Tag Archives for toraja

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 […]

17Sep2010

A Fistful of Dollars

little girls in marching band, Rantepao, Tana Toraja, Sulawesi, Indonesia.

Our favoured local, back in Rantepao in the Tana Toraja, was the hangout of the local Guides Association, a Teamsteresque conglomerate of the most amiable rogues since Dick Van Dyke. Sporting various permutations of Aviators, moustaches, long hair, cropped hair and funeral sarongs as night-time outerwear, the chaps spent most of their time out back […]

15Sep2010

13 Things You’ll Learn Travelling Indonesia

Ferry at sunrise in Ampana Port, Sulawesi, Indonesia.

1: There is a Nadir for In-Vehicle Entertainment Audio-visual torture of various kinds is an intrinsic part of the South-East Asian travel experience. From bootleg DVDs with subtitles straight out of Finnegans Wake, to Chinese KTV videos pumped up to max, from pixellated Hong Kong ultraviolence drowned out with Khmer pop to Chuckyesque infant balladeers […]

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 […]