dealing with issues such as sewage, trash, pollution etc. Of course the entire problem in easily obtaining a 60-day visa is just silly.

Now on to the good! One of the very best things is that the more Bali changes, the less it changes. Sure that can be seen as a part of the problems above but to me it is at the heart of what is so wonderful about Bali. I met wonderful, charming people 14 years ago and I continue to meet more every visit. You continue to have delightful conversations that start with "Where are you from?" I also am a fan of the increasing sophistication of life on the island. I'm always up for a tasty mie goreng, but I also very much enjoy the range of sophisticated, world-class restaurants and the sheer creativity of so many people working on Bali.

balidiscovery.com: You've lived a very interesting life traveling to a large number of countries, watching tourism develop in each locale. If you could have the ear of Bali's tourism leaders, are there any words of wisdom or caution you'd share?

Ver Berkmoes: I've covered some of this above, but in no huge order: 1) Bring back the 60-day visa on arrival, 2) find ways to get more tourist money into initiatives that truly benefit the island (environment, education, security etc), 3) clean up the few places on the island where greed, short-sightedness and simple need have combined to make places that should be special distinctly unappealing to visitors, 4) get some of the more creative people on the island involved in a project to develop a museum of both the island and its culture. I don't mean a dusty, musty place with dull exhibits but rather a place that celebrates the island in a way that engages both locals and visitors.



 
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