This morning we went to coffee as usual and Sandi and Irwin were already there. It is always nice when they get there first because then we don't have to set up the table. Believe me there are many mornings when there are no tables for us to set up! I will say, people see us coming and they start picking up there coffee cups and they gladly relinquish their tables to us! lol! Yes, it is a little embarrassing but it does not take long for us to get over it! lol!
We did not go to Curves but instead we went to the mall. First we went to the Walking Store, followed by the Apple store and then on to Coldwater Creek. We then went to Panda express and had lunch. Back to Coldwater Creek to try on clothes and then down to Macy's to check on luggage. This was very busy and I forgot to take pictures. But it is not over yet! Stopping at QT on the way home but oops we need to go see Rosine...now we get to go home and it is only 4:00. For me, it was too late to start sewing...will do it tomorrow...think I will just sit down in my chair and watch QVC....what do you mean it is 5:00...no, I was not sleeping....I was just resting my eyes! lol!
Where we did not go today....but the Amsterdam did!
Today was unbelievably hot!!!!! We arrived bright and early at a new port for me, Ujung Pandang (Makassar). I was pretty excited despite the intense heat. We went out and hooked a taxi for 4-5 hours to visit 4 places. First we went to the Paotere Anchorage on the city’s outskirts where there was a variety of small traditional boats including phinisi, lambo and baggo (Bugis schooners). Nice visit…. Then it was off to the local markets, I was loving it! The people were very friendly and even asked to have their photos taken. I could of stayed a lot longer but the heat persisted and it was time to move on. The next stop was at Karabasi Square for a little shopping before heading to Ft Rotterdam. It was certainly a nice visit, in large part because the people were so nice but….. the heat!
Makassar, Sulawesi, Indonesia March 4, 2013 Monday
The port of call for today was the largest city of South Sulawesi, Udung Pandang, or Makassar, Indonesia. It is a city of millions of primarily Muslim, Buddhist, and Christian people. Even though Sulawesi is an Indonesian country, it is definitely not the same as Bali, our stop a couple of days ago. Once out of the pier area, the city reminded us of Mumbai, India, because the streets were crowded with motorscooters, taxis, cars, huge trucks, buses, and hordes of people going about their daily business. There were mosques every other block, with the call for prayer sounding from the many minarets every four or five hours. Absent were the exotic Hindu temples that lined the roads of Bali.
Thank goodness we had booked a tour with our travel agency this morning. This is not a place we would even consider walking out of the port gates. Besides the traffic and congestion, the heat and humidity would take down the best of us in a short time. We lucked out and got a guide that spoke good English for our group of 28. The first thing he did was hand out water bottles or sodas to each of us. And even though it was only 9am, the guests were already drinking it. Our guide said that the more luxurious areas of Sulawesi were in the mountains north of Makassar in Tinah Toraja. The mountains are where all of the crops are grown, because that is where all the rain comes down. So there were rice paddys, as well as corn, copra (coconut), coffee, spices, soybeans, and sweet potatoes...all grown for local consumption and for export. We just would not see them today. Other products exported from here are teak and rattan, rubber, gum, and resins. Mines produce silver, tin, nickel, and iron ore. Since education, even for small children, is not free, most all of the kids follow in their parents footsteps and become fishermen, farmers, and miners.
Our first stop was at the produce market, a short drive from the port area. There was street about 1/2 mile long with tented stands full of that produce listed above, along with fruits and veggies of every kind, some unrecognizable. Eggs were sold in abundance, live chickens, or butchered ones too. Nothing is covered, not even the dried fish that was for sale. You would think the smell of the fresh fish would be bad, but it was not. In fact we saw no insects at all. Maybe it was just too hot for them. The vendors, local shoppers, and the kids all loved to have their photos taken. The biggest problem was the traffic. On such a narrow street, the cars, scooters, and becaks, or the rickshaws wove their way through the throngs of the tourists pouring out of the many buses. Surely we were a disruption for them, although everyone remained civil, except for the horns blowing on the motorscooters. We spent about 1/2 hour to walk end to end, where our air-conditioned bus awaited us.
A 10 minute ride brought us to Paotere Harbour where we saw the traditional Buginese wooden schooners and fishing vessels. They were docked next to each other, where with the use of wooden planks, they brought their cargo to the dock. These are the old style fishing boats that had already gone out in the early hours of the morning, and brought back their catch of small shrimps and fish. There was about a half acre of flat land where the fishermen were spreading out the fish on large tarps right on the ground to dry in the sun. As we got closer to the massive boats, we noticed that the garbage in the water looked like the same stuff we saw floating out at sea yesterday. here we thought all that stuff had floated out from the rivers, but no, we saw people throwing plastic water bottles out the boat windows with no thought at all. It's a way of living that is acceptable here we guess.
The following stop was at Fort Rotterdam, built by the King of Gowa in 1545. A statue of the Prince astride a white horse sits outside of the complex, but his tomb is 1 kilometer east of the ramparts. The fort was taken over by the Dutch in 1669 and finally turned over to the Indonesians in 1937. Today the fort is a cultural center housing the Conservatory of Dance and Music and the La Galigo Museum. It was also a pit stop, again, not a so nice one. Before our guide led us on a quick tour of the museum, we had the offer of snacks and another cold drink of water or soda.....most welcome at this point. A table was set with bowls of a meringe cookies, molasses rolled in peanuts, and something that resembled a crunchy nut. There was a tray of banana-wrapped rice, which was made with coconut milk and coconut meat. Only one of us was game to taste it, and so far, no one is sick (it's been 12 hours).
The museum was interesting since the visit was brief and to the point. There were two floors that had displays that showed the old housing, some of which were built like the Buginese boats on stilts. Part of the culture of this island involves their different handling of the dead family members. When a person dies, they are mummified, eventually cremated, and kept in the home. The family then has to save enough money to buy a water buffalo to be used to feed many guests at a major funeral festival. At that point, this festival becomes huge, and everyone in the area brings the remains to be cremated in one big funeral pyre. Sounds strange, but it is a happy ceremony for them. The story goes that the family cannot cry for their loss, but they must be happy that their relative will be in paradise after death. No tears in public for them.
Finally, the last stop was made at a shopping street called Jalan Sombu Opu. There was one very narrow, small souvenier shop on the corner, where several busloads of tourists were dropped off at the same time. Duh? Walking down the street, we passed one gold store after the other. The display cases were filled with dazzling 24 karat gold jewelry, which was weighed by old scales and sold by the gram. There could have been antiques, silks, art, and wooden items, but we did not locate them. Just as well, since we already have too much stuff at home. We got back to the ship by 1pm and were so glad we did. The heat had taken a toll on all of us. One thing we missed were the local vendors who usually are near the ship. Probably due to security issues, there were only food vendors who cater to the ferries that come here.
The Lido was mobbed, so we had a cheese and cracker party in our room with ice cold sodas. The rest of the afternoon was spent at the aft pool, which had cooled down a bit due to overhead clouds. The ship left the port around 5pm and quickly picked up a wonderful breeze. We have two days at sea, and we will arrive to the Philippines for two stops there.
Bill & Mary An