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Welcome to InBali’s fortnightly account of life on the Island of the Gods – from the mouths, the keyboards and the lenses of those who love it the most.

Schoolies out – silly season in! Bad behaviour, tainted love and giggly satire mix into the melting pot that was Bali this past fortnight. We laugh, we cry, but mostly – we celebrate. There have been so many soirees, our tipsy heads spin trying to select the crème de la crème for this jolly-good recap, our final for 2014.

Melbourne authorities look to curb disrespectful skating on Bali memorial

skaters skating on bali bombing memorial

In cringe-worthy global news, Melbourne City Council (Australia) may consider a municipal-wide code of conduct for skateboarding enthusiasts, triggered by disrespectful scenes at the Bali bombing memorial in Carlton’s Lincoln Square park.

As reported by Herald Sun on December 4, the behaviour has been described as “social anarchy” as skaters use the edges of the sacred memorial for their slides and grinds.

“Councils are realising it’s a problem, it’s causing anti-social behaviour and it’s affecting shared spaces. There is this culture in the skateboarding community where they go and find places where they are not allowed to skate.”

In a follow-up report on December 9, it was announced that City of Melbourne councillors had voted to redesign the park to make it unsuitable and unattractive for skateboarders. Works costing up to $300,000 could start by April.

Smuggling drugs and on-line love

New Zealander Antony de Malmanche was arrested last week at Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport after allegedly trying to bring 1.709kg of Methamphetamines into the country.

Narcotics investigators had been tracking him before he flew from Hong Kong to Bali, with the drugs allegedly found stashed in his bag.

In a bizarre twist, it is now being reported that De Malmanche claims to have been set up by his Internet love. In his first public statement since his arrest, he told reporters at a hospital in Denpasar, where he was being treated for an injured hip, that he had been lured to mainland China, then Hong Kong, and then to Bali by a fictional woman named “Jessie” whom he met online. It appears he believed she would marry him.

He revealed that, in all his travels, he had never actually met “Jessie”, later saying that “she’s a fake”.

“Originally, she was to meet me in China and then they made some excuse that she couldn’t make it, so they said to meet here, that they’d bought a ticket that she was already here,” he told reporters.

drug arrest in Bali

It would seem that authorities aren’t buying his story, believing that he is a cog in an international drug ring. As reported by tvnz.co.nz on December 9, The Bali Police Commissioner, Henry Wiyanto, says de Malmanche had been “a target of the narcotics drugs smuggling division for a long time before he was arrested”.

Whatever your stance on the international news headline grabbing story, we can all take a lesson on being careful who we trust online.

Bringing things back to the lighter side of internet dating, we have culminated Buzzfeed’s ultimate tinder guides for the year in a salute to lovers of Tinder-Nesia. The best moments of 2014, the most witty profiles, the cringe-worthy messaging moments, and what happens when you randomly pose Carrie Bradshaw’s best Sex in the City questions to unassuming bachelors. You’re welcome.

“Suitcase Murderers” reunited in Denpasar holding cell

It’s not your conventional love story, but making news this week was the reunion of two star-crossed lovers, dubbed the “Suitcase Murderers”, famed for their involvement in the murder of 62 year-old Chicago socialite Sheila von Weise Mack in her Bali hotel room in August this year.

Since their arrest for the killing, they had been held in separate jails in Bali. As reported by News.com.au on December 9, Heather Mack (18) and Tommy Schaefer (21) saw each other for the first time in two months when they were brought to the prosecutor’s office in Denpasar.

Mack is now 6 months pregnant with the couples baby girl, which they eerily plan to name after Mack’s own grandmother. Given the severity of the charges they face, it was a surprisingly tender meeting. Reports describe that “the young couple hugged and cried together. Mack sat down on a bench, surrounded by other prisoners and holding a newspaper to her face while Schaefer got down on his knees, tenderly touching her stomach and kissing the baby bump. The couple chatted and laughed together.”

Suitcase murderers Bali

Love can take many shapes and forms. This case being by far the most shocking and news headline grabbing of recent times. The couple have announced that, despite their reputation, they wish to remain living in Bali (what.. beyond your uh.. release??) – because the people are so kind. They have even been quoted as saying they are considering naming their unborn child Putu, a nod to the land. Public response has indicated this might not be welcomed by the masses.

Skin: crawling.

Australian Consulate General fighting men’s depression

australian consulate in Bali

Mental health in Bali has been a recurring theme over recent months (see Island Recap November 17). A customarily sensitive or stigmatised topic of discussion, it nows seems to have found a more public voice on the island of Bali. And now, it has found one of the most unlikely backers.

Known mostly for their dealings with visas and passports, the Australian Consulate General has just made news for the work they do behind the scenes helping the increasing number of Aussies who suffer from depression and mental health issues.

As reported by Beatmag on December 3, a group of men from the consulate have banded together to embark upon an awareness raising mission about men’s health, driven by their own personal experiences with friends and family, as well as through their interactions with Australians here in Bali who need a helping hand.

Australian Consul Tom Walter was quoted as saying “We have some really amazing organisations in Australia like Beyond Blue and Lifeline that do good work. I want to ensure that Aussies and all men living here know that living in Bali doesn’t mean you’re cut off from these services, and to reach out to them if you need help or if you’re worried about someone else.”

More information on the help available can be found through www.beyondblue.org.au/resources/for-me/men.

Tale of an accidental Toolie

One unassuming Aussie found herself on her maiden voyage to Bali at the same time as the dreaded Schoolies crowd. Being well past her school leaver’s prime, this unfortunately qualified Zoe Radas as being a Toolie, a devastating realisation for any dignified human being. Here, she shares her tale of her Schoolies week in Bali, and how it didn’t suck. We LOVE.

Schoolies and Tootlies in Bali

*NOTE: Urban Dictonary definition: Toolies

Every November, thousands of young Australians who have just completed their final year of school fly to the Gold Coast or Bali for “Schoolies” week celebrations. Toolies are essentially older men who deliberately holiday on the Gold Coast during this time, trying to pass themselves off as Schoolies in order to seduce drunk teenagers. Toolies have developed into something of a sub-culture, with thousands of experienced Toolies now making the trip a part of their yearly routine. A sickening species to say the least.

The “Lost Bali” community find themselves in the Jungle

Trending at the moment: reminiscing about what Bali was, comparing it to what it is now.

Bali over time

A group of Bali devotees have gathered thanks to their common interest: looking back at the Bali we once knew (think 70s surf shacks, old cheap losmans, rice fields for days), and comparing it to how it presents in current-day (luxury villas, neon strips, circle Ks). Their private Facebook community acts as a fascinating photo timeline, with mostly pre-1990 shots of barren beach lands, dirt tracks to the best surf breaks, and the Balinese dancers of yesteryear.

All with the sentiment of wishing they could turn back time.

The page was established to honour the memory of the island they once knew and its beauty and magic, which still remains in their hearts today. This past week, it turned to celebration as the group gathered for their maiden “night of nights”.

Bali over time

Held on December 6 at the Island Cafe in Petitenget, the night was themed “from Jungle to Jakpack” and folks from all walks of island life were welcome: the only prerequisite for entry being a costume. It was an evening of dance, drinks, camaraderie and conversation, recalling the memory of Bali before massive development hit.

The Lost Bali group states that “today the fast moving pace of Bali through capitalism, land developers, hotel chains, business, tourism, villas, shops ad infinitum, is changing Bali forever. Bali will always be a magical island but the highly condensed developing areas such as Kuta, Legian, Seminyak and Ubud are experiencing rapid development. Kuta and Seminyak have no more ricefields.”

Bali’s transformation has been one of the island’s most trending topics for the year. It was in our most recent December 1st edition of the Island Recap that we discussed the emerging restaurant scene morphing Bali into “Little Bondi”. As this revolution gains traction, it becomes a heated debate for the people of Bali. Development increases to cater to the ever increasing influx of tourists. Tourism brings with it and increase in industry, and employment. As we reported in the November 17th edition of our Island Recap, “1 million Aussies Love Bali…and Bali seems to love them back” – the millionth visitor from Australia is tipped to touch down in Bali some time before the end of this year.

The danger that an increase in planned development poses for the delicate eco-system of the island was highlighted by ForBali’s Benoa Tolak Reklamasi campaign (see #Balitolkreklamasi from the November 2rd edition of the Island Recap).

For or against development and change, it’s happening – and we appreciate the Lost Bali groups efforts in preserving the magic of Bali in their on-line time capsule and recent party.

Echoing this, long time Bali resident, Sarah Dougherty, this week said “Love it or hate it? Things change, we change, celebrate good times. Now and then.” in her post by threesixtyguides – bali. We hear you, Sarah!

Hip-hop finds an unlikely host in Bali for the festive season

Bali and Hip-Hop: the most unlikely of allies.

The island is undergoing a 90’s ghetto makeover with two upcoming rap-tabulous events over the festive season. The first being at Potato Head Beach Club, when they host Posdnuos, Trugoy and Maseo of 90’s De La Soul fame for one night of hip-hop heaven.

Following in the “Gangstas [In] Paradise” theme, The Mulia Resort in Nusa Dua are holding a star-studded New Years Eve celebration with headliners Earth, Wind & Fire bringing their RnB, Soul & Funk best to Bali’s shores, with an accompanying show by the 90’s hit group, Color Me Badd.

The old classics All 4 love and I adore Mi Amour are on their way for our listening pleasure…well colour me EXCITED!

Jay-Z, Rihanna & Paris Hilton drop into Indonesia for a laugh

paris hilton in Bali

Posted by the share-worthy Wowshack, and crediting Agan Harahap, we give to you the hilarious result of Photoshopping Western celebrities into common Indonesian situations. Chuckle!

Xmas ideas for the Canggu hipsters

image - beards

Struggling to find the perfect gift for your hipster hubby? Inspired by the booming hipster sub-culture brewing in Canggu (think Deus, think Dorsey’s)? We have found the ideal way to bring Christmas to you, here in Bali. Click here for more.

Bali’s most unique Christmas gift? 

Stephen Black is an artist and a writer who has lived in Singapore, NYC, Tokyo, Paris, Hong Kong and Bali.

A lifetime spent delving into the arts and pondering existence’s biggest questions, we’re thrilled to hear of his latest piece; Bali Wave Ghost.

Bali Wave Ghost is an artwork about being alive in Bali.. and the bittersweetness of all that it encompasses. It is the author’s life statement… his journey through the spectrum of laughter to sadness. Technically, it’s darkly funny, cinematic, lyrical and intimate.

Through his travels and rich experiences, he knows there are other kindred spirits collected upon the magical island who can relate to his poignant appreciation for this energetic vortex and all that it affords those who call it home. There is a time for most Bali devotees, where the metaphoric blindfold lifts to reveal an island of deep truths, harsh realities and irony for those only with the most seasoned sense of humor. If you’re nodding, you’ve been there too. Now, as a member of this not-so-secret society, he welcomes you to write yourself into his recount of Bali and all of her charms.

This opportunity will be, for some, Bali’s most unique and valuable gift this Christmas. In exchange for financial pledges, the author will spend time getting to know his sponsor, and weave their story into his own, further enriching the rich tapestry of his tale through the experiences of others like him.

Stephen’s wishlist for Christmas this year reads of sharing his lessons learned and learning a few more from his project sponsors. He has a dream to see this project come together from the heart, gathering resources from kindred beings. He is not using a big book publisher, a high-paid book agent, or any other standard book publishing tactics. He simply wishes to use his creativity to birth this into reality for all to enjoy.

We aren’t quite sure how this stuffs into a Christmas stocking, but we sure are intrigued.

  • How does it work?
  • Pledge $500: You will have a minor character named after you
  • Pledge $1,000 or more: You will have a character with dialogue named after you
  • Pledge $2,000 or more: You will have a key character within a dedicated chapter

More information and contacts can be found here & authors notes can be found here.

Froth-tastic Ganesha coffee art

coffee art

One Bali barista has been seriously stepping up his froth game this week, as snapped by Inbali.org reader Xenia Valeeva at the Hungry Bird café on Jl. Pantai Berawa, Berawa Beach. Impressed!

Bali’s crafty answer to roadside assistance

Breakdown at the "shortcut" connecting Berawa Beach to Echo Beach

They say necessity is the mother of invention – and here we see the proof in the petrol! Another day, another Canggu shortcut drama. This time a driver ran out of petrol, clogging the already heavily congested road connecting Berawa to Echo Beach. Help was quickly on the way – he was able to catch a ride up the path to grab a few bottles of bensin (petrol) and managed to fashion a funnel out of a leaf from a nearby tree. Only in Bali!

Canggu Pet Resort – Club Med for pets

image - pet resort

We were on the scene to witness a Bengal Cat check-in to Canggu’s exclusive resort for pets; no mums, no dads, only fur babies allowed. It’s like a Bali retreat for pets whilst their fam head home for the holidays.

Dogs, cats, even the occasional pony are treated to private accommodation, on-hand staff to see to their every desire, personalised diets and leisure activity areas comprising of a luscious green lawn, play equipment, and a sparkling pool for your pampered pooch.

Worried about the welfare of your loved ones whilst you trip away from the Island? You will be pleased to hear that their facebook page acts as something of a Nanny Cam, posting photos of day-to-day life in the lap of pet luxury.


The glitz & glam of the Bali Rainbow Community Aids Day Gala

image - rainbow

The World Aids Day Charity Gala Event took place Monday the 1st of December, 2014 at Royal Beach Seminyak. It was full of the Bali Rainbow Community’s trademark glitz and glamour (and a few glowing girls to make the night extra memorable!), and was an overwhelming success. The night raising a record sum of more than 250 million IDR.

Director Desmond James told InBali.org that the event was attended by over 500 guests, the largest ever World AIDS Day Gala in Bali. Entertainment was provided by internationally acclaimed DJ, Kitty Glitter, as well as by Bali’s famously stunning Drag Divas, hailing in from three of Bali’s leading drag bars. Generous prizes, vouchers and gifts were auctioned and raffled, including hotel stays, furniture, haute couture and apparel. Door prizes even included a new Yamaha motorbike.

All funds raised by the Bali Rainbow Community help to pay for medical treatments, hospitalisation, and in some cases, living expenses for HIV positive people in need. To date, they have 46 people they support or have supported. With x-rays and liver tests costing around Rp 800.000, testing for viral loads costing close to Rp 1.500.000, and weeklong stays in hospital for treatments costing up to Rp 10.000.000 at a time, these are much needed funds.

They see it as treating an absolute epidemic in Bali. More than 20% of homosexual men tested are positive and this figure is increasing.

“Stigma and taboo are our biggest challenge in Bali. It’s not yet easy or comfortable to talk about HIV here. Many within our community and in the general population still regard HIV as fatal, and shy away from discussion or people who have it. This doesn’t need to be the case,” says Desmond.

“New information, new drugs and new support systems enable positive people to live normal, healthy lives if tested and treated soon. Viral loads can be reduced to almost non-detectable levels, which reduces the risk of infection to others.”

Bali Rainbow events help to raise funding to support patients, and also to pay for much needed outreach work. Initiatives include “Condom Man’ – a character they created to distribute condoms, flyers and information, and to encourage people to get tested immediately and often. Condom Man appears every night in all the gay bars on Jalan Dyhana Pura and on the beaches in Legian, Seminyak, and Petitenget every Sunday.  This character was created and fully funded by Bali Rainbow Community.

Those wanting to pledge their support for this amazing and much needed cause can do so via the Bali Rainbow Community website. Anyone who has any questions regarding HIV can contact them via balirainbowcommunity.org or by reaching out to Yayasan Gaya Dewata, a local NGO working specifically in the LGBT community.

Party of the week: two of Bali’s brightest divas ring in a tandem birthday @ Slippery Stone

birthday girls

It was dazzling, it was decadent, it was downright diva-licious!

Calendars were cleared weeks in advance for the birthday social event of the year. December 5 marked a dual celebration for the President of the Bali Diva Community and Best In Bali Now, Christina Iskandar, and her fabulous bestie and partner-in-diva-liciousness, Jo Netherwood. As the pair rang in 50, Slippery Stone was packed with over 200 guests, invited by the divas for playing their parts in the pals charmed lives here in Bali.

image - party2

The 80’s themed night was a celebration of love, friendship and the trademark glitz and glamour that we know and love the girls for. Christina echoed this sentiment as she thanked friends and guests for the special night; “a massive shout out to Adrian Reed, Mark Baker Asia, Adam McAsey, Craig Cooper and Kagan Powell: words cannot express our thanks for your incredible gifts of love and gratitude, we love you guys to the moon & back. Here’s to the next 50, love and light always. We are so blessed to have you in our lives T H A N K Y O U!”


It had some stiff competition, almost out-fabbed by the White Party on Nikki Beach’s opening night. But with this who’s who turn out (Hi Octavio!), and the heart of everything that these two women and their army of divas achieve through their foundation – they got our vote! Happy Birthday to you both from InBali.org

What Happened this week on InBali

Getting a Bali visa: everything you need to know


About 85% of all legal problems for travellers in Bali are the result of a visa issue. Bali may be a relaxing and intoxicating holiday destination, but when it comes to the business of visas, there are rules and regulations in place.

Locavore Ubud: food with heart and passion


Locavore has a buzz. People are talking. Some purring. Booked solid every day and not a stitch of advertising. Situated down the small street that runs between Monkey Forest Road and Ubud’s other main thoroughfare, Jalan Hanoman, Locavore is discreetly positioned in size and style.

Taking photographs of the moment will stop you living in it


We are addicted to taking photographs and ‘capturing moments’ and it’s stopping us from living in the moment. Time to put down the camera and start living.

From the lens of Photographer Jez O’Hare


Looking through the lens of photographer Jez O’Hare who captures the beauty of Indonesia through aerial photography.

You know you are in Ubud when…


Once predominantly famous for its royal heritage (think palaces and traditional dance performances, literally fit for a king), Ubud has now transformed into a new-age sanctuary.

New Years Resolution: Please do not feed the fears


This edition was our final instalment for the year. InBali wishes its readers a safe and happy holiday season. Pictured here, as snapped by reader Linda Davidson in Kerobokan, this cheeky sign serves as a timely reminder to us all. Happy New Year!

**Feature image photography by Gary Adamson.