Balikpapan, Revisited

On Friday, November 20th, we had a chance to tag JR along for his business trip to Balikpapan.

Knowing that I spent some years living in Borneo before, made him wanting to take all of us there for the short trip. Last time I went there was in October 2007 with Lil’ A when he was only 7 months old to visit my parents who were still living in that city so I was excited to visit the oil city.

We took the first flight out of Jakarta, scheduled for 6:40 AM. Poor JR still had to finish up some works the night before and stayed up till 2:00 AM. Sure enough I had a hard time waking him up at a quarter before 5. We didn’t leave for the airport until around 5:40 AM and I started to get nervous that we’ll miss our flight. The very long queue line outside the terminal brought a knot in my stomach. Luckily, we saw one of the airline’s staff outside and JR quickly showed his badge then the staff ushered us in through the air crew door. Inside, JR just went to one of the open check in counters, again flashed his badge and we got everything taken care of. By the time we reached the gate they were already boarding.


We were the last ones boarding that plane because JR had to checked the plane thoroughly while Lil’ A and I waited by the stairs to board. I found it kind of amusing seeing the airline staffs looks puzzled as JR starts to inspect everything and although I’ve been at his job sites a lot before, I never seen him physically check a plane and boy, he didn’t miss a thing! Being part of the airline for only a few months, granted not everyone knows who he is and to him that is an advantage because he got to check on everything firsthandedly. Something like a ‘surprise inspection’.

Even after we boarded, JR didn’t immediately took his seat. He went to the cockpit, and checks everything from the inside too. One of the flight attendant gave him such a dirty look when he opened one of the two small overhead compartments designated for the plane’s documents and found a blanket stowed inside when the sign clearly said “Flight Documents. No Storage.” She tried to argue with JR but he firmly told her NO.

Flying with JR and knowing that he ensured everything is in working orders surely gives me a comforting assurance. Lil’ A did so well on his flight even though we haven’t fly anywhere in errr 10 months. He wanted to fly again right after we landed.

Happy boy

We reached Balikpapan and someone from the airline were already there picking us up and even took care of our 1 suitcase while we waited for the car.

They took us the hotel, we had lunch then JR was picked up to go back to the airport and work. So Lil’ A and I decided to take a stroll around the hotel after we both took a nap. The city looks a little different to me since there are more new buildings and malls around but what I love about that city is its cleanliness, no wonder they won a lot of trophy for the cleanest city in Indonesia. We walked for almost an hour before heading back to the hotel, JR came back around 6:00 PM and we all went out for dinner. Too bad I didn’t bring my camera.


That night my father’s best friend and his wife, who’s been like my own uncle & aunt came by to drop something for my mother. They came with their granddaughter who’s about the same age as Lil’ A and they had met the last time I was in town in 2007. It’s amazing watching them two because she was such a calm lil’ girl while our boy is well…all boy lol.

The next day, my mom’s friend came over to pick us up with her son, again who’s in the same age as Lil’ A. She took us to Kebun Sayur market, a traditional market that sells gemstones, handicrafts and Borneo’s souvenirs. That place is a tiny heaven for jeweleries lovers, not only that the gems are real but they are way cheaper than if you buy them here in Jakarta. Highly recommended to visit that place! Unfortunately, we cannot stay too long as our boys’ starts to get antsy from the heat.


She then took me to this new mall called the E-center (I think), a brand spanking new mall in Balikpapan. Lunch, then it’s time to call it a day for Lil’ A starts to get too tired.

We decided to check out Melawai area close to the port because I remembered there used to be lots of street food vendors there. Unfortunately, on our way there, it started raining and my aunt called. Well, technically she’s not really my aunt but her husband and our family has been very close since when I was little too. She invited us to dinner at a seafood restaurant. It was fun meeting them again after several years.

It was a fun getaway from Jakarta but now that we’re back I have to focus on preparing our little boy’s 3rd Birthday Party coming up next month. 😀


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