The Black Browed Babbler of Borneo Lives!

And he’s not that tuk-tuk driver you never should have hired.

Shortest Flight Anywhere. Almost.

Some time ago I posted video of the flight from Westray to Papa Westray in the Orkney Islands north of Scotland – the whole flight. In favorable conditions it can take all of 47 seconds.

Here is another, as presented on Vimeo,

“At just over one nautical mile between them, Kegata and Apowo airstrips in Papua, Indonesia are separated by a deep valley making aircraft an ideal mode of transport between the two villages.”

It’s a close second to the Scottish flight, coming in at 73 seconds. Take the whole flight here:

Selfie-Free Island

Bali is asking telecoms providers to restrict cellular service for a 24-hour internet blackout from 6 a.m. on Saturday. “Residents of the Hindu-dominated island stop regular daily activities for a day of meditation, fasting and introspection,” part of an annual New Year “Day of Silence.”

Agung Asleep

A quieter Mt. Agung.


So this clears that up:

Do not imagine that the term “South China Sea” ever implied Chinese ownership. It is a Western construction that dates to about 1900. Previously, European maps referred to it as the China Sea, and before that as part of the Indian Sea. When the Portuguese arrived there in the early sixteenth century they called it the Cham Sea, after the maritime kingdom of coastal Vietnam. Other names at various times include Luzon Sea and (by early Arab traders) the Clove Sea. To China it has long been the South Sea and to Vietnamese the East Sea. The Philippines now refers to it as the West Philippine Sea.

From Philip Bowring, Indonesia and China: The Sea Between in the New York Review of Books online.

Tambora: the Eruption that Changed the World

Who knew? Fascinating.


This invites more questions than it answers.

This is a tremendous time-waster.

And while I'll surely read Michael Totten's next book, I think this is a little hard on the Republic of Georgia. Here's my take.

And this could make you cry.

Volcanism. All Over.

Nearly eight minutes of video of volcanic activity on Mt Merapi, Java:

And a note that a new volcano is rumbling in Iceland. Meet Grimsvotn.

You’ll Have to Make Do with One of the 50,000 Existing Hotel Rooms

Amankila The Jakarta Post says that for now, there'll be no new hotels on Bali.

"In an effort to protect the resort island's natural environment, the
Bali provincial administration has decided to stop issuing official
recommendations for the construction of new hotels, villas or homestays," according to the article.

"This policy was introduced as part of our efforts to protect the
environment from potential damages," head of the Bali Provincial
Development Planning Board (Bappeda), Nengah Suarca" told the press.

But, "The moratorium is temporary, he added."

(Photo is from the absolutely lovely Amankila Resort, near the village of Manggis in East Bali and far from the crowds of Denpasar. See more photos of Bali and Indonesia in the Indonesia Gallery at

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Indonesia East of Bali

Looking into a possible future trip to Indonesia east of Bali, we came across a great site we've spent lots of time on. The individual sections on Lombok, Sumbawa, Flores and West Timor may be of limited use unless you're actually thinking of going there, but the Tales of Asia Main Page organizes a bunch of travel information and features a reader forum. Its author also publishes the Tales of Asia blog.