Saparua Island: Love and Rupture in the Moluccas

How do you win someone over after you’ve plundered his livelihood, strangled his religion, denigrated his race, and murdered his children? Strangely enough, this thought kept popping into my mind as the naked fishermen ran back and forth on their skiff, whooping and hollering and hauling in lines. “Um, I’m not sure this is an… Continue reading Saparua Island: Love and Rupture in the Moluccas

Delhi: Lucifer’s Lair

Our first taste of India, real India, came with the pre-paid taxi.  “Do you know where this address is?” I asked as the young man in blue sweats chucked our backpacks into the rickety old minivan. “This van is black,” Andy muttered.  “They told us the official taxis were black and yellow.” Good observation—my wife… Continue reading Delhi: Lucifer’s Lair

Kaledupa: Crossing Over

With the dawn appeared the boat – a tiny white bark ready to skip us a mile across the channel to yawning Kaledupa: Twenty minutes of sunshine and crystal sea, sunscreen and smiles, a farewell video etched on a hard drive, a glimpse at a landscape seated in the subconscious of Paradise.   The boatman… Continue reading Kaledupa: Crossing Over

Pulau Hoga: Alone?

  It didn’t take Andy long to decide.  A boatload of Indomie and smoking Bapaks in Batiks, an unshakeable stench of diesel, and a ceiling so low that only passengers aged to single-digits could walk upright—it convinced her in an instant.  “I’m riding on top.”   We expected the public boat from Wangi-wangi to the… Continue reading Pulau Hoga: Alone?

Belitung: Put This on Your Map

  A blip on the radar, another island lost in the Java Sea, a speck of Sumatra skipped over by guidebooks and travel agents, and the weekend haunt for a thousand tight-lipped Indonesians in on the secret—welcome to Belitung.   There are only two chances you’ve heard of this place: if you watched a 2008… Continue reading Belitung: Put This on Your Map

Amed: Bali’s Next Honeypot?

“Where are you staying, Mister?”   Our inquisitor sat serenely on his motorbike, sarong dancing in the breeze and cigarette smoldering in his lips.   I’d been here twenty minutes, hiked one kilometer down a lonely road, and already he was the tenth person to ask me this. I paused for a moment to adjust… Continue reading Amed: Bali’s Next Honeypot?

Kawah Ijen: Fire on the Mountain

Blue flames everywhere – and not small ones either. We’re talking flames to cover a house, to dwarf a crowd, to light up a forest in flames fit for a gas stove, fit for a steel-cutting torch,  fit for a Bunsen burner. Fit for anything except a huge, stinking pile of rock on top of… Continue reading Kawah Ijen: Fire on the Mountain

East Java: Bromo’s Maw to Ijen’s Ghosts

“Right now,” I sighed, “right here, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a dinosaur strut around that corner.” Everyone nodded in agreement. “I mean, seriously: a Stegosaurus, or a Brontosaurus, or… or something. Or at least their ghosts, you know. At least their ghosts are here. “For sure, at least their ghosts.” By now they… Continue reading East Java: Bromo’s Maw to Ijen’s Ghosts

Bunaken: Reef Master

Bunaken: Reef Master Andy gripped my hand even harder. The plane rocked, steadied, and dropped lower for its final approach. Our third attempt at a final approach, to be exact. After two last-minute botched approaches, to be even more exact. The first went like this: we sped over mile after mile of runway from a… Continue reading Bunaken: Reef Master