The Hot And The Cold

March 6th

I felt it already in the evening before. That smell. Like rotting fish. Swedish surstromming. Could it be a durian? I didn’t know. It certainly wasn’t my feet this time. The smell gave me a headache. Or perhaps I was just dehydrated. Morning came and we had sausages, peas and small sandwiches for breakfast. And off we go! I was driving, and it was quite a nice drive through villages and hilly terrain. We were going from Wuasa towards Doda to look for the ancient megaliths in this area. The road was often good but narrow, sometimes with really high grass on the sides, making it like driving in a tunnel. In many places the road was bad though, with potholes, mud, even bigger potholes and steep drop offs. There was a few military checkpoints. Closing in on Doda there was signs formegaliths both left and right. After trying the right hand path, which turned out to be blocked, we walked the left path to the Tadulaku megalithic complex.

The first thing that happened was that we met the lady from the National Park Service,who had provided us with information about Lore Lindu. Agnese had the chance to complain about the missleading information that it was possible to see tarsiers at lake Tambing. I went ahead of the others for some “alone time” with the megaliths and the chance to perhaps spot some birds. It was a really hot day and the sun was burning relentlessly. About half way around the complex I was glad to see a lonely pine tree, and rested under for a while, feeling right at home. Many of the megaliths were shaped like giant jars, and I heard afterwards that some had cooled themselves down in the water inside. One was shaped like a flying saucer and one was shaped like a person, or a god-like figure.

Then there was the long drive back to Poso. We had some rain. At one of the military checkpoints the soldiers wanted to take pictures with us. We all lined up for the cameras, with guns and all. Back in Poso it was hard to find a guest house, because nobody spoke English when Agnese tried to call different places. After a while we found a place next to the main road. After settling in, we went to a restaurant for grilled fish with rice and vegetables. For the night I was offered to sleep on the floor in one of the air-conditioned rooms but declined. It is usually a good idea to try to adapt to the heat, the air-con will just give you a cold. Tha was my reasoning. The other rooms were really hot though, and I had difficulties sleeping. When I woke up the next day, I realized I had got a cold.

Agnese’s notes:
We considered to go from Doda south and then west to Tentena as that seemed to be faster judging from Nokia maps (no other map app had anything at all in this area). Yet the local person said the road is not doable by car – but doable if we were hiking…
By this day I had learned enough Indonesian to be able to arrange rooms in guest houses or hotels, however when the person on the other end of the phone says they speak English, I’d expect them to understand more than “Hello”. Or if I tell them in Indonesian “please talk slowly”, it doesn’t help if they start laughing and talking even faster…
But Poso centre has many guest houses so the easiest was just to go to some and talk Indonesian in person. Then they realise you are not supposed to speak their language at all and are more patient.
Also Air-con is a must if possible at all (this hotel “Armada” only had 2 such rooms)

The day of unfound tarsiers

March 5th

We were sleeping in two rooms of hotel Victory – twelve people. There are 54km to Poso which Imants and Agnese drive within 1h 10min. The locals said it will be at least 2 hours. After fueling up we go to a grocery store.
We get from Poso to Wuasa within 4 hours. On the way there were four checkpoints with passport checks and proceeded by taking photos together with them, treating with fruits in the mood of good-willing mutual interest. We successfully get to Wuasa where we don’t manage to stay in guesthouse “Mona Lisa” as all the rooms have been taken already. We get a place to stay elsewhere in the direct presence of the religious buildings of different confessions.

We settle in and go to Lore Lindu nature reserve. We have prepared well for the dangerous walk in jungle. As a result we walk along a swampy lakeside path already in dusk. The return path is done in the darkness already. We heard loud voices of frongs and cicadas. In the darkness after the jungle at home we have a dinner together. Time from time the electricity turns off. We sleep 4 in each room paying 150’000 for a room. The washing was Indonesian style by taking water by a bucket from barrels. In the double room which we get it is quite tight for 4 people so I decide to sleep outside as I had done it in Tentena already. However my sleeping doesn’t last long as the local dogs get interested in me and so I need to go back in the room.

Agnese’s notes:
The road from Poso to Wuasa is narrow and winding but with 90% of good asphalt. Half of the way it is going uphill, we measured the highest place to be 1700m above the sea level. The views are beautiful! And the nature completely different from what we had got used to. Canada came to my mind. Meanwhile on the way up it was a real rainforest with trees looking like tripods (their roots growing down in the air before they reach the ground). In about 3 places downhill one had to cross big muddy puddles, but no problems for our drivers there. In the Napu valley after the crossroads for a place called Watutau the road became worse for one stretch (many potholes) but still not as bad as I had imagined.
The overnighting places in Wuasa are located all on the same street – Mona Lisa, also “Di Wuasa”, where we stayed and Sandy where it’s likely possible to order meal as well. There was not place to be found in this town with working mobile data, however, even though otherwise the coverage was good and theoretically available Edge speed internet.
There are no Tarsiers near lake Tambing, at least the ranger of the park was not ready to bring us to look for any even though previously I had got such information.