The Best Friend in Indonesia Bonus Material
Thanks for reading The Best Friend in Indonesia! Like most of my stories, I based this book’s setting on a place I’ve traveled to.
In 2018, I spent over 100 days sailing through the islands of Indonesia. Bali is where everyone goes, but with so much time, we got to explore some truly amazing islands.
Here are some pictures and stories from my own adventures to help you get a feel for what it was like for Iris.
Iris and Rico ride a scooter around Bali, meeting monkeys, exploring waterfalls, and seeing the beautiful landscapes.
Scooters are extremely dangerous – I did ride them in Bali occasionally because they are the best way to get around, but I won’t ride them anymore. Fortunately, Rico and Iris drive carefully and wear helmets.
Monkeys are EVERYWHERE in Bali. They are often just hanging out on the side of the road, but Rico and Iris visit the famous Ubud Monkey Forest.
On our trip around Bali we had a hired driver, who suggested we stop at the Secret Waterfall. Bali is pretty packed with tourists, so we thought “how secret can it be?” but surprisingly we did have the place almost all to ourselves!
Rico and Iris stop for lunch and have traditional Indonesian food – Nasi Goreng and Mie Goreng. They are the two most common dishes we ate in Indonesia, and Nasi Goreng (fried rice) was Captain Alden’s choice and Mie Goreng (fried noodles) was mine. They are pretty simple and greasy dishes. However, Iris orders a Javanese dish her first night in Bali, eggplants with almond sauce. I had this dish for dinner at a lovely hotel in Banda, Indonesia, where the chef was Javanese.
Komodo National Park is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to. The water is super clear, and I spent so much time swimming and enjoying the underwater life. My friend Sara came to visit us there and snorkeled for the first time, just like Iris does. We definitely told Sara she’d probably never have a snorkel that great again, especially when we were joined by manta rays.
Komodo dragons were another highlight of Komodo. We hiked for two hours around Rinca Island, seeing dozens of these venomous lizards. Iris hardly pays attention, caught up as she is with her troubles, but meeting a dragon in real life is something you never forget!
Iris and Rico are visiting the park in a pinisi boat. We were there on our own sailboat, but our neighbors were these pinisis – charter boats that would take guests around the park and have tons of water sports for people to partake in.
Inspiration for the characters
Here are some Pinterest boards I made with character and location inspiration: