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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Announcing Early Review Copies for The Orphan of Torundi!

It has been a while since my last post.  But I have some arguably valid excuses.  To wit, (1) moving from China to Borneo is a slightly involved procedure and (2) I’ve been busy completing tasks for my soon-to-be-released novel, The Orphan of Torundi! Here’s what reviewers are saying: “The Orphan of Torundi delivers all…

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The Glory of English Language Signs in China

One of my great regrets about our year in Tianjin was my failure to capture the brilliance and hilarity that is the English language restaurant menu. It is worth going out to eat for that alone, even if the repercussion of said venture includes the digestion of certain unthinkable delicacies. Well, I don’t have those awesome menu…

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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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Budget Travel in Shanghai: What to Do and See

Whenever we used to think of China, more often than not, we’d think of  Shanghai.  And when we thought of Shanghai, images of 1930’s glamour, junk boats, cosmopolitan streets and seedy opium dens straight out of a Clavell novel came to mind. Turns out, Shanghai isn’t at all like that.  It’s a modern, bustling city…

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