Indonesia: Sulawesi - July 2007
Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation made from a post originally written in French. My apologies for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have been generated during the process. If you are reading French, click on the French flag below to access the original and correct text:
I am now back in Manado, where I find the civilization and comfort of the modern world: air conditioning and hot water, shopping malls and club-sandwiches, cell phones that pick up and high-speed internet connections...
The hustle and bustle of Manado, the big city of North Sulawesi, with his mikrolets blue which are coming out in all directions, makes me feel strange, after this long journey through the immense island of Sulawesi.
In Sulawesi, as soon as you go away from the most frequented areas, it is impossible to find a computer with internet. Sometimes, there is not even a connection for the cell phone. (Hey hey! Finally a real vacation!)
In short, for ten days, impossible to keep the blog ... I will complete it a posteriori.
To come back to where I stopped the blog, I had no internet in Rantepao, in the middle of Toraja country. The two cyber-cafés of the city were down for one, closed for the other. I had promised photos, but I shouldn't have!
So here is already a small summary of my journey of the previous days. I will try to give the details in a next article. Below, a map of the island, with my route.
On the way to Poso Lake
Saturday, July 14th : departure from Rantepao, by car with driver, rented with "my" Dutch, for a ride in central Sulawesi. Two nights near Lake Poso, in Siuri Cottages, not far from the city of Tentena.
Beautiful region! Great waterfall (Saluopa) and nice beach near the lake.
This corner of Sulawesi is unfortunately deserted by tourists for several years, because of a serious conflict between Christians and Muslims, marked by many attacks, which have caused many deaths...
The situation is stabilized now, if we believe our driver, Yunus. He has been driving tourists around Sulawesi for about 20 years. However, there are still many military and police checkpoints along the road.
For these officials, the passing of blond children is a nice distraction. They love to make Jelle, Silke and Ronja, the children of my Dutch friends, get out of the car for verification purposes, on the grounds that the little boy and the two girls appear on their parents' passports. The kids comply and smile at the checkpoint...
Cape on the Togian Islands
Monday, July 16th: long drive to Ampana, where we take the boat to the Togian islands...
Then seven days of laze on the island of Batu Daka, near the village of Bomba, at the well named resort Island Retreat. White sand, azure water, coconut palms and coral reefs ... Ultimate dives and sunburn.
Return flight Luwuk-Manado in a cuckoo from the Merpati
Tuesday, July 24th: the return... A 2h30 boat trip and a 6-7 hours drive yesterday, Tuesday, by roads that deserve a blog chapter by themselves. All this to reach Luwuk, a city located in the east of Central Sulawesi. Because in Luwuk, there is a small miraculous airport that allows to reach Manado in 1h30... (I preferred that to 15 hours by boat + 12 hours by bus).
The Luwuk-Manado flight takes place in an old Merpati cuckoo clock: 20 seats, 2 propellers, and a very good pilot (perfect take-off and landing). Except that the poor guy spent the whole trip trying to protect the flight instruments, by putting Kleenex in the corners above the cockpit window, because water seeps in when it rains... And there, it didn't stop raining.
I saw everything, I was right behind. That said, they must be used to the trick. The Kleenex box is stuck above the dashboard, specially designed for this purpose.
Tomorrow, July 26th: return flight via Singapore to France ...