Indonesia: Sulawesi - July 2010

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: 

Toraja country, you deserve it! From Manado (North-Sulawesi), you first have to reach Makassar in the very south, which is an hour and a half by plane. Then, it's 8 to 10 hours by bus to Rantepao.

Litha & Co

Bad luck: unlike my journey three years ago, I didn't manage to catch the morning bus. At the terminal of the company Litha, I am informed that there is no more room than night bus ...

The terminal of the company Litha, in Makassar, from where the buses leave for the country Toraja.

Ah! The joys of night busThe worm-eaten back, the stiff neck, the knees, the foggy spirit, and the tired eyes, after long sleepless hours, stand out.

There are bumps in the road, full of potholes. The daring maneuvers of the driver, who perfectly masters Indonesian driving (I honk and I double). Sudden burst of harsh light at pee stops. The snoring sound of a ventripotent neighbor right behind. Not forgetting the delicious melodies of the syrupy Indonesian songs that the loudspeakers of the bus are suddenly throwing up for no reason, in the wee hours of the night ...

Saya orang perancis

Good. The nice thing, anyway, is that we can practice his Bahasa Indonesia while waiting for the time to leave, with the other travelers. A little lady pushes herself on a bench and gestures for me to sit next to her. Here I am again in the inevitable exchange of courtesies, punctuated by big smiles ...

Dari mana? Where did you come from? Saya orang perancis, I am French. Yes, I travel alone. Yes, I speak a little Indonesian ... But just a little bit, huh, setikit setikitI've already exhausted my meagre vocabulary ! Besides, I forgot my Small Indonesian pocket at home.

The other cool thing is that we meet people. Three years ago, I had sympathized with a Dutch family on the Litha bus (the bus was more comfortable than the ones I took this year). Then I even went on Togian Islands with them. This time, it's a young Norwegian, Sebastian, who lands on the seat next to mine.

He also travels alone. He has a lot of bad luck in Africa, in India. But this is his first time in Indonesia.

Like me, he has his little tricks to endure long bus trips: iPhone well stocked with music, airplane pillow to support the neck, little wool to fight against the polar cold of the air conditioning systematically pushed to the limit. We burst out laughing when we realize how ridiculous we are, trying in vain to optimize the narrow comfort of the barely reclining seats, with our little inflatable tubes wedged around our necks.

At dawn we arrive at Rantepao. There, I will play the guides.

I have not forgotten anything, I recognize everything. I have the bus stop in front of the restaurant Riman, north of the city. I need a coffee. A voucher kopi black and fragrant, as they do so well here in Toraja country. Despite the fatigue, I am so, so happy to be here!

  Indonesia: Sulawesi - July 2010