We Reflect of Changes and Innovations Over 547 Issues of Bali's Weekly Update on News and Tourism.
On March 2, 2007, Bali Update, the now weekly newsletter on Bali News and Tourism published by balidiscovery.com turned nine. The March 5, 2007 edition represents the 547th edition of our award-winning newsletter.
Some possibly interesting facts about Bali Update we'd like to share with our readers:
The format has changed markedly over the years. A simple email originally sent by Bali Update's Editor to a few friends and associates in March 1998, eventually evolved into an html format, most recently revised in issue 545 on February 19, 2007.
How did a weekly newsletter manage to publish 547 editions in just 9 years (9 x 52 = 469)? The larger number of issues is attributable to "crisis" editions published more than once a week during the crisis days of Bali's increasingly distant, darker past.
For people with slow Internet connections or who prefer to work off-line, a plain text copy of the Bali Update is also still published each week. Just let us know if you'd like to recive our plain-text format.
Bali Update is now sent to more than 17,000 subscribers every week. (If you experience problems receiving your weekly Bali Update, make sure that email@example.com is added to your address book to make sure we're accepted by your spam filter system.)
Bali Update has received various rewards including an award for marketing excellence from the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Indonesia Chapter and the accolade of being named "Bali's truth Ministry from Time Magazine.
The more than 5,000 articles and stories residing on our archive were almost all written and edited by our Editor, John M. Daniels, President Director of Bali Discovery Tours.
That over the past nine years we've managed to drawn occasional fire from Bali lovers as well as relentless campaigners who hate our island, must mean we've somehow managed to hit a "balance" on our reporting of Bali happenings.
10 Banjars Close Roads in North Kuta to Protest Arrest of 4 Community Leaders Charged with Gambling.
Angry citizens from 10 banjars or local traditional communities near Dalung , in North Kuta, placed boulders, motorcycles and vehicles to blockade Jalan Raya Dalung for nearly six hours on the morning of Thursday, March 1, 2007.
The villagers, mostly men wearing traditional Balinese costumes, blocked the road to protest the detention of 4 community leaders held by police under suspicion of cock-fighting and gambling at a local temple on Tuesday, February 27, 2007.
The villagers insisted that the four men under police custody were not involved in illegal gambling but, instead, were only innocent participants in a pujawali ceremony at the Pura Dalem Bajangan temple in Dalung that included a Tabuh Rah ritual.
A tabuh rah is a Balinese religious ritual demanding the spilling of animal blood, in this case chickens. A tabuh rah ritual is performed in strict accordance with religious rules and is not accompanied by gambling in any form
Local organizers of the tabuh rah claim police were advised beforehand of their intentions to hold the religious ceremony.
Meanwhile, Bali police, who took into custody the four community leaders, contend the arrest were not made in connection with a tabuh Rah ritual; citing fighting cocks, blades, leg strings and a large amount of money confiscated during the police raid that prompted the arrests.
A Tense Situation is Momentarily Diffused
In order to diffuse a potentially explosive situation in which armed police reinforcements (Brimob) were being deployed to the area, the assistant regent of Badung and members of the local house of representatives mediated between the police and the demonstrators.
By mid-day on Thursday the crowds dispersed when police agreed to release the community leaders on their own recognizance until after the coming New Year's celebration (Nyepi March 19), at which time the Police said they would proceed with the case against the men.
A Less than Fresh Sea Breeze
Government Reports Success in Efforts to Remove the Stench that's Been Bothering Visitors to Bali's Kuta Beach for the Past Week.
As reported on balidiscovery.com, [See: The Blobs that Attacked Kuta Beach], Bali's most popular beachfront has been the victim of two incidents of malodorous attacks over the past month. The first set of bad smells were due to a "red tide" that caused thousands of fish to die off and wash ashore; while the second, more recent, "smelly beach" incident were traced to unusual globs of foul-smelling, meatball-like organic matter.
Despite the best efforts of local communities to bury the offensive "globs," the "stink" has proven persistent causing the Bali Fisheries and Sea Service to take the additional step of spraying the beach with Effective Microorganism 4 (EM4) - a micro-organic compound designed to hasten the decomposition of organic waste.
The spraying of the non-toxic compounds along the beach commenced on Thursday, March 1, 2007, with almost instaneouys positive results reported by tourists visiting the beach who have noted a significant improvement in air quality.
Local officials plan to continue with routine spraying of EM4 along the beach until the smell of the globs thought to emanate from algae or chunks of Bali sardinella that have washed ashore in Kuta - disappear completely.
Laboratory tests to determine the exact origins of the organic waste causing the smell are ongoing.
Bali's Diminishing Rice Bowl
Bali's Land Grab Blamed for Rapid Erosion of Island's Agricultural Character.
Government targets to increase local rice production in Bali as part of a national plan to grow 2 million more tons of rice nation-wide in 2007 are going to be hard to achieve. In the case of Bali, the major obstacles to more rice production are lower-than-average rainfall and the uncontrolled conversion of agricultural lands to other uses.
Speaking to the Indonesian-language daily Kompas, Bali's Chief of Agriculture, Dewa Nyoman Suarta, blamed land use conversion as the biggest culprit in the downturn in rice production in Bali, causing a growing dependency on other areas for the Balinese staple crop.
According to statistics kept by the Department of Agriculture, the subak irrigated areas in Bali are diminishing at a rate of between 700 and 1,000 hectares per year. 1,612 active subak areas are currently estimated to cover 82,095 hectares in Bali. In 1997, just one decade ago, there were an estimated 3,000 subak occupying 87,850 hectares still in operation. In the space of a decade, that's a -6.55% decrease in community-controlled land dedicated to rice agriculture.
The Agriculture Chief for Bali said the loss of farming land was due to the high prices being offered to farmers in order that their lands could be devoted to industrial and real estate applications.
Because of this, it is increasingly unlikely that Bali will meet a target of 805,000 tons of rice and other grains set for the current year.
Downtown Denpasar Scheduled for a Facelift
City Planners Announce Program to Renovate Shops and Create Pedestrian Areas Along Jalan Gajah Mada in Bali's Capital City of Denpasar.
The Indonesian-language BisnisBali reports that the stores populating Jalan Gajah Mada in downtown Denpasar (Bali's capital) are scheduled for renovation as part of the Denpasar municipal government's plans to create the area into a pedestrian mall.
The Chief of City Planning and Zoning for Denpasar, Ir. IGP Anindya Putra, recently announced the plans for Jalan Gajah Mada to become a "public pedestrian area."
According to Putra, the renewal and revitalization of the area is part of the government's plans to breathe new life into Denpasar's downtown area. As part of the plan, shops located along the busy street will soon be renovated to preserve the characteristics of the shops as they looked in yesteryear, at the height of Denpasar's central role as the administrative center of the Island.
The plan also calls for pedestrian traffic to be given priority over vehicular traffic, with special facilities to make the entire area more accessible to the handicapped.
Bali's Airport Closed for 24 Hours on March 19, 2007
2007 Observance of 'Nyepi' Bali's Day of Silence & Solitude to Mark 9th Time Island's Airport Closed to All Air Traffic.
Bali's Governor, Drs. Dewa Beratha, has formally written to the Minister of Transportation and the Minister of Foreign Affairs together with 50 other government agencies in Jakarta to advise them that Bali's airports and seaports will be closed for a 24-hour period on March 19, 2007 for the celebration of Hari Nyepi - the official day of silence and solitude that marks the New Year of 1929 on the Balinese calendar.
"The temporary closure of the Ngurah Rai International Airport for 24-hours on Monday, March 19, 2007, will mark the ninth time since 1999 that the airport has been closed (for Nyepi)", explained Drs. Putu Ardhana, the Head of Balis Transportation office.
In a proclamation dated October 18, 2006, six months prior to Nyepi, the Governor announced the closure of Bali's airport to all airlines operating to and from Bali.
During the period from approximately 6:00 a.m. on Monday March 19, 2006 to 6:00 a.m. the following morning the airport will be closed to all domestic and international flight operations.
For more information on Nyepi observances in Bali, please follow the link below.
First of Six Bali Hotel's Seeking to be Certified by Green Globe for Their Commitment to Sustainable Tourism.
Green Globe is a global benchmarking, certification and improvement system for creating sustainable travel and tourism. Based on Agenda 21 and the principle of Sustainable Development endorsed by 182 governments at the Rio Earth Summit of 1992, hotels and tourism enterprises are challenged critically asses their environmental friendliness and embark upon detailed program to become increasingly green over time.
Going Green at Aman Resorts
Ubud's Amandari Resort recently recieved official notification of their Green Globe 21 certificatin. In qualifying for Green Globe 21 certification, Bali's Amandari Resort was acknowledged for its commitment to sustainable tourism for various aspects of its operations, including:
Amandari's architecture reflects the physical presentation of a Balinese village. Volcanic paras stone was extensively in building the Resort.
Villagers freely walk through the Resort on their way to rice fields and the nearby Ayung River. In this regard, the lobby was specially designed to permit a priest to pass through the resort by preserving an open section in order to accommodate religious tradition that dictates a priest's head must not be covered.
The Resort has sponsored a dance teacher for over ten years to provide traditional dance lessons to the children of the surrounding village.
Amandari Resort sponsors an orphanage for disabled children, including the children in regular outings with staff and assisting in the building of school buildings and dormitories. [See: A Special Day Out for Special Kids].
70% of the staff working at the hotel are from the local community, living within 2 kilometers of their work.
The Resort makes monthly donations to village community affairs projects, as well as underwriting temple ceremonies and festivals.
The Resort undertakes monthly clean-ups of the surrounding village and provides educators to teach children about environmental issues.
40% of the produce used at the Resort is grown organically with the Chef working with local farmers to grow and then purchase organic vegetables and fruits.
Scraps from Resorts kitchen are given to local pig farmers as fodder.
An annual three-day ceremony is held at the Resort's Balinese temple, attended by villagers and staff alike.
The roofs of the villas at the Resort are made from dry grass (alang alang) which keeps the rooms cool and reduces Air Conditioning usage.
A Sewage Treatment Plant operates 24 hours per day to process effluent from the rooms, laundry and kitchen. The water quality is checked regularly with water recycled into the gardens.
Saline water (instead of chlorinated water) is used in the swimming pools.
Back offices use energy-efficient light bulbs.
The Resort's Kitchen uses plastic boxes to reduce the need for plastic wrap and plastic bags.
Oil changes in the Resort's vehicles are done by a specialist using environmentally friendly disposal methods. Used tires are also given to an outlet where they are recycled.
The Resort's cars are washed with a bucket of water and a pump hose to minimize water wastage.
The gardens at Amandari are home to many different plants, including 50% of the world's entire species of heliconia.
Guests gifts are selected local handicrafts.
Mosquito incense coils and protection oils are made from natural products.
Laundered guest clothing is returned in a basket, not in plastic.
More Bali Hotels to Qualify for Green Globe 21
Amandari Resort is the first from among six hotels seeking Green Globe 21 certification. Expected to also qualify for certification in the near future are: Alila Ubud, ALila Manggis, The Chedi Villas and the Conrad Bali Resort and Spa.
Bali One of Nine Districts designated to be a Regional Emergency Response Center for Natural Disasters.
Tempo Interaktif reports that Indonesia's Minister of Health, Siti Fadilah Supari, has handed over a state-of-the-art emergency response vehicle to Bali's Governor as part of ongoing efforts to enhance the Island's state of emergency preparedness.
The vehicle is equipped with sophisticated communication systems, a water treatment plant capable of producing 100 liters of potable water every hour, a electrical generator, portable x-ray and other equipment to aid an emergency response situation.
According to Minister Siti Fadilah: "this vehicle is like a mobile hospital. If there is a disaster it can be immediately sent to the location."
The emergency response vehicle is designed to be operated in conjunction with a separate ambulance, an operational vehicle and a motorcycle escort all of which were recently handed over to the Governor by the Minister.
The provision of the emergency equipment by the Central Government forms part of Bali's designation as one of nine national centers for regional assistance in the handling of public health emergencies.
The new equipment will be funded by the Indonesian Department of Health who are providing operational and training funds for an initial three years.
Following the Boxing day tsunami disaster of 2004 and the earthquakes in Central Java in May of 2006, the Department of Health has trained a total 1,200 of a targeted 4,000 emergency response personnel prepared to handle future national disasters.
Rare Sea Life Available by the Kilo at Bali's Fish Markets
Groundbreaking Study Demonstrates that Indonesia is Home to the World's Richest Array of Underwater Fauna.
National Geographic News report that a five-year study seeking new and rare fish species in Indonesia have discovered an entire range of heretofore unknown species, including at least 20 new species of sharks and rays.
The method used to discover and catalogue new Indonesian fish species was by regular visits to local fish markets by ichthyologists who purchased exotic and often undiscovered species on sale to the public.
The study, carried out at 11 ports across Indonesia including Bali's fish market, resulted in 130 species being studied. The frequency with which new species were encountered in local fish markets and the area from which they were fished are also providing scientists with clues to the size of fish populations, the impact of fishing, and strategies for species conservation.
While the results of the study will be gradually published over time, six new species have already been examined in leading scientific journals. Among the new species found by the Australian-led team of scientists in Bali are the Balinese catshark, the Jimbaran shovelnose ray and the Hortle's whipray.
Indonesia is generally considered to have one of the most diverse array of sharks and rays in the world with the latest study filling substantial gaps in scientific knowledge.
The data collected in the studies forms a part of a new field-guide entitled "Economically Important Sharks and Rays of Indonesia", available in both English and Indonesian.
Hopefully, this valuable new knowledge base on the fish species found in Bali's waters will enhance conservation efforts, allowing future generations of scuba enthusiasts to view these rare species in local waters instead of at the local fish markets.
Nikko Bali Resort and Spa Invites You to Join Their Club
Club Lounge and New Beach-side Rooms Due for Completion by July 1, 2007.
Nikko Bali Resort & Spa have commenced 2007 with an extensive refurbishment program that will result in a stylish new look for the property and a special class of accommodation for their premium guests.
Phased over the coming months to avoid inconvenience to their guests, the program includes the establishment of a prestigious ocean-view Club Lounge. In addition, a total of 94 Deluxe Beach Front rooms are being transformed into private retreats for ultimate relaxation.
The Nikko Bali Club
With all renovations scheduled for completion is on July 1, 2007, Nikko Balis Club will feature a cocktail bar, a choice of indoor & outdoor dining and an extensive library of best-selling novels, international newspapers and business & lifestyle magazines.
The Club guest will be entitled to an array of special privileges intended to enhance their overall experience at the Resort. These include, all-day refreshment with tea, coffee, fresh juice and a selection snacks. Guest will also be able to enjoy daily breakfast at any time, traditional afternoon tea and sunset cocktails in the comfort of the club lounge.
Other benefits at the Club will include complimentary internet access over high speed wireless connections, personalized stationary and late check-out until 16.00 hours.
Search for Person to Head Bali Tourism Board Expanded to Include Both Local and Foreign Candidates.
As reported on balidiscovery.com [See: Help Wanted: CEO for Bali Tourism Board], the Bali Tourism Board (BTB) is currently seeking a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to handle the affairs of the Board on a day-to-day basis and report to its newly elected Chairman, Ngurah Wijaya.
Position Open to Foreigner?
Press report have now appeared in all local Indonesian-language newspapers in Bali suggesting that the new position may be offered to a foreigner, providing he or she can pass a fit and proper test.
Fit and Proper Test?
While details are sparse and what exactly will comprise the criteria for the fit and proper test to be applied to the candidate seeking the BTB position, suggestions are that the new CEO must be a proven travel marketing expert committed to promoting Balinese culture and people-based tourism,.
When asked to comment on the possibility of a foreigner filling the CEOs role at the BTB, Ngurah Wijaya and Tjok Oka Artha Ardana Sukawati, the respective Chairman and Vice Chairman of BTB, both expressed their willingness to accept any candidate, regardless of ethnicity, providing that individual can professionally promote Bali tourism.
Dressing the World from Bali - 'Wrapped in Ropp' - Four Days Only. The Paul Ropp Warehouse Sales March 8 11, 2007.
Bali-based world-renowned fashion icon Paul Ropp was once asked to describe his eclectic approach to fashion. Without missing a beat, he replied that his fashions are "based on sun and fun ... clothes for people who want sensual freedom and movement or prefer to be naked."
Four Days Only Paul Ropp's Warehouse & Factory Sale
Naked? The alternative now costs substantially less for those who take advantage of the Paul Ropp Factory Showroom and Warehouse Sale March 8-11, 2007.
With 7 outlets in Bali - with other locations throughout Indonesia, Hawaii and Europe - Paul Ropp clothing is becoming increasingly available to a wider world market.
Note: the special Factory Showroom and Warehouse Sales only takes place at one location:
Jalan Pengubengan #1X, Kerobokan, Telephone ++62-(0)361-7323
The shop, located opposite the Kerobokan Penitentiary, is open each day from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
So, stop frightening the dogs and get clothed at the Paul Ropp Warehouse and Factory Sale.