Full, Full, Full
Seriously? Everything is full? In Borneo? Eleven – count them – eleven hotels full. Every single hotel room in Berau was full. All except one, a ridiculously overpriced “luxury suite” priced at $90 US per night at the Derawan Indah Hotel. As Indonesians and foreigners were scouring Berau looking for any option and we had explored every avenue from camping to renting a room in someone’s house (no luck), we reluctantly decided to splurge on the most expensive room we have had in four solid years on the road.
In this case, “luxury” means holes in the sheets, a dirty bath tub, and a non-functioning chandelier. Imagine a luxury room designed by an eight-year-old and you’ll have a pretty clear picture of where we were staying. I was grinding my teeth in rage all night. For $90 US, we could have literally stayed in palaces in some of the countries we’ve visited.
And for cynics, no we were not falling victim to some elaborate scam. It appears that many hotels in Berau are being used to house construction workers and employees for the mining and logging industries. It takes an army to carve up Kalimantan, and apparently that entire army is staying in Berau.