I arrived in Balikpapan late last night after a relatively short day of traveling from Singapore. I unexpectedly ran into my friends Matt and Tim at the airport in Jakarta. I am realizing that traveling alone is fun and I was able to change my plans on a whim and didn't have to consult any one else about the day's plans...but being in the company of good friends will always be more fulfilling.
My initial impressions of this city have all been positive. Being Caucasian is a novelty here, but we don't get hassled about it, just alot of people who want to take pictures with us and shake our hands. The children love to practice their English to get our attention, which mostly consists of "how are you today?" and "hey mister!"
Today we went to the market where we got rubber boots for when we go trekking through the mangroves, and rain ponchos. I'm having a hard time getting used to the currency which is extremely inflated, $1 US= about 10000 rupiah. I got a meal for dinner tonight which cost me 5000 rupiah...50 cents.
We also went to the beach today and I had a avocado and chocolate smoothie which was really delicious. And then I did some handstands on the beach.
Indonesia is a Muslim country which means it is quite an interesting experience to be traveling as a woman. It is not such a repressive society here, but I can't really go anywhere without a guy accompanying me, which I am not used to. More to come on that later. It also means that I will be woken up every morning at 4:30am by the call to prayer, which involves a guy singing in Arabic through the megaphone at the mosque next to our hotel, he keeps singing until 5:30...I'm don't feel very respectful of Islam that early in the morning.
It is now time for bed.