Friday, February 20, 2009


18th Jan 2009

This would be our last day in Sulawesi. We would not be able to explore Makassar city. Makassar is Indonesia's seventh largest city. With the remaining hours before AirAsia's flight at 5:30 pm, we decided to explore the Losari area, where we stayed. The Losari area is by the sea. It's fully developed so we could not see any beach here, though there are numerous waterfront developments.

We decided to cycle around before packing our bikes. Today being Sunday, there were several activities around Losari. The first activity that caught our attention was a group of cyclists (obviously) congregating at the waterfront, waiting to start their off-road riding.

We became instant friends. They asked about our rides. We asked about theirs. For them, it is a weekly cycling outing on every Sundays, very much similar to what we do weekly back home. One of them promised to visit us at our hotel and bring some cycling jerseys for us to purchase as memories of Sulawesi.

I was attracted to this t-shirt. It reminded me of my cycling trip last year to Jogjakarta and my encounter with the ONTHELL, the old bicycle on this guy's t-shirt.

Indonesians loved their Sunday aerobic sessions. I discovered this in Padang, in Jogjakarta and now in Makassar. Young and not so young, slim and not so slim all enjoyed the swaying and sweating to the beat of some Indon pop songs. Main roads would be closed for such occassions.

What do Malaysians do on Sundays?

Along with the healthy activities, Sundays are also days for family outings. I noticed they start their activities early. I saw this ingenious mobile merry-go-round. More accurately, it was a mery-up-and-down. For a fee of-course, the babies would experience the thrill of up-and-down on the "motorbikes". The operator pedalled the mechanism that propelled the motorbikes up and down. You get 4 over-weight babies on these motorbikes and the poor operator would need constant carbo-loadings to energise his legs!

And if you think Makassar is small with no high-end hotels, you will be in for a surprise. Located within the proximity of Losari Beach, Hotel Pantai Gapura would surprise many visitors. It is a 4-star hotel built out on the sea. At IR600,000 a night after discount, it would be a great place for travellers with deep pockets. For cycling tourists, we were lucky we were allowed to take pictures of the complex.

Later in the day, the cyclists we met earlier came visiting. We had lunch together. Thereafter, we pillion-ride on their motorcycles to visit a Rodalink bike shop and later stopped at Bapak Ridwan Salam's workshop-cum-house. His parting word for me was "kalau datang lagi ke Makassar, ngak menginap di Hotel. Nginap aja dirumah saya". Well, Pak Ridwan, thank you for your hospitality. I will take a rain-check on that invitation.


Hitting the roads of South Sulawesi was yet another great experience. We cycled our way through flat coastal plains of vast padi-fields and corn farming. We spoiled ourselves in Bira, the coastal fishing village with clear crystal water and a home-stay like accomodation by a beach. We moved into the hinterland and highlands.
We survived the potholes at some stretches without any punctures (except once). We experienced torrential rains and bright sunny weathers. We visited the caves of the dead in Toraja and got invited to witness not one
but two Bugis weddings.
We discoverd the best teh tarek in Watansopeng and enjoyed (at times endured) our no-star accomodation. We loved the bridal suite up on the cool mountain of Makala and the raging waterfall of Bantimurung.
Above all, we loved its people. Poor generally, but very friendly and hardworking. Overall, it was another humbling experience.
Thank you Acid for being a buddy for 14-days. Thank you Hatim and Saiful for bringing us to Toraja in your rented Innova. Thank you friends who had dropped in on my blog.



oops did I just say that? said...

nice last pic there bah!

ARZ said...

Mimi, yeah I thot so too. It's a pic I shot in Tana Toraja. If I use the shot taken from the front, it's a welcome to Tana Toraja.

Taken from the rear, it a bye-bye!