I traveled to Indonesia without flying! Hurray!
It wasn’t even that difficult either! Hurray!
…And that’s about all the excitement I can give you for now. Because yesterday I flew. YES, I flew by AIRPLANE GODFRIGGINDAMMIT! From Jakarta to Balikpapan, my final destination on this trip… Of course it does make me feel like being a loser, travelling all this way to screw it up right in the end. And of course I have a good reason for it, whaddayathink. That reason is called: IMIGRASI.Imigrasi is the second floor of a large building near Gor Sumantri busway stop in Jakarta. It smells of coffee and sigarettes and everything looks beige, from the officers in their uniforms to the doors, the walls and the floors. It reeks of a mixture between laziness, boredom and authority. To sum it all up: you don’t fuck with these people. And your faith depends on them.
They gave me until Dec 31st to reach Balikpapan and process my immigration as a temporary resident (aka Dec 30, because the 31st is a holiday for all government offices). And I had all my papers ready only on Dec 29. Travelling to Balikpapan from Jakarta over land and sea would take me about 5 days (including 2.5 days on a ferry)… 5 days I did not have.
So I chucked out my principles, boarded the plane and flew straight into the degraded forest area that is Kalimantan Timur (the flight was less than 2 hours by the way, oh irony). And that is why I am now sitting in the Tropenbos International office, drinking instant coffee, asking hundreds of questions and trying to wrap my head around the issues everybody here is working on. They are MASSIVE, I can tell you that…
But tonight is for party! I’ll be celebrating the start of the New Year in the jungle with a bunch of orang utans. And the funny thing about that is that I’m not even trying to be funny!