We are touring the completely untouched northern Sulawesi, just two bulles (white), with small backpacks, no guide, nor map. All we have, is a taste for adventure and no fear.
3. December. Wake up at six, while the first daylight pierces the curtains. While Morten heads for the toilet in the other room, I check the view from our porch: Awesome! We are on the peak of a little mountain, lying out in the lake. I can see for kilometres, and most of it is nature.
A group of macaus runs around below, and one comes to the porch. I keep my distance, and it seems to relax too. I shoot some photos, and retires to the room, where the temperature are on the right side of 25C. Our host announces coffee in the saloon, but draws my attention to the the porch on the other side of the house.
From here, there are a fantastic view to a giant amphitheatre, covering three villages and many small but rich fields of vegetables. The villages looks quite alike some in southern Europe from this distance, and the bare mountain could be as well. Most of the lager vegetation are "normal" trees, and only a few palms are visible. A few tree-ferns make the scenery remind us of New Zealand.
Back inside, I admire the furniture. It is all brand new, and with wood-carvings I only have seen on 100 year old and very fine pieces of furniture. It looks like the house build for a real rich person. Bit of a dacha, in the middle of nowhere, but with a marvellous view, and quite close to the big city .
We finish the bare coffee, and ask for the bill. They seems a bit unsecured when they ask for seven euros. That covers the mopeds last night, the shared mie goreng and coffee. If it have been the owners, and not the caretakers, they could have asked for ten times as much.
We walks off to get a closer look at the crater lake we came for. The brand new, and real good quality sealed road - leading only to the hotel - serpentines several kilometres down hill. Small and new pagodas are placed in points with good view, no other buildings are seen on the hill.
I find several interesting plants in the rather dense forest along the road. One is a Selaginella, others seems real familiar from other places in the world. At the foot of the private mountain, we find a gravel road, leading closer to the lake. Several mopeds are parked on it, their owners are fishing along the shore.
It is still early enough to see a lot of insects and hear some lizards. We keep walking for an hour, seeing one great view after the other. The uncertainty of the distance to the village, the little dinner and lack of breakfast makes us return. We might be able to catch a ride, but we would like to enjoy the landscape while we are here.
We passes some people working on the fields, some with oxes. Here are potatoes, carrots, onions, cucumbers, turnips, cabbages, tomatoes and many other familiar vegetables. Around us, many birds can bee seen. From kites over falcons, yellow willy-wagtail, swallows, sparrows, a green pigeon to black headed nuns.
After three hours walking, we reach the village; Modoingen. It is long stretched, and we manages to be greeted by most of the residents before we reach its centre. All the houses we passes are well maintained and with an abundance of flowers around. There are, as we have seen before, many churches too.
We find a small eating place, and orders chicken, which we get with rice and spiced vegetables. We just passed the school, and we have drawn quite some kids along. The stand in the door, until the two-three year old daughter of the house closes it. Then they fill the windows.
A man joins us at the table. He tell the kids to leave, and tell me why they are so interested in us: We have big noses like Jesus! Well, and the fact they have never seen a white fellow before, I guess. He invites us on coffee in his nearby house; he want to practise his English. He sure needs too, but not on us, please.
We continues down town, and find a little blue who drives to Katamobagu, the next lager town down the road - and Sulawesi. He drives real slowly through town the way we walked, and we stop for quite some time, waiting for a guy. The a stop at a "One litre Cola bottle gas station" to fill up with two bottles. Can't be that fare to Katamobagu!
The speed is picked up, and off we goes through real rich fields with vegetables, and along the lake. We reach a village with a huge gathering of people. It is a Muslim burial party, leaving the mosque. It is one of the first we have seen, but they turn real numerous now.
There are still ponds and rice fields between the coconut plantations, but the vegetables are getting scarcer. We reaches Katamo(bagu) around noon. A huge city, dominated by those passenger-mopeds. These mopeds are pimped up like nothing else: The front looks like a Ferrari, and they have a huge car battery to run the extensive music power station, using the three or even five 15" bass speakers along wit up to 20 other speakers. You newer hear the hard working engine, just the music.
We drive right into centre, which looks more like a mid-Arabic city than anything else. The flowers are gone, the streets are less maintained and clean, but the people are still real friendly, waving and vide smiling. There are no doubt in our minds; They newer see pale fellows like us! Scares the smallest kids while the mid-aged are real intrigued. Well, most of the old too.
We decides just to take a walk-around, and see what we find. We start at the modern mall with its Christmas decorations. We could use a map, and I need a new pen - again. The main street is dominated by moped workshops and cellar phone shops. Some shops have all kind of back-packs, and I spend €15 on one that fit my travel gear, including the computer and raincoat.
There are no tour operators in this town either. On the other hand; we walk the streets thin for seven hours without seeing one singe white person. Guess this is the biggest potential tourist country I ever been in. One should not have much imagination to find a lot of real interesting sits around here, given the nature and history.
We had a loose idea of going out to Bogani Nani Wartabone National Park, but we are fare from sure exactly where it is, nor if it is possible at all. Considered how alike the nature have been thought the part we have seen - and how little exotic it is to be honestly, we decides to spend the rest of the day in this town.
We might as well start looking for one of these rare hotels. After quite some time, we finally find one in the main street. Their middle priced rooms with two beds are at four euros, but when we see it, it only have a narrow bed. Alternative, there are the luxury to eight, or the budget to €2,50. Fine with us, although we have thought we would get a towel and a extra sheet.
Drop the backpacks, and hit the town again. A pit-stop for coffee, and we look for the marked. We find it in a parallel street, and it is huge! No dogs, nor pigs, not even bats, but everything else one can imagine. Like every where else, most greets us with a big smile and "Hallo Mister". The offers their fries fish, eggs, cheese or whatever, but like everywhere else, they take a polite "no thanks" for an answer. Real nice!
Make a few loops, one to get Morten's sandal fixed by a shoemaker I saw earlier. We passes the large marked again, and head out of town. Within fifteen minutes walking, we are out on the countryside with fields, goats and fresh air. It is getting darker, and we head back. A new supermarket supplies me with candy. As everyone knows: Fat food and candy does not fatten during the Christmas month. Morten buys, to my big surprise - and his later - an alcohol free malt beer.
A break at the hotel room, and then out to find dinner. The town is still very lively, although it is dark. We get a mie gorang, which is real tasty, but we have t pay 70 cents each. Back to work with diary and photos, some are leftovers from yesterday. Bumps my head on the door frame once again. It is 20 centimetre too low for me - like so many around here.
The television is right outside our room, and it is popular. So are our attic, but as a racing field for monkeys. Somehow, Morten manages to sleep from it all.
4. After a rather sleepless night, we get up at seven. A minute later, it knocks at the door, and we get served coffee and a stuffed bagel. I'll take a shower and dry my selves in the pillow casing. That is what they get out of not supplying me with a towel. This have been the worse room we have had, but surely also the cheapest.
The plan of the day s to work us back towards Tomahon, where the hotel host's son might take us to the volcano. On the way, we will jump off the blue mini, and have a walk along the road in some nice nature. My flip-flap gave me a blister long time ago, and now it is bothering me again. Decides to buy some new shoos before we start walking for real.
We are a bit early out for shopping, but due to our keen knowledge to the town, we fid a big and open shop just after eight. I try the pair of shoos they have in 43 - Yes: The only pair. Pay ten euros, and head for the terminal. Spend some time explaining we want to go some of the way back towards Manado, but want to jump off in the middle of nowhere.
A slightly strange fellow who can speak a bit of English help us, and a driver are ready to set off with only us in the car. We are heading for Danau Mooat, the crater lake we visit yesterday. Just at the peek of the near bye mountain, we jumps off, and start walking.
Surprisingly fast, we reach a lake, which is the twin to Mooat. Surrounding nature is fantastic, and as we got here at nine, the fat golden skinks are too fast, but there are still some insects to be found. On a single stem, we spot two flying lizards.
There are some epiphytes in the coffee bushes, among them orchids. Here are also a great variety of ferns, from huge tree ferns to small epiphytic. The bird-life are rich; all from the tiny spectacular birds over crows to kites. Some tiny nectar eaters and kingfishers passes way too fast.
Then, without any warning, I spot the plant I'm really want to see: Lecanopteris celebica. It is a epiphytic fern, and of cause it sit high up. Morten stand impatience and ready with his camera while I climb the tree they are in. Their popular name is ant-fern, and that is well chosen! It looks like a plant from another planet, and although they are showing sign of the ending of the dry season, I get some valued shots.
We reach some farmed fields. Onions, carrots and all kind of other vegetables are hand-maintained on weed-free and steep hills. We reach Mooat, and I find another strange fern: Lecanopteris carnosa. I would say it is even stranger looking with its "antennas". (Or the first is a juvenile form of the L. carnosa?) They sit in huge clusters - high up. Once again, Morten get disappointed when I reach solid ground after a successive climb.
We reach the closed lodge we ended up at the evening before last, and we are at familiar grounds. Mooat is famous for its ability to change colour, and while we walk along it, it goes from blue to brown. The key is the clouds, which clearly can be seen, when they are absolute, and the lake is striped.
There start to be some real nice flowers in the side of the road, but I figure it is because the side of the road have been used for dumping of garden waste. There were too many familiar window plants! The epiphytes are more authentic: Huge clusters of ferns and orchids along with the cup-shaped Asclepiadaceae.
We reach a small village after twelve kilometres and three hours walking. The sun have become strong, and the temperature have gone from the hotel's 25C to 35C. We find a tiny restaurant, and buy some real spicy lunch. After a bit of walking, we passes the hill on which we slept two nights ago. Then we reach Modoinding, which does not provide any new experiences.
We try to find a little blue that can take us towards Tomohon. End up in one that do a lot of zigzagging through town. When he finally speeds up, it is in the wrong direction! Most of the passengers claims we have to go this way, and due to the fact we don't have a map on hand, we end up in Katamobagu one more time today. One hour in the wrong direction.
We figure the misunderstanding is due to the fact they won't believe a couple of pale guys like us are using little blues. The drop of at the station for the 4WDer, which are more than eager take us along. No doubt it will be real expensive! They are he only ones who have touched us had a hard time understanding NO!
We retreats, and Morten have got a hot tip to; where to find a roadmap. I only heard some of his conversation with the young girl, but Facebook was one of the words I picked up. Anyway; we find the shop, and a Sulawesi map. The area we are covering is on the size of a palm, but it is nice to have it in printing. Might have saved us for the two hour driving to and from Katamobagu.
A coffee brake on the way to the terminal, and two roles of biscuits, and we start the hunt for the right little blue. We find our driver from this morning, but he won't take us. Not sure why. The other drivers try to lure us to the 4WDers - we think, but finally, we get the next Tompaso(baru), which are a small town on the right road. Third time today, we head up this road.
When we pass a high area, it starts to drip, and the clouds are real low, covering the peak of the volcano, and coming down among the trees. After an good hour, at dusk, we reach the little town. We have had a few wind tears on the way, and when the driver tells us we have to continue with mopeds, we back out. There are at least two hours driving to Amurang and the same to Tomahon. On moped, at night, in rain???
We start walking, counting on a ride. To our big surprise, the first cars and pick-up passes our thumbs. Then we figure they don't use this sign around here. Try the next pick-up, but it passes waving. The luxury car behind stops; it is three real young guys, and we get seated on the third row of leather seats.
It is a pretty good driver, and while we listen to some great laid-back techno, we sprints up towards Tomahon. At one point, could be around Sonder, we passes a point with a significant small of sulphur: An active volcano nearby. The young friends are on their way to Manado, and after three hours, they drops us off at our hotel in Tomahon. We get our usual room, and head out to find some dinner.
It is late, and we don't dear passing the rather good restaurant we eat at last. Get a menu with bean soup and grilled fish/pork, rice and spiced vegetables. Morten treats him selves with a Anchor's Stout, I get coffee. Bach at the hotel, it stands on photos and diary. At midnight, I must admit I have no energy for the photos.
5. The girls try eagerly to serve breakfast at seven, but Morten is still sleeping, and I wish I was. It is a tough life to be on vacation with us! The plan for the day it - once more . to find some volcanic activity at Mt Soputan. The map we finally found last afternoon have given us some confidence to try again.
Unfortunately, Morten have, in his wisdom, chosen to leave it in the boys car last knight. We had it for almost six hours! Well, we still have a rough idea, and at nine, we walk up to the big bus terminal. A small tour around the marked before we head for the first little blue, which brings us to Sonder. On the edge of town, I spot a swamp with pink Lotus.
We been here before, and find the blue to Kawangkoan right away. He drives with only us onboard, and we reach Tombaso fast. The driver on this blue do speak a bit of English, and he tell Morten how to get to Mt Soputan. The blue for Tombaso, and then - lost in translation. We get straight over in the Tombaso blue, and the other passengers agrees on where we ought to jump of.
It is a sealed, but narrow road, leading towards the volcanoes, and we start walking. The first we meet is a extremely large horse racing course. There are even a race today, but we head on. Then we reach a tremendous large drilling rig. Could be for thermic energy?
Then there is a little village, and we are greeted like usual. This is farmers, but their gardens are still well maintained. So are the fields: There are no weed to be found anywhere, and that is due to manual weeding. As Morten points out: The share amount of insects and birds proves it. We see spectacle birds, nectar eaters, singers, sparrows, crows, black magpie, kingfishers, pigeons and others, which are too fast for identification.
A Calotes is sitting in some sunflower-like bushes, and golden skinks are disappearing right in front of us. I spot what could be an ant-plant on a little tree. It is! It look at first as a Hydnophytum formicarum, but later, I find what could be some Myrmecodia sp., but It might be something else.
Right next to these small ant-plants is ant-fern with a significantly ant-rhizome. I have never seen it before, not even on photos, but it sure attract ants! There are several orchids in the same tree, and I spend some time crawling around in it, while Morten wits underneath with the charm of a vulture or hyena. The light is fare from good, and the three kind of ants slightly annoying, but I want photos!
There are many local farmers passing us. All are real well dressed and real smiling and eager to have a look at us. I try to act normal - not easy, I tell you - especially not when all I want to photo is sitting way up in the trees. The next is one of the cup-shaped Asclepiadaceaes with flowers. The next is a normal Asclepiadaceae with flowers. The branch I'm holding on breaks off, and I fall to the grown. Morten had just given up, and had his back to.
Giant bamboo are grown for their stems. The new shoots are 25 centimetres in diameter, when it reaches the first meter in height. Within long, it will reach 20-25 metres or even more. The path narrows in, but it is still sealed with volcanic glass with tar. It get steeper and steeper, but the farmed fields continues. It is all kind of vegetables, from tomatoes to onions. No weed at all, but they do weed a lot.
The fields are all laid out in the same way: Meter vide walls with lines across. Must be good at holding on the water and soil. Must take a tremendous amount of work, but that don't seem to be a problem on Sulawesi. I got a feeling of these people are fare from lazy, but they only work what they have too. Then they have the energy to smile and maintain their gardens too.
We reach one peak, but there are still a long way to the big ones. In one tree, I spot some head-sized ant-plants. That causes for some neck-breaking crawling again, but I am rewarded with some awesome plants. Both ant-plants, Asclepiadaceaes and huge orchids. Unfortunately, the last one is not in flower this time of year.
We make a loop around the peak. More views, more trees with ferns, ant-plants and orchids. I even find a parasite plant on a orchid. On another tree, an new Asclepiadaceae is flowering. Here are cows scatted around. Most we have seen are Indian oxes; big, white animals with a rope through their nose.
Even though it is only two o'clock, the light is slightly fating. Clouds are forming around the peak, and we decide to head back. We keep seeing insects. One is a helmet beetle, and the most flamboyant insect I have ever seen. Gold metallic with a fantastic sparkle.
It starts to drip when we reach the village, and we reach the main road just in time. We wait - actually; we don't: The little blue are exactly on time for our approach. First a lift to Kawangkoan, one minute, and we continues straight to Tomahon.
Jump off at the centre of the town, and walk down main street. It is still raining a bit, and we decides for dinner, even though it is only half pass five. Find a clean looking restaurant for once. They don't bring a menu-card, just all their courses. We dig in, and end up paying €5,50, but then we are stuffed!
Pass the Cool Supermarket on the other side of the street to get a bit of snag to the long evening. I got way too many un-finished photos in stock, and spend the evening sorting, reframing and resizing them. Meanwhile, we look at our finances:: We have used €100 each during the last eight days, and we have not been saved on anything - except on the €100 volcano guided tour. Compared with the €100 a day diving part, it is cheep!
6. Our host at Home Stay Hotel is a real nice man, and besides from being real informative - which we need - he is also very helpful. After he have explained to us how to get to the active volcano; Lohon, he actually drives us there. On the way, we passes a huge factory area that produces wooden houses. He also tells us that the "Bulle-bulle" the kids shouts after us means "White", either as albino of like us.
The volcano, which can be seen from the town, are located less than three kilometres outside town, from the other end of the rather large Tomahon. We drive up a real bad gravel road, and passes a stone- and gravel query. We can see the steam coming up from the side of the huge cone, and start walking, when the road get too bad.
Where the road ends, the dried-out river starts. It is mainly bare rock, formed by water and stoned through time, flanked by large grass and ferns. Morten finds a gigantic snout beetle - or it find him. I shot a lot of photos, and we let it fly.
By the way: The area is actually closed due to recently volcanic activity. There was no guard at the "entrance", and we think we have it all to our selves, until we meet a volcanist on his way down to town. We have a chat with him, seeing his photos of the crater and the burning sulphur at night. He is on his way down to get fresh water in the city.
The water in the rock pools look perfectly clear, but contains too many chemicals for drinking. Some parts of the river is challenging, some parts are passed in the tall grasses along the river. Morten say: Now we only need to see a snake.
Ten minutes after, I have found him one. It may not be big, but it is colourful and easy to photo, as it is on the bare rocks. A lot of photos later, we let it continues its journey down river. The loose rocks in the river is a story by them selves. Here are all from pumice over iron to black, volcanic glass and some that look like they have been liquid - which thy have.
We are getting closer and closer to the giant cone, and now we can not only see the huge steam cloud, we can smell the sulphur. We reach the volcanist camp, and have a longer chat with another scientist. We promises not to go into the crater, just have a peek from the edge. He is leaving for town as well, and we think "Yeah-yeah". Well, we actually kept that promise!
The loos gravel in the area look like it have been coated with half a centimetre of concrete. All the trees in the greater area is dead, and only a few straws of grass are alive. The volcanists go into the crater to take measurements wear masks. One of them lost his temperature probe this morning due to heat!
No wonder they monitor this crater: Tonohon is laying right at the foot of the giant volcano, and the river forms a briliant highway for lava. I'm just glad it is not closed-closed. We continues up to the craters edge. The crater is around 4-500 meters vide and 250-300 meter deep.
When we reach it, it is filled with white steam. The wind is driving it up the main cone, and we sit down right at the edge and wait for at photo and a peek down to the bottom. The wind drives the steam around, and we with it. Then, the wind clears the crater partially, and we spot the blue-green lake and the red and yellow sulphur deposits. If there should be any doubt: IT IS AWESOME!
We walk around the crater edge, avoiding the strong chemical steam. We might find a way down, but honestly: We have no desire to. I get to push a few rocks down, and they seems to fall for ever! There are a constantly hissing from the deep below, besides form that; not a sound. Steam are coming out on many sites on the crater wall, some quite close to the edge.
It seems like the intensity variates, and sometimes, we have a clear view to the bottom. The scenery changes constantly, and I end up with more than 100 photos and ten minutes of video. All we need is some sun, but after an hour admiring, all we get is rain. We start heading back, but stops numerous time to admire the view to the cone, city and area in general.
On the way back, we have a closer look at the interesting rocks and boulders in the area. The gravel have been cut by rain water, and the sides is covered in crystals. On the top, there are only a few plant species, but as we head further down river, there become more species like tree ferns. The river have started to fill, but is is drained in many places, and I get down without having to step in water.
Due to the rain, there are not many insects, but a green cicada caught my eyes. So do a few flowering plants, and when we have passed the quarry, I find ant-plants and ant-ferns. Here, as so many other places, many plants seem to be non indecorous.
Back in town, we catch a a small blue, which brings us the ten kilometres back to the terminal. It is time for lunch, but I don't feel like nasi- or mie gorang, and talk Morten into a bakery with coffee. Not that great, but as a Dane, I admit to be spoiled!
Just like on Bonaire, here are dressed-up cars with speakers and dresses-up people. On Bonaire, they looked like Rasta-men, here they look like a mix between KISS and Dark Wader in his young days. Some Santa Claus and Christmas music is involved too, and I guess it originates from a Dutch tradition.
Back at the hotel, we arrange a tour to some hot springs this afternoon with the son of the house; Areel. An hour with washing cloth and loading photos, and we are ready. We drive south, and end up in a very touristed place with everything from cafes, hat- and souvenir salesmen. It is Bukit Kasih, an area with hot srings. Here are plenty of people, but all are locals, enjoying the Sunday.
We follows Areel to the cafes, and get a coconut-milk-beer, tasting quite a lot like buttermilk. Then we leave him at the hot pools, and head up the mountain. The sulphur steam holes are all over, and so are the trash. This is the first place we find it in amounts worth mention, and it is annoying.
There is a concrete stair going around the whole area. We meet several groups of people on their way down. One group insists on getting their photos taken along with me - which causes Morten great enjoinment!
On the top, there are places of worship for five religions: Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhism. The surrounding nature is slightly disappointing, except from some Dutchman's Pipes.
It is getting cloudy and eventually darkens, and we get the soaked Arial and head back. He ask if we have had snake, dog and bat, and we end up at a local restaurant, getting the most. Arial is a real nice fellow, and truly interesting to chat with.
He will finish as doctor this month, and he have travelled quite a lot in Asia. We see some of his awesome photos from the region, and end up arranging a sun-set tour tomorrow at 4;30. Sounded recently at the time... We have been eating chicken, snails, fish, dog, pig, bat, carrots, beans and some weird stuff too. And: Bat is not bad at all.
On the way home, Areel find Morten a bottle of the local moonshine, made on coconut. Like most other moonshine, it is characteristic... Home to write diary, and way too late to bed.
7. Morten have set his alarm at four - way out of sync with my sleeping pattern! We set off at half pass, driving through the still sleeping town. On the north-eastern end of town, a real rough road leads up Mt Tomohon. It turns into a narrow but new sealed road, leading to a new parking lot.
We head upwards in the beginning light, through the tall elephant grass by a narrow path. At the peak of Mt Tomohon, there are a fantastic view all the way round. The surrounding peaks, Tomohon city, Manado, the sea and the great lakes of the area. There are a little wildlife around us, among it; a huge tick, and the longest Daddy Long-leg I ever seen.
Right next to the peak, a giant hole shows the immense force of the volcano. It is cup-formed, and 3-400 meters vide and deep. It have been possible to climb it, but the bushes are now covering the walls, making it to hazard. On the peak, a transmitter for the automatic seismological station stands. The light changes while we stand there, and first, we get more and more details. Then clouds forms, and after an hour, we are in a sea of clouds along with four other peaks.
We walk down, and drive on to Bukit Linow, a large lake with both fresh and sulphuric water, bobbling up in one end. It have not opened yet, but a little down the road, the view is fantastic. We sit an chat with Areel, while we see the light change over the multicoloured lake.
A short drive in the area, and it is opening time. The entrance is a bit steep; €2, but we get a thin cup of coffee included. There are hot springs, bobbling up in the lake, and there are different birds on and around it. Some ducks, cow herons, a fishing eagle, swallows and a willy-wagtail. Skinks are catching flies along the shore along with dragonflies.
Around eleven, Areel have to return home, and we have a break at the hotel. I am still more than 300 photos behind, along with the explaining tags on 200 more. Wish I could save it for a cold winter day at home - but then I wouldn't have a clue what to write.
After having worked a bit on them, we take a walk around town - almost literally. A road leads round the eastern part of the town, passing open fields and residential quarters. We end up at the terminal ant the huge marked. They start closing while we grab a cup of coffee, and the rats takes over.
We head home through town, which don't offers that many temptations anymore. We stop at a little internet cafe next to our hotel to book a hotel in Singapore. Then through the Cool Supermarket on the other side of the road to buy some calories.
Tickling with photos, interrupted be a dinner at a nearby restaurant. We are ready to leave Tomohon for this time, but we might return one day. The area is so beautiful, the climate perfect and the people fantastic. I finally catch up with my photos close to midnight - it have been a long day!
8. We start the day slowly, Saying goodbye ant thanks for all to the hosts at the Home Stay. Then walking through town after the last packing. A round on the market, pass the hen-pusher and into the small bus for Manado. It is by the main road through the island towards the capital, and it is a narrow but sealed road.
We passes many nurseries and some basket weavers in-between great nature; I even spot some huge ant-plants! We reach Manado after less than an hour, and start the hunt for the hotel we have chosen. Get some hints by a girl at the southern terminal, and after two small blues, we start walking through the pulsating and interesting town.
We passes the harbour, but the Rex Hotel elutes us. End up spending one euro on a taxi, and get a decent room for €7. Drop our small back-packs, and head out in the city again. We have to pick-up our large diving-gear-backs at the diving office at Mega Mas, and have to ask a few times before we find it.
On the way, we pick-up some lunch at a interesting Muslim food court near the harbour. A real nice meal for two, with coffee and juice for €1,60. Then we try to find a few things, just to check the price. Some things can be bought for one tenths of the Danish price - same brand and model! Morten buys a watch, and we get some hints to where to go on our next visit to Sulawesi by the manager.
We find the shop where we left our gear, and Alfonso have some advices on where to go as well. Out to catch a taxi back to the hotel with our heavy gear. Drops it off, and head out again. No chance we sit on a hotel room during the day! Manado is a interesting and real friendly town. Like all other places we been, people greets us with "hallo mister", when we passes them on the street.
They most be more use to tourists around here, and we even see two. Sulawesi should get 3-4000 tourists a year, most go to Bunaken. No wonder there are so few further south! This island have a huge potential as a tourist country, but it feels like we have it for our selves - which suits us fine.
After a lot of walking, we head back, trying to get a bit lost - which we usual manages fine. Success again, and somehow, we end up in China Town - which we didn't know excited. Large temples and typical shops, but it is getting late. We find back to the hotel, and discovers a restaurant next to it.
By some freak accidence, we end up ordering the same menu as we got for lunch. This time it cost €6,50, and it is not quite that good. Back at the hotel, we try to get our things packed for flight. Once again, we have way too little soft where (cloth) to protect our hardware (computers, photos and alike).
9. Up at seven, find a bakery that sells coffee, walk through the centre, try to find fitting jeans (no way they have my length). I find the flatten seeds of Gnetum gnemun, and buy a packet. They are a real disappointment: Taste mostly like dry, tasteless pasta. In Singapore, I learn they are meant to be deep-fries, and then they are crispy and bitter, and quite good.
Back to wait until it is time to leave for the airport. The pre-ordered taxi bring us swiftly to the airport, and within 90 minutes, we are in the air, towards Singapore for new adventures.
The Sulawesian adventure turned up to be slightly cheaper than I have feared, and way more exciting and interesting as I have hoped for. It is some total awesome islands, which I most likely will be re-visiting in the future.