Tomia: The Doctor Is In

A diving paradise, a delinquent MD, and a pushy 5-star resort… What could possibly go wrong?

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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

Kei Islands: the low down

  Guidebooks say it’s got the best beaches in Indonesia. Bloggers say maybe the best in Southeast Asia. The map says it’s a few specks of islands tucked away under Papua and out in the deepest sea Indonesia’s got to offer.   They call it the Keis, and judging by the lack of online chatter,… Continue reading Kei Islands: the low down

Pulau Rhun: snorkel the microcosm

People do strange things to see fishes. Take, for example, our snorkel group. We dragged a reluctant captain from his slumber on the rainiest morning of our stay, loaded up his oversized canoe with fins and tubes and masks, threw in a little fried rice and smattering of fruit, and set out across the widest… Continue reading Pulau Rhun: snorkel the microcosm

Banda Besar: planet earth’s spice factory

Under the arching limbs of centuries-aged almond trees, among their trunks wide as Chryslers and round as chop sticks, we stopped and stared. Far overhead, the leafy canopy rustled, peppering sun and shadows across the park-like earth, pillars of almond trees holding the roof aloft. Beneath, tufted sprouts of green trees popped merrily in and… Continue reading Banda Besar: planet earth’s spice factory