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: 

The country Toraja, it deserves! From Manado (North Sulawesi), you must first reach Makassar to the south, an hour and a half by plane. Then it's 8 to 10 hours bus ride to Rantepao.

Litha & Co

No luck: unlike my journey of three years ago, I was not able 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 are you from ? Saya orang perancis, I am French. Yes, I travel alone. Yes, I speak a little Indonesian ... But just a little bit, huh, setikit setikit, and inevitably, the conversation runs out ... I have already exhausted my meager vocabulary! In addition, 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 support long trips by bus: iPhone well stocked with music, pillow plane to support the neck, small wool to fight against the polar cold air systematically pushed thoroughly. We burst out laughing to see how ridiculous we are, to try in vain to optimize the narrow comfort of the seats that are barely reclining, with our little inflatable tubes placed 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 perfumed, as they know so well how to do it here in Toraja country. Despite the fatigue, I am so, so happy to be here!

  Indonesia: Sulawesi - July 2010