Today we wake up in Poso – the second biggest city in Central Sulawesi region if I am not mistaken. We slept on the last floor (3rd floor by Latvian standards, 2nd by UK) and it was one of the highest buildings around. There is no wifi here, but a good reception for mobile data, so I upload Ilgoni’s article before heading out.
The breakfast is arranged at 6:30 and incuded in the hotel price, but instead of fried rice that they had promised us for breakfast just before 7am we get some jam sandwiches and cream buns, plus tea/coffee. The receptionist can only say ‘sorry’. But I’m not surprised a bit. Everything happens slowly in Sulawesi, and likely the rice would take even longer time to be prepared.
We head out, get some petrol and then continue in the direction of Ampana, that is east. After a couple of kilometers we can see the Celebes sea on our left side and it will stay there all the day. It looks lovely and soon after we cannot stand to stay in the cars anymore. We stop and most of us get in the water which is very warm. Much warmer than one gets in Latvia at any time. I could perhaps stay in the whole day. After the first impression some people go to get their snorkeling gear and only then I realise that we have been swimming above a real coral reef. The corals are perhaps not the most beautiful I have seen, but there is still a big diversity both in the shape and the colour. And there are many nice and diverse fish among them, I like the stripy ones the most. After we head back to the cars we notice a motor-cyclist has stopped to ask us for a selfie. We have got used to this by now…
Near the town of Marowo we ask the locals for hotsprings. Air-pana is the Indonesian word for it, directly translated as water-hot. The locals say it’s about 7 kilometers ahead. Unfortunately when the locals arrange some motorcyclist to show us the way, he hears ‘Ampana’ and leads us 30km ahead to that town. Well, we will try to find them again on our way back, I guess…
In Ampana we find some bigger shop to get some supplies for the next 3 or so days (bigger than a kiosk several of which can be found in every village and considerably more in every town along the roadside of the main road. Also we find a post office which only has 10 (very basic and not at all touristy) postcards in total. We have been said that there is no water in Pangkalaseang village which is our ultimate destination for observing the eclipse, so we try to buy some. The biggest bottle the shop has is 6l and there is only 2 of those. We take both and hope to buy the 20l bottle in a kiosk on the roadside where we saw them being sold. But it turns out that one needs to have the bottle and it can be only filled in the kiosk with filtered tap water. Filtered tap water is not ideal but we still thought better than none. Yet it turns out one can only get water here if one has the bottle itself. Our big bottle is still full of water so we leave without any more.
More beautiful sights, more palms, more winding roads and another swim in the sea. In the evening we arrive in the Pagimana village and find a guesthouse between the main road and the sea. It has whole 2 air-conditioned rooms and an extra we had not expected to find here – wifi. Most of us squeeze in the 2 rooms leaving 3 other people to try to not suffocate in a non-AC one with an open window. Some fish are swimming in an enclosed area next to the guesthouse. Most of us pick some of them for supper while I will eat chicken instead. The guesthouse also has some beer which most of us have been craving for a couple of days already. The fish and chicken are delicious even though the supper is not cheap by the local standards. We talk and joke a bit. Then Ilgonis suggests going for a walk and most people join. I stay to translate Gunita’s article.
When they come back they have given the Big Dipper constellation a new name – ‘Bucket’ as that’s what we have been using instead of shower for last 2 nights and will do tonight as well. They have also made some new friends and learned about a road ahead which gets closed between certain times. We need to make it there before it closes around 8am, so tomorrow everyone must be packed by 6:30, then have breakfast and leave at 7am sharp. Time for some sleep, it has been another beautiful day!