Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic Google translation from a post originally written in French. My apologies for the weird sentences and the funny mistakes that could have been generated during the process. If you can read French, the original and correct version can be found here:
The huge island of Sulawesi (Indonesia) amazed me. I take you to cool off at the Saluopa waterfall buried in the jungle, near Tentena and Lake Poso.
Air Terjun Saluopa
It is Sunday, July 15, 2007. I completely forget that the day before, it was the national holiday in France ... I am so far! On the program, that day, after the delicious morning swim in the translucent waters of the spectacular Poso lake: the Saluopa waterfall, or Air Terjun Saluopa in Indonesian.
Yes, you read correctly. The waterfall where our guide-driver Ynus leads us this afternoon has the evocative name (for French speakers) of ... Saluopa. It is 8km-20 minutes by car from the cute beach of Siuri Cottages, on the west bank of Lake Poso, where we spent the night.
Good. Waterfalls, I'm starting to see a lot, in these countries. But this one is a delight.
It does not seem like anything, like that, at first, when you arrive under the trees. It is at the beginning only a beautiful and wide stream which goes slowly, of rock in rock, on several levels. And then, the deeper we go into the jungle, the more the water rumbling.
We start by going up the river, walking along an easy and clear path.
No leeches, phew! No mosquitoes either, that's the other good surprise. I was a little afraid of eating, but no. You do not even have to bake repellent to scare away those damn nyamuk (pronounce "niamouk", one of the first words I learned in Indonesian, that's saying).
The fake brook then takes on volume and height, with trickling rocks more and more imposing. First big cataract.
The stairs in the rock are overflowed by the waves. It must be missed. Ronja, Jelle and Silke, the children of my Dutch friends with whom I make this crossing of Sulawesi, are happy to go through the stairs. They come out laughing and soaked.
The more you climb in the jungle, the narrower the trail. There are some delicate passages, where you have to be a little attentive, stall your foot on a stone, stand at one root, lean on another. But nothing difficult. Even the little Silke, the youngest, who's in the 7-8 years, gets there
Another spectacular stop a little higher. The waterfall has become huge. Water flows everywhere on large rocks.
You can swim there, or cross over the rock at the water's edge. It's a bit of a joke, we're sprayed with spray. Ynus takes off his clothes and goes for a dip. Johan and his eldest, Ronja, not very reassured, imitate him.
After, we continue the climb. Half by the jungle, half feet in the water, in the bed of the river, which widens and becomes calm again, between two plateaus of rock and elephantine tree trunks.
I did well to come in flip flops. The sandals where you are barefoot are the most practical for this forest ride and refreshing.
But the waterfall starts from very high. We will not go all the way.
Little Jelle is tired, we must redo all the way downhill, rougher than the climb, as always. And then everyone wants to enjoy a little more beach before dark.
Visitors to Pantai Siuri
Siuri Beach (Pantai Siuri, in Indonesian) is a popular walking place. In the late morning, "our" beach has seen a group of noisy teens and a bit overwhelming.
Sprawled in my hammock, on the terrace of my bungalow, I could hear, vaguely, in the distance, people singing in chorus, clapping their hands, all punctuated by cries and bursts of laughter. But the torpor was stronger than curiosity. Instead of going to see what was going on there, I fell asleep. And I wake up with a start, soon after, surrounded by a whole group of teens, leaning on my balustrade.
They laugh at each other and watch me curiously. Boys right in the famous stupid age ... I first answer nicely to the inevitable "Dari mana? ", not a little proud to flaunt my skinny Bahasa: "Saya orang perancis. Nama say Corinne ... "(I'm French, my name is Corinne ...) Then I exchange a few words with those who speak English best. They want me to take pictures, as usual, and are all excited to be able to admire on the digital screen.
But I quickly make big eyes, annoyed to see that two small malignant take the opportunity to try to steal some odds that hang on the table: cookies, packet of cigarettes, lighter. I hastily retrieved my bag lying on the terrace, I close the door, and then I come back to tell them what I think of their bad manners.
Suddenly, the brat go away without asking for their rest, with trophy an empty pack of cigarettes forgotten on the table.
The girls, who watched us a little apart, chuckling, then dare to approach. They take my defense of course, decree that the boys are very stupid, but hasten to ask me, too, photos ...
OK, girls! Cheeeeeeeese!
With them, it's easier to talk a little bit. All these young men and women finish their holidays and enter the first year of high school the next day. This Sunday is their last day of freedom before back to school.
A teacher who accompanies them comes greet me then, apologizing for the inconvenience ... Bah! Do not worry, mister!