Where: I bask in the sun of Malinau; my fashion taste is conquered by the colourful Indonesian shirts; I reach Tarakan; I realise that the way back from there will not be straightforward either, and also that a smile can stand in for a valid visa sometimes.
Malinau reminded me of a mixture of villages that I saw in Madagascar (its dusty roads), Ecuador (its street life), and the Malaysian side of Borneo (its people), all flavoured with a purely literary taste of Indochina. The roads were dusty and scorched by the sun. Rare ferries sailed the river, while the iron bridge above it was busy with motorbikes and cars. As the sun prepared to set, the traffic slowed down and everything, the town, the river, the hills around became soaked in a golden light. From the bridge I could see kids swimming and playing by the river bank in the evening calm.