Saturday, June 27, 2009


CHOCS AWAY: We’re not quite sure how this spa, on the By-Pass between Kuta and Sanur, manages its treatment menu. Do they roll you in chocolate and throw you in a bath full red wine? Um ... could work!

On Having a Good Yak and
a Nice Round of Applause

THE Yak is found both in a wild and domesticated state in Tibet and the neighbouring mountains and plateaux, from the snow-line up to 6,000 metres. It is greatly prized by the inhabitants of the country in which it is found. Yaks do not low, or moo, as other cattle do; their voice is a kind of grunt. The animal is grotesque in appearance, but is not particularly savage in disposition.
Readers will quickly see that the animal above, a beast of burden and provider of ready-rancid dairy products, is quite distinct from the variety we know in Bali. Clearly, ours is related to Dr Doolittle’s famous Push-Me-Pull-You. In front it’s a Yak; at the back, it’s a Bud. But it too is a beast of burden – it can carry prodigious amounts of bling and other baggage – and interestingly, while exhibiting the herd mentality and stampede tendency common to cattle, is apt to jostle fiercely for individual primacy once in the collectively selected vantage point.
Of course, we jest. Some readers, especially those who frequent the American Dollar Menu Precincts of Seminyak and Ubud, will know immediately that it’s actually a glossy quarterly journal full of interesting and informative material.
It is of interest to The Diary at this time because it is in the middle of having its annual festival of mutual back-slapping, The Yak Awards. This curious rite involves lists. Apparently previous winners nominate new contenders. It’s one of those nicely circular self-congratulatory sequences, requiring only compliantly affirmative friends. The voting is simple, too. It’s online on The Yak’s website – the site’s a good one by the way – and anyone can tick their preferences in any of the many categories.
Among the Presences on this year’s list is Monte Monfore, the Californian swimathon fellow, whose website informs us he proposes to make a splash again next year, in Japan apparently, which he says is to raise money for Unicef’s anti-polio campaign in Indonesia.
Hector won’t be voting in The Yak Awards. He only votes for the best mie goreng murah. But he’s sure his special bling and bolly correspondent, Stella Kloster, will tick the boxes, if she can remember how to log in and overcomes the horrid shock of not actually being on the list herself. The dress code for the back-slapping awards party at Sentosa on July 18 has ameliorated her displeasure somewhat. It’s psychedelic chic. She says she’s a shoo-in for a door prize, being a psychedelic chick herself.

MW2 Has an Adventure
WE thought it had been a little quiet lately. And now we know why. MW2 – it saves so much ink when you don’t have to write Michael Made White Wijaya every time doesn’t it? – has been away in India. It’s lovely there in the hot weather just before the monsoon and they’ve really got the goods on landscaping too. Been doing it for years, it seems.
We checked with his blog this week – well, it is the absolute gospel for all things MW2, after all – and discovered that on June 15-16 he was in Ahmadabad where, among other things, he had a waspishly tongue-in-cheek run-in with the local monkeys.
He tells it thus: “This afternoon I was almost gang-banged by a tribe of militant gay languor monkeys against the art brut wall of a 1940s Le Corbusier mansion.”
Oh dear. Not a good look, MW2! It’s a good thing Bali’s macaques are much better behaved.

Ready, Marathon Man?
JACK Daniels, of and the online weekly Bali Update, will surely be getting into gear for the 2009 Bali Triathlon being held this weekend (it’s on Sunday, June 28). It’s a lovely social occasion, we hear, and ends in a few stiff drinks. This year, too, it costs only Rp 100,000 to enter, instead of the Rp 200,000 charged to people who wished to torture themselves last year. We’re sure Jack won’t want to miss any of it.
The organisers of the shindig, officially the MRA Bali International Triathlon 2009 – and try saying that after swimming, cycling and running for far too long – say it promises competitors a chance to be absorbed by the beauty and friendliness of Bali.
Competitors – set to exceed last year’s numbers according to the organisers, who aren’t being any more specific than that – will start with a swim, a 1,500m stretch from the Four Seasons Resorts to the Bali Intercontinental beach. Then the field switches to cycling, over a 40km course through Jimbaran and Nusa Dua, and Ungasan and Pecatu on the Bukit. The race ends with a 10km run through Jimbaran and back to the Four Seasons.
In case of emergency, BIMC Hospital will have medical and ambulance support on hand and Jari Menari Massage is offering free massages.
There’s a 5-kilometre fun run over part of the 10-kilometre triathlon course around Jimbaran for the fainter of heart and less limber of limb. And for anyone wanting to kill time during the event, the Coconut Grove at Four Seasons, local headquarters of the pink dollar, will again be Race Central.
All sorts of drinkable and chewable goodies will be available for purchase from stalls there; there’s some organised fun for the kids; and loud noise – de rigueur these days, it seems – will be offered by Ardo and Delights with their “Smart Pop” songs.
Coconut Grove is also the venue for the pre-event dinner the night before.
Alila Ubud Branches Out
BALI’S natural beauty is a big draw (developers please note) and, of course, essential to the maintenance of the island’s rich and unique culture. It should always be protected and extended – where possible – and enhanced if practicable.
So it’s good news to hear that Alila Ubud is an active and firm supporter of local programmes that aim to raise awareness of environmental issues, and that together with Garuda Orient Holidays, it has recently contributed 140 tree saplings to the Seeds for Bali programme, a non-profit enterprise initiated by PT. Bank Danamon and co-sponsored by Bali Tourism Development Corporation (BTDC). It was launched at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali in December 2007.
Of course, as Alila also recognises, ecological outreach is smart marketing too.

Wellness, California Yoga-Style
IF California were an independent nation, it would be the world’s tenth largest economy. Some say it is the world’s leading exporter of nuts. Well, we wouldn’t say that, of course … but we do note that a Los Angeles couple has been appointed to head Desa Seni Village Resort’s wellness and spa programmes.
So take some deep breaths now. The Canggu property tells us that husband-and-wife team Steve and Shirley O’Connor have been named Directors of Yoga & Wellness and that they “arrive from the yoga mecca of Los Angeles, having founded and nurtured a thriving yoga studio there for the past seven years.” Apparently cultural sensitivity isn’t exactly part of the California yoga thing, then, since Mecca is better referred to as the holiest centre of Islam and Bali – though Hindu – is part of the world’s most populous Muslim nation.
Steve, 42, is a Tantric Buddhist and Vinyasa Flow yoga instructor who, we’re told, began practising yoga and exploring spiritual life in his early twenties, while working as a professional actor in Los Angeles. Shirley, 41, is a Vinyasa Flow yoga instructor who spent her twenties as a radio show producer and then on-air celebrity (who told her that, we wonder) in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Then, having found themselves and each other, they set up and ran Black Dog Yoga in Los Angeles.
We hear the O’Connors bring “entrepreneurial, managerial, and teaching experience to their new charge of enhancing the yoga and fitness offerings at Desa Seni’s Trimurti Studio, developing the art and wellness programmes, and heightening the resort’s spa identity.” That will be fun.

Corby Kooks at It Again
THE Free Schapelle Lobby, that worldwide dream collective that won’t believe she did it, is out there again, spruiking a new song by New York indie-pop artist Tara Hack that quite unfairly tries to ping Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd for – apparently – not sending a SWAT team to invade Indonesia and rescue the fair lady from her cell at Kerobokan immediately after he won office in 2007.
The ditty, titled The Wizard Down Under, reminds Rudd that when he was opposition foreign affairs spokesman in 2005 he called for substantive support to bring about the release of Corby (the spruikers refer to her as the “imprisoned human rights abuse victim”) and of the fact that since he became Australia’s leader in 2007 she has quite unaccountably remained locked up in Bali.
Unfortunately for dreamers and other dysfunctional characters, the world doesn’t actually work in the way they would like. If it did, there would be anarchy. They might want that. It’s seriously doubtful than anyone sensible would.
The facts are these: Corby was convicted of a serious drug offence under the sovereign law of Indonesia, and sentenced under that law. She continues to proclaim her innocence – which is her right, which no one, least of all the Indonesians, would seek to remove from her – and up to now has not acceded to suggestions that she could seek a pardon, because to do so you need to admit guilt. A prisoner exchange treaty is being negotiated between Indonesia and Australia. Corby might be eligible under such a treaty to serve the rest of her sentence at home. But these things take time. They are not documents you scribble on post-it notes or incorporate in your latest indie warble.
Corby’s sentence seems excessive, yes, especially when viewed against penalties meted out to high-profile Indonesians found guilty of vastly lucrative graft and corruption. But, sadly for Corby and never-explain, always-exclaim indie singers, the law is the law.

Plus a Bit on the Side
WE note with interest that the MUSRO music and karaoke lounge at Discovery Mall, beachside in Kuta, offers special services. In May it was advertising Rp 2 million packages to (male) guests inclusive of guest hostesses – along with a “buy two, get one free” promotion that had our eyes popping until we saw it was for Chivas – but has now come right out of the closet.
No price is quoted, but its latest pitch says baldly: Escort Service is Available.

The Diary appears in the print edition of The Bali Times each Friday and on the newspaper's website

No comments:

Post a Comment