16 November 2013

Bali - mangosteen fruit

A variety of mangosteen from the Pupuan area of Bali has been deemed so good, the Ministry of Agriculture has granted it a patent.

Manggis Palasari Serasi is the name given to the fruit grown in Selemadeg, in the west of Pupuan, which has been deemed superior to the fruit grown in other areas. The demand for mangosteen remains high, with 4,000 tons of the fruit sold to China last year. A new agreement has Chinese importers agreeing to buy 4,000 containers of them over the next five years. The fruit is sought after for its sweetness but also for its proclaimed health benefits.

A spokesperson for the department of Agriculture and Horticulture in Tabanan said the fruit was granted a patent owing to its high quality in that area. No other region can sell its fruit under this brand name. The news was greeted enthusiastically by Pupuan’s mangosteen farmers. Chairman of the Association of Selemedag Pupuan Mangosteen growers, Jro Tesan Putu, said the mangosteens are much sought after, especially by the Chinese market. He hopes the patent will boost exports, stabilise prices and avoid the intervention of middlemen. On average, mangosteen sell for around Rp 20,000 per kilo. About 80 percent of the fruit is exported and the remaining 20 percent is sold locally and processed into juice.

15 November 2013

Bali- my electric guitar

Despite my visit on the hospital, work on my guitar goes on, but slowly, like everything in Bali/ The electronics fit in the body, now it's time for painting, and at last I put the pickups in. Unfortunately, most of my work is on the back of the guitar....

Bali - rumah sakit, hospital Surya Husadha

Tuesday morning early I suddenly woke up with a completely numb left foot. At 7am we drove to the doctor, the poor man was still in his underwear, but after 10 minutes we were back outside, a consult, injection and medicine. Only later in the day my foot still getting fatter and more painful, so Tuesday afternoon we drove to Denpasar to the Surya Husadha hospital. Around 7 o'clock in the evening we arrived there, registered and then I was taken to a room to wait for the specialist, who thought it was wiser to stay to the next day to do some testing, so
then we get to our hospital room. A spacious room with an 8 positions adjustable hospital bed, a second bed for Nyoman to sleep on, fridge, TV and seating area with 3 armchairs. And even though it was almost nine hours, they still directly provides us with a dinner, a choice of Indonesian and European, even steak was on the menu. The next morning, Wednesday,  i get a doppler test, a CT scan and X-rays. Thursday at 8 am the specialist say that everything was fine, thrombosis, but with a couple of weeks medications everything came well. So we received all our medication, a quick injection course because three weeks I have to give myself an injection every day and all pictures, scans and documentation, all in English. Thrombosis is not really nice, but I have to give compliments to this hospital, all neatly arranged, good service and very friendly and helpful staff.
Hey, it's me...

11 November 2013

Bali - temples excluded for tourists?

Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika has proposed that temples be excluded as tourist destinations on the island to limit, or even prevent, tourists visiting the places of worship.

“Further discussion with the island’s tourist industry will be necessary to consider the proposal. It is high time for us to limit access to our temples. Please use the temples to worship the creator,” and “Temples must function as worship places,” the governor said.

Currently, traders sell various goods, from food to fashion items, outside temples. During odalan, temple anniversaries, the traders pack the temples yards. What was more important, Pastika said, was that nobody could guarantee that all visitors were eligible to enter these sacred sites.
According to Hindu belief, menstruating women are banned from entering temples. Behavior while inside the temple must also be decent and visitors should wear appropriate clothing. A Hindu temple is architecturally and philosophically divided into three zones — the jeroan (the inner part and most sacred site of the temple), jaba tengah (the middle section) and jaba luar (temple yard). Visitors may enter the temple yards, but can not enter the jaba tengah and jeroan according the proposal.

10 November 2013

Bali - Gentong jugs

In the past, large earthenware jugs, locally known as gentong, were a symbol of pride and luxury. Noble people used them as water containers to take a bath, and distinguish them from commoners who bathed at wells or in springs.

As time went by, bath tubs and showers were invented and gentong no longer represented luxury in bathrooms. People started to use them as decoration and a symbol of simplicity. Along Jl. Bypass Ngurah Rai, near the Tohpati intersection and the border between Denpasar and Gianyar, there are a lot of local gentong makers that passersby can easily find. These gentong can be used for various purposes, including as decoration in houses or hotels, plant pots and water containers. Each has a different price and quality, depending on the motif and thickness of the clay. A gentong with no motif, a height of 50 centimeters and a diameter of 20 cm, is sold for Rp 600,000. One of 2 meters in height and many motifs costs Rp 3 million, but customers are welcome to bargain.

One of the gentong stalls along the road is Metik Sari Garden. Customers can watch the process of making gentong, starting from mixing the clay, to shaping it and firing it in a kiln for three to four hours. The gentong makers usually get clay supplies from Banten. In addition to the large earthenware jugs, there are also smaller handicrafts, like vases and jars, available in various sizes and designs.

Pic of the week

The beach from Pebuhahan in Jembrana, Bali

09 November 2013

Balinese chocolate

Cacao has been cultivated for at least three millennium in Central America, with documented evidence from around 1100
BC found at Puerto Escondido. The Mesoamerican people made cacao into chocolate drinks and used the byproducts to create, among other things, alcohol.

The Aztecs made a drink known as xocolatl, and it is via the Spanish conquistadors that xocolatl entered Europe to eventually become the chocolate characterized by the elegance of individual chocolatiers and the mass-producing companies, such as Cadbury, Van Houten and NestlĂ©. Today about two-thirds of the world’s entire cacao is produced in West Africa, but it is widely grown throughout the
tropics, including Bali, which begs the question why has there been no truly unique and outstanding Balinese chocolate?

A few years ago Australian chocolate maker Toby Garritt set out to put this right, and from his visionary seeds a true Balinese gem is now emerging. Located within the Bali Elephant Camp at Carangsari village, a few miles north of the famed Sangeh monkey forest, Toby has created a small factory unit complete with a rather stylish café where he invites visitors to learn about, sample and create real chocolate.

The Pod Chocolate experience brings Garritt’s creation to life. The tour takes the visitor from cacao bean to final creation and also explains how they are supporting local farmers to develop sustainable and higher value produce. It is a hands-on experience and not just one for the kids, and of course there is lashings of wonderful, real, high quality Balinese chocolate to be tried. Pod Chocolate has already made a significant impact on the high-end hotel market, with brands such as Le Meridien not only selling their chocolate but using them to create signature and truly Balinese deserts.

08 November 2013

Lombok - Taman Alam Suranadi

Lombok is well known for its fantastic natural landscapes and trekking is a popular activity for visitors – whether it is climbing our volcano, Gunung Rinjani, trekking through jungles to find hidden waterfalls, or taking peaceful strolls through traditional villages and along the edges of rice paddies.

One easy trek, known as Taman Alam Suranadi (or Suranadi Nature Park), is located about 30 km from Mataram and only around an hour’s drive from Senggigi. Taman Suranadi is a protected nature reserve set on 52 hectares and is a good way to discover the tropical flora and fauna found on Lombok.

The park was first established in October 1976 and in its heyday was a beautifully maintained section of natural forest, complete with sign-posted nature trails, plaques naming the species of trees, a pond for swimming and picnic areas. Over the years, like so many things in Indonesia, the park has fallen into disrepair and it is disappointing to see that the signs and plaques are rusted or have fallen off the trees, the trails are becoming overgrown, and the staff who linger on the bales at the entrance are more interested in playing cards and drinking tuak than taking care of this potentially great tourism resource.

All that aside, for those who love to get out in nature, to walk along shady forest trails and discover hidden plants and creatures, the park provides a lovely environment to wander for a few hours... and an easy day trip from Senggigi or the cities. Signs at the entry to the information center show maps of the trails available in the park and one of the guides will be happy to accompany you for a small donation (a good idea, as it is easy to get lost and the guides know where all the special places of interest are located).

One easy-to-follow trail leads to the right of the information center, past large trees, including a few towering Mahogany trees, to the special “Pohon Jodoh” – two large trees that have grown up intertwined, like lovers in a natural embrace. Nearby is a dam which used to be used for swimming, but need badly maintenance and the water is now dirty.

A relatively easy one hour (return) trek to see the “Pohon Besar”, or “Big Tree”. The trek goes through tropical rain forest vegetation with tall trees – some of the older ones towering 30 metres or more – mixed with shrubs and jungle vines. Further into the jungle, you pass a small stream and followed pretty trails overhung with shady trees and the occasional enormous Banyan, Beringin and Mahogany trees, said to be hundreds of years old. Other tree species in the park include Garun, Klokos Udang, Kemiri, Bajur, Terep, Kayu Suren, as well as many shrubs and native flowers.

The park is also home to many monkeys, including the gray monkey and black monkey, as well as water mongoose and giant squirrels, eagles, honey birds, monitor lizards and snakes. At last you arrive at the “Big Tree”, which in all honesty should be renamed the “Giant Tree”, because it has grown considerably since it was first named! Towering more than 30 meters, the girth was at least 4 meters around and festooned with thick aerial roots. This is a really impressive specimen and worth the walk through the jungle to see.

Apart from exploring the Suranadi Nature Park, there are many other attractions nearby. Within walking distance, just down the road, is Pura Suranadi (Suranadi Temple). This is a beautiful complex of temples founded in the early 16th century by Javanese priest, Dang Hyang Nirartha (also known as Bhatara Sakti Wawu) during his pilgrimage to this peaceful valley. The temple is currently being repainted and is in very good condition. Borrow a temple sash (and a sarong, if you are wearing shorts) and make a donation before entering. Also opposite the temple is the old Suranadi Hotel – one of the oldest hotels in Lombok. It was built in the 1930’s by L Frantzman, an employee of the Nederlands Indische Bank, as a semi-permanent home on the edge of the jungle. Across the road from the temple is a large area with a number of lesehan (small cafes) selling local food, as well as many stalls selling snacks such as Dodol – a popular sweet made from dried fruits, such as jackfruit, papaya and durian. The lesehan are very popular with locals and are usually crowded on the weekend. Make yourself comfortable on a mat on the floor and order Sate Bulayak (a type of satay famous in Lombok) for around Rp 15,000 a serve.

07 November 2013

Bali and HIV - AIDS

Bali as an international tourist destination, which is very well known to the whole world, is increasingly highlighted, because the HIV cases are increasing rapidly throughout the year.

Based on data owned by one of the foundations in the field of prevention HIV / AIDS in Bali, there are about 100 new cases of HIV-positive every month in Bali. May be even more. Because based on the theory of the iceberg, there are at least 300% of the cases were not identified. This will have an impact on the magnitude and spread of HIV in Bali. Prostitution and brothel business is inseparable from the economic factor and job competition, which resulted in all the strategies undertaken to gain a lot of customers. So in the tourism industry, the business of prostitution in a brothel being interconnected terms. Even pimps use as a hotel room where brothels and protitusi activities clandestinely.

Even so many foreign tourists who come to Bali, meant to include journey aside from enjoying the beautiful island of Bali, also want to find a female companion in his journey in Bali. Unconsciously, from an unhealthy relationship, there was a very deadly virus  between tourists and prostitutes. Many cases of HIV infection occurred among prostitutes. Recent data that there were about one-fifth of prostitutes in Bali with HIV. Transmission is not known whether it occurs in a brothel or done independently. But these data are very concern, because there is no doubt in prostitution in Bali, occurred unsafe relationships, such as using condoms.

Problems also occur when businesses villas and hotels add a whore in the rental price. This would be a nightmare for tourists who do not know how exactly this practice runs. So the transmission is not realized would happen to travelers from prostitutes who have been infected with HIV. Government records there are about 10,000 cases of HIV in Bali, and maybe more. Estimates that there are approximately 26000 cases described, according to the calculations of the iceberg.

Bali - Nusa Dua Fiesta 2013 from 15-19 November

Nusa Dua Fiesta 2013 celebrates art, music, food, and marine life from 15 - 19 November

This year’s Nusa Dua Fiesta 2013 promises to be a dazzling feast for the senses and a celebration of the marine life that has been a huge part of the bringing tourists to Bali and to Indonesia. To be held in the luxury tourist enclave of Nusa Dua, the five-day feast will kick off at 15 November.

The Nusa Dua Fiesta gets better every year, and this time, organizers are working round-the-clock to bring you the biggest and hottest Fiesta ever.  For five days, locals and tourists alike will be treated to non-stop beach parties, music concerts featuring international acts and local superstars, art and science festivals, cultural parades and performances, and culinary competitions that will showcase the world-class cuisine of Bali. Hotels in Nusa Dua are also joining the celebrations with parties and events of their own.

At the center of the celebrations are the marine conservation efforts of Indonesia’s local governments and environment groups.  Last year’s Fiesta was highlighted by the “Save Nusa Dua Coral Reef” event and sustained by marine conservation initiatives, such as workshops on sustainable seafood preparation. Expect this year’s event to be even more extensive, with interactive workshops and educational tours scheduled to provide participants a firsthand experience of the rich Balinese marine life. Whether you’re a foodie looking for your next gastronomic adventure, a beach lover in search of the perfect combination of sea, sand, and smiles, an environment enthusiast on the lookout for beautiful marine life, or a partyphile tired of the same old urban clubs and bars, you’ll definitely have a blast at the Nusa Dua Fiesta.

06 November 2013

Bali - the corpses of Trunyan

Trunyan village, which years ago was scrapped from travel agents tours due to repeated complaints about the harsh attitude of the locals and boatmen toward visitors, has gradually improved its image and is currently working to regain its position as a unique destination.

The village is famous for its distinctive funeral custom, in which the corpse is placed on the ground and protected only by a temporary fence of pointed bamboo sticks. In other places in Bali, the corpse is either buried or cremated. A boat to cross to Trunyan can be found in Kedisan village, on the banks of Batur Lake in Kintamani, Bangli regency.

After 15 minutes on the boat, passengers can already see Sema Nguda — a graveyard for infants and unmarried adults — on the cliff. Only a small cave covered by lush trees was visible. But there, in the steep ravine, several corpses of infants and unmarried adults had been placed. Around 100 meters away from Sema Nguda, is a gate made out of bricks that is starting to be covered by tree branches. Adjacent to it are small shops, a security and tour guide post, and a board that reads: “Welcome to Kuburan Desa Trunyan” (Welcome to the Trunyan Village Graveyard). This is Sema Wayah. The graveyard is famous because locals place the corpses under a Tarumenyan tree without burying them, but there is no odor. The residents believe that it is because of the tree fragrance.

Sema Wayah is the place for people who die naturally; not due to an accident or witchcraft. For unnatural deaths, the corpses are taken to Sema Brantas. Residents have their ways of deciding which graveyard is suitable. In all of these places, the skulls and bones are swept aside if a new corpse comes in. Hundreds of bones can be seen everywhere, along with the deceased’s favorite valuables. There are combs, mirrors, money, and many more items. As there are so many bones there, residents have placed some of the skulls and bones above the rocks to make it easy for tourists to take pictures.

Indonesian public holidays 2014

The number of national holidays in 2014 is one more than in 2013, because May 1st - Labour Day - is now a national holiday, as decided earlier this month by President Yudhoyono. There are also four extra days inserted to make long weekends.

January 1, 2014 - New Year
January 14, 2014 - Birth of the Prophet Muhammad
January 31, 2014 - Chinese New Year (Imlek 2565)
March 31, 2014 - Hindu New Year (Nyepi 1936 Saka )
April 18, 2014 - Good Friday
May 1, 2014 - Labor Day
May 14, 2014 - Waisak 2558
May 27, 2014 - Ascension Prophet Muhammad
May 29, 2014 - Ascension Jesus Christ
July 28, 2014 - Idul Fitri 1435 Hijriah
July 29, 2014 - Idul Fitri 1435 Hijriah
July 30, 2014 - Joint free day
July 31, 2014 - Joint free day
August 1, 2014 - Joint free day
August 17, 2014 - Independence Day
October 5, 2014 - Idul Adha 1435 Hijriah
October 25, 2014 - Islamic New Year ( 1436 Hijriah )
December 25, 2014 - Christmas
December 26, 2014 - Joint free day

05 November 2013

Bali - religious protest against new tourist spot

Numerous Hindu high priests and community leaders have strongly rejected the central government’s plan to include Besakih Temple and Gunung Agung, both in Karangasem regency in east Bali, in the development of national strategic tourism plan (KSPN).

Last Sunday was a high-level meeting of highly respected high priests, Pasamuhan Sabdha Pandita Parisada Hindu Dharma Indonesia (PHDI), from which the priests issued a statement rejecting any idea of transforming the two sacred sites into the KSPN proposed by the government.

The PHDI urged President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry to revoke ministerial decree No. 50 issued in 2011 on the inclusion of Besakih and Gunung. Agung as KSPN for the 2010-2025 period. The PHDI also asked the provincial administration to retain the sacred site status of Besakih Temple and Gunung Agung as per bylaw No. 16/2009. Five of the most influential high priests signed the statement.

Believed to have been built in prehistoric times, Besakih is the mother temple and largest and most holy worship place for Balinese Hindus. It was built 1,000 meters up the slope of Gunung Agung, a mountain deemed holy by the Balinese. Gunung Agung and Besakih are Huluning Jagat Bali — the center of the universe for Balinese Hindus. It is the center of the godly power that protects Bali and its people. It will deeply affect the very soul of the Balinese Hindus.

The Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry had previously designated several places in Bali as part of the KSPN, including Besakih and Gunung Agung in Karangasem; Kintamani and Lake Batur in Bangli; Pemuteran and Menjangan island in Buleleng as well as Sanur, Kuta and Nusa Dua resort areas.

A veteran tourism practitioner in Bali, warned the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry to be more sensitive in dealing with religious sites. Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika had previously said that KSPN were central government programs. In the KSPN, he said, there were no specific words referring to Besakih Temple or Gunung Agung, just the development of Karangasem regency for spiritual tourism. “We, the provincial administration, have never proposed Besakih Temple and Gunung Agung be included in the KSPN,” Pastika insisted.

Jakarta is only interested in money, it seems they don't care about the unique Balinese Hindu religious sites!! Tanah Lot is a good example as a sort of religious Disneyland.

04 November 2013

Video - Bali's underwater world

Christianity in Bali

Bali, one of Indonesia's 17,508 islands, is home to Indonesia's Hindu minority. The island became a refuge in the 16th century for Javanese Hindus fleeing the spread of Islam in Indonesia.

The province of Bali is 93 percent Hindu, while Indonesia as a whole is 85 percent Muslim. One doesn't have to walk into one of the 20,000 Hindu temples or shrines to realize that Hinduism is deeply embedded in Bali, traditionally called "Island of the Gods." Native Balinese practice a distinctive blend of Hinduism with indigenous animism, ancestor worship, and magic.

Compared with the rest of Indonesia, Christianity has made little headway in Bali. Christians make up only 2 percent of Bali's inhabitants. Christians are 15 percent of Indonesia's entire population. In Bali, it is easier to establish a mosque than a church: Pastors need approval from 50 families in the surrounding area and recommendation letters from the local district government. Islamic leaders do not face such steep requirements.

Yet new Christian outreach is taking root. A turning point occurred in 1972, when I Wayan Mastra, a native Balinese Hindu who became a Christian at a school on Java, was chosen as chairman of the Balinese Protestant church association. He contextualized the Balinese church, including introducing dance and traditional gamelan music, to divorce it from its Dutch Reformed colonial legacy. He cast a vision for a "mango tree" church, rooted in Balinese soil, not a "bonsai tree" church, potted artificially. Over time, Mastra's vision produced results. Christianity in Bali is now growing faster than the population in Indonesia.
The Christian church in Negara

01 November 2013

Bali - Pasar Kumbasari, Denpasar

Visitors to Bali may find shopping at large, cool, comfortable souvenir shops relaxing and convenient while vacationing on the island.

Located at major tourist sites, including at Sunset Road, these emerging souvenir markets have successfully attracted busy tourists, who do not have the time and energy to travel to faraway markets and bargain for good quality items.

Dozens of these large souvenir supermarkets, locally known as pasar oleh-oleh, have started to seriously eclipse the once popular traditional markets, such as Pasar Seni Sukawati in Gianyar and Pasar Kumbasari traditional art market in Denpasar.

In the past, tourists, especially domestic tourists, would have never have skipped their essential visit to these traditional markets, which sell the made-in-Bali handicrafts, clothing, paintings, bed-covers, to interior decor at bargain prices. But if you have spare time, visiting Pasar Kumbasari, next to Pasar Badung traditional market on Jl. Gajah Mada in downtown Denpasar, may give you a memorable and challenging shopping experience. Lines of shops offer a vast range of Balinese wooden handicrafts, traditional textiles and clothing. Some also sell an assortment of spa products, natural soaps, colorful candles, essential oils to traditional herbal products. For those who like collecting wood and metal statues, try the market’s third floor (no elevators or lifts, sorry!) to find local artisans selling and producing these artistic pieces.

In the past, Pasar Kumbasari was popular as peken payuk, peken means market in the Balinese language, while payuk means household utensils. Denpasar mayoralty has declared Pasar Kumbasari as a heritage site. The market is very close to the historical Tukad Badung river, Bali Museum, Pura Jagatnatha temple, all of which are located within walking distance.