Motorbike trip between lakes and volcanoes

  Indonesia: Sulawesi - July 2007

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: 

At 7 o'clock sharp, as planned, Anto is there with his motorcycle. First stage of our journey, concocted for us by the Yoce guide: the mountain Mahawu. Easy climb, even for a non-walker like me.

The crater of Mahawu volcano

-In 40 minutes, under the refreshing shade of a forest mixing conifers and tropical vegetation, with groves of bamboos bigger than my thigh, we reach the edge of the crater of this dormant volcano.

In the background, funny little green and blue lakes, and yellow rock.

The view is superb, the sky is clear and unobstructed, so that you can see all the way to the sea. In the distance, in the bluish heat, you can even see the islands of Manado Tua and Bunaken.

On the way, we meet a group of young Indonesians who camped in the tent, a little lower. The destination is popular on the weekends.

The young girl from the internet center where I am writing these lines, came to tell me, when she saw the photo opposite, that she went there with some friends not long ago, and that they even went down, with climbing harnesses, to the very bottom of the crater...

The green lake: Danau Linow

We leave again for Lahendonadmire another telluric phenomenon: the green sulphur lake. Danau Linow (danau meaning lake).

The jade color of this toxic lake, without fish or water lilies, surrounded by hot springs and gaseous emanations, is amazing. An intense green, violent, as if artificial.

Danaw Linow Suff Lake, near Lahendon, is a spectacular jade green. North Sulawesi, Indonesia.
The spectacular jade green Danaw Linow Sulphur Lake near Lahendon. (North Sulawesi, Indonesia)

Anto then takes me to Sonder, big village full of florists, like Tomohon, or dry the cloves along the road, spread on canvas or tarpaulins. Our goal, an impressive waterfall, stashed not far from the road, in a piece of jungle.

"Dua puluh lima meters"he tells me. The numbers, in Indonesian, I master: 25 meters high, then. I nod and he points to my camera. I NOD AND HE POINTS TO MY CAMERA. I take the pose in front of the waterfall and he draws my portrait.

We will then cross several villages, including Kawahgkoan (if I'm not mistaken in the name), specialized in the manufacture of ceramics. All in the middle of beautiful landscapes of rice fields, by small country roads not too busy. The ride is nice as anything.

As it is the Lord's Day, there are many people dressed up in the villages, near the churches. The region is mostly Christian. And I can't resist the pleasure of photographing one of these incredible buildings, kitsch as one could wish...

A very kitsch Christian church in the Tomohon area. North Sulawesi, Indonesia
A very kitsch Christian church in the Tomohon area. (North Sulawesi, Indonesia)

We finish the route by the immense lake of Tondano. A lake that looks like a little sea, with waves and wind blowing.

The huge lake Tondano, in the region of Tomohon. (North Sulawesi, Indonesia)

There are plenty of restaurants on the waterfront, where they obviously serve fish from the lake. We will have lunch there and I will bravely try to make conversation with Anto, armed with my small guide Assimil.

Learn Indonesian

There's no secret about languages: it's always when you really have to do it that you make spectacular progress... Since my motorcycle trip with Anto, I've never spoken so "well". In addition to the common politeness formulas that I already mastered, I learned a lot of new words: go up, high, hot, beautiful, tired, go down, slowly, green, spring and waterfall, fish, delicious (yes, that fish from the lake was excellent!), full, etc. My bahasa indonesia is rich!!!!

In the evening, with Yoce, I continue the lesson. His dream is to seriously learn French, of which he has learned phonetically a few phrases and words. He makes me repeat some basic formulas in Indonesian, after dinner. He teaches me the words to introduce to indicate the past, the present continuous, the future. I translate the restaurant menu into French for him.

In addition to being a guide, Yoce is a "freelance" reporter for what I suppose is the local newspaper.

I collapse at 20h30-21h, exhausted by my day's trip. "Salamat tidur! Good night!"

In the evening TomohonThanks to the slight altitude, it is cool. It is very pleasant to feel the temperature vary between day and night. And it changes from the heat of Manado. The other good news is that there are no mosquitoes!

  Indonesia: Sulawesi - July 2007