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Orlando's adventures in the Orient
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Indonesian Travel Journal: Saying Good-Bye in a Hurry

Ten days ago, I said good-bye to Indonesia. My last few months there were a bit of a whirlwind, especially my last four weeks. I barely had time to say good-bye and that makes me very sad. My year in Indonesia was one of the best of my life. It sounds ridiculously cheesy to say I found myself again, but it's true. After my mom's long illness and years in the wilderness, I rediscovered my love of adventure, of new experiences, and mostly of not being stuck in a rut. I also discovered a true love of my own language and a love of helping others learn it. [Read more]

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Indonesian Travel Journal: Disappearing Acts and Reflections on a Year-Long Adventure


Daggers keep dropping hints that I should give a Southeast Asian expat perspective on what’s happening in Egypt. By dropping hints, I mean that they keep emailing me and telling me to write a Southeast Asian expat perspective on what’s happening in Egypt. I’ll think about that some more and get back to you. [Read more]

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Is Indonesia Positioning Itself Snugly Between the United States and China?

ArtAppraiser asked for my thoughts on a New York Times article about the relationships Indonesia is forging with the United States and China. I have to admit I haven't been paying that much attention to politics and economics over here. There isn't much in-depth analysis in the English-language press and my friends are mostly fellow teachers, so we talk more about grammar and culture than geopolitical manuevering. But, for what's it's worth, I do have some thoughts. So, here they are!  [Read more]

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Two Hundred Million a Day

You'd think for the kind of money President Obama is spending on travel in Right-Wing Fantasy Land, there would be at least one public event during his time in Indonesia. I mean, it's not like there are occasional attacks of terrorism in a city that is beyond impossible to secure.

Except it is exactly like that. Oh, well. I know somebody who knows somebody who is invited to dinner with the President this evening. Him and a few hundred other more important expats. Not that I'm bitter. But for $200 million a day, you'd think anybody holding a U.S. passport would be invited. [Read more]

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Indonesian Travel Journal: Uh, volcanoes?

There are, currently, about 500 active volcanoes in the world. If that sounds like a lot, don’t worry. Only 50 of them are in the United States, and most of those are probably in Hawaii. A bit more worrying is the fact that there are about 1,500 potentially active volcanoes around the globe. That’s 2,000 volcanoes that could, at any time, go boom. [Read more]

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Indonesian Travel Journal: Poverty or the Highs and Lows of Instant Gratification

I didn’t have internet service at my house this week. There was nothing wrong with the service. I paid the bill and magical signals were coming through the cables hanging high up above the street. I say magical because I don’t understand the ins and outs of how I can sit down on my couch in Jakarta and communicate with people all over the world through invisible electrical impulses. What’s more, I don’t really care how it works, just that it does. And when it fails, I get the tiniest bit cranky.  [Read more]

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Indonesian Travel Journal: Oh, the Places I'll Go

Hi folks! I'm glad to see so many new Dagbloggers. I'm in the middle of an epic holiday but I'm planning on spending a good deal of time in October, catching up on my Dag reading.  [Read more]

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Indonesian Travel Journal: Happy Holidays!

Lebaran is this weekend which means I have successfully completed my first Ramadan in a Muslim country. I wasn't affected much. My area of the city has almost as many Christians as Muslims, so the restaurants were still crowded at lunch time. I was more careful about eating, and drinking alcohol, outside during daylight hours and I didn't eat in front of my Muslim co-workers prior to sundown, but other than that, life went on normally. [Read more]

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Six Months In: Thoughts and Reflections on Living as an Ex-Pat in Indonesia


When I came to Indonesia in the middle of January 2010, I came with a few preconceived notions:

1. It was going to be hot;

2. The food was going to be great; and

3. The country had the largest Muslim population in the world. [Read more]

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Bukit Lawang and a Lesson in Resiliency

Bukit Lawang is a village in North Sumatra, on the edge of the jungle. The Bohorok River plays a central role in village life, providing a place to wash bodies and clothes, to cool down during sweltering days, and to have a little fun, running smallish rapids on tubes and in rafts. The village exists almost entirely due to tourism. In 1973, two foreigners set up an orangutan rehabilitation center there, which spawned hotels and restaurants and guides to take adventurous tourists into the jungle in hopes of spotting the orangutans up close. [Read more]

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Indonesia Travel Journal: Improving Infrastructure One Trillion at a Time.

There is a report in the Jakarta Post this morning announcing that the city will begin construction on a sewage system next year. The first phase of the project will take almost 10 years and only serve about 10 percent of the city, but it's a start. In 20 years, a projected expansion plan will reach a quarter of the population. [Read more]

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Indonesian Travel Journal: Best Suggestion Ever

On my way to Jakarta, I had a nine hour layover in Seoul, Korea. As I was planning my trip, I considered spending that time sight-seeing or finding a restaurant with some excellent bi bim bop. But then I realized I would be tired and grimy, so then I decided to try to find out if there was any place at the Seoul airport where I could take a shower. I was explaining this idea to a friend who frequently travels to India and she made a suggestion that changed my entire trip. She said, “Why don’t you look for a day-rate hotel?” Whichever hotel maven thought up this idea was a genius. I booked a room in a hotel close to the airport for seven hours. Their van picked me up and brought me back. [Read more]

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