I wonder if I write about living in Balikpapan frequent enough to assure you that I love this city. I always tell everyone that Balikpapan, despite its very strong sunshine and pretty unstable water and electricity, is a livable city (compared to Jakarta and its supporting suburbs). Here, there’s barely traffic jam, you can go jogging on the beach before leaving for office, you can meet your friends or relatives in their house and do potluck instead of shopping malls simply because you have enough time and even the airport is not far from the downtown.
The first time I stepped my feet in Balikpapan was in January 2011. I came as a student with a couple of friends for On-Job-Training program from the company I’m working for now.
I remembered that we were there when the first Mc Donald’s in Balikpapan was finally opened. People got crazy and queued. Actually there were already some KFC’s and a Starbucks so it wasn’t that bad, but still as kiddos that grew up in and around Jakarta, we found the enthusiasm funny. I mean, c’mon, it was only McDonalds. Yes, blame me for growing up in the cities where the citizens take shopping (or window shopping, maybe) as a kind of entertainment but that time I couldn’t help to underestimate Balikpapan and its society.
It didn’t take long to prove myself wrong.