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Government advice on travel to Indonesia
WASHINGTON -- At one time, perhaps the worst fate that could befall a tourist on the picturesque and popular Indonesian island resort of Bali was crashing a rented motorcycle.
"Accidents on rented motorcycles constitute the largest cause of death and serious accident among foreign visitors to Bali," the U.S. State Department said in a November information sheet.
That statement also noted that Bali had been "largely free of the disturbances" rocking other parts of Indonesia.
"All tourist facilities (in Bali) are operating normally and, to date, foreigners have not been the specific target of any group," the department said in an advisory that nevertheless urged Americans to avoid nonessential travel to Indonesia because of dangers elsewhere in the country.
But that changed Saturday when a bomb blast at a crowded nightclub killed more than 180 people, mostly vacationing Australians. Two Americans were among the dead and four were injured. A second bomb exploded near U.S. consular office, but police said there were no casualties.
President Bush and Indonesian officials blamed the attacks on Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida terrorist network, or its affiliates.
On Sunday, the State Department advised Americans to put off travel anywhere in Indonesia, saying the security situation there "puts U.S. citizens and U.S. interests at risk."
The warning also urged Americans already in Indonesia to consider leaving. Nonessential government employees and all family members were ordered out.
U.S. citizens traveling or living in Indonesia despite the warning were urged to "exercise maximum caution" and avoid crowds and demonstrations, keep a low profile and vary travel routes and times.
Travel warnings are issued when the State Department decides Americans should avoid going to a certain country.
Consular information sheets, available for every country in the world, include such details as the location of the U.S. Embassy or Consulate, entry rules, health conditions, and crime and security information.
On the Net:
State Department Travel Warnings and Consular Information Sheets: http://travel.state.gov/travel--warnings.html