A Southeast Asia Kind Of Week

A week ago work took me on another adventure through Southeast Asia - Singapore, Jakarta, and Balikpapan.  Seeing how my last Jakarta trip went I was a bit leery of how this trip would turn out, but it fortunately was very uneventful.

I first flew to Singapore and got to catch up with a good friend who lives there.  We walked up Mt Faber and enjoyed the views; with the heat and humidity I could not believe how sweaty I got!  Since it was a quick stop I didn't have time to do much else, but it was nice to see her and stretch the legs.
The view from Mt Faber 
From the other side of Mt Faber
Singapore at sun down
The next stop was Jakarta.  I could smell the pollution as soon as I got off the plane.  I was glad I had been there before because it made going through the airport by myself and finding my driver less intimidating.  I spent two days there for meetings, and Tuesday night we went to a place called Skye for dinner.  It's 56 floors up on the roof of the tallest building (so far) in the city, and we had drinks outside to enjoy the view of buildings everywhere and the stench of smog.  It was a nice place though, and the food was quite tasty.  I had a dish with fish flakes on top that kept moving, it was pretty weird to have your dinner still moving  I was also moving - I kept feeling the building swaying though and that was a bit disconcerting.
The view from Skye
Summary of Jakarta - smog and traffic
Wednesday night we flew to Balikpapan on the island of Borneo on the Indonesia side, a two hour flight from Jakarta.  Traffic was horrible, it took two hours to get to the airport (it's a 26 km drive) and I nearly missed the flight.  We landed pretty late and went straight to the hotel, and since it was my first time in Borneo I was eager to see what things looked like in the daylight.  As soon as I stepped off the plane I took a deep breath of nice fresh air.  What a difference a few million people makes.
Jakarta store fronts
It was a similar feel to Bali, just less traffic and tourists.  Lots of people on one scooter.  Sort of a casual beachy third world country feel.  I could tell the oil industry was big here (hence the reason I was there!).  Even the pots holding plants in the middle of the roads had the local companies' logos on them.
Family of three on a scooter
In between meetings we had lunch at a place called Ocean's.  We got to pick our fish, then they cooked it up in some amazing spices for us.  We had snapper, rice, and vegetables and it was all quite tasty.  The local cat thought it smelled pretty good too and helped us finish it off.  After our meetings finished we went back to the airport and to Jakarta.  Traffic back to the hotel was even worse that night and it took 2.5 hours.  Yikes.  Friday saw more meetings before the late night flight back to Melbourne.  And then it was on to my next adventure...

I can help you finish that!
Colorful buildings in Balikpapan


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