Ramadan, Balikpapan-style

Balikpapan, the city in Indonesian Borneo, where Sam and I currently live, lies just 88 miles south of the equator. And today, June 21, marks the Winter Solstice for us and the Summer Solstice for those living north of the equator. It also happens to be a few days into the Muslim holy month of Ramadan…

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A day at Manggar Beach, Kalimantan Indonesia (East Borneo)

Manggar Beach lies about 21 kilometers east of downtown Balikpapan, East Kalimantan, and though it isn’t even close to the white sand and crystal blue waters of one’s dreams, it’s got something else to offer that’s completely unique. Try visiting on a Sunday afternoon when bizarro homemade, self-propelled paragliders weave treacherously between picnicking families, girls…

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Pasar Klandasan, Balikpapan’s Awesome Fresh Market

This post is dedicated to Pasar Klandasan, a fresh market here in Balikpapan that I frequent about once a week. Balikpapan is flush with large fresh markets (called “pasar” in Bahasa Indonesian), especially in the old town area of Kampung Baru and Kebun Sayur, where Blue Sky Hotel stands prominent, or along the ocean-front drive…

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Cycling Trip from Balikpapan to Penajam: 7 bikes and a boat!

One of the best things about living in Balikpapan is the stupendous, completely original, I-can’t-believe-I-get-to-do-this-on-a-regular-basis! cycling here. One recent experience was a group ride from Balikpapan’s Kampung Baru (also known as “Water Village”) to Penajam, a village across the Balikpapan Bay, where back roads lead through idyllic little plantations of tapioca, water farms filled with fish,…

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Hash House Harriers in Balikpapan: HASH Mash

For the uninitiated, The Hash House Harriers (A/K/A “Hash”) is an international running group dating back to the late 1930’s when some rowdy British expats in Malaysia decided they needed a way to sweat off their hangovers. Despite these beginnings (or perhaps, because of them), hashes are now going strong around the world, with over…

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Thirty Meters High at Bukit Bangkirai (Balikpapan’s Canopy Bridge)

About a two hour’s drive north of Balikpapan city central lies one of East Kalimantan’s tourist draws: the canopy bridge walk at Bukit Bangkirai. Bukit Bangkirai is actually a park within the rain forest, featuring log cottages for overnight stays, a small restaurant, restrooms, several [overgrown] jungle treks, a questionably maintained swimming pool and, for…

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We’ve moved to Balikpapan, Indonesia …

… And you can see where our priorities lie! It has been a whirlwind since our move from Tianjin, China to here: Balikpapan, a port city on the east coast of Kalimantan (a/k/a “Borneo”) Indonesia.* Folks here call it “Kal-Tim,” which is short for Kalimantan Timur (timur means east in Bahasa Indonesia). First stop?  Pasar…

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