Thursday, April 20, 2017

On the Go in Manado 3: To Bunaken

I was eager for the motorcycle part of the journey to begin so that I could get out on the road, doing what I enjoy most.  At the same time, I realized that I wasn't going to be getting any closer to Bunaken, a world renowned island famous for its marine park. So whereas in journeys past, I have typically ended my trips at a beach, this time, I've started there. 

The ferry to Bunaken leaves only once per day, sometime between 1:00 and 3:00 in the afternoon depending on the tides. See, the boat can only depart at high tide. Actually, I later came to find out that it can only land at Bunaken at high tide; they could depart Manado whenever. This left me a morning with a lot of time to kill. 

After a quick visit to a hypermart, I'd already found the electrical adapter I'd needed. Note to future tourists to remote parts of Indonesia: they do not use the universal outlets so common in other parts of Asia. The ferry dock was just next to a place called "Pasar Persehatan" or the Healthy Market. Asian outdoor markets are always a feast for the senses. Even though I've visited dozens, they're never less interesting. So many interesting sights and sounds and smells. 

I did come across something I was surprised by. I knew Manado people like to eat dog, but it's something else entirely when you see their still furry carcasses stacked up like produce on a market table. Intellectually, I know that I shouldn't be judgmental of other cultures based on their culinary choices. Now, if that includes eating endangered species which might soon disappear, well then they're robbing the world of a species. Eating dog isn't like that, so I have no right to call their dog-eating immoral or wrong. My head knows that. My stomach is another matter. When I saw those dead dogs, some of them half-butchered, I had a physical reaction. I wanted to vomit. I couldn't look at them; I just had to get out of there. Now, from a video-making point of view, it would have been interesting to have gone back, spoken to stallholder, ask questions about where the dogs come from and how much they cost. But I couldn't do it. I don't think most of the people who watch my videos want to see that either. 

The guy in the background is saying
"Hello Meester!"
One general thought about Indonesians: they're very friendly to foreigners. Walking down the street o through a market, you get a lot more "Hello meester!"s than you would in say Myanmar or Thailand.  In Thailand they do call out greetings a bit, but that's because they want to sell you something. Here, it's genuine friendliness and curiosity. And as I speak the language here, I'm more obliging about stopping and talking to people. 

With still a few more hours to kill, I had lunch, went back to my hotel to shower and retrieve my things and returned to the boat launch. There, at a riverside coffee shop, I encountered a toddler who had found a new toy: a fork. I don't know at what age toddlers begin to recognize racial differences. Before a certain age, kids don't know I look different than they or their families do. So as this kid attacked my backpack with a fork, it wasn't because I was an interesting tourist, and when  he started
poking me in the belly with the fork, that was only because my belly is very poke-able shaped. 

The ferry was actually 3 smallish boats, maybe 40 feet tip to stern. The sea was smooth and the waters were the bluest I'd ever seen. The trip took 45 minutes, and my hotel picked me up in a tuk-tuk at the boat landing. It was already late afternoon by this point, so no snorkeling on the first day, but I did enjoy the hammock as they waves gently crashed through the mangroves. 

Enjoy the video. 


1 comment:

  1. It's nice to see that you're doing well travelling, even if you saw dogs that were truly upsetting! Enjoy! Blessings, Lynn


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