Wednesday, June 28, 2017

On the Go in Manado: The Final Episode

It's been a few weeks since I posted the second-to-last episode of the Manado trip. Putting off finalizing the journey, I'm already thinking about the next trip. 

But here it is. The last episode of the On The Go In Manado series. The trip was remarkable in so many ways. More than anything, what I'll remember about Manado is how green it was. Right there on the Equator, with rain year round, the place exemplifies being verdant. 

So many weird things as I was leaving Manado. I stupidly left my laptop at the hotel. Different kinds of toilets at the airport. 

I spend 14 hours at the Singapore airport, rated multiple times as the best airport in the world. So good that places I've never heard of want to go there.  

Thursday, June 8, 2017

On the Go in Manado 18 - Winding Down

I awoke in my luxurious room at the Hotel Formosa on the morning of my final full day in Manado ready for a busy day seeing all of the local sights I'd not yet visited. 

There on the waterfront was the only fish monument I had ever seen. It may be the only coelacanth statue in the world. In case you didn't know, the coelacanth is a rare order of fish once thought extinct for millions of years and rediscovered in the last century. I learned that one species of the living fossil lives around Sulawesi and was caught nearby Manado. 

My next stop was the North Sulawesi National Museum. It was a quick stop as the facility was closed. On a Saturday. 

 After a haircut... 
 My next stop was the Rumah Alam Nature Park, out on the Ring Road on the edges of Manado City. This place was unusual. Seemingly not quite finished yet, the attractions there weren't quite to my liking, although it looked like it would be a great place to bring a young family. The one thing that the credit my entrance ticket bought that did interest me was the driving range. I haven't hit a bucket of golfballs in years and so I went to range, looking for the attendant. None to be found. 

I had seek out staff to get my quota of swings, and the facility turned out to be laughable. There was one bag of rusty clubs from which you could borrow. There were no drivers in the bag, and even if there were, there were no tees off which to hit. Normally, a driving range has a rubber tee built into the mat. There were 8 or so stalls at the range; none of them had that rubber tee. So, I was left to hit off the astro-turf using a 5-iron. 

I got in a few good swings, including one that may have done some significant damage.
If you look closely at the picture above, you'll see and excavator out at about 70 yards doing some landscaping. I wasn't trying to hit it, but the ball just kept getting closer and closer to it. With one shot, I hit it squarely and it actually zipped through the open cab of the machine, missing the head of the operator by inches.  

Enjoy the video...


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

On the Go in Manado 17 - Christ Blessing

After the long journey wandering around North Sulawesi, I found myself with a few days at the end to explore the principal city of the region, Manado. 

I left my hotel in the city center and headed southeast, looking for Jesus Blessing. 

The security guards at the entrance of the gated community where Jesus Blessing stood were quite strict in their duties. I had to go up to the community's HQ's (difficult to find) and get permission to enter and see Asia's 2nd tallest Jesus statue. Tourist destination? Not so much. 

After jumping through all the hoops, I climbed the hill to see the Jesus which was 2/3rds the immensity of the USA's Statue of Liberty. 

Then it was time to find my next hotel in Manado. 

Enjoy the video. 


Friday, June 2, 2017

On the Go in Manado 16 - Pulisan and More

Sunrise at Pulisan
Partly because I didn't want to go back up the track leading to the resort and partly because it was so nice and peaceful there, I spent a couple days there at the Pulisan Jungle Beach Resort. 

During check in, I was told by the manager about some of the odd facts about the remote facility. Only four hours a day of electricity (from a generator). I was warned not to leave food out as critters from the adjacent jungle would find their way into the bungalows. These included rats and scorpions. 

Late at night, as I was woken up by the feeling of something insectlike crawling on my back. Normally, I would jump right out of bed, but realizing it could be a scorpion, I was cautious. It crawled off. Later, I woke again to the same sensation. This time, I rose carefully and turned on my portable lamp. I've never been so relieved to see a cockroach! In fact, it didn't even bother me. This wasn't a city cockroach that lives on garbage. This was an organic jungle cockroach, not dirty at all! 

The next day, it was time to do more of what Manado is best known for: diving sports. In my case, just snorkeling.

The reef could be reached just by swimming out from the resort's beach. Although there weren't all that many fish around, the corals themselves were amazing. So many different colors! 
Enjoy the video

But that's not all...  Two vids in one blog today. 

Really steep road ahead!
The next morning, it was back up the horrible track leading to the resort and on the road. I wasn't sure where I was going next. 


I thought I was going to retire there. I was the senior staff member. I'd been there longer than anyone. It. Is. Not. Fair.  But on the ...