Remember it's rainy season...
…well, too late for that. After touring Manado yesterday, we figured out there is not much to it. When you ask people what’s worth seeing, they all point you to the malls. So well, after one day in a hot smelly city, K. and I decided to go explore the countryside a little bit. The key thing in the area is a big lake which is about 30km south from Manado. So we get out of the hotel this morning cheerful and ready for adventures. Well, we were not disappointed. We jump on a minibus to the bus terminal, and then to a bus heading to Tomohon, the next city. Indonesian bus, hence completely full with a couple of plastic chairs in the middle alley to squeeze more people in. We get to Tomohon, see that a lot of little shops are closed and realized that it’s Sunday (yes, this will be an important detail later on).
A friendly policeman points us the right direction to the market, so off we go exploring. Fruits, veggies, dead fishies, dead meat…including dead dogs. And alive ones too, in little cages, waiting to be sold. We actually witnessed the process of dog “preparation” for customers: with a FLAME THROWER. Yum.
We also get lots of staring and pointing and “Bule orang” calling. Well, I am nowhere yet at my full tanning potential so I don’t blend in very much, as for K. with blond hair and light eyes he probably is considered very exotic around here.
Anyway, once the market tour is done we decide to head up to the lake which is another 10km away. A friendly guy indicates a minibus, and off we go again to Tondano, the next village. We get off the minibus…and well, this looks like a mini city square and not much going on.
This is the first time (but not the least) today where I will bless myself for taking Indo classes before leaving home, even though I cannot really make conversation. We are in the middle of nowhere and no one speaks a word of English. So I try to find out how to go to the lake, I understand it’s Sunday and there are close to no minibuses, apart from a guy that wants a indecent price to take us there. So I go talk to (well, try to) the bike drivers, and after a good 20 minutes of discussion we have two motorbikes with two drivers willing to take us there for a mere 20.000RP. And off we go.
But…it’s rainy season. We had a few drops of rain earlier in the day, five minutes after going on the bikes it starts pouring down. So we stop under a little shack, our lovely drivers provide adequate equipment (wrapping me in a giant plastic bag and K. into a raincoat) and we stay there a little while until the rain slows down. While waiting I am trying to make poor conversation, which probably came out as “Friend of mine vacation with, I learn dive in Bali, I am trying speak Indonesian, a lot of rain today” etc. The guys are in awe at those few words and actually seem to enjoy my poor skills. We looked very cute in our rain coats:
After a few minutes we are back on the road…for about 10 minutes. The sky seems to be falling over our heads for the amount of rain that is coming down and in some parts the road is nowhere to be seem anymore…So another pit stop at another shack, once again I make friends, the friendly woman standing next to me is trying to make conversation. We consider turning around at this point, but this lake looks great from what we see between drops, and I am properly starving.
The last bit of drive finally takes us to a lovely restaurant over the lake, where the lady running it welcomes us. I am shivering, I am soaked up to my underwear, and the hot tea feels better than ever. So we dry out and we enjoy a delicious meal (best corn fritters ever).
It keeps pouring down, and one of the staff informs us that because of Sunday the bus service is not great so we decide to wait outside on the side of the road to catch one, which could be an hour from now. Until the lovely lady running the restaurant comes out and tells us she is driving back to the village and do we want a ride? F… YES!!!
After one car ride and one minibus ride and one bus ride and another minibus ride we finally made it back…soaked but full of stories to tell.
Today, we are off to dive Lembeh, the muck dive and critters’ kingdom. No adventures, no nothing, just dive, eat, sleep, and again.Woohoo!