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Bali News by Bali Update
BALI UPDATE #704 - 08 March 2010

An Oversupply of Accommodation in Bali
Bali Hotel and Restaurant Association Says 100% Oversupply of Rooms Sets the Stage for Unhealthy Price Competition.

The Bali chapter of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) views that the number of starred hotels, melati-class hotels, and tourism cottages in Bali far exceeds demand.

As reported by Beritabali.com, the total number of accommodation rooms in Bali is more than 55,000 - a number the PHRI thinks exceeds by more than twice the needed supply of 24,000 rooms.

The Chairman of the Bali PHRI Chapter, Cokorda Oka Sukawati, said the current supply of 55,000 rooms does not yet include villas and local inns (penginapan). Cokorda is worried that the current dramatic over-supply in tourist rooms will eventually result in a price war, reflected in the fact that many rooms in Bali are being sold for Rp. 150,000 (US$16) per night.

"The price is only an average US$15 (sic); all hotels have their own market. But hotels that have a price of US$800 could be reduced to US$200," explained Cokorda who also serves as the Regent of Gianyar.

Cokorda said the over-supply in rooms is most evident in areas such as Candidasa in Karangasem and Lovina in Buleleng. Hotels in this area, according to Cokorda are being sold with very low prices.


Tainted Toddy Claims Lives in Bali
Once Again, Contaminated Arak Blamed in the Deaths of People in Bali.

Repeating a deadly pattern that claimed 26 lives last year, locally produced alcohol tainted with methanol has sent at least 23 people to the hospital, two of whom have died.

Those warded at Denpasar's Sanglah General Hospital all come from the Klungkung district of East Bali and were transferred to the capital for more intensive treatment. After drinking locally produced arak those subsequently hospitalized exhibited nausea, headaches, blurred vision and sore eyes. The methanol-laced drinks, if not fatal, leaves victims with permanently damaged internal organs, ruptured mucous membranes and damaged brains.

The victims had consumed the tainted arak while attending a religious ceremony at Batur Temple in Klungkung.

Police are attempting to trace the contaminated drink back to its vendor via a local shop in Klungkung.


Pagerwesi: Bali's Day of Intense Spirituality
Striving for Goodness and Purity, the Balinese Celebrate Hari Pagerwesi.

On Wednesday, March 2, 2010, Balinese Hindus marked Hari Pagerwesi - a day intended to enhance dedication to God and safeguard the world.

Occurring every 210 days, Pagerwesi is celebrated in conjunction with Hari Saraswati which fell earlier, on Friday, February 27th - the day when knowledge, learning and literature are celebrated.

Pagerwesi demands that attractive palm-leaf decorations, flowers and fruits (banten) are placed as offerings in family compound temples where the devout rededicate themselves to God the Almighty. Repeating prayers and appeals made during the high holidays of Galungan and Kuningan - the Balinese seek God's protection, praying for personal welfare and guidance in how best to lead good life.

These Pagerwesi prayers, following just 3 days after Saraswati, seek to take the learning and wisdom bestowed during the earlier holiday, embellishing them with soulful requests for purity, ensuring human wisdom is used to advance the human condition.

On another level, Pagerwesi seeks to strengthen human resolve in the ongoing battle with evil enemies, both those found within our own souls and those threatening us from without.

The celebration of Pagerwesi varies in different parts of Bali dictated, to some degree, by local beliefs and traditions. In the regency of Buleleng in North Bali, Pagerwesi is observed with greater fanfare than the high holiday of Galungan, with followers in the north fervently rejoicing in the victory of Dahrma (goodness) over Adharma (evil).

However, on its most basic level, Pagerwesi seeks to rejuvenate the deep spirituality that sp clearly sets Bali apart from the rest of the world.


Appointments in the Best of Taste
Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Nusa Dua and Meliã Bali Make F&B Appointments.

Stephen Seckold, Chef De Cuisine, Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Nusa Dua

David Cuddon, General Manager of The Laguna, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Nusa Dua, Bali has announced the appointment of Stephen Seckold as Chef de Cuisine for the Resort’s signature restaurant, Ocean Terrace Beach Front Dining.



Stephen Seckold


Seckold brings wide-ranging culinary experience gathered during assignments with luxury resorts and restaurants in London, Sydney, Botswana and, most recently, the famed Flying Fish Restaurant at the Sheraton Fiji Resort. Equally impressive are periods spent at Gordon Ramsay’s Michelin-starred restaurant, La Noisette, working for Chef Patron Bjorn van der Horst in London and at high-end safari camps in central Botswana, Uncharted Africa Safari Co., where he cooked for several members of the British Royal family.

During his two and a half years with Flying Fish Sydney Seckold progressed from Head Pastry Chef to Senior Sous Chef. He now looks back at his Flying Fish interlude as invaluable opportunity to work closely with Peter Kuruvita, the renowned restaurateur and co-owner of the Flying Fish.

While overseeing the Laguna’s Resort’s well regarded Ocean Terrace Beach Front he will report directly to award-winning Executive Chef I Made Putra.

Christian Beaulieu, F& B Director, Melia Bali

Jim Boyles, General Manager Meliã Bali has announced the appointment of the Resort's French Executive Chef, Christian Beaulieu, as Food & Beverage Director.



Christian Beaulieu


Originally from Strasbourg, France, Beaulieu brings the experience of consumate profession to his well-earned promotion. Prior to joining Meliá Bali as the Executive Chef in 2008, Beaulieu was Executive Chef at Meliá Palas Athenea for four years and other five-star hotels in Majorca, Spain. A hotel school culinary graduate, he has in the past specialized in pastries, chocolates and confections. Working as a chef in numerous highly respected hotel restaurants in Spain, Germany and France have complemented the culinary skills of what has become a most well-rounded chef.

In his latest position, he oversees the management of the resort’s five restaurants, two lounges and three bars and all areas of kitchen operations at the resort.


Komodo, Labuan Bajo, Maumere, Ende and So Much More
Newly Launched Flores Update Newsletter Promotes Flores as a leading Nature Tourism Destination in South East Asia.

In the ongoing regional tourism development project WISTATA, funded by the Swiss Government's State Secretariat of Economic Affairs and implemented by Swisscontact, the Flores Update Newsletter has recently been launched to help promote Flores as a leading Nature tourism destinations in South East Asia. Published on-line and sent by email to subscribers the Flores Update will provide private citizens and members of the tourism industry with the latest information on attractions, infrastructure development, and important facts and figures related to Flores tourism.

Located in the chain of Lesser Sunda islands to the east of Bali, Flores is a fascinating, mountainous and strikingly beautiful island. A chain of volcanoes dot the length of the 450 kilometer long island, creating dramatic alluvial valleys and canyons that were near impenetrable until only recently.

Labuan Bajo, in the West, and Maumere, in the East, are the two main gateways for tourists, both are connected to Bali by daily flights. A third gateway Ende, on the island’s south shore, is now served with three flights from Bali each week.

Once in Flores, an estimated 3,500 foreign visitors each year travel the Trans Flores highway on a 3-4 days tour.

A main tourist attraction of West Flores is the World Heritage Komodo National Park which hosted 34,954 foreign visitors in 2009. Nearby, Labuan Bajo is home to a seminal hotel and accommodation industry facilitating visits to West Flores and the little known hinterlands offering a wide range of nature and culture tourism activities. [www.floreskomodo.com]

In East Flores one of the main attractions is the Kelimutu Volcano National Park, which attracted 7,327 foreign visitors in 2009. Its fabled three colored crater lakes offer a spectacular never to be forgotten sight. Off the northern shore of Flores, Maumere bay offers excellent diving.

The Flores Update Newsletter aims to provide interesting and relevant information on Flores and travel highlights in this exciting tourism destination.

Now sent by Email in a HTML format, future editions will be fully integrated into the Flores Destination website.

Visit [www.florestourism.com/update] to subscribe.


Bali Quarantine Euthanize 3 Pit Bull Dogs at Bali's Border
Destruction of Smuggled Pit Bulls Underlines Bali Government's Resolve to Enforce Ban on the Import and Export of Pets During Ongoing Rabies Crisis.

One of a number measures in place to prevent the further spread of rabies in Bali include an absolute prohibition on the import or export of pets that could be carriers of the fatal disease.

Those in doubt of the government’s resolve on this point should take note of a report in Beritabali.com that four Pit Bull dogs that a Balinese university student, Putu Mahendra, tried to smuggle into Bali have been destroyed at the ferry port of Gilimanuk by quarantine officials.

Uncovered by port and quarantine authorities in Gilimanuk hidden among a truck full of building supplies, the four puppies were euthanized by lethal injection on Friday, March 5, 2010, and immediately buried on the grounds of the quarantine office in Gilimanuk.

Ketut Sonen, a veterinarian who heads the Gilimanuk Quarantine Office said, "the euthanizing of the bogs could only be done after we received an official order."

It is not clear if Putu Mahendra, the student who owned the dogs, will be charged criminally for attempting to circumvent the current prohibition on the importation of dogs, cats and monkeys to Bali.


Fire at Uma Ubud Spa in Ubud. Bali
Fire Destroys Spa at Bali Luxury Resort Uma Ubud.

A late afternoon fire on Friday, March 5, 2010 at the Como Shambhala's Uma Ubud in Ubud, Bali resulted in significant damage to the Resort's spa facility.

Three units of the Gianyar fire department assisted by the Resort's fire brigade responded to the blaze. According to the Bali Post, the fire consumed the spa building which stands apart from the rest of the hotel. Firefighters reportedly encountered difficulty in accessing the spa which is tucked away in a corner of the Resort property, managing in the end to access the burning building via the grounds of the adjacent Neka Museum complex.

The fire, which lasted for about one hour, destroyed the two-storey 10 x 8 meter spa.

Local police and fire officials continue to investigate the cause of the fire.

No injuries were reported.

According to the Resort's management, hotel operations continue uninterrupted with damage limited to the spa. The Resort's spa services will be housed temporarily in another part of the popular resort while repairs are undertaken.


Bringing Bali's Travel & Industry Into Line
ASITA Chairman, Al Purwa, Calls on Bali to Regulate and Enforce Rules for Bali Travel Sellers.

The Jakarta Post carries a report quoting Aloysius (Al) Purwa, the chairman of the Bali chapter of the Indonesian Association of Travel Agents (ASITA) urging strong action by the island's authorities against unlicensed travel operators.

Claiming the unlicensed and unregulated travel agents and tourist information offices are ruining Bali's reputation, Purwa said: "Their operations have disturbed the island's tourism industry. Many of them are operating online. But, they have no license and have no proper programs. Their main concern is to get as many tourists as possible without thinking of guest safety."

Bali has some 635 registered travel agents in Bali plus an untabulated number of unregistered agents, travel information offices and unlicensed travel websites. Purwa is calling on the government to prohibit the operation of unlicensed travel companies in Bali.

The provincial government of Bali is actively considering a set of bylaws intended to bring order to an otherwise disorderly travel industry.

While Purwa welcomed the new regulations being introduced by the government he emphasized that enforcement of the law continues to be the stumbling block in any effort to improve the quality of local operators and the travel experience of visitors to Bali.


I Can’t Believe I Ate the Whole Thing
Feeling Hungry? Come to Bali for a 10 Kilogram Hamburger.

If you’re ordering a hamburger while on holiday in Bali you’d be well advised to ask about the size of the burger beforehand.

A case in point: the Stadium Cafe on Jalan Kartika Plaza in South Kuta recently cooked a "whopper" of a burger weighing 10 kilograms.

The idea of the restaurants' Sous Chef, Gusti Nyoman Putra Yasa, the burger's recipe called for 1.5 kilograms of cheese, 3 kilogram of bread buns and 5 kilograms of ground beef. And, considering a normal burger might tip the scales at between 80-100 grams, you might also bring along 100 or so friends along to help consume such a giant sandwich.

The entire cooking process took almost an hour, including 45 minutes in a hot oven to cook the hamburger meat.

The owners of Stadium Cafe are said to still be making enquiries to see if their giant burger qualifies for some sort of world’s record, the giant hamburger did achieve its real goal of creating a wave of publicity for the recently opened sports bar in Kuta.

Happy at his handiwork, Chef Nyoman said he’s looking for an even larger oven that will accommodate future plans for an even larger hamburger.


Can You Hear the People Singing?
Bali Community Choir: Trying to Teach an Entire Island to Sing.

Established in September 2009, the Bali Community Choir meets every Tuesday evening at the Gateway Community Center on Jalan Danau Batur Sari No.3 in Sanur (across from the Canang Sari Restaurant on the same street that leads to the Bali International School).

Led and inspired by its volunteer conductor, Brendan O'Donnell, the choir is open without audition to anyone over the age of 18 years with a desire to sing.

Established less than half a year ago, the choir – in terms of sound, size and musical enthusiasm is impressive. A series of informal caroling dates at local hotels in Bali in the week before Christmas were well received and earned valuable visibility for the newly-formed choir which now draws an average of 30-40 people at each rehearsal. The choir's musical tastes are eclectic; ranging effortlessly from the sacred to the profane and everything in between. A recent rehearsal saw O'Donnell taking the choir through their paces singing I Dreamed a Dream (Les Miserables), The Streets of London, Java Jive (The Manhattan Transfer), Hava Nagila, Amazing Grace, Edelweiss, Riu Riu Chiu (15th century Spanish) and a selection of songs sung in barbershop harmony.

Sound fun? Well, that's the intention.

The choir's stated goals are:

• To create a pressure-free environment for anyone wishing to sing to do so.

• To bring together a broad spectrum of members of the expatriate and local Indonesian communities.

• To work towards public performances in order to share our music with neighbors and friends in Bali.

Audition are not necessary and participation is free of charge, although a small weekly donation from members able to do so helps to cover hall rentals and music acquisition costs. In the end, the emphasis is on "community" with members enjoying the fellowship in equal measure with the music.

O'Donnel, a retired music educator and former Director of the internationally acclaimed "Sing Australia," issues the following invitation: "For many years, it has been common knowledge that those people who sing, are likely to enjoy life more; have better health; grow new friendships and generally celebrate being together. This is the aim of The Bali Community Choir and if you are interested in singing, come and join us! You will receive a very warm welcome!"

For more information contact :

• Brendan (English) 081353120682

• Ricky (Indonesian) 081338753327

• Jane (English) 08123870469


Food, Hotel & Tourism Bali 2010
7th International Exhibition for Food & Beverage Industry at Bali International Convention Center March 11-13, 2010.

Over 5,000 square meters of exhibition space will be filled by hundreds of exhibitors representing food and beverage equipment suppliers and F&B products during the three-day Food, Hotel & Tourism Bali 2010 (FHT Bali 2010), March 11-13, 2010.

Headquartered at the Bali International Convention Center (BICC) at Nusa Dua, Bali, FHT Bali 2010 promotes all things connected to hotel and restaurant operations. This will include state-of-the-art kitchen equipment, room accessories, guest supplies, imported and local food products, software and hardware computer systems and the raw materials used in the preparation of F&B products.

Every day during the show a series of chef’s competitions will be conducted by Bali’s Salon Culinaire. On display will be wedding cakes, bread shows, fruit and vegetable carving, ice carving, creative table set up, fine dining menu competitions and an entire range of cooking competitions.

Opening hours on Thursday and Friday March 11-12th will be from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. On Saturday the exhibition will run from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.


To Improve Indonesian Tourism, Emulate Singapore
Former VP Jusuf Kalla Says Eastern Indonesian Tourism Has Much to Learn from Singapore.

Tourism has a fundamental role to play in developing Indonesia’s eastern provinces. According to former Vice-President, Jusuf Kalla, quoted in NusaBali : "Indonesia’s eastern region possesses natural beauty and unique features that are truly extraordinary. This is just one of the strengths of this region and can become basis for developing the tourism sector. I think that tourism can become a key sector to develop eastern Indonesia."

At the same time the former Vice-President warns that Indonesia cannot their situation for granted.

Kalla cautioned that in order to develop the eastern regions it would be a mistake to take anything as a "given." Adding: "Let’s not again rely on everything as ‘given,’ such as the richness of nature in these areas. Instead, try to take all parts of this region and re-create them in order to attract the attention of the world to our tourism assets in eastern Indonesia."

Citing Singapore as an example, Kalla feels the island republic has much to teach Indonesia in how to develop and operate tourism products. Kalla explained: "Singapore is not a country with rich natural resources and beauty such as Indonesia. Still, they have managed to create outstanding tourism objects that are the praise of the world, such as tourism hospitals, Sentosa island and other places. I think we must also create objects such as those in order to develop the tourism sector in eastern Indonesia. In this way, we hope that the people’s economy in eastern Indonesia can grow and avoid being left behind."


Indonesia Hotel & Travel Distribution Summit 2010
Indonesia First Hotel, Travel & Airlines Marketing Summit to be Held in Bali March 24-25, 2010.

Leading marketing experts from across Indonesia and the region's hotel, tourism and airline sectors will gather in Bali to share industry knowledge and recent developments in world of the fast-evolving travel technology and distribution systems.

Limited to 150-200 participants to facilitate networking and discussions on March 24-25, 2010, at the Sanur Paradise Plaza Hotel in Bali, the summit will feature 25 speakers acknowledged for their cutting-edge knowledge in the fields of policy-making; meetings, incentive, conference and exhibition (MICE), sales and human resources; ecommerce; social media; the airline industry, corporate travel and wedding planning.

The final afternoon will also include intensive consumer behavior tracking sessions focusing on Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.

A sampling among the speakers expected to participate:

• Diono Nurjadin, CEO, Mandala Airlines.

• William Ng, President, Enterprise Asia

• Indira Abidin, Managing Director, Fortune Public Relations

• Perriz Azwir, Senior Assistant Vice President Corporate, AMEX

• Enda Nasution, Interactive Marketing Strategist, Inmark Digital

• Rolland Jegge, Vice President Asia Pacific, World Hotels

• Komang Priambodo, CEO, Alihdaya Indonesia

• Ron Ramanan, Founder & Managing Director, CoQuo Ltd.

• Widijastoro Nugroho, Director of marketing & Distribution, Air Asia

• Andrianto Soekarnen, Editor0in-Chief, Venue Magazine

• Ho Ching Wee, CEO, Infinitum

• Eric Demaret, CEO APAC, Travelscream

Who Should Attend?

Hotel and Villas : Owners, Owner's Representatives, General Managers, Director of Sales and Marketing, IT Specialists, MICE Directors, Revenue Managers, CFOs.

Tour Operators, Attraction Managers, PCOs, MICE Operators : Owners, CEOs, Management, Directors of Sales and Marketing, Business Development Managers, IT Professional, CFOs, MICE Managers

Airlines : CEO, CFO, Distribution Systems Managers, Reservation Managers, Sales and Marketing Staff.

Register Now

Space is limited, but discounts are available for bookings made before March 12th , for group bookings of 3 or more, or members of the Bali Hotel Association (BHA) or Bali Villa Association (BVA).

Registration is US$300 before March 12, 2010 and US$500 after that date.

The Indonesia Hotel & Travel Distribution Summit 2010 is organized by Raja Mice.

For more information telephone (Ms) Joy Ivon at ++62-(0)818 0607 0907 or (Mr) Fandy Lo at ++62-(0)818 0618 1195 or by emailing projectoffice[at]rajamice.com


Former Bali Governor Ida Bagus Oka Dead at 75
Former Bali Governor and Cabinet Minister Ida Bagus Oka Succumbs to Stroke and Heart Disease.

Professor Dr. Ida Bagus Oka, Bali's former governor and the Minister for Family Planning and Population Control during the Jusuf Habibie presidency, has died at the age of 75.

The 7th Governor of Bali from 1988 until 1993, Ida Bagus Oka served as the Rector of Bali's Udayana University prior to embarking on a political career.

Suffering from complications of heart disease and stroke, Oka was rushed to Bali's Sanglah General Hospital on Sunday evening, March 7, 2010, where he expired at 11:55 pm.

In 2001, Oka was convicted for corrupting Rp. 2.3 billion (US$230,000) in funds from a foundation under his control that was established to support sporting activities. Sentenced to one year's prison, the Governor was imprisoned briefly until an appeals court set aside the verdict.

After consulting with Hindu spiritual advisers the date of April 9, 2010, has been set as an auspicious date for the former governor's cremation ceremony.

Governor Oka is survived by his wife, Ida Ayu Asiawati Oka, seven children and 16 grandchildren.


Barry to Bali?
Will He or Won't He? Bali Ponders the Possibility of a March 2010 Visit by U.S. President Barack Obama.

While an official confirmation has yet to be announced, there are a number of strong indications that U.S. President Barack Obama may include the island of Bali on his coming 2-day visit to Indonesia, tentatively scheduled for March 20-22, 2010.

Indonesia Foreign Affairs spokesman, Teuku Faizasyah, is insisting that the dates for Obama's Indonesia visit other than to say such a visit is "soon."

Earlier in March, Indonesian Minister of Justice and Human Rights, Patrialis Akbar, told the press that the March 20-22 dates would be used by Obama to visit Jakarta and Central Java.

It seems clear, however, that the itinerary that will be followed by the U.S. President has been changed and plans for a visit to Solo (Surakarta) and the nearby Borobudur Temple have been ditched, reportedly in favor of a visit to Bali.

And while no official confirmation from Jakarta or Washington has been made of the Bali visit, the Commander of Kodam (Pangdam) IX Military District, Major General Hotmangaradja Pandjaitan told BeritaBali.com that he is in the midst of preparing a 9,000 man security contingent on the island to safeguard Obama's visit.

Hedging his bets, Pandjaitan said on Sunday, March 7th: "It's still tentative in nature and there's been no confirmation whether he's coming or not. (But) In and case were ready. I think the people of Bali and the police will present an Indonesia that is peaceful."

Beritabali.com also confirms that several American security officials accompanied by Jakarta-based Indonesian officials have arrived in Bali to coordinate a visit with the military and police.

Separate reports from Vivanews.com, quote sources in the protocol department of the Bali provincial administration, speculating that Barack Obama may visit Bali's Udayana University.

Meanwhile, the White House Web Site carries statements by Presidential spokesman Robert Gibbs indicating that the President is endeavoring to finalize important legislation pending before the Congress in order to be able to leave the U.S capital on March 18th.

Gibbs has also told the press that the trip to Indonesia will include stops in Guam and Australia, and that the President will travel with his Wife and two daughters. That the children will join President and Mrs. Michelle Obama on Air Force One also suggests that the visit will take place during their daughters' Easter Holidays. A check of the website of the exclusive Sidwell Friends School, attended by Malia and Sasch Obama, confirms that school holidays commence officially on Friday, March 19, 2010.

If Obama does visit Bali it will not be his first visit. In the early 1990s, after graduating from Harvard Law School, the future U.S. President secluded himself in a Bali villa while penning his best-selling autobiography "Dreams from My Father."

The President also spent several of his formative years as an elementary student living in Jakarta with his Mother and Indonesian Step-Father.

Will Barry come to Bali? Stay tuned to this space for more information.


We Get Mail
Birthday Greetings for Bali Update, Bali's Airport, Rabies, Elephants and Blue Bird Taxis are Some of the Subjects Covered in this Week's Bali Update Mailbag.

[Bali Update Turns 12]

• The Operations & Sales Manager of The Hill Villas in Bali, Yvonne Anggreni, sent the following:

"I would like to congratulate you on the 12th anniversary of Bali Update, wishing you and Bali Discovery all the best in the future."

• Michael Burchett, the General Manager of the Conrad Bali Resort & Spa said:

"Dear Jack . . From myself and the Conrad Team: Congratulations on ‘your baby's' 12th birthday."

• Graham Hornel, a pensioner from the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and a principal of Questbay Migration Service in Western Australia, wrote to say:

"How the years go by fast, when one is both having fun and wakes up with a real sense of purpose each morning. You have done both very well, mate - and sincere congratulations on reaching another milestone."

Telling how it really is in a Very Special Destination through both bad times and good over the last 12 years has taken fortitude and a strong desire to deliver facts and information of real value both to those who know Bali and those who want to. . . More power to your PC and to your Editorial Independence both."


• Lawrence Bellefontaine of Bali Real Estate News and Views wrote :

"Happy Anniversary to a first class publication."

• Philip Townsend, who lives in Sanur, contributed:

"I know you put a lot into it and have successfully maintained its impartiality and integrity over the years. It has become a valuable source and adds value to all who have an interest in Bali, wherever in the globe they may be located. . . Congratulations and please keep up the great work."

• Bapak Anak Agung Gde Rai, a true veteran of Bali Tourism said :

"As a friend of yours and regular reader of Bali Update, I wish Bali Update a very Happy 12th Anniversary. I am thankful and proud of the Newsletters and especially very proud of Jack Daniels for all his efforts in informing the world of Bali's side of the News. A great endeavor that deserves thumb ups from the Balinese tourism stakeholders in particular. Long live Bali Update!!!"

• Well known Bali promoter Tony Fletcher of Calypso Bedbank sent the following :

"Dear Jack and crew at Bali Update, . . . Just wanted to wish congratulations on your 12th birthday and keep up the good work."

• Also from Australia, Peter Shrimpton of Prime Reps Travel Marketing said:

"Congrats on reaching your 12th Birthday . . .Having just retired after 36 years in the Tourism Industry and visiting Bali for over 30 years. I must admit your Reporting is extremely valuable & keeps me updated for my now yearly Holiday. Good luck for the Future"

• Jurg Suter the operator of the Samana Villa and Spa sent the wishes :

"Congrats and well done...I am one of your loyal and thankful readers."

• Barry Blaby wrote :

"Congratulations on 12 years of interesting and vital news. I look forward to reading the Bali news each week."

• Julie Penfold from Australia added :

"Happy12th birthday, I enjoy reading your info every week, keep up the great work, and here's to the next 12 years."

• Nigel Seys-Philips of Singapore and Bali had this to say :

"Jack - heartiest congratulations on your ‘birthday.' We read your newsletter every single week and can only imagine what goes in to getting it together. Thank you - and thank you on behalf of all those who visit Bali regularly."

• Marg Hellback, a Bali hand now living in Australia said :

"Congratulations Jack and Team, reading your update is the highlight of my dreary Monday mornings."

• Roy McGreevy wrote to offer a suggestion :

"I want to thank the editor for great work in sending out the weekly update. It is one of just a few travel updates I read regularly. I live in the USA. A suggestion: I believe many of us would gladly pay a voluntary annual subscription of US$10-$15 to assist in the production and for more editorial staff. Keep up the excellent work."

[Bali Rabies Epidemic Worsens]

• Brian Huntley wrote :

"Why is there not a mass culling of ALL the stray dogs in Bali!! So many human lives being lost for the sake of a bunch on mangy (and I mean mangy dogs who roam the streets and beaches. When a few tourists die of rabies then maybe something will be done. Only when it hurts in the pocket books of the tourism industry which will be shattered when tourists die of this dreadful virus. Take the $25 taken at the airport for a visa and spend some of it on stray mangy dog elimination...."

[Lines Harden in Bali's Elephant War]

• Peter Lyngdorf in Sweden wrote to lend support to Governor Pastika:

"I very much support Governor Pastika's rejection to import more elephants to Bali. I find it strange and out of order that Bali already has an African Safari and Marina lodge. Export all animals that are not endemic to Bali. Bali is well on the way to become a new Disneyland. Why go to Bali, these things can be found all over the world. Let Bali come back to its core culture otherwise it will loose its soul."

[Urgent Need to Expand Bali's Airport]

• Carin Versteegh had this to say about the welcome extended at Bali's airport:

"Yesterday my friends arrived at Bali's airport, and as soon as they try to pick up their luggage, there were some "nice men" who wants to help them. After they went to the parking some other guys joined them and after all they all wanted money. No, not in Rupiah, but in Euro or dollars. They asked 50 dollars or 50 Euro!!! My friends did not visit Bali for the first time and knew that they were trying to trick them and they refused to pay this crazy amount of money. Then they gave them RP. 50.000 and left them with very angry faces. Not really a warm welcome to the Island of the Gods!"

These kind of stories are not unique. Happens almost every time. At the luggage pick up, the porters are hiding the luggage cars, so mostly the arriving passengers have no choice that using the porters.

• Christine Mundy of Australia has a kinder, gentler view of Bali's airport :

"We have never had a problem with Bali Airport. Good food, very friendly staff and the wait is not that bad. I think they are very fast compared to some larger Airports. The line for the visas may take a while when a few aircraft have arrived at the same time, but if you are the only plane in it's a breeze."

[The Blue Bird of Happiness Gets a Balinese Reprieve]

A reader named Melinda wrote :

"As a regular traveler to Bali I am delighted to hear of the reprieve being given to Blue Bird. I am like a number of your other commentators - I prefer to use BlueBird and will let other taxis go past. I have had similar bad experiences on the couple of occasions where I have used taxis other than Blue Bird."


Covering Bali's Seminyak Beach Soulful Sounds
Renowned Blues and Jazz Artists Carlton J. Smith in Two Night Show at Bali's Anantara Resort March 31 and April 3, 2010.

Musical legend, Carlton J. Smith, who is known as the 'King of Soul' and often referred to as James Brown's "brother," has together with his backing musicians become a musical fixture in Shanghai, China, where their jazz and blues performances have been captivating audiences for the past seven years.

A "first" in Bali, Carton J. Smith and his crew are coming to the island for 2 exclusive concerts at the Anantara Resort in Seminyak.

Backed by his band of four, Smith will present a mix of old favorites – including The Eagles, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, James Brown and a number of original compositions.

Popular with ladies fans and their dates, the handsome singer from New York, has earned fans in the U.S.A., Switzerland, Finland, Hong Kong and most recently, Shanghai.

Carlton J. Smith in Bali

This talented showman will perform in Bali on two nights only: Wednesday, March 31 and Saturday, April 3, 2010

Ticket prices are Rp. 325,000 (US$35) each and include one drink.

A portion of the proceeds from the performances will be donated to the community service activities of the Rotary Club of Seminyak.

For more information telephone ++62-(0)3610737773 extension 7802.


A Silent Day and Night in Paradise
Bali to Go Completely Quiet on Nyepi Day, March 16, 2010.

In case you've forgotten, Tuesday, March 16, 2010 is Bali's official day of silence - Hari Nyepi.

Marking the dawn of a new year on the Bali-Hindu calendar, the observance of Nyepi mandates that island residents must spend the 24 hours from sunrise on March 16th until sunrise on March 17th refraining from:

• Lighting any fires.

• Performing any work.

• Enjoying any amusements or personal indulgences.

• Making any noise.

• Venturing outside their darkened homes.

Visitors to the island, regardless of their religious beliefs, are also expected to abide these prohibitions with some allowance made for hotel guests who may enjoy their hotel's facilities but are, nonetheless, prohibitted from leaving their hotels during the stipulated period. Hotel staff are also not allowed to travel to and from work on Nyepi necessitating that they sleep at the hotel if assigned to work over the sacred holiday.

The entire island of Bali resembles a ghost town during Nyepi. Airports, seaports and all roads go quiet. All flights scheduled to land or take off during this period are diverted or cancelled with only airplanes making emergency stops or performing medical evacuations allowed to take off or land.

Related Activities

A truly unique holiday, many visitors actually flock to Bali to enjoy the unparalleled experience of seeing an island of 3 million inhabitants go absolutely silent for 24 hours.

If you're planning a visit during this period, here's some related activities you won't want to miss:

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Meklyis or Melasti Processions of Balinese Hindus across the island bearing effigies from their temples to the ocean for purification ceremonies on Kuta and Sanur beach.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Tawur Agung Kesanga Ceremony. Sacrificial rites are held starting from 12 noon to appease spirits of the underworld followed by ogoh-ogoh parades in the evening of large Papier-mâché effigies resembling evil spirits through local streets.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Nyepi the celebration of the Icaka New Year 1932 - the Day of absolute silence.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Med-Medan - a traditional celebration held in Banjar Kaja, Sesetan, South Denpasar that sees young unmarried men and women gather in a local square to douse each other with water and exchange furtive kisses. Thought to bring good luck, the fun starts at around 3 p.m..


 
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