Tag Archives for buffalo

21Jan2011

A Very Little House

view over rice fields, ubud, bali

This is the view from our very little house in the rice fields in Ubud, Bali. We’ve taken it for a month, to study Indonesian formally before we take our pidgin east to Papua, so Z can do some arts, and I can work a little. Herons and egrets come to the fields every morning, […]

25Sep2010

Expedition Outfitting in Pidgin Indonesian*

ride on toys in mall, ternate, indonesia

The scene? In and around various shopping establishments in Kota Ternate, the de facto capital of Indonesia’s Spice Islands, and home to more English language students per head of population than anywhere in the world. An increasingly harassed single mother is wrangling a small boy in khaki with a motorbike helmet over one arm and […]

05Sep2010

Souls Growing Skywards with the Trees

Trees silhouetted against twilit sky. Baby graves, Pana, Tana Toraja, Sulawesi, indonesia.

At Pana, the cave graves were easy to find, half of them broken open, looming out of a granite slab in the oncoming dusk and framed by dark bamboo. The baby graves? Well, as the beautiful kids who gave us directions and made us sign the guestbook said, they were in a “big tree”. “These […]

02Sep2010

Buffalo Soldiers: Living for Death in the Tana Toraja

Funeral buffalo sacrifice, eyes open, throat slashed, dying in a pool of its own blood on the grass. Tana Toraja, Sulawesi, Indonesia.

“Are funerals like this in London?” asks my new Torajan friend. The dead man’s drum-shaped coffin emerges from the matrimonial bedroom where he has “slept”, preserved in formalin, with his family for the last eight months. Now he has left the house, he is finally dead, his soul winging its way towards the afterlife. “Not […]