Showing posts from September, 2010

Sulawesi Surprise! : More Tongkonans

It rained quite frequently when I was in Sulawesi. It rained the first morning I woke up in Makassar and it rained when we were on the way to Tana Toraja. With such high ranges there in Tana Toraja , I suppose it would rain quite often there. It would not be very different from my hometown, Taiping, I suppose where it used to rain cats and dogs most afternoon what with the Bintang Range blocking the wind from going on further to the sea in the other side of the peninsular. The ranges in Tana Toraja perhaps would serve the same purpose as the Bintang Range and so, it should not be a surprise when after lunch, just as we were making our journey to our next place of interest, it started to drizzle. Our spirits could be easily dampened, but hey, we had come to a place with more Tongkonans. Tongkonan, if you remember, is the traditional ancestral house with the boat-shaped roof of the Torajan people. In the past, these houses could only be built by the nobles. The commoners live in smaller…

Sulawesi Surprise!: Not So Green

Remember the 1975 Steven Spielberg's movie based on Peter Benchley's novel, Jaws ? The movie which had been hailed as one of the greatest films of all time was once number 48 on American Film Institute's 100 Years 100 movies list and spawned three sequels. In the sequel, Jaws 2 (inset) there was a catchy movie blurb, Just when you thought it was safe to go in the water again... - Well, in Lemo, I was tempted to say, Just when you thought it was all green... - Lemo is not by all way, green. It is yet another burial site in Tana Toraja but here's a burial site with a difference. The dead and the tau taus are put in burial chambers cut out of the rocks. A chamber caters for a family. A dead body would be put in the chamber and when another member of the family dies, the body will be stacked there too and that goes on and on as long as there is space for the next corpse. It is not an easy feat cutting out the chambers as they are all high up there above the ground and the …

Sulawesi Surprise!: Green Lemo

After a sumptuous lunch, our bus journeyed on . There was much greenery at the place we ate and more greenery all along the way. Then, we came to our destination- another green place. There was a big padi field there but hey, there was a hen here too which had been kept captive in a big bamboo basket quite similar to the ones used to contain fruits in Malaysia. There was a little stall selling local handicrafts nearby and that most probably meant this was a place for tourists to Tana Toraja and of course, it was- We had reached Lemo...  36

Would you perhaps find signs of yet another burial site?

Traveling Tip: You'd never get too much of the same thing!

Sulawesi Surprise! : Not so Great Expectations

If coffins, skeletons and skull put you off, I bet they would still not put you off lunch, would they? It definitely did not put the busload of us off. By Torajan standard, I suppose we had had a sumptuous lunch after our visit to the burial site. We had rice with corn soup, chicken and some other dishes. Lunch was better than the dinner we had had when we first arrived at Rantepao. The place overlooked green paddy fields and had a cute little garden. It was definitely more posh and this of course, is also by Tana Toraja standard. Don't expect modern high rise buildings or big shopping malls in Tana Toraja and don't even dream of a supermarket or a well stocked shop. Just enjoy your lunch, won't you?          35

Do you like the plant in the garden?

Traveling Tip: Enjoy your lunch!