We are currently in Ampana, Sulawesi (near Poso on the map above). We were on a boat to the Togian Islands today, but the engine blew halfway there, we had to turn around. We’re trying the car fairy tomorrow. The Togian Islands are in the Gulf of Tomini. The snorkelling and diving are suppose to be amazing.
We spent 2 days on an eight-decker cargo ship across the Caleb Sea from Borneo to Sulawesi. We had the choice to stay in economy, 5, 4, 3, 2, or 1 class. We opted to pay a few dollars more and travel first class. It was cheap and beats spending 48 hours in a hot room with boisterous Indonesians that chain smoke. A private room with meals included was $43 each.
I learned a little Bahasa (Indonesian language) on the boat, which makes travelling here much more pleasant. It is a fun and easy language to learn. Indonesians are very friendly and curious of us. If you need a confidence boost, then Indonesia is the place to come. Locals elbow their neighbors and point as we pass by. Sometimes they laugh at us, but mostly they want a picture of us or with us. Total strangers crowd around and ask for a picture of us with them. An actual line will form of locals waiting for their chance to pose with us. I now know how irritating it would be to be a celebrity (luckily, their not asking for autographs). We have experienced this mostly in the non-tourist cities, where I don’t think they see westerners very often. I have also had a stranger rub my arm, mesmerized by my hairy arms. Indonesians have no hair on their arms.
Thus far, we have managed to hold on to most of our belongings. Ryne lost a pair of shorts, his prescription classes and only 3 pairs of sunglasses. We have lost but found several things, such as a memory card, the camera and a bag that was left on a bus. We went to 3 different bus stations looking for this bus and as we were explaining how desperately we needed to track it down, Ryne spots the bus flying down the road. I have never seen Ryne take off so fast!! He sprinted after the bus and amazingly caught up to it (thanks to his track star days) and jumped on. It was like a scene out of a movie. And yes, the bag was still there! Nothing too valuable was inside, but still very happy to be reunited. Unfortunately, our camera decided that it doesn’t want to turn on anymore. Too bad because it takes great underwater pictures. We spent a hectic hour searching for a replacement before the boat left today, but to no avail. We were at peace with the fact that we were going to stunningly beautiful place with no camera. We told our sad story to another traveller on the boat, hoping he might email us pictures, but he did better than that! This kind American GAVE us his spare camera!! Granted it’s a cheap camera, but it works =)