Our Garuda Airlines nightmare (that turned out to be true).

I penned this post almost a year ago, and am just now getting around to publishing our mid-August 2015 encounter with Indonesia’s recently-awarded “World’s Best Cabin Staff” airline: Garuda. I’m sure Garuda’s cabin staff is indeed splendid, but you know what isn’t? Some of their ticket-counter customer service reps (particularly those in Balikapan, Kalimantan Indonesia),…

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Balikpapan: On and Off the Beaten Path

Tomorrow, Sam and I will be leaving Balikpapan, Indonesia, and I don’t think that fact has fully settled in. After living here for two years, I guess that is understandable. Packing up our things has made me think of our time spent in this “oil town” of approximately 700,000 souls, and the kind of questions…

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Experiencing Iftar: Breaking the Fast during Ramadan

It is that time of year again: the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, where, among other things, observers abstain from eating or drinking during the day and participate in breaking the fast at sundown. And if the curtain-obscured restaurants, department store sales, night bazaars and lack of daytime street food stalls didn’t clue us into…

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Thoughts on living as a corporate expat in Indonesia

Having lived in Balikpapan, Kalimantan for nearly two years now, Sam and I have racked up some interesting experiences as foreigners/corporate expats in Indonesia. This, despite the fact that, if I’m being totally honest, I don’t feel as if I can really say we’ve fully “lived” in Indonesia. Perhaps my perspective is due to the…

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The Weird and Wonderful: Rain Forest Walk in Balikpapan

Indonesia has the world’s third largest tropical forest, after the Amazon and the Congo. And lucky us, we currently live in Kalimantan, a/k/a Borneo, where the rain forests cloister species still being discovered; currently our island — the third largest in the world — is home to a huge range of flora and fauna found nowhere…

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Balikpapan Haze: The Indonesia Air Pollution Problem

Indonesia air pollution is a major topic this year, especially for those of us living under the smoky clouds. Unlike countries such as China or the USA, where air pollution is caused largely from coal factories and automobile exhaust, here in Indonesia, the the major air pollution culprit is slash and burn farming. Slash and…

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Mystical Stones of Borneo

Stone jewelry sales have exploded in Indonesia; particularly for men, who love to wear enormous stone rings and/or stone pendants strung with gold or silver chains. Within the sixteen months we’ve been in Balikpapan (East Kalimantan Indonesia), we’ve noticed a marked increase in stores and little stalls selling various raw and polished stones within the local markets…

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