Saturday, November 27, 2004

"Blissfully Ignorant in Sulawesi" Sulawesi Travels #1

Began the trip in Manado, the northern most big city on the K shaped island of Sulawesi.

Posing in Manado with a volcano for a back drop.

Image: Sulawesi, Manado - at the ground of our Soviet style hotel

Several hour drive (about 9 with a stop here and there) from Monado down to Tana Toraja (Land of the Torajans) where the buffalo is king ... and its hilly so lots of terraced fields.

Posing, yes purposely posing,  in Tana Toraja overlooking the rice fields. Not quite sure what the posing was all about - but certainly was a reality.

Image: Sulawesi, Tana Toraja Terraced Rice Fields

Sulawesi Travel Journal #1

I had my first A & W root beer float about an hour ago at the Jakarta airport “Everything All American” A & W restaurant. My “its vacation time and I can eat whatever I want” clause has officially kicked in. The All American curly fries were a nice accompaniment to the float. Presently I have a McChicken Meal in a bag at my feet under the plane seat in front of me. I would normally never subject people to the smell of a Mc anything meal to be recycled through the air conditioning unit on the plane BUT we are going to Manado ..... so I’m doing it. Not sure why going to Manado justifies an assault on the olfactory system of my fellow plane people but such are certain things in life.

Image: Sulawesi, Tana Toraja Houses - supposedly to represent the style of a boat, as the Torajan people were originally from the coast. But this being buffalo country, I think the buffalo horn theory is more relevant.

I’m going into this trip blind. My traveling companions have prepared everything ahead of time. I have a vague idea of where we are going but no details. It should be a new experience and I’m actually looking forward to it. I have been rather busy lately and thus not involved in the preliminary planning. But as the days passed and it got closer to our embarkation date I purposely ignored investigating the details of the trip. I thought it would be fun to venture into the unknown unknowing.

Image: Sulawesi, Tana Toraja Buffalo Mud Bath

Now I am on the plane. It is that very unpleasant time when they shut off all the air before the plane gets its engines fired up and begins its pre take off taxi. My face is glistening.

Pool side at the Santika hotel. The hotel is advertised as “the” resort hotel in Manado and it is quite nice. But it is a tad bit rough around the edges – but interestingly not in a third world way – more in a Soviet bloc country sort of way. Perhaps it is in deference to the Soekarno era when the Indonesian government dabbled with the option of becoming communist until the Western powers offered up Papua at the bargaining table to ensure that the largest archipelago in the world and all the good stuff that comes along with such a geographic feature, was safely in the hands of the “good guys”.... the guys who really know how to make money off of a countries resources. A children’s playground rusting away, paint chipping here and there, a bit too much mold and moss in various nooks and crannies, overgrown patches of grass popping up in random places – just looks like it needs a god scrub down and white wash to bring it up to its top resort billing – rather amusing that I am making such observations considering the fact that I once lived in an apartment with no working shower, a pistol target range in the bedroom closet and impressed my friend visiting from Japan so much by its starkness and dilapidation that he said it was the most interesting thing he saw while he was on holiday in the states, a trip which included several days in Chicago and NYC. Anyway I am simply recording my observations and subsequent thoughts as they come and trying not to drip sweat on this page, which is becoming near impossible as I am wet now from sweat as I was ten minutes ago after just emerging from the pool.

It is hot. Blue sky, blazing sun, tropical hot. So I am going diving and taking my giant poofy head of hair with me.


Tuva said...

Just a thank you for an sweet travel blog, inspiring to see people travelling w kids!Do you by any chance have any info on the Buton-area, Bau Bau f.ex? On my way there but impossible to find even info on ferrys from kendari... Maybe a long shot but hopefully you might have heard something? Eternally thankful if you´d like to share! Have a continuing fabulous journey, Tuva from denmark.

IndoIan said...

Hi Tuva, Thanks for the nice comment. Traveling with kids has its challenges but it also opens up some very interesting opportunities as well. According to what I know there are regular ferries running from makassar and kendari to bau bau. The ferries are called PELNI ferries and are a government run operation. If you fly into one of these cities I would check with the info counter at the airport and they should direct you to the ferry terminal at the port. Good luck and enjoy!