How smoking saved this man’s life

By Taylor Saia and Amelia Murphy Deep in the jungles of Borneo, a man wearing a Volcom hat and an orangutan-emblazoned t-shirt leans back in his chair and says, “Describe Indonesia in two words.” His name is Erwin. As Lonely Planet Indonesia describes him, he’s “intelligent, well-read, and good company” – but he also holds an…

A burning car and vigilante justice in Medan

There was a traffic jam at the wrong time of day in Medan on Jalan Dr. Mansyur. Before things had gotten really tight, a police officer on a motorbike pulled up alongside me and gently gestured to me to move into the left lane. Behind him were four other officers in green PolResta jackets. A…

Adrift — without an engine — in the Sulawesi Sea

Sarah Brafman in Derawan “Once upon a time a vital piece of a speedboat engine fell into the Sulawesi (Celebes) Sea. The driver, cool as an Indonesian cucumber, retreated to the bow of the boat and alternated between steering and waving his cap to signal for help. The passengers, five rather incapable sea folk, resorted to playing 20 questions. Several…