Reunited with Sarah
Trip Start Aug 22, 2005
48Trip End Jul 17, 2006
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Anyway, the city of Manado was a really refreshing change of culture, somewhat like an Asian version of "Home and Away". My memories of it include sipping shakes in "Dolphin Donuts", beer and barbequed meat on the seafront, customised blue mikrolet (the Indonesian alternative to auto-rickshaws) and their b-boy drivers cruising the streets puffing on ciggies and listening to 80s rock, and lazy afternoons at the movies
One day we headed out into the spectacular surrounding highlands of Tomohan. Sarah climbed an active volcano, but unfortunately I still couldn't trust my bowels to hold out for the three hours it would have taken. We stayed at a pretty homestay where Sarah had previously been camping out waiting for me to arrive from India. She introduced me to "Beatrice" the manager who kindly offered to cook us some traditional Minahasan cuisine. Sarah had already warned me she was a terrible cook (sorry Bea!), managing to mess up even an omelette. Not ideal when the main dishes probably don't taste that good at the best of times: cold bat, with wings still attached and pieces of pork, skin, fat 'n' all wrapped in what can only be described as a charred tobacco swiss-roll.
Back in Manado we invested in some snorkelling equipment and took a boat to the nearby Bunaken Island. We lived in a family-run beach hut for 4 days of snorkelling morning and afternoon and eating fresh fish in between, which was all included in the ridiculously low price of $8 per day! Being the only guests we had all the privacy we wanted, only being interrupted now and again by some over-enthusiastic puppies! The snorkelling on the fringing reefs was by far the best have ever experienced. The water was crystal clear with visibility of at least 20m, and absolutely teeming with all kinds of colourful fish like being in a giant aquarium
Our final stop in the Minahasa region around Manado was Tangkoko National Park, home to the world's smallest species of primate, the tarsius monkey. The park turned out to be a complete bitch to get to, and the final stage of the trip involved sheltering from the rain under the tarpaulin of a pickup we had flagged down. We didn't arrive in time for the evening trek so instead arranged to go into the park at 5am the next morning. The trek was a little disappointing in terms of wildlife: we saw no black macaques which are usually a very common sighting, though we did see one huge hornbill making a thunderous barking noise as it perched in a tree and which sounded like a helicopter as it flew low over our heads
More photos to follow soon, so please check back...