This Year in Books 2014

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This Year in Books 2014 Living in Indonesia was good for my reading. With time being so loosely approached, I often found myself sitting and waiting, sometimes for a few hours. We’re going to the immigration office? Let me get my book. You’re inviting me to come to a conference with you that I can’t participate in? Let me get my book. Dinner is soon? Let me get my book. Fortunately, I enjoy reading, and…

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[NSFA] Daging Anjing: Culinary Exploration of Man’s Best Friend

*Warning: Not Safe For Appetites* I live around the corner from a warung, a local street-food stand that is famous for serving one specific dish. At jam 3 sore, three in the afternoon, they start building the tented structure that soon becomes a mini roadside restaurant. By 8pm they are usually sold out and have begun putting away the rusted poles, tarps and benches. They make a killing. The warung is by far the most…

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What is Durian?

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King of Fruits, the true test of a fruitphile, a delicacy, Durian is an assault on the claim of all other fruits to their categorization, and it only grows in Southeast Asia. The fruit is most notable for its pungent smell that has been compared to rotting flesh, and heaven. The odor is so abrasive it is banned from confined public spaces like airplanes and hotels. Traveling through Lombok with my German friends, I had…

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Island Paradise: Trip to the Gili Islands

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If I ever fall off the face of the Earth and you really need to get hold of me, I’ll be basking in a bungalow on Gili Air. Dig through the archives to find this post, and come search for me. The only flaw in your plan will be you mysteriously forget why it was so imperative to find me and will instead join me. You’ll get stuck, just like I did. During another round…

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Living in a Disaster Prone Area: Mt. Kelud Eruption

Two weeks ago Mt. Kelud, a volcano roughly five hours away from my home in Yogyakarta erupted spewing ash hundreds of miles. Wind carried the ash all the way to Yogyajakarta where it shut down roads due to visibility issues and laid down a layer 4 centimeters thick. At the time I was in Bali with my family celebrating my quarter-century birthday. Friends still in the city said my lungs would thank me. The eruption…

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Padi Scuba Certification and Swimming with Manta Rays

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On our trip to Labujan Bajo, a city on the island of Flores Max and I went through the four day process of getting our Padi Scuba certification.  The photo above is of the descent during our first open-water dive. The first day of the course is spent in the classroom going through all of the need-to-know information about scuba from what causes "the bends" to appropriate hand signals and emergency situations.  After passing the…

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Dragons are Real: Komodo Dragons on Rinca Island

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A few weeks ago I travelled to a city called Labujan Bajo on the island of Flores.  It’s a lazy harbor kind of town with one main street reminiscent of the deadwood towns of the wild west.  The only difference is instead of guns and saloons you see cameras and SCUBA diving centers. Right off the coast is a series of islands constituting the Komodo National Park.  There is only one Komodo Island, but others,…

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Borobudur Temple: Buddhist Temple in Indonesia

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Hidden in a valley between a few mountains and volcanoes about an hour outside of Jogja sits Candi Borobudur.  This 9th century Buddhist temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, claims to be the biggest Buddhist monument still standing today, and is the most visited tourist site in Indonesia. If you want to avoid the crowds you can pay an extra 40 US dollars to go through the a hotel for sunrise before the park…

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This Year in Books: 2013

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In 5th grade my father bought me a textbook-size copy of The Hobbit with 48 brightly colored illustrations to lose myself in when my eyes were too tired to continue reading. Before then, I remember liking books.  I enjoyed the Famous Five and the Secret Seven.  I laughed at The Phantom Tollbooth.  I had never been spellbound, dizzy, and confronted with the scope of the world until I followed Bilbo. My 12th grade literature teacher,…

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Trash: America, You’re Doing it Wrong

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Indonesian lifestyle and culture is beautiful.  Each member clearly contributes to society as a whole and deeply cares about those around them.  I never go a day without a complete stranger offering a quick smile and bow.  I love being a part of that for just a little while. There are many things I have learned since moving to Indonesia that have struck me as interesting lifestyle choices I should bring home.  For example, I…

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