[Planes, Trains and Automobiles in Bali], our article describing plans for an inter-modular approach to future transportation services in Bali brought one reader comment:
• Nicholas of Canada wrote:
"Until long line-ups for arriving passengers are made a thing of the past, all news of airport 'improvements' remain irrelevant. What is the matter with decision-makers? Start by abolishing 'visa on arrival.' Do it now. Appoint honest and friendly people to man the immigration desks. The image created now is pathetic."
[Bali Noisily Welcomes 2011] our summary covering the celebrations welcoming the New Year and the unprecedented amount of fireworks brought in many letters from which we include the following sampling:
• Michele W. of Kerobokan in Bali wrote:
"For many of the residents in Bali the uncontrolled and indiscriminate use fire works was extremely disturbing. The loud crackers started some 2 weeks before New Year and by the time they hit crescendo on New Year's Eve it was not only pretty fire works but also bamboo cannons and explosives that sounded across the South of Bali."
"Many residents, both western and Balinese, speak of feeling like they were in a "war zone." Some of us who lived through the Bali bomb found it traumatic. Balinese and western children and babies were fretful and fearful, pets taking refuge where they could in total fear. I heard cows crying behind my house. I cannot imagine the money spent by people on the fire works not to mention the injuries. I witnessed a girl have a sky rocket backfire in her hand standing in shock while all her friends laughed."
My suggestion would be to set up public fire work displays in each district controlled by the authorities with the fire works in the hands of those who know what they are doing. That way every one could enjoy by choice and not be subjected to feeling like they are in a 'war zone.'"
• Roman Harte had this to say:
"Great to see a story talking about the horrendous fire works this year. It was seriously aggravating, and very worrying due to the amount of 'alang alang' around where I live. I can't believe the police turned a blind eye to it this year. I have lived here for 13 years but vowed never again to be in Bali during this time of year as it was just horrible. I also think in the long run it is bad for tourism . . . and the locals' well-being - judging from all the injuries. Thank the gods for the rain...I think half the 'banjars' would have been on fire if it hadn't rained!"
Our article discussing a possible decline in the Indonesian market over the holiday period [A Softening of Bali's Domestic Market?], generated some strong support:
• Peter Thorpe from Australia made some powerful arguments:
"The hotels need to wake up! Even the cheap hotels are slugging tourists an extra US$10/night because it's Christmas. After being hit with a $50 bill for a pathetic New Year's Eve dinner and even more pathetic entertainment 2 years ago, I vowed never to stay in one of these hotels again in the peak period."
"It was interesting walking around Sanur during this period this year with all the locals complaining about how quiet it was - well, blame the hotels who want to get as many tourist dollars as they can.
It's time Bali woke up - tourists will stay away in droves if they think they are being ripped off, from the higher costs over Christmas, the threat of taxing personal goods and those who thinks Bali is being sold too cheaply. Isn't that the reason that tourists come?"
"There are many other destinations similar to Bali in Asia, where they appreciate tourists, where the locals don't sit forlornly on the streets muttering 'you looking my shop' or 'transport.' And, worse still, the people in Kuta are becoming quite aggressive and follow you down the street trying to pull you into their business."
"If Bali wants to get more tourists they need to clean things up: repair pavements and roads, lessen the traffic in most areas, and provide a transportation system for easily getting around the bigger towns Most of all, make the pavements flat so you don't risk major injury when walking along them, particularly at night!"
• Bill from Colorado said:
"'Under-filled accommodations' but still another hotel (The Grand Whiz) with even more rooms to let are being built in Kuta? 97% of all Gianyar hotels are operating illegally? I thought that there was to be a building moratorium on new hotels? You cannot even make these kinds of stories up! Is ANYONE in charge?"
• Kahrsm added:
"Nobody wants to pay for a party they have no interest in attending. Bali resorts are being cheap by insisting that hotel guest pay for a service that they DON'T WANT."
Suggestions that Bali's governor is perhaps favored for a Ministerial appointment [Governor Pastika to Become Cabinet Minister?] has some readers worried:
"I sure hope this is not in the cards -- Bali REALLY needs Pastika very much! He's made such a HUGE difference in the way everything here is handled and viewed, so my hope is that a few more years of his term might cement that road and get Bali rolling along into the 'teens on a good course. In any event I wish all the best for Pastika and hope that he inspires others to follow in his footsteps. Please stay with us!"
[Bali's Road to Perdition] discussing the chaos and disorder surrounding the construction of the IB Mantra Highway got one reader to write:
• Mike wrote:
"Perhaps the government should consider binging in contractors and workers from other countries for big projects. It would probably cost less in the long run and local contractors might decide to work responsibly in the future. It is a shame to see so many public funds wasted."
[Remembering Brenda Gayle Unseld-Day] recalling a dear friend of Indonesia who died last month in Basel:
• Prompted Robi Unseld, Brenda's husband, to write:
"Thank you Jack , thank you."
"Your tribute to Brenda in the Bali Update is beautiful. Reading it, my tears started flowing, not because of sadness, but because I was overwhelmed by the memories of her rich life and the countless happy moments I could share with her."
"I shall share your 'remembering Brenda' with our friends."
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