Sunday, April 30, 2017

On the Go in Manado 8: The Southeast Coast of North Sulawesi

The island of Sulawesi has a starfish-like appearance with legs or tentacles jutting out in all directions. Manado is near the tip of the northernmost peninsula in an area the curves its way up like a banana. Consequently, it's kind of hard to define each of its many coastlines. The next phase of my motorcycle journey can be best described as the southeast.

This would have been tragically ironic. I had stopped to make
a charitable donation at a roadside collection site and was
almost run over by a speeding ambulance.
This 4th day riding the bike was perhaps the strangest. The day started in Kotamobagu where, if you've been reading along know, I didn't intend to be so early in the trip. I needed to slow down, look for additional places to stop and see.

Lake Moat (MOH-aht) seemed like an ideal place to go. There's not a lot of tourist information for that part of North Sulawesi, but when I read this review on TripAdvisor, I decided to make the short trip up to the lake... (sic)
In the morning, with a light mist covered the lake shore where you can browse and headed to the nature reserve area. Within this nature reserve, you can see the different types of flora and fauna Sulawesi.

The first thing I noticed on arriving at Moat Village, other than the lovely picturesque lake of course, was the smell of vegetables, cabbage and green onions to be specific.
Everywhere you turned, there were cabbages, bok choy, scallions, and several other types of leafy vegetables I couldn't identify. If nothing else, this lake is at the heart of the cabbage capital of North Sulawesi! 
Lake Moat, vegetable fields in the foreground
 Even though it was still quite early in the day, the next thing to do was to secure lodgings. Google maps showed only one hotel in the area, the Modoinding Lodge in Modoinding, a few klicks north of the lake itself. I went to the spot on the map where it was supposed to be and there was no sign, nothing. There were some buildings that looked like they might be accommodations, but they also looked quite locked up and shut down. This wasn't the first time I'd gone to a place on Google maps only to find it didn't actually exist. No worries, some locals told me, you can stay at the cottages down at the "tourist area". Indeed, I remembered these words from the glowing review I'd read...
If you want to stay in the vicinity of the lake, you can rent accommodation such as cabins and houses on stilts. In addition, if you want a natural feel, you can set up a tent on the banks of the lake. There is also a jetski rental, art galleries and restaurants.
Ooh, jetski rental. Sounds fun! 

They looked quite cozy
I pulled up to what looked like the daerah wisata (tourist area) office and inquired about the cottages I could see on the lake. 
I don't see any jetskis.
They're not ready yet, I was told. What did that mean? Like for the day or for the season? Turned out it was the latter. See, I had arrived in Sulawesi on the very tail end of the rainy season, when few tourists are out and about yet. Oh. Once again, no room at the inn. 
A strange thing happened as I was getting ready to leave. You'll see in the video as a scraggly, but cute, black and white kitten of about maybe 4 months of age coming hobbling across the parking lot towards me. He takes a couple sniffs of the floor board of the scooter and then jumps on, ready to go. He had planted himself firmly and was definitely coming with me.  
C'mon! Let's go!
Could the cat sense that I was a 'cat person'? Read my aura or something? I don't know, because if I hadn't been visiting a country other than the one where I live, Badger would have had a new friend. 
Now where to? Onward to the coast, I thought, and I'll just head northwards until I find a nice town with some type of place to stay. Once again, on the road with no clear idea where I was going to be spending the night at the end of the day. It was one beautiful stretch of road with lots of amazing vistas and other things to see including one beach park where there was
something I never thought I'd see here in what had otherwise seemed like a very religiously segregated region: a church and a mosque standing right next to one another. 
Eventually, I found my way to Tababo, a suburb of the medium sized town of Belang. It took some time, but I found what is seemingly the only accommodation on that whole sections of coast. Again, there was no sign, nothing to indicate to the passerby that this was a place to stay.
One whole side of the building had either fallen away or was in the midst of renovation. I didn't see any signs of life except for a chicken which disappeared into the kitchen. Kitchen chickens...someone lived there. 
Despite it's Bates Hotel exterior, inside, apart from the side of the house which was gone, it was quite nice. The room was basic, but clean. I had my own bathroom. And in the common areas, there were many sitting rooms with elegant and expensive, albeit a bit worn, furnishings. 
Apparently, the place was built as a lodging for a private organization of some kind, and only now has been converted into a guesthouse.
 I never would have found it had it not been described as being adjacent to the soccer field. On my visit, there was some lower division match being played there and I went to watch. As not many foreigners get to this part of Sulawesi, it seemed at points that more of the thousand or so people there were watching me rather than the game.  
Enjoy the video. 

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed the song, and would like to know the name of it. I'll look forward to hearing from you. Blessings, Lynn



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