Category Archives for Indonesia


On Hospitals in Indonesia

Plate and screws removed from Zac's arm.

On Tuesday, Zac had surgery – to finally remove the metal plate installed at huge expense after our helicopter evac from Mongolia, where he’d broken his arm so spectacularly that one person who saw the X-ray described it as a “stuntman injury”. And, unusually for us, all proceeded without any drama at all. He was […]


The Friday Photo: Jellyfish Lake

Kakaban island in Borneo's Derawan Archipelago, blurred in a wave.

Ever snorkelled with jellyfish? Deliberately, I mean? We did, in the jellyfish lake on Kakaban Island, in Indonesia’s Derawan archipelago, off Borneo. Kakaban is a marine lake, with only the slightest connection to the sea, so it’s evolved its own ecosystem. These spotted jellies have truncated tentacles and have almost entirely lost their sting, while […]


The Friday Photo: The Leang-Leang Caves

Hand stencil in the Leang-Leang caves of Maros, with truncated ring finger.

Maybe 17,000 years ago, maybe 40,000 years ago, someone scrambled up to the wall of this cave and left his handprint. It’s a large hand for prehistoric times, about the size of mine, and his ring finger is severed at the first joint. Was he an artist? A priest? A warrior? A chieftain? And was […]


The Friday Photo: Our Mahakam River Boat

Mahakam River Boat

I felt like Madame Mao taking this photo, signalling from the bank to get the boat in what I hoped was an appropriately scenic position against the sun. Zac and I spent four days on her, exploring the Mahakam River, in Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo – for work. There’s something just wonderful about sitting on the […]


The Blog Posts I Didn’t Write in 2014

Bajo fisherman off Maratua, Derawan, Kalimantan.

Ah, 2014! A corker of a year. We’ve settled down in Bali, got ourselves more or less sorted out, done lots of interesting travel, entertained guests, made friends and – OMFG – I hit 40. And, for a range of reasons, mainly time/money/internet-related, I’ve written close to fuckall about events to date. So, to enable […]


Photo Essay: Bau Nyale in Lombok, Indonesia

Actors perform the story of Princess Mandalika.

Once a year in Kuta, Lombok, Indonesia, the palolo worms that live in the reef come out to spawn, and locals celebrate with the Bau Nyale festival. Child jockeys come from Sumbawa and East Lombok to race horses on the strand. Like Firman, 7, from Bima in Sumbawa. Who fell, horrifically, yet cried not from […]


Different for Girls

HDR motorbike by Bev Goodwin on Flickr's Creative Commons.

There comes a time in every woman’s life when you realise that travelling just IS different for girls. For me, this little epiphany happened en route to Lombok’s Bau Nyale festival. Because I’m cheap, I took the slow boat. Because I’m an incompetent fucktard who shouldn’t be allowed within miles of a child, I switched […]


In Which We Visit an All-Inclusive

Beachfront at Grand Mirage Resort Bali.

Barely two weeks into our period of settling down, and I’m thoroughly in need of a holiday. So we decide to take up an offer of a jolly to not one but two all-inclusive five stars down in South Bali. Neither of us have ever stayed at an all-inclusive resort before. But… hey! It’s gratis. […]


Home Sweet Home? Ubud

Women processing to a ceremony in Ubud, Bali

New Year’s Day seems an appropriate time to head to Bali and start a new life – and, let’s face it, getting on a plane somewhere and not getting off it for another few weeks is an easier resolution to stick to than, say, giving up smoking. The plan is to head to Ubud, which […]


What is Ubud Like? A Few Perspectives

Flower seller at Ubud Market

Embarrassingly for someone who writes for a living and has spent months in Ubud, I spectacularly failed the other night to answer the question “What is Ubud like?” Because the answer really does depend on your perspective. So here are a few perspectives on Ubud, the Balinese town where Elizabeth Gilbert found the “love” in […]