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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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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Lunching with Sun Bears

Balikpapan’s Sun Bear Sanctuary lies in the Sungai Wain preservation area of East Kalimantan’s rain forest, off Kilometer 23 on the road to Samarinda. Here, seven sun bears rescued from poachers and other threats roam the 3.25 acre natural enclosure. Twice daily, the bears, whose Indonesian name “Beruang Madu” actually translates to honey bear, pad…

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We’re Famous! BIWA’s Biking Group Caught on Camera

Indonesia’s Independence Day, August 17, is right around the corner, and the streets festooned with mini Indonesian flags and garlands of red and white painted party cups make this a fun time to stroll or bicycle through the villages (“kampungs”). This Wednesday, the BIWA cycling group did just that.   Bike rides with the Balikpapan…

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Trekking to Kali Waterfall in Manado, Sulawesi

  Kali Waterfall (“Air Terjun Kali”) is located in the rain forest surrounding Kali village, about twenty or so minutes from downtown Manado. Along the way to Kali, tarps spread with freshly plucked cloves (“Cengki”) dry in the sun. Sulawesi is one island west of the famed Spice Islands, where Columbus himself set sail for,…

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Seven Ways to Embarrass Yourself in Bahasa Indonesia

After living in a foreign place for a while, perhaps one tends to forget how many painful exchanges have been inflicted upon the ever-patient native speaker, all for the sake of acquiring whole wheat flour or topping up one’s mobile phone credit. And for whatever reason, no matter what language you are trying to speak in…

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