Break From the Law travel blog

The bungalow at the Duta 88 we are staying at in Rantepao.

An interesting transport option.

A roundabout we passed while on our bicycle tour today.

A buffalo head on a Tongkonan. This is a very common site...

The caves of Londa.

Tau tau in the cave of Londa.

The grave site of Londa.

Skulls at Londa.

Tau taus at the caves at Londa.

Caskets in the caves of Londa.

Caskets in the gravesite of Londa.

The gravesite of Londa.

Vikki and I with indonesian tourists at the gravesite of Londa.

Tau taus at the caves at Londa.

Tau taus at the caves at Londa.

The caves of Londa.

The caves of Londa.

The rock face with graves on the outskirts of the village of...

Graves actually line the cliff face here on the outskirts of the...

The graves & effigies - called tau taus - on the outskirts...

Effigies - called tau taus - at the graves on the outskirts...

The graves & effigies - called tau taus - on the outskirts...

Effigies - called tau taus - at the graves on the outskirts...

Effigies - called tau taus - guard the graves in the cave...

Graves - more like mausoleums - which we saw during our bike...

Traditonal Torajan housing - tongkonans - which we saw in the village...

View while riding our bicyles on the outskirts of a small village...

Farmers out harvesting in the rice fields.

Farmers out harvesting in the rice fields. We stopped riding our bikes...

A man carving a traditional Torajan casket. We photographed him when we...

A traditional Torajan casket. We photographed this while biking past the workshop...

We biked through this village, with its traditional Torajan tongkonan houses, during...

View of rice patties in front of Ke'te Kesu', photographed as we...

Traditional house called a tongkonan in the village of Ke'te Kesu'.

Here I am standing in front of a gravesite on the outskirts...

Human skeletal remains at a gravesite in Ke'te Kesu'. Strategically placed to...

Human skeletal remains at gravesite on outskirts of Ke'te Kesu'. All strategically...

Human skeletal remains at gravesite on the outskirts of village of Ke'te...

Casket & human skeletal remains at a gravesite on the outskirts of...

Casket & human skeletal remains at a gravesite on the outskirts of...

Here I am standing inside the cave graves on the outskirts of...

Caskets inside the cave graves on the outskirts of the village of...

Casket & human skeletal remains at a gravesite on the outskirts of...

A man carving a tray at the woodcarving shop in Ke'te Kesu'...

A man carving a tray at the woodcarving shop in Ke'te Kesu'...

I am posing with the woodcarvers in Ke'te Kesu' from whom I...

Vikki and I in front of a traditional house called a tongkonan...

View of part of the village of Ke'te Kesu'.

This tongkonan is actually a grave at Ke'te Kesu'. Quite a tomb!

Vikki and I with Indonesian tourists in Ke'te Kesu'.

The traditional Torajan village of Ke'te Kesu'. The tongkonan were quite picturesque...

The traditional Torajan village of Ke'te Kesu'.

Me in front of village of Ke'te Kesu'.

The rice fields next to Ke'te Kesu'.


Well, it's 6 p.m. at our hotel - the Duta 88 - here in Rantepao. Having negotiated a late checkout, I am sitting on the deck of our bungalow waiting for the bus we booked to drop us at the airport near the city of Makassar to pick us up at some point within the next hour. The bus picks up the passengers within an hour window of 6 to 7 in the evening. Yes, I know, it sounds odd that the bus would actually pick up the passengers, but apparently that is the case here. And it better be, as we have a flight to Bali at 9 o'clock tomorrow morning.

Unfortunately, seats on the deluxe bus which stops at the airport en route to Makassar were completely sold out, and we purchased the last seats on a standard local bus, so i'm not sure what this bus - or our seats on it - will be like. Hopefully our purchase of these tickets does not mean we are in for yet another painful and bone jarring bus ride, but i've come to expect the worst from the non-luxury buses that ply the roads in the developing world. I've grown jaded in this respect. Furthermore, our bus tonight, with a reputed journey time of between 6 and 8 hours, is slated to arrive at the airport some 5 hours before our flight's scheduled departure time, so I'm not sure what we will do at the airport before that time. Anyway, lots of variables out of our control now..., at least if we want to catch our flight tomorrow morning.

Today we rented bikes and cycled to some of Tana Toraja's tourist highlights south of Rantepao. After riding some 7 kilometers along the main road heading south, we arrived at Londa. Londa is a cave containing numerous graves both inside the cave itself and on the rock face of the cave complex itself. Above us on a natural balcony on the rock face of the cave, a number of wooden human statues, here known as tau-tau, stood in effigy almost as if guarding the entrance to the cave. The tau-tau as crafted look simultaneously humorous and creepy. We walked for perhaps into the cave for about 50 meters to look at a couple of coffins before the walkway in the cave came to an abrupt end.

After checking out the cave at Londa we continued our bike ride south, going to look at the graves and tau tau on a rock face situated next to a farmer's field on the fringes of the village of Lemo. Here there are some 75 stone graves and around 45 tau-tau. Interesting, but not nearly as impressive as the cave complex at Londa. From here we continued our ride further south to near the village of Makale, where we headed east on a back road. From here on we were essentially doing a loop which would take us back to Rantepao, albeit on scenic back roads through small villages with numerous tongkonan, rice fields and yet more rock graves visible from the road. We stopped for lunch at a restaurant near the Suaya Burial Site, and thereafter continued cycling until we reached the village of Ke'te Kesu'.

Ke'te Kesu' blew me away with its picturesque setting. Known as the locale in Tana Toraja which produces the highest quality wood carved handicrafts, a trade which employs most of the male villagers, the village is dominated by tongkonan towering above a small lake. Ke'te Kesu' really made for a nice place to walk around and simply take things in. I also purchased here a number of hand-carved and exquisitely painted wooden trays. The trays' designs mimic the decorative patterns on the tongkonan. As I rode the 4 kilometer stretch back to Rantepao from Ke'te Kesu, I must have been quite a sight, riding my bicycle while carrying a large yellow grain bag filled with the packaged trays. Now I just have to figure out how to get these trays unscathed from here to Bali. Details, details...

Anyway, it is almost 6:45 now. I'm getting nervous about the bus, so I'm going to ask the manager of the Duta 88 to give the bus company a ring for us. A fitting place to wrap things up...



Advertisement
OperationEyesight.com
Entry Rating:     Why ratings?
Please Rate:  
Thank you for voting!
Share |