Highlights from Indonesia
I am back from the world of the online dead – it was so refreshing to go almost completely offline, apart from checking my email every other day for emergencies – and I am very excited to tell you all about my spectacular trip around the off-the-beaten track (mostly) parts of Indonesia with Zegrahm Expeditions very soon.
In the meantime, I have decided to share my top ten highlights from the trip…
1. I came face-to-face real life Komodo dragons on Komodo Islands.
Prior to my trip whenever I mentioned to my friends that I was going on a mini-expedition of Indonesia, a couple of my friends asked if I was going to see Komodo dragons, also known as the largest reptiles in the world up to 10 feet in length (!!!)… and yes, I certainly did – all six of them, including two baby ones!
2. I spent two days exploring the fascinating and unique Toraja Land, where people are obsessed with after life…
Toraja land is located in the highlands of the island of Sulawesi, and is one of the most prosperous and interesting cultures in Indonesia. I am currently working on a big post about that two-day adventure. Stay tuned!
3. … And witnessed the sacrifice of seven water buffaloes at a funeral that we stumbled upon!
Before anyone goes on a rant about “animal cruelty”, these animals are highly respected and extremely well treated, and they lead very happy, healthy lives before fulfilling their ultimate purpose! The water buffalo in the photograph above is an albino, and worth approximately $17,000.
4. I experienced what is it like to be Beyonce for a few days…
Or, what it feels like to be famous! Indonesians seemed to be fascinated by my fair skin and ash blond hair resulting in overwhelming and enormous amounts of attentions ( and selfies). Everywhere I went, I was swarmed by men, women and children who either wanted to hang out with me, touch me, or take a photo with me! Another thing I realised, that being famous is only exciting for about 10 minutes, then it is just becomes a bit on an unnessary hassle…
5. I clapped my eyes on the smallest (and the cutest) primate in the world, tarsier.
This little creature is the size of my palm, and is the only primate that is 100% carnivorous! Just look at those huge eyes brimming with life contemplation…
6. I finally tried durian, a local delicacy and the most “controversial” fruit (in terms of taste)
And no matter how hard I tried, I HATED it… People say, ‘It smells like hell, and tastes like heaven’. Well, I did not mind the smell so much, but to me it tasted what I imaged a rotting corpse would taste like if you added a spoon-full of sugar on top of it – and the slimy texture helped my brain’s imagination! I must have an over-developed olfactory palette…
7. As well as an dizzying assortment of other delicious fruits!
Soursop (my new favourite), ramboutans (lychee-like, which you can see in the photo above), mangoustines, tomarillo, langsat and snakefruit (my second favourite!). All taste divine, and none of which I have ever clapped my eyes on before!
8. I bought a ridiculous amount of gorgeous, hand-crafted souvenirs.
I am one of those people who buys very few souvenirs when I travel – not being a particularly “light packer”, I am usually already constrained by the amount of luggage on the way out. Regardless, on this trip I somehow managed to spend $400 on local items, including a gorgeous sacrificial knife made out of ebony, long strands of local pearls, which charmed me by their imperfection, an exquisitely carved wooden board, beautiful ethnic jewellery, and a couple of beaded bags to add to my collection.
9. I stated the most delicious and tender barbecued life in my 27 years of existence.
On one of the beaches that I spend my morning on, I met a couple of local fishermen who were very happy to grill an assortment of freshly caught fish for us, and served it to us in palm leaves… Even a triple-Michelin-tarred restaurant cannot taste the divine taste of fresh, local and simple cooking. I wolfed this thing down in about 2 minutes, and later ate a whole grilled calamari on a stick!
10. I fell head over heels in love with Bali, and cannot wait to go back!
Our trip finished in Bali, and I only had a day to explore a little… This island felt miles away to other places that I had already visited – I loved the culture and its accompanying spirituality, and the picturesque architecture, which was pre-dominant throughout! I must go back soon for a week or so.