Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Sampai jumpa lagi, Indonesia

Business Week recently did a story on the hardest "Hardship" assignments in the world. They didn't include places in war zones or really awful situations. These were a list of cities where expats regularly live that are challenging. Jakarta came in on their list as second worst, right behind Lagos, Nigeria.

They said that the biggest problems expats face in being assigned to Jakarta were pollution, disease, sanitation and lack of quality healthcare. They also highlighted Indonesia's past acts of terrorism against Western targets. These are all very true concerns, but I'd recommend Jakarta over almost all of the other places on this list.

We've found that Indonesia has so much to offer. It's a beautiful country with really nice people. There are so many natural wonders to see here. Indonesia has the greatest marine diversity of any country on Earth, so we've been really grateful that we're scuba divers. Where else could we have seen orangutans in the wild, Krakatoa erupting and relaxed on beautiful beaches?

Hillary and I are really excited for the future and our next post in Lisbon, but we're also sad to leave here. We couldn't have asked for a better place to spend our first assignment. We had great bosses for most of our time and we worked with a really great Indonesian staff who we'll miss. Sampai jumpa lagi, Indonesia. Until we meet again. You've been a great home.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Things We'll Miss

There are plenty of things we know we'll miss when we leave Indonesia, so we made this list of a few that popped into our heads. We added a few things we won't miss for good measure.

Things we'll miss:

Great coworkers
Our maid

Cheap living

Great travel


A busy social calendar

Amazing Indian food

Living somewhere so unique

Always warm weather

Scuba diving

Great beaches

Cheap and plentiful taxis

Very affordable massages

Things we won't miss:

Call to prayer at 4:15 a.m.

Crazy traffic


Rainy season and flooding

Incomprehensible miscommunication

Constant confusion


When volcanoes erupt...

Our last trip in Indonesia was one of the coolest we've taken. We heard that the volcano that used to be called Krakatoa was erupting, so we decided it would be a good idea to get as close as possible. So after three hours by car and two by boat, we were standing on the island of Anak Krakatau (Krakatoa's Child).

In 1883, the volcano on the island of Krakatoa erupted with the largest explosion in recorded history, destroying the island with a blast 13,000 times greater than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. In the 125 years since the eruption, the volcano has steadily increased in size. The island first resurfaced in 1927 and it has been growing 5 inches per week ever since.

So when we heard it was erupting again, we did what all rational people do and went out there to see it. We approached the island from the south, circled around it and pulled up on one of the small beaches furthest from the summit. We then hiked for about 15 minutes up the hillside. We started to see large chunks of volcanic rock that our guide said were from previous eruptions. That's when we decided we'd gone close enough. It erupted a few times while we were on the slopes taking pictures, shooting giant molten rocks into the air and bellowing smoke and sulfuric ash. We ate lunch and then took our boat to another island that was part of the original Krakatoa.
We spent the rest of the afternoon swimming and watching the volcano erupt every 20 minutes or so. But once it got dark, it was really cool. When it erupted, we saw glowing red rocks launched hundreds of feet into the air and tumble back down the slopes. It looked like fireworks. It was a restless night, sleeping on hard ground and hearing explosions that sounded like artillery every 20 minutes, but well worth it. Only in Indonesia can you do something like that.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


It's a little daunting to see everything you own packed in boxes and driven away by five Indonesian guys.


So, some people said 9 days at a villa in Thailand might be too long. We beg to differ. We'll let the pictures speak for themselves.
Cards and margaritasRooftop poolTuk-tukBest pina colada ever!

Rotisserie chicken at the thai restaurant down the hill

Our hogs

Riding in a tuk-tuk

Elephant crossing at the designated location

According to the guidebook, "best pad thai on plan earth" - we agreeFinding Nemo

An octopus from our dive - watch him change colors