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Read and rate Travel Journal Entries for Rantepao, Sulawesi Selatan, Indonesia

Feb 8, 2016 - Back in Rantepao

Our last few days in Sulawesi were spent in Rantepao. We were there for the buffalo market where there are hundreds of buffalos for sale. Prices are negotiated with the owner and we saw some thick wads of cash being counted. The owners look after their animals so well, washing them after their trip on a truck, bringing them water and hand feeding them grass! They must have a few pangs to finally sell them, knowing what they are very soon destined for. We paid a few dollars to hang out at a fancy hotel one day and use their swimming pool...

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Feb 7, 2016 - Rantepao, Sulawesi

With our senses reeling after a morning attending a funeral ceremony in Rantepao, we continued with our guide, a driver (and an Italian man we had met who shared the trip with us) to see the cave graves. The Toraja people believe that you can take possessions with you into the afterlife. As this led to grave plundering, they started to hide their dead in caves. These caves are hollowed out by specialist cave builders. Coffins go deep inside the caves, and sitting on balconies on the rock face in front of the caves are tau tau -wooden...

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Feb 1, 2016 - Tana Toraja, Sulawesi

Life for the Torajaen people revolves around death and they spend their days earning money to send their dead away properly. Yesterday we met a man with a mattress strapped on his motorbike. After talking with him we learned that this was to put in his mother's coffin when she would be buried in 3 or 6 months time. The most important Torajaen ceremony is the funeral because they believe without proper funeral rites, the soul of the deceased will bring bad luck to the family. The Toraja generally have two ceremonies, one immediately after...

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Jan 28, 2016 - Woofing No. 1

Life on the farm begins early - the roosters ensure you are awake! Natsir takes their 2 sons plus a nephew to school at 7am on his motorbike. They also have a daughter who is studying in Makassar. After breakfast we spend a couple of hours down in the garden weeding, lunch is round 11 am, we take a break in the heat of the day, then spend another couple of hours in the garden later in the afternoon. Because we are up in the mountains, the days are hot but the nights cool down. In between we sometimes wander around the local roads (with our...

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Jan 15, 2015 - Toraja Land continued...

Not more had to be said about the morning actvities...Day 4 of the funeral festivities would be the procession of the coffin to its final resting place into the family's chosen location. Unfortunately for us, we would not be able to attend this part of the celebration as it would be taking place on Monday, the day we were leaving Toraja Land. (Sunday is a day of rest so nothing would be taking place until the Monday). What kind of location? Our afternoon was spent touring around the many burial options available to the families. The...

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Jan 13, 2015 - Toraja Land

Happy New Year Everyone! When I first arrived in Bali I had been tuned to CNN, first watching the Air Asia disaster and more recently watching the horrifying massacre in Paris. We are all affected by these tragedies and we are praying for those families directly affected. Je suis Charlie! We have been away from tv this past week so are unsure what is happening. Friday morning we were whisked away from our hotel in Makassar by our hired guide, Hernan Halim, who we'll spend the next 5 days with in his shinny, black, air- conditioned truck....

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Jun 23, 2014 - Of rice and death

There was an audible intake of breath as the pall bearers lost their hold on the coffin as it jammed in the entrance to the pagoda and almost went tumbling to the ground. In the four days I've been here in Tana Toraja, a stunningly picturesque region of Southern Sulawesi, I've attended two funerals. Weirdly, they are the principal tourist attraction here and the local people welcome outsiders. Like the ethnic people of Flores, the Toraja are a fusion of animist and Christian. The Dutch, like so many other misguided colonial powers,...

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Six months in Asia

Jan 18, 2010 - Sulawesi, Tana Toraja

The blond curly haired guy, mid-twenties, walks across from the bus bay opening of the covered Makassar bus station to the bench where I am sitting on the right hand side: “Water is 4.000 rupees”, he says in Dutch to the slightly Indonesian looking guy on the left, while he sits himself between us. He is wearing a thin purplish shirt and an almost indecently thin rainbow striped pair of trousers with a hint of a flare; are these the seventies again? “So where are you guys headed?“, I ask, continuing in Dutch, when the other guy has left to...

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Sep 26, 2009 - Bicycle Touring Tana Toraja's Highlights

Well, it's 6 p.m. at our hotel - the Duta 88 - here in Rantepao. Having negotiated a late checkout, I am sitting on the deck of our bungalow waiting for the bus we booked to drop us at the airport near the city of Makassar to pick us up at some point within the next hour. The bus picks up the passengers within an hour window of 6 to 7 in the evening. Yes, I know, it sounds odd that the bus would actually pick up the passengers, but apparently that is the case here. And it better be, as we have a flight to Bali at 9 o'clock tomorrow morning....

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Break From the Law

Sep 25, 2009 - Back to Rantepao from Batutamonga

9 p.m. Well, Vikki and I just returned to our hotel here in Rantepao, the Duta 88, from dinner at Mart's Cafe, a popular local restaurant. Tonight I tried Tana Toraja's best known culinary specialty, called pa'piong. Essentially, pa'piong consists of pork with cabbage cooked in a coconut-based sauce inside a bamboo tube. As the dish takes several hours to prepare, I had to leave my order with Mart's Cafe 3 hours before dinner. I can confirm the wait was worth it: pa'piong is a delicious dish! We left Mama Sika's Homestay in Batutamonga...

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Break From the Law

Sep 23, 2009 - Funeral or County Fair? Our First Day in Tana Toraja

It is around 9 p.m. I’m sitting on the front porch of our communal sleeping room at Mama Siska’s Homestay, located in the village of Batutumonga here in Tana Toraja. We have packed a lot into our day today, a fact made even more suprising when one considers that we didn’t even arrive at our hotel in Rantepao until slightly after 3 o’clock this morning. Upon waking up this morning at around 8, rather than spend the day easing into our new surroundings, we jumped right into things. At around 10 a.m., over breakfast at Duta 88’s restaurant we...

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Break From the Law

Apr 30, 2009 - Tana Toraja - Hanging Graves at Londa

The Toraja live in the hills in southern Sulawesi. Their culture is quite unique, from their traditional houses - "tongkonan" - to their beliefs (special gods), and in particular their approach to death and their belief in the afterlife. The Torajans believe that you can take your worldly posessions with you to your afterlife. So burials included posessions. Theft of the burial items led the Torajans to build grave sites in caves hollowed out in cliff faces, and to "hang" coffins from the cliff faces - as you will see in the attached...

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Asia Journey

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