You can go ahead and put Sulawesi and 1 of the top 10 things to see before you die. Stunning, visceral, brutal, vivid, exciting and it pushes your being into believing that these kinds of events still happen on this planet. Some moments it feels like I'm in an Indiana Jones movie. I attended a Tana Toraja funeral ceremony yesterday.
At least 40 pigs were sacrificed to let the soul ascend to heaven. But, the most gruesome was the buffalo sacrifice.
CRAZY BECAK DAY
- Becak(noun) - a charming form of transportation in Indonesia that is basically a man driving you around on a bicycle, most of the time the driver does not know where anything is, most of the time the driver will try to rip you off, most of the time the driver will agree on a price beforehand then ask for more when you arrive at the destination, overall a very frustrating experience, better just take a cab.
Mistakingly, I took a becak in Makassar, Sulawesi, the man did not speak a word of English, in fact he probably didn't speak a word of Indonesian either. Instead, he spoke in a series of grunts, hand signals and smiles that just seemed to say "hey, i'll waste most of your day today." Unfortunately, I also liked this guy, and when you have a heart like mine, it's hard to be mean to someone. From what I understood, this man was going to take me to a wisma(guesthouse). I thought it was just a few blocks away.....No..... he drove me on this becak, one hour outside of Makassar. It was 110 degrees outside and this guy smiled the whole time. It was just another instance of language barrier I guess. Finally, I said, "Mana wisma?!" He was still pointing further outside of town and smiling and looking hopeful. I wasn't feeling hopeful, so I said "No, back to Makassar my friend!" We got out the ask directions, as I jumped out of the becak, my foot fell through this piece of wood, which was supposed to be a sidewalk, into what was probably supposed to be the sewer, and my sandal fell and washed through the sewer. This becak driver then ran downhill to catch my sandal and return it to me, poo and all. "Thank you." One hour outside of the city, 110 degrees and poo all over my feet.
The couchsurfer I'm staying with now seems to be living in a w****house. She's not a w****, but most of the other rooms are filled with prostitutes. And periodically the apartment is surrounded by men coming and going.
Makassar, nothing here but a lot of chaos and charm. In the mall, everyone seems very surprised to see me. I think it's cause I've ben here a week and only have seen 3 other whiteys.
In other news, I will be on a local radio news show in 2 days. I've made myself into some sort of local celebrity in Makassar. I boarded a cab today, not becak, and the cab driver knew who I was. Granted, this is a city of at least 2 million. But maybe 2 whiteys. Everyone on the street where I'm staying knows who I am. I feel so bad, because I only know them as random Indonesian kids who all call me "MEEES!"