A Stones' Throw from Australia

Today, I saw a squirrel. I stared, unbelieveing, as it tight rope walked its way into my daydream. Tenacious paws and a swaying, fluffy tail sent me into a sudden, dizzying realization; I’m not in Australia anymore.

Strung between mainland Malaysia in the west and Papua New Guinea in the east, Indonesia is 18,000 islands baking in the equatorial sun. Somewhere along the chain is one island shaped like your flat hand with thumb stretched downward. It’s home to two large, smouldering volcanoes, four million people, each with his own motorbike, and just about as many furniture shops. The pace is slow, food is served in paper pyramids, and smiles are infectious.