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Travels in the East, August 2018

Travels in the East, August 2018

Makassar, South Sulawesi

Soupy Makassar: Makassar was our first stop in our trip to the Spice Islands of Indonesia in the far east.

One of our first stops in the city was an old-school bar overlooking Losari Beach called Kios Semarang, supposedly one of the city's OGs of hangout places and Hash House Harriers basecamp. We started our week-long holiday with a few chicken wings, Bintang beers and noodle.

The day after we had a lazy morning with in-room manicure and hotel bubur ayam (Indonesian rice porridge). We checked out Fort Rotterdam and had some of the street gorengan right outside with fresh coconuts, followed by some pork meatballs in the Chinatown area, a place named Nyuk-Nyang Babi Makassar. For dessert, we went to MAMA Restaurant that served some mean pisang ijo (traditional green banana with shaved ice and tapioca) with traditional sweets and cakes.

For dinner, we tried to go to Konro Karebosi but the place was completely packed and no one seemed to be eating, just waiting. So we went next door to Ayam Goreng Sulawesi Ibu Tini and got skinny fried chicken and meaty satays with coconut rice. Day one was completed with some drinks and rock-eoke at Portico Garage with some friends.

The next day, we went down to a port nearby, Dermaga Kayu Bangkoa, haggled our way to a Rp 400,000 round-trip speedboat to Samalona Island. Once we got our deal, we got a pack of buttery Makassar pukis for breakfast and got a takeaway nasi kuning from this street food vendor by the port for Rp 15,000. We had a quick dirty coffee where we had a chat with a local who proclaimed his love for Wayne Rooney and sat in a warung where a little kiddo was casually buying some ciggies.

Then we went on our trip with forgetful Pak Yudi to Samalona Island, where after only a few minutes in we ran out of fuel because our lovely captain forgot to get them before taking off. We had to make a stop at the nearby Lae Lae Island and we wandered around to see some Independence Day decor around the village. We enjoyed a quick breakfast pitstop with the locals, they served us singkong balado (spicy cassava), telor goreng sagu (fried egg with sago) and tahu balado (spicy fried tofu). Then off we hopped to the popular Samalona Island.

The sea colour was absolutely stunning and we enjoyed our nasi kuning for lunch with an ice cold Bintang. We headed back to the Makassar and stopped by Kopi Ujung to try some Toraja coffee. We went to Kios Semarang (again!) to watch the sunset over Bintang and more chicken wings and headed off to our mini food tour. First stop was Sop Saudara, a 24-hour joint with a moody owner who kept the secrets of his recipe very deeply. It was a great deep rich bowl of brothy soup containing various cow parts. It was so good we had to head back to snooze a bit.

Next one was Pallubasa Serigala, equally good, super soup and loads of kerupuk type of rich meaty broth. We finished up with a few beers at Holy Wings where we felt the 6.9 magnitude earthquake in Lombok.

Ternate, North Maluku

Next morning, we were blown away by how nice the Batik Air plane that we took up to Ternate in North Maluku. We landed, it was a hot steamy beautiful scenery. We headed on to the hotel, Grand Dafam Bela Ternate, which was, unfortunately, showing clear signs of how old the hotel had been around and neglect.

Decided to maximise our time there, we hired a driver to take us down to another fort, Fort Oranje. A quick walk around and Russell got hangry so we decided to go to a small eating house called Rumah Makan Baghdad. The food was worth the long wait, we had Trancam, Brongkos Ayam, and Ayam Garo Rica - all of which are Manado-influenced Moluccan dishes.

We made it down to Floridas, a well-known sunset-watching place on the island, where we saw an atmospheric sunset with Tidore as the background and a beautiful rainbow against the orange coloured cloudy sky. Then, we were contemplating and weighing our options as we weren't feeling comfortable with our hotel. We booked tickets to Manado and a hotel for our last minute change of plan.

Early morning, we checked out and met our great driver, we stopped by Kedaton Kesultanan Ternate for a quick photoshoot. Our driver was quite a legend, telling us all sorts of great stories and his admiration for Jokowi.

Manado, North Sulawesi

We jumped on our first propeller plane ride to Manado and managed to check in early to Manado, all excited to jump on to a nice clean bed.

Nothing unusual, Russell was dying so we walked down to Sate Rusuk Ko' Petrus nearby and got ourselves some seriously good Ragey (pork belly skewers) and Rusuk Babi Bakar (grilled pork ribs) with Kerupuk Kulit Sapi (cow skin chips). We checked out Tuhan Yesus Memberkati statue, which was the second largest Jesus statue in the world and had a cheeky ice cream there. After that we went back to our hotel to enjoy the sunset.

We decided to watch Christopher Robin in Manado Town Square III cinema and had Nasi Bakar, Soto Mie and Ayam Sambal Matah at an Indonesian restaurant in the mall.

After a great breakfast at the hotel, we set off nervously to a village called Tomohon. We stopped by a Chinese coffee shop to get some Bakpau Babi (pork pao) and coffee, getting ourselves ready before visiting the extreme market in the town. We got there to see dog meat, snake meat and hogs being sold at the market. There was a 10-year old kid torching the hair of the hog.

We had a beautiful drive around Tomohon area, stopping at some scenic points. We had been told about this locally made liquor called Sopi or Cap Tikus, made from Pohon Aren with 60 - 80% alcohol content, served to us in a clear plastic bag, so we got ourselves two of them - both of which were conveniently confiscated by the security of Four Points where we stayed.

That was our last night in Manado so we enjoyed another beautiful sunset. We ordered GO-FOOD of Ayam Geprek Bensu for dinner where we had Ayam Geprek Sambal Embe and Ayam Geprek Sambal Matah.

Ambon, Maluku

Next stop, Maluku. We got another propeller down to Ambon from Manado.

Feeling very hungry, we picked up some Pop Mie and we were headed to our hotel at Natsepa Beach. Maria got masuk angin from the wall fan at Ternate Airport so we cycled outside to get some Tolak Angin from a nearby pharmacy. We had a nice dinner in a really empty restaurant, Rawon for the sick girl, Colo-Colo (sambal) and Gohu-Gohu for Russell.

We had a nice breakfast at the hotel, Russell had some trouble articulating his request and being understood by the staff. When he ordered poached egg, then we saw on the menu they'd called it 'poch' egg.

The next day, it was constantly raining so we got a taxi into Ambon for some civilisation and headed down to Maluku City Mall (MCM). Being generally on a quest to watch cinema movies and to find The Body Shop in some of the remote places in Indonesia, naturally we were aiming to do this. We decided to save the movie up for nicer cinemas in Makassar but we found a TBS store in this mall!

Then we headed off to a local legend, local coffee shop named Rumah Kopi Sibu-Sibu where we had a cup of coffee with ginger and canary nuts in it with some traditional snacks. The rain continued so we had some late lunch across the road named Cili Padi, the restaurant was empty but we had really nice spring rolls, nasi goreng and ayam bakar.

It continued to rain a lot, so we had a Grab down to Ambon City Centre (ACC), another mall. Russell got a Batik top for his Mum and we played a game where we had to spot a word in the department store and Russell lost to Maria. Then we went to Hypermart, a very 90's supermarket because the items displayed were superfluously organised and stacked from floor-to-ceiling, just like what TV and movies pictured 'plastic' supermarket back then. We got some oleh-oleh, two big bottles of water and we were off to our hotel.

Headed back to the hotel, as it continued raining all day and the forecast wasn't looking very good, we decided to change our flight and leave one day earlier. Sorry, Ambon.

The morning after, we had a walk-around our hotel and the beach and we found so many crabs and a massive tree trunk and roots there. Quick photo shoot of Russell and the tree, and we finished our breakfast while Maria taught Russell about where countries' names came from and quizzed him on these. He passed.

We packed up, headed off to the airport piled up with oleh-oleh. And we were off to Manado.

Makassar, South Sulawesi (AGAIN!)

Landed, checked in to the hotel, Russell was hungry so we headed off to this cool almost hipster joint called Goedang Popsa. We ordered some spicy fried lungs, fish sambal matah and Heineken and enjoyed them on a balcony facing the pier.

We rang Eyang quickly and Maria tried on Russell's watch. Then we were off to Kopi Ujung again to get some oleh-oleh and coffee beans for Russell. We went back to our hotel, dropped our stuff and off to Trans Studio Mall to the luxury cinema there to watch Mile 22. The main guy on the movie was Indonesian! We had to come back quickly as we had arranged for a GO-GLAM and a GO-MASSAGE for 10.30pm.

Our final day of this trip, we headed to a popular local cafe, Warung Kopi Phoenam Ratulangi, where Russell finally tried his first STMJ (Susu Telur Madu Jahe or also, Saya Tetap Memilih Jokowi), Internet (Indomie Telur Kornet), Roti Goreng (literally deep-fried bread with egg coating). Maria tried the Kopi Ginseng. We bought more Indomie because Maria wanted a new Asian Games bag and then we realised we had too many so Russell gave them to some kiddos on the street calling him 'Mister! Mister!'.

We went back to our hotel, packed up and wrote a big part of this blog there. On our way to the airport, we stopped by for pork paos for Merry, Russell naturally was freaking out. We got to the airport and the queues were mad so we pushed to the front and enjoyed our our snacks.

Bye for now, East Indonesia.

Hong Kong, Macau and Lamma Island 🎂

Hong Kong, Macau and Lamma Island 🎂

The unsung banana leaf 🍌🌴🍛

The unsung banana leaf 🍌🌴🍛