04-Dec-2004 -- Being on a Trip to Sulawesi I found that Sulawesi, the fourth biggest island of Indonesia, was not yet
visited by confluence-hunters. Looking at the map, which confluence-points might be easy to reach, I found that 3°S
120°E is near Rantepao which I had already visited 18 years before. It the center of Toraja-Country, one of the nicest areas in Indonesia.
As this area was one of my destinations, I decided to try it. Since there are not many detailed maps of Indonesia available I got a NASA-satellite-map from the Intenet, to see if the CP was in a forested area or on cultivated land.
In Ratepao I bought a tourist-map of the area, which showed that the CP should be near the Village of Nanggala (approx. 1km), that is reachable by public transport. But since public transport in this area is not that frequent
and reliable, I decided to rent a motobike.
In the beginning the road (to Palopo) is very good and even the first part from the junktion that leads to Nanggala is asphalted. But the last 5 km are less a road than a combination of mud and loose stones, in parts quite steep.
Looking on my GPS-receiver at 3°S I saw that I was just about 900 m west of the CP. I parked my bike and walked a small footpath up a hill in eastern direction. On the hill I was happy to see that the area further east consisted
of rice fields. So I was quite sure that I could make it.
The difficulty with walking through rice fields is to balance on the walls between the fields which sometimes are 50 cm wide, but sometimes even less than 20cm. If the fields are in steep terrain (as they were here), the height level between the fields can be up to one meter. So if you can't keep the balance you either can destroy some riceplants or, even worse, break a part of the wall and dry up the upper field.
Luckily I managed passing through with just getting wet feet. About 500m m from the CP the ricefields ended and I had to cross a small creek what meant crawling down an up through fern and a small stretch of forest only to see the
next creek with the same conditions waiting for me. But after I crossed the second one, the terrain became more flat and I reached a small house with three men sitting outside and looking at me with curiosity. I knew now that another piece of hard work was lying ahead of me: to explain, what I was doing there.
Since the people in Indonesia are usually very curious about westerners, especially in remote areas, a traveller can hear the questions "Where are you going?" ("Mau ke mana?") and "Where do you come from?" ("Dari mana?") dozens of times a day. So, since I speak quite good Indonesian, I answered "200 m east and 50 m north." to the first question. Knowing that, although they nodded their heads, this wasn't really a satisfying answer. I added terms like "Satellite", "Equator" and "Internet" and showed my GPS-device with the NASA-map on it. But of course that didn't help either, so I simply said I was doing some kind of "sport" ("olah raga"), what was a little more convincing
since it is known that crazy westerners do crazy things like sport...
The last part of the CP-hunt was quite easy, due to the flatness of the terrain and broader walls between the ricefields. Luckily I found the CP outside of the ricefields on a piece of uncultivated land. After taking the
photos another peasant walked by ("Mau ke mana?...") and after a while he told me that "in one hour" it would begin to rain. Surprised by this exact time-information (normally Indonesians would say "later" or "not yet") I decided to
hurry up to get back to my motobike, because it was rainy season and I feared that the "road" would become a "river". Since i am not very experienced in riding motobikes i wouldn't make it back that day.
I was told that the shortest way back to the road was heading north for about 700m just uphill through ricefields, passing some barking dogs and "Mau ke mana?"s. This route turned out to be much easier. Due to the lack of time I didn't visit the traditional houses, for which Nanggala is famous. I was lucky to reach the asphalted road just in the minute, when the big rain began. It took me nearly 2 more hours for the 10 km back to Rantepao including several coffee-stops since the rain reduced visibility to less than 20 m, and althogh I was wearing a raincoat I was wet to the skin when I reached the town.