Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation of an article originally written in French. I apologise for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have resulted. If you read French, click on the French flag below to access the original, correct text:
The huge island of Sulawesi (Indonesia) amazed me. I take you to refresh yourself 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 away! On the agenda 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 it right. The waterfall where our guide-driver Ynus takes us this afternoon has the evocative name (for the French speakers) of... Saluopa. It is 8km-20mn 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 doesn't look like much at first, when you arrive under the trees. It is at the beginning only a beautiful and broad brook which goes up quietly, of rock in rock, on several levels. And then, the more we sink in the jungle, the more the roar of the water becomes amplified.
We begin 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 bit afraid to be eaten, but no. I didn't even have to apply any repellent to scare away those damn nyamuk (pronounce "niamouk", one of the first words I learned in Indonesian, that's how).
The fake brook then takes on volume and height, with trickling rocks more and more imposing. First big cataract.
The staircase built in the rock is overflowed by the waves. It is necessary to pass by. Ronja, Jelle and Silke, the children of my Dutch friends with whom I made this crossing of Sulawesi, are happy to go through the stairs. They come out hilarious 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. The water flows from everywhere on big rocks.
We can bathe there, or cross on the rock with water level. It is a little bit dangerous, we are sprayed of sprays. Ynus takes off directly his clothes and makes soak. Johan and his elder, Ronja, not very reassured, imitate him.
After, we continue the climbing. Half by the jungle, half the feet in the water, in the bed of the river, which widens and becomes again calm, between two plateaus of rock and elephantic tree trunks.
I was right to come in flip-flops. Barefoot sandals are the most practical thing you can do on this refreshing, woodsy walk.
But the stunt starts from very very high. We won't 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 place for walking. At the end of the morning, "our" beach saw a group of noisy and invading teenagers.
Lying in my hammock, on the terrace of my bungalow, I could hear, vaguely, in the distance, people singing in chorus, clapping their hands, the whole punctuated by shouts and bursts of laughter. But the torpor was stronger than the curiosity. Instead of going to see what was going on there, I fell asleep. And I wake up with a start, shortly after, surrounded by a whole group of teenagers, leaning on my railing.
They laugh among themselves and observe me with curiosity. Boys in the middle of the famous stupid age... I answer first gently to the inevitable "Dari mana?", not a little proud to flaunt my skinny Bahasa : “Saya orang perancis. Nama saya Corinne..."(I am French, my name is Corinne...) Then I exchange a few words with those who speak English the best. They want me to take a picture of them, as usual, and they are all excited to be able to admire themselves on the digital screen.
But I quickly make big eyes, annoyed to see that two smart guys take the opportunity to try to steal some things that are lying on the table: cookies, cigarettes, lighter. I immediately bring back my bag which is lying on the terrace, I close the door, 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 had been watching us a little apart, giggling, then dared to approach me. They take my defense, say that the boys are very stupid, but they also ask me for pictures...
OK, girls! Cheeeeeeeeeeeese!
With them, it's easier to talk a little. All these young men and women finish their vacations and start their first year of high school the next day. This Sunday is their last day of freedom before school starts.
A teacher who accompanies them comes to greet me afterwards, apologizing for the disturbance... Bah! Don't worry, mister!