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Bali News by Bali Update
BALI UPDATE #705 - 15 March 2010

Bali Arrivals 2009: Predictably Amazing
Bali by the Numbers: 2009 Foreign Tourist Arrivals Break New Ground in Island's History.

The long-awaited final tabulations for foreign tourist arrivals to Bali in 2009 show a record year for Bali with 2,229,945 visitors – an improvement of 13.26% over 2008 when a then-record 1,968,892 people visited the island.

The results conform with the 2.2 million prediction made by balidiscovery.com [Bali to Exceed 2 Million Foreign Visitors in 2009] and contrast favorably with the more pessimistic view of Bali's ASITA Chairman made last year that the island would have difficulty achieving 1.8 million visitors [ASITA Bali Unduly Pessimistic on Arrivals for 2009].

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A Changed Marketplace

The Asia-Pacific and ASEAN markets accounted for an overwhelming 67.91% of all arrivals to Bali, underlining the far-reaching effect of the shift to more short haul travelers who generally spend less and stay for shorter periods in Bali.

2009 also saw a significant reshuffle of the pecking order among key markets for Bali. Japan, which has historically held the top position for producing travelers to Bali, was resoundingly relegated to the number two position, displaced by Australia who sent a record-breaking 446,042 visitors to Bali as compared to the 319,473 Japanese who came to visit. Australia was boosted by a strong national economy and a bevy of new low cost carriers, increasing arrivals by 45.43% for the year. Meanwhile, a hobbled national carrier and struggling economy saw Japanese arrivals decline by 9.95%,

Mainland China also boldly assumed 3rd place with 199,528 visitors, an increase of 54.54% year-on-year. Malaysia secured 4th place with 132,835 while growing 2.44%. Both Taiwan (119,413) and South Korea (123,879) lost ground, declining 7.56% and 6.55% respectively.

Other bright spots in Bali's tourism results for 2009:

• French arrivals grew an impressive 44.94% in 2009 totaling 110,224.

• The U.S. market reacted to favorable security ratings, growing 8.74% to 74,010.

• The U.K. grew an impressive 12.69% to 92,898.

Meanwhile, Germany's troubled economy caused holiday travel from that country to Bali to erode by 8.7% to 74,678.


Indonesian Terrorists in the Cross Hairs
Dulmatin, Mastermind of Bali Bombing Among Those Killed in Latest Crackdown on Indonesian Terrorists.

A nation-wide police campaign against terrorist cells has produced high-profile victories for Indonesian police authorities and provided President Yudhoyono with bragging rights during an official visit to Australia and on the eve of a planned visit by U.S. President Barack Obama.

A series of raids by highly-trained officers from the elite Densus 88 squad included a shoot-out in Pamulang, Tangerang, West Java in which three terrorists were killed. Among the dead was 40 year old Dulmatin, a man with a US$10 million price on his head for his role in helping to mastermind the 2002 Bali bombing that killed 202 people. The reward offered for the Dulmatin was part of an official bounty offered by the U.S. government and will reportedly not be claimed by the Indonesian police.

Dulmatin, a former student at a religious boarding school set up by Abu Bakar Bashir, was once incorrectly reported as killed by Philippine authorities in the southern part of that country, after fleeing Indonesia in 2003. Dulmatin, whose real name was Joko Pitono, had operated under a number of aliases including Abdul Matin and Maktarmar. An international terrorist thought to be an expert in explosives, he had contributed to terrorist acts in Indonesia, the Philippines and Afghanistan prior to his death.


U.S. Secret Service in Bali to Prepare for Presidential Visit
Bali Police and Presidential Advance Team Meet to Ensure Security of Planned Visit by Barack Obama.

Although the exact date of U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to the U.S. remains unclear, U.S. Secret Service (USSS) officers are combing the island of Bali in anticipation of a possible visit in late March.

Radar Bali reports that USSS officers have met with Bali's provincial chief of police, General Sutisna, for discussion on coordinating security for the U.S. Chief Executive.

Bali police spokesman, Gede Sugianyar, told the press that USSS staff were in Bali on March 4, 2010, accompanied by senior staff from the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta. In a meetings with General Sutisna, the USSS was told how Bali's security situation remains relatively conducive for Obama's visit. During that meeting, U.S. Embassy officials expressed their appreciation for the continuing exemplary work performed by Bali police in keeping the peace.

The USSS is conducting security surveys of a number of sites in Bali including the Uluwatu Temple and the Money Forest in Ubud. Neither Indonesian or U.S. official sources are prepared to confirm the actual dates or itinerary of President Obama's visit to Indonesia during a whirlwind 2 day stay.

The advance team from the USSS reportedly numbered 8 people who toured tourist areas and accommodation options that might be visited by the President.

The USSS arrived on an island in the midst of an island already in a high level of alert on the eve Hari Nyepi which will take place on Tuesday, March 16, 2010. Police have put into place a number of measures, including the deployment of 2,000 officers at key areas in Bali and strict surveillance measures at Bali sea ports and Ngurah Rai International Airport in anticipation of Bali's "day of silence" on Tuesday, March 16, 2010.

Related Article

[A Silent Day and Night in Paradise]


Bali Dogged by Growing Rabies Toll
Death of 45 Year Old Woman Brings Death Toll to 40 in Continuing Rabies Epidemic in Bali.

The latest death of a 45 year-old woman, Ni Ketut Ardini, on Monday, March 8, 2010 has brought to 40 the number of fatalities tied to the continuing scourge of rabies in Bali. The woman from the village of Sanda in Pupuan perished shortly after her admission to the Tabanan Hospital in West Bali.

Dr. Gede Sudiartha told the press that after being treated for only 12 hours in an isolation ward of the hospital, Ardini succumbed to what remains a suspected case of rabies pending confirmation by laboratory tests. Upon admission the woman exhibited symptoms emblematic of rabies, including foaming from the mouth, aggressive behavior, respiratory difficulties, an inability to swallow and nausea.

Initial tests of the woman's saliva and eye fluids have been negative for the rabies virus. Brain fluids drawn from the dead woman's body are sill being tested by medical experts.

A day prior to her death the woman still managed to work in family farming lots. Approximately 1.5 months prior to her death Ardini suffered a dog bite from a family pet on the fingers of her left hand. Refusing medical treatment the woman only washed the wound with soap and water.

The same dog reportedly bit four other family members who remain in good health As a medical precaution, the four bite victims have now been given anti-rabies serum. The family members were compelled to travel to Sanglah and Buleleng to obtain the serum, due to a lack of serum supplies in Tabanan.

The latest death has precipitated more calls for a massive culling of dogs in Tabanan and other area of Bali. On Tuesday and Wednesday, March 9 & 10, 2010, a total of 88 dogs were destroyed in the Banjar Bumi Ayu area of West Bali, including street dogs and a number of vaccinated dogs netted on the street during the sweeping action carried out by animal control officers and local villagers.


Sardine – Not What You'd Expect
Sardine – a Bali Restaurant that Celebrates Fresh Harvests from the Sea and Local Organic Gardens.

When two friends, Pascal and Pika Chevillot, told me they were opening a new restaurant in Bali called "Sardine" I really didn't know what to expect. Raised in a household where a can of sardines ranked somewhere near a can of Spam in the culinary pecking hierarchy, I wasn't sure what awaited me at Jalan Petitienget No. 21, directly across the street from the prestigious Metis Restaurant.

  

  

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Friendship and Pascal's reputation as the 4th generation of a proud line of Burgundy chefs, prompted me to pay a visit to what, for me, a curiously named eatery.

Guests at Sardine are anything but tightly packed. The spacious restaurant sets a standard for Bali businesses by dedicating most of its land to garden spaces that can soak up the precious seasonal rains that fall on the island. More than half of the restaurant is dedicated to a working padi field, ensuring guest at this venue will forever be guaranteed a rice field view.

Sadly, Sardine's nearest neighbor looks to be building yet another eyesore hotel prepared to violate a number of local zoning intended to protect Bali's natural environment.

Ignoring the eyesore to the right is, however, made easy by the surrounding rice fields and the stylish touches built into the large bamboo building that houses Sardine's dining and bar area. Pika, Pascal's Slovenian wife, is an accomplished designer with a green soul whose careful attention to detail whispers in understated elegance from every corner of the restaurant. Indirect lighting imparts a cathedral-like ambiance to the towering thatched roof; a polished bamboo bar from John Hardy's bamboo design center is all that separates a thirsty public from Sardine's talented mixologist; giant, surrealistically painted eyes of a Balinese Legong dancer keep careful watch over both the bar and its patrons; a clump of bound bamboo fashioned into a table support a row of glass jars containing freshly cut lilies standing at attention, eyes left; crystal clear water pools are home to solid-white carp, happy to be the only fish in the neighborhood not destined for the dinner table; well-trained staff attractively garbed in fish-motif resort wear provide seamless service; and generous upholstered cane chairs replete with arm rests induce diners to spend slow, leisurely nights of fine food, wine and cordial camaraderie.

The accompanying pictures help to share the magic space created by Pascal and Pika at Sardine.

Like all good restaurateurs, the Chevillots' are passionate about the food they put before their guest. This is a trait they share with Chef Frιdιric Pougault who supervises the kitchen at Sardine. Cultivated friendship with members of Bali's fishing fleet and the equally well-cultivated fields of the restaurant's own organic garden in the hills of Munduk help maintain a well-deserved reputation for freshness where the quality of each ingredient ensures superb results.

Careful attention to the day's catch and the seasonality of fruits and vegetable means the menu changes daily at Sardine.

During my visit with party of four we enjoyed:

Appetizers

• Very meaty steamed Batik Clams cooked in a delicate ginger broth (Rp. 70,000)

• Fresh marinated Sardines served with bell peppers of two colors. (Rp. 50,000)

• In house made Salmon gravlax with a celery root remoulade (Rp. 70,000)

• Yellow fin Tuna carpaccio with daikon remoulade (Rp. 70,000)

Main Course

• Pan-seared Hamachi fillet served with Wasabi mashed potatoes, miso eggplant, Kalamata olives and dried tomato relish (Rp. 135,000)

• Blackened Mahi-Mahi fillet with Munduk Lumbang vegetables and a piquant tomato salsa (Rp. 125,000)

• Pan-seared Scallops, wilted spinach and broccoli, braised fennel with a Ponzu sauce (Rp. 195,000)

• Black tea smoked young poultry (Rp. 100,000)

Dessert

• Citrus Salas with Bali Safran Infusion and Orange Sorbet (Rp. 40,000)

• Strawberries and Kiwi with black pepper ice cream (Rp. 70,000)

• Chocolate Bali Macadamia nut torte with passion fruit couilis (Rp. 60,000)

• Ginger and Arak chocolate truffles (Rp. 30,000)

Those less inclined to fish will not go hungry at Sardine with grilled beef tournedos serves with green pepper sauces, Shiitake Napoleon mushrooms, bok choy and potato crepes (Rp. 180,000) or local suckling pig ala Babi Guling served with fern tips and organic white rice and a spicy green bean salad (Rp. 130,000) representing just two of the turf-bound entrees on offer.

Open for nearly six months, the busy owners have yet to put a sign out front; something they promise will happen in the coming few weeks. But, judging from the brisk business Sardine was doing during my visit, the sign out front seems of minimal importance.

In any case, Sardine is open for business, just in time for Lent. Unlike biblical predecessors who did wonders with fishes and loaves, seating is indeed limited and reservations are strongly recommended.

Sardine

21 Jl. Petitenget, Kerobokan, Bali

Open form 11:30 am until 1:00 am with last order at 11:00 pm

Closed on Mondays

Telephone ++62-(0)361-738202 – Reservations Recommended

Major Credit Cards Accepted.

[Sardine Website]


Photos by Christopher Legget


ASITA Calls for Shutdown of Illegal Bali Travel Websites
Bali Government Reluctant to Move Against Illegal Travel Website Until New Travel Law is Passed.

While Bali tourism relies heavily on the Internet to promote the island, not all companies using this medium are licensed to sell travel in Bali or are accredited members of the Indonesian Association of Travel Agents (ASITA).

A coordinator for ASITA for Bali, East Nusa Tenggara and West Nusa Tenggara – Bagus Sudibya, has judged that many companies promoting and selling travel on the Internet from Bali are illegal and do not have travel licenses from the government.

Sudibya says that it is the responsibility of the provincial tourism office for Bali to undertake enforce measures against unlicensed travel operators and illegal tour guides in Bali. To do this he called on the government to monitor travel being sold on the Internet and move against travel websites based in Bali that are not licensed.

In response to Sudibya’s call for action, the Chief of the Bali Tourism Authority (KaDiParda), Kade Subhisku, told the press that a solid team founded on the law is needed to take action against illegal tour operators. Surprisingly, the current law set out rules and regulations governing licensed travel agents, but make little mention on what to do about unlicensed travel agents. Subhisku is hopeful that new regulations governing travel agents now under consideration by Bali's legislature will address how to deal with illegal travel operations. Bali's top man for tourism also admitted that his office currently lacks personnel with competence in Internet technology. Subhisku said he would need to rely on assistance from the Bali police Cyber-crime division to track down and prosecute those selling travel illegally on the Internet.

But, again, he cautioned that action against illegal travel operators can only be taken when new travel laws have been enacted in Bali.

In the meantime, people booking travel with Bali-based operators should check for the ASITA logo on the website as proof of legal operating permits required of all members in good standing of the national tour operators association.


Barack Obama Indonesia Visit Delayed
U.S. President Obama Delays Jakarta and Bali Visit by 3 Days to Deal with Health Bill Crisis at Home.

Mounting pressures to finalize key health care reforms in the United States are delaying a visit to Indonesian by U.S. President Barack Obama by at least a few days.

Originally expected to visit Jakarta and Bali, March 20-22,2010, the President's departure has now been postponed until March 21st with an expected return to Washington on March 26, 2010. With visits also scheduled for Guam and Australia, a three day delay in Obama's trip may mean that the Indonesia visit will take place March 23-25, but this is speculation at this point with the final dates and stops yet to be announced by the White House.

Originally planned to coincide with U.S. school holidays the President planned to bring his wife and two daughters on the trip. However, the latest indications by White House spokesman Robert Gibbs is that Mr. Obama will be traveling to the Asia Pacific without his family.

Mr. Obama's visit to Indonesia, a country with the world's largest Moslem population, will come on the heals of a massive police crackdown on terrorist cells that has in recent weeks resulted in the arrest of 31 and the death of 8 suspected terrorists. Among the dead is 40 year-old Dulmatin, a man sought for international terrorism and his key role in the 2002 Bali bombing that killed 202 people. The U.S. State Department had placed a US$10 million price on Dulmatin's head.

The Presidential visit to Indonesia originally called for stops in Jakarta and Bali. It is unclear if the delayed schedule will now also result in a change of cities to be visited by the official U.S. entourage.


Through the Eyes of Children
Children's Art Expo in Bali March 21 – April 30, 2010 in Support of the East Bali Poverty Project.

The children assisted by the East Bali Poverty Project's (EBPP) will launch a second art exhibition on from March 21 – April 30, 2010 presenting 30 paintings in various mediums.

Following a successful inaugural exhibition held in June 2009, this year's exhibition will return to the Three Monkeys Cuisine and Art Cafι in Ubud. Last year's exhibition saw the art work of the talented mountain children snapped up by eager collectors, precipitating an early closure to the exhibition. Accordingly, the public is urged to visit this year event as soon as possible following its opening on March 21st.

  

        

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Partially in response to the talent displayed at last year's show, a number of professional artists have visited the children over the past year to share their knowledge and skills. This has further emboldened the young child artists who now are experimenting with different styles and mediums across a broad spectrum of art. The subjects remain the same: Balinese temples, traditional ceremonies, finely detailed coconut palms, magnificent landscapes and the daily life in Bali's mountain villages.

The children, who live in one of Bali's most remote and impoverished communities, have discovered art as a means of expressing the dreams and aspirations for the future. The remarkable story of bottom up development implemented by the East Bali Poverty Project has been celebrated in a book "Learning by Doing" documenting the success of bringing water supplies, education and home gardens to the people of East Bali. That book, now distributed internationally, was illustrated with drawings made by the children of EBPP.

Despite the poverty of their region, the children have expressed strong sentiments to remain in their villages and develop a better future for themselves and their families. Relying on educational programs provided by EBPP, the children are busily developing skills, with creative art at the forefront, in the hope of establishing sustainable businesses as the vehicles for social and economic development.

The children of Cegi in East Bali recently established their own art cooperative "Koperasi Sekolah Cegi Dewata Suka Maju". Although still in school, many will graduate senior high school in 2010 and some, like Wayan Lias, with more than 50 paintings in the current exhibition, aspire to continue their art education and become professional artists.

The current exhibition has been made possible by Bali Art Media who have professionally framed 33 paintings and mounted 100 more. Balinese artists I Made Budhiana has acted as a consultant, Don Jensens has photographed much of the collection, and Sarita Newsom of Saritaksu Publications has created invitations and catalogs. Three Monkeys Cuisine and Art Cafι have donated their premises for the exhibition.

Visions of Art Through The Eyes of Mountain Children – A Children's Art Exhibition

March 21 – April 30, 2010

Open Daily from 4:00 pm until 7:00 pm

Three Monkeys, Cuisine & Art Cafι - Jalan Monkey Forest, Ubud

For more information telephone ++62-(0)361-410071 or ++62-(0)361-975544.


SBY & Rudd: No Chance for a Cuppa
Looking a Gift Cat in the Derriere, President SBY's Gift to Australian PM Kevin Rudd is Stuck in Customs.

When two world leaders meet they traditionally exchange gifts representative of their respective countries as a means of showing esteem for their counterparts. However, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's (SBY) attempt to give Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, a suitable gift during his recent visit to Australia may – for lack of a better term – have "backfired."

Kopi Luwak is a type of Indonesian coffee highly prized by connoisseurs worldwide for its distinctive taste. Produced in limited quantities and sold at premium prices, Kopi Luwak is the result of a process; to be more specific: the alimentary process of the civet or musang cat that feeds on only the most select and ripest coffee beans still growing on the vine. The beans pass through the mammal's digestive system and are later retrieved by "pooper scoopers" at the exit end of the animal. Experts will debate whether the much-praised flavor of Kopi Luwak is more tied to the beans interaction with the digestive enzymes of the cat or the finicky way in which only the finest beans are ingested. We vote with "selectionist," sensing a decline in Kopi Luwak quality tied to the current use of captive musang who are force fed coffee beans selected by their keepers.

But, we digress.

In the best Australian tradition and determined to share a "cuppa" with Kevin Rudd, SBY packed brought a pack of Kopi Luwak to present during his recent State visit to Canberra only to have Australian Quarantine and Inspection Services (AGIS) seize the gift, claiming the bean's origin may mean the coffee might "potentially be contaminated with exotic and endemic pathogens."

Considering that coffee is roasted at temperatures ranging between 188 and 282 ° Centigrade for as long as 30 minutes, the seizure may prove that Indonesia not only produces strong coffee but strong pathogens, as well.

But, in fairness to the dedicated men and women who work at AQIS and considering the orifice that yielded the Kopi Luwak, they may have a point.

So, we wonder if Mr. Rudd would like another local delicacy - a dozen Telor asin (bitter eggs)?


Heil! Taxi! Heil!
Bali Taxi Drivers Continue to Protest Against Operations of Blue Bird Fleet.

Despite findings by a judicial review board that Blue Bird Taxi and its Bali registered brand of PT Praja Bali Transportasi meet the letter of the law for their popular Bali taxi operation [See: The Blue Bird of Happiness Gets a Balinese Reprieve], controversy continues to surround Bali's taxi operators.

Hundred of taxi drivers participated in rallies in Bali on Thursday, March 11, 2010, demanding the Bali government rescind plans to allow Blue Bird to add 250 taxis to its current fleet of 750. The protesters, comprised of drivers from Wahana Taksi Bali, Ngurah Rai Taksi Bali, Komotra Taksi Bali and Kowinu Taksi Bali - staged rolling protests starting from Kuta's Sunset Road to the Bali House of Representatives (DPRD) and ending at the Governor's office. Carrying posters the called for the closure of Blue Bird and accusations that the company was "Killing the Balinese People - the protesters maintain that the 2,200 taxis already operating on the island is sufficient to meet demand.

When legislators promised to recommend to the Governor a delay in the introduction of more taxis on Bali's streets, the protesters remained steadfast, insisting on an immediate meeting with the Governor so he could hear their demand for a closure of Blue Bird.

Local news reports suggest that the Governor is prepared to endorse the appeasement of delaying the introduction of new taxis into the Blue Bird. fleet.

Related Editorial

[Who Speaks for the Public?]


Who Speaks for the Public?
Editorial: The Real Victim in Bali's Taxi War Continue to be the Public.

The continuing brouhaha within Bali's taxi industry [See: Heil! Taxi! Heil!] shows no sign of abating. Cast in the local media in the role of "bad guys" are the operators of Bali's Blue Bird Taxis fleet - PT Praja Bali Transportasi. Their detractors, drawn largely from the ranks of drivers from competing taxi companies - Wahana Taksi Bali, Ngurah Rai Taksi Bali, Komotra Taksi Bali and Kowinu Taksi Bali demonize the Blue Bird armada as usurpers of their preeminent right to carry tourist across the island. In a plot with more pot holes than a Bali side street, the self-proclaimed "good guys" cry cruel victimization at the hands of the evil folks at Blue Bird.

Sadly, in the great battle of Bali's taxi companies, the first casualty of the conflict was "truth."

On its most basis level, the current polemic exemplifies much of what's wrong with Bali tourism. where tourists are viewed as a "bone" to be fought over. In this convoluted view of the world, Bali's tourist visitors are the exclusive spoils to be enjoyed by certain sectors of the community who, without pause or question, are entitled with full license to use, abuse and manipulate the hapless tourists who climbs in the back seat of their cabs. Missing from the equation is even the slightest notion that Bali's tourists might also have rights that should be protected and preserved.

In the ongoing taxi melee, the so-called "good guys" miscast the Blue Bird Taxis fleet as the "bad guy." The label of "bad guy," however, just won't stick when applied to Blue Bird - an award-winning taxi company that is the darling of both locals and visitors alike. The Company's well known commitment to maintaining a disciplined crew of drivers who are unfailingly courteous and legendary for the many tales of passengers' valuable left in their cars being returned, explains why people let competing taxis pass while waiting for the next available Blue Bird.

And, should this assessment seem too harsh, consider also the many complaints surrounding Ngurah Rai'a airport-based taxi monopoly that practices an arbitrary pricing system that charges more to travel from the airport to the foreign-tourist haunt of Sanur while charging considerably less to ride to the much more distant domestic bus terminal at Ubung. This inequity in fares structure is also found in the island's metered fleet, as demonstrated in the comments of an Indonesian taxi passenger who told the English language press last week that he pays Rp. 30,000 to Blue Bird to travel over the same distance that would cost substantially more in metered taxi operated by competing firms. See, too, on-line travel forums that contain frequent comments from travelers who choose to lug their luggage to the airport's perimeter to hail a Blue Bird rather than be compelled to one of the airport's "official taxis."

While the debate on who's the real victim in the ongoing taxi war in Bali will continue ad nauseam, there's little doubt that the real victim remains the public dependent on taxi service in Bali.

And, take note: their suffering will only increase if current protests succeed in shrinking or eliminating altogether Blue Birds service. Should that scenario come to past, the owners of the monopolistic franchise on taxi service will enjoy an even freer hand in their peculiar pricing practices; reacting angrily and indignantly when anyone has the audacity to challenge their misperceived "birthright" to behave badly.

In such a troubled atmosphere, it's easy to see why Blue Bird - a company that openly solicits customer feedback and places passenger safety and comfort above all else, is seen as a threat.

Too Many Taxis in Bali?

Beyond its excellent service culture, Blue Bird is assuredly a professionally managed taxi company. Their request for licenses to add hundreds of additional cars to their current armada is almost certainly based on careful market studies and their growing inability to meet the strong demand for their services.

Meanwhile, the other taxi operators in Bali are peeved. They are powerless as they watch customers who'd prefer to stand in the rain waiting for the next Blue Bird rather than ride in one of their taxis. As a result, they resort to a sucker's game. Unable to identify their own shortcoming and raise their service game to obtain more business, they choose instead to try to eliminate the competition through political pressure, street demonstrations and the occasional harassment of the public traveling by Blue Bird.

In truth, there's plenty of room in Bali for more professionally operated taxis. If this was not the case, Blue Bird would not be seeking to expand its fleet.

We feel it's high time that the public are provided a modicum of protection and a voice how their transportation needs are met in Bali. At the very least, island authorities should encourage excellence and allow companies that provide better service at better rates to prosper and flourish.

Assuming the government wants world class taxis service in Bali, let's consider the following as starting points:

• The establishment of a viable consumer protection bureau that solicits and actively processes complaints for poor service and inferior product quality all areas touching upon the delivery of the island's diverse tourism product.

• A critical re-examination of the current taxi monopoly held by the taxi cooperative at Ngurah Rai Airport within the protection afforded the public under the national anti-monopoly law of 1999.

• A system, such as that practiced by Angkasa Pura at Jakarta's international airport, in which a form is handed to taxi customers recording the taxi number and providing a contact for any potential complaints.

• A crackdown, including the possible confiscation of vehicles, on hundreds of unlicensed gypsy taxi operators lurking outside almost every hotel and shopping area across the island. This move alone would correct any supply and demand issue, while removing another source of frequent complaints from island visitors.

In another time and another place, it was once quipped that "all the guys who know how to run the country are driving taxis." And, while that may be so, but just this once the guys behind the wheels need to clam up and listen to the long-suffering voices from the back seat.


Strategic Airlines Bali to Perth
Strategic Airlines to Start Flying Bali – Perth on June 12, 2010 with Flights Three Times a Week by July.

Subject to regulatory approval, another Australian airline will start operating between Perth, Western Australia and Bali in June 2010.

The Australian-owned carrier, Strategic Airlines promises to offer full-service flights at competitive prices with their first flight set to touch down in Perth on June 12, 2010.

The Bali flight will be the first international flight venture for the airline which, to date, has run a charter operation together with a limited a scheduled flight schedule. Brisbane-based, Strategic currently operates a Perth to Derby service.

According to the airline's website [www.flystrategic.com] fares are now on sales stating from AUS$99 one-way from Perth to Bali.

The airline's website shows the first flight (VC201) departing Perth at 9:00 am on June 12, 2010, gradually building to three flights a week by early July.

Strategic Airlines current fleet consists of Airbus A330-200 and Airbus320-200 aircraft on long-term lease to the carrier.


A Sneak Peak at Eat, Pray, Love
Opening in a Theatre Near You in August 2010, Here's Some Bali Still Shots from the Coming Hollywood Film – Eat, Pray, Love.

The film version of Elizabeth Gilbert's best-selling Eat, Pray, Love finished filming last year in Bali and is scheduled for release in theatres in August 2010.

  

  

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The film stars Julia Roberts, James Franco, Billy Crudup, Javier Bardem, Richard Jenkins, Viola Davis, and is directed & written by Ryan Murphy. Filmed in the U.S., Italy, India and Bali - the film follows Gilbert, played by Roberts, as she bounces back from a divorce by seeking linguistic fulfillment and linguine in Italy; spiritual affirmation in an Indian ashram; and love and life's meaning in Bali.

We don't want to be a spoiler, but ending the film in Paradise is something of a dead giveaway on how this romance ends.

To whet the appetites of movie enthusiasts, we feature a few stills taken from the film while shooting in Bali.


Billy Blanks in Bali
Learn Total Bali Fitness and More in Bali From Billy Blanks.

The inventor of a revolutionary total body fitness program Tae Bo©, Billy Blanks is coming to Bali for two exclusive training engagements in Ubud.

A system that claims to have helped millions, Tae Bo© provides inspiration, particularly when shared by its creator who is a world karate champion, actor, motivator and humanitarian.

In Bali to assist the Payangan Education Project (PEP), Billy Banks will present two separate sessions:

• An Evening Dialogue with Billy Blanks - Billy Blanks will speak on the topic "Leadership that Matters – Make a Mark by Believing in Yourself" in a session that will discuss how to discover determination and believe in one's own dreams.

Friday, March 26, 2010 – 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm

Campuhan College, Jalan Raya Sanggingan, Ubud

Fee: Rp. 200,000 (US$21.30)


• Your Own Morning Workout with the Champ - Join Billy for a dynamic workout demonstrating his unique total body fitness system.

Saturday, Marcy 27, 2010

Two Sessions: 9:00 am -10:30 am and 11:00 am – 12:30 pm

Ubud Fitness Center, Jl. Jero Gadung, Kutuh Kelod, Ubud

Fee: Rp. 150,000 (US$16) – Includes Healthy Snacks


Tickets for both events are on sale at Campuhan College. For more information call ++62-(0)817 470 6246

Related Websites

[Bali Institute]

[Billy Blanks]


 
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