It’s been unusually long since I’ve written, perhaps because there was too much to write about and at the same time nothing at all. That’s okay. I haven’t been in Balikpapan for over two months now, and it was a relief to be able to get out of the city. I spent most of my time over there on work and worrying. An indicator it was time for me to get out (another clear indicator was the fact that my stuff started to mould in my room. No joke.)
So I went to the forest, and stayed long (well, almost 3 weeks) and then I took a holiday to Bali, which was great. Now I am writing from the Tropenbos office in Bogor, where I’ve been working ever since my holiday was over and I was obliged to return to the real world. This, however, does not mean that I didn’t learn anything in the past few months. I learnt A LOT actually. For instance, did you know that:
– It takes approximately 40 hours to travel to Java (Surabaya) from Balikpapan by ship? This excludes the additional 12 hours of waiting for the ship to arrive at the point of departure.
– The Call for Prayer on ships also starts at 5 AM?
– Ambon people are probably the most obnoxious among all Indonesians? (Give me a fucking break, pleaaaaaase)
– Indonesia’s law system is also corruption-ridden, and that I found that out on a morning in East-Bali between 4.30AM and 2.00PM when I wanted to do a whole lot of other stuff?
– The drugs available on the Gili Islands (between Bali and Lombok) are seized by cops in Kuta in Bali and subsequently sold to the locals on the islands? That’s what I call entrepreneurship!
– Malaria Falciparum gives you high fever, muscle and joint aches and an overall feeling of weakness, but it doesn’t make you throw up?
– BIMC hospital in Kuta, Bali, has excellent medical facilities, but at a high price so you better have a good health insurance?
– Europassistance luckily provides such health insurance?
– A standard cop bribe for not having an international driver’s license when riding a motorbike in Bali is 250.000 Rp or about 20 EUR?
– A Balinese massage costs around 60.000 Rp or 5EUR for an hour in Ubud?
– Gunung Batur is a pretty little volcano?
– Balinese people sell land and buy bakso (= national favourite meatball dish), while Javanese people sell bakso and buy land?
– You can actually randomly run into acquaintances on a random corner of a random market in Bali?
– It’s great to have family (even when it’s a non-genetically related one)?
– Ekonomi Trains to Jakarta are so full in the morning that there is hardly any space even on the rooftops?
– Ekonomi Trains from Jakarta are so full in the evening that there is hardly any space even on the rooftops?
– I luckily have to go the other direction?
– Robbers roam these trains and that I learnt through experience?
– Express Trains from Depok to Bogor are generally 40 mins late?
– Buying a laptop is such a hard decision for me I still haven’t managed to get one?
– I more and more often have to suppress the reflex to flip off the people yelling “HEY, BULEH!” at me, or variations of this?
– There is something such as Englonesian, which is English words in sentences with an Indonesian structure?
– Translating Englonesian to English can be a tough job?
– That is exactly what I should be doing right now instead of writing this blog post?