Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Without A Compass

Coming from Europe there is lots of weirdness to be had in Balikpapan - seeing modern European letters but finding the words undecipherable is one immediate shock - but the thing that gets me the most is that there are no maps of the city. I have always taken maps for granted; whether I am using an OS map, an AA route atlas or the natnav on my iPhone. But there is no official/reliable cartographic data for Balikpapan whatsover. To help resolve this I have started plotting as many points of interest, geographical features and roads using the overhead satellite imagery found on Google maps. Just have a look to the right to see my efforts to date. Hopefully others will find it of some use too.

Thursday, 16 September 2010


Here I am, sat in Jakarta airport, surrounded by the most foreign culture I've ever experienced in my life and covered in 15 hours worth of airplane grime and sweat. Oddly I feel quite charged despite only having 6 hours sleep in the past 24 hours. I put it down to the coffee, laced with condensed milk, that I have just downed. I may even treat myself to an A&W rootbeer or a Dunkin' Donuts afterwards.

So all in all so far so good. My next report will come from Balikpapan in a day or two after I've recovered (to the best of my ability) from 8 hours of jetlag.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Ready, Set...

This has been a week of finalisation. On Monday we had our last Japanese Encephalytis and rabies jabs, and went down to London to hand in our passports and visa application at the Indonesian embassy. Then on Tuesday we had our last Hep A & B boosters, so now our immune system will give us enough protection from the swarms of bugs that we can survive leaving the airport and get to our house.

And so on Wednesday afternoon I trotted down to London to retrieve the passports. All told it only took an hour and now each of our passports has a funky visa decal which allows us to stay in Indonesia for 1 year.

Just this morning my flight arrangements arrived by email. I am flying out on September 15th with Etihad Airways (not Singapore Airlines as I'd been hoping for): London to Abu Dhabi (2 hour lay over) and then on to Jakarta (2 hour lay over) before arriving in Balikpapan with 17.5 air hours under my belt. Or under my bum as the case may be.