They also host an annual AFL event which attracts teams from around the region.

When I was growing up in suburban Surrey all those years ago, I knew little of the East beyond the usual clichés like ‘magical’ and ‘tropical’. To me, Borneo was a land of mystery, impregnable jungle and amazing wildlife. Today, when people think of Borneo they think of deforestation, climate change and disappearing flora and fauna. Balikpapan is the major entry point to the island known in Indonesia as Kalimantan and is home to more than half a million people, including a sizeable population of expats attracted by work in the energy sector and teaching.

At first glance, the city has little to interest people with time on their hands.

Kemala, for example, is fairly central and kept pretty clean though its location does mean it gets popular, especially at weekends.

There are a number of other beaches further afield, including Manggar and Lamaru, and no doubt all along the coast heading north the adventurous would find their own little coves given their own transport and plenty of time.

The Margomulyo mangrove is fairly close to the centre of the city and has a boardwalk that allows visitors the chance to try and spy some of the local wildlife.

Another type of wildlife exhibit is the crocodile farm several kilometres past the airport.Australian football is well represented with the Borneo Bears (Some of their players recently competed in an international event in the home of AFL, Melbourne, and despite not winning any games, acquitted themselves pretty well by all accounts.The main road hugs the coast from the airport to the port yet any coastal vistas remain hidden behind drab shophouses, government buildings, hotels, malls and the like.It certainly lacks the architectural potential of a Jakarta or a Surabaya, lacking their history or their heritage dating back centuries.Other bars with names like Joy’s, Jack’s, Yuli’s, Martha’s and Sky Bar offer the customer drinks and food at all prices of the spectrum.