Toraja is a special place in Sulawesi and Indonesia

It’s still the season of funeral rites. The Torajas wait for the summer and have enough money to organize funerals. Before that, the dead are placed in the room reserved for them in the traditional house. Everything happens in 5 days and is very codified. Platforms have to be built around a central square to house the hundreds of guests but also for the day to follow the show.
I attend many of the ceremonies, families in traditional clothes welcome tourists and treat them as guests.

In the first days the families of guests are present and each one must bring pigs and buffaloes as an offering. Buffaloes are sacrificed in the central square. For the richest families it is sometimes a carnage of dozens of buffaloes. The smell of vicerals, blood, excrement and mud meles is not really good.
On the platforms have brought us, the, to eat and betel nuts for the older ones. These nuts make a juice that mark the teeth in red definitively, scary!

In addition to ceremonies, buffalo fights or roosters on which paris are organized.

On the last day, the dead man’s family sings and dances in a circle around the coffin. In the form of Toraja house. The strong men then carry him to the cemetery.
It’s a moment of joy. The spectators throw mud on the coffin and the carriers who shake the dead man with all their strength (he must be awakened). Everyone shouts, laughs and has fun, it’s the end.

I enjoy my last day to taste the local culinary specialty in my usual little restaurant. It’s meat, rice, coconut and funny black spices, all cooked over a wood fire in a bamboo tube. Its good!
A last goodbye to my scooter owner and his family who invited me several times to take the tea at home in the evening and I went away to the north. Direction Toggean Islands.

TORAJA COUNTRY AND ITS INCREDIBLE FUNERARY RITES

Another two days in Kupang waiting for my plane to Makassar, the capital of the very large island of Sulawesi is so strange. The wait goes well in the company of Sue, an Australian meeting in Dili with whom I visit around by scooter.

For me, Makassar is just a transit point. The city is huge and modern with shopping centers, Mc’Do and even Carrefour.
The very evening of my arrival I take a night bus which must take me to Ranteipao. It is very comfortable, in the European standards. It is surprising to see this type of bus in Indonesia, it’s even the first time I see one in fact.

At 6am I arrive at Ranteipao. A pete fart dances into the Homestay that indicates to him. The pete is a scooter taxi that is only found in Sulawesi with a small egg-shaped cabin at the front.
Ranteipao is a pretty rural town of 30000 inhabitants I think. But it is especially the capital of the country Tana Toraja. Here the Toraja maintains a very strong and lively culture.

At the bottom, I rent a scooter as usual. Everything is green and lush. I cross beautiful rice terraces where I observe the peasants wash and buffalo their buffaloes with love. Here buffaloes have a real cultural and symbolic value.
Many villages are more beautiful than the others, the countryside. They are essentially beautiful traditional Toraja houses in the form of boats still built today as they were centuries ago. The legend tells that the ancestors of the Torajas would have arrived in boats that they would have pulled in the grounds to make their houses.

It rains a lot here and when the sun breaks, the sounds and smells of nature, the lights, the little hill roads that overlook the rice fields and the incredible villages of another time … Everything combines to create an atmosphere relaxing of pure zenitude.

IN SULAWESI, LAKE PENDOLO AND THE SMALL PORT CITY OF AMPANA

In the direction of Togean Islands I stop at the edge of Lake Pendolo which makes me directly inside an Impressionist painting of Matisse. Another stop in the small port city of Ampana in the middle of Ramadan …

I take a good old Indonesian bus from Rantepao. I find a couple of French meeting in my little restaurant a few days earlier.

Julien and Doriane are institutes and the French system allows them to travel 6 months a year. With them I spend a few days traveling to the Toggean Islands north of Sulawesi. The road is long and we stop a day at the village of Pendolo. The evening is spent around a fire on the beach with Indonesians who eat their meal in the lake and sing like pans.
We get up very early to attend the sunrise. The sky is overcast and the landscape is worthy of an impressionist painting by Monnet.

Another bus day and a night in the city of Poso. The next morning at the reception of the hotel we exchange a few words with another Indonesian client. He offers us to take us to our next destination: Ampanna at 5am.
I spend a good part of the road to discuss in Indonesian and English with the businessman, dressed in jellaba and Muslim hat. We arrive without worries and thank our kind drivers. They send us a big smile: “Tida apa apa” (no problem).

Ampana is the small port city from which boats leave for the Toggean Islands. It’s Ramadan and it’s very hard to find food. Even non-Muslim restaurants close out of respect and no one smokes in the street.
In the city I meet some interesting personalities. I discuss with a policeman a weekend that shows me pictures of him posing with a gun like king of the trigger. I meet a group of shemales and finally in the hotel we spend part of the evening with a Indonesian decided to learn French with us.

The most hallucinating concentration of luminescent plankton

Couples are mostly here. Fortunately, I am very convincing and I can get everyone to party. Evening after night, the alcohol reserves are empty until exhaustion.
One evening not really sober around 2am, with the survivors of the evening, I go on the big pontoon and listen to Lami play the guitar.
The surface of the water sparkles with bright plankton. We jump on the spot. Our vibrations light up, a second, a large circle of bright light below us.
It’s incredible ! The concentration of plankton is huge! We repeat the experience a few times and finally we all throw ourselves in the water.
It’s millions of particles that light up with each of our movements. Like shooting stars we swim with a trail of light behind us and a halo around us. It is magic. I have never seen anything so beautiful to this day. The night after, the phenomenon is no longer there. It was unique!

 On this island, after more than a week together, I made good friends, the German Swiss, Christin and Mike, or Julien and Doriane, the couple of French teachers.I finally leave Kadidiri a little before the others, after a last party that includes everyone. These people and this place will miss me!

Things to Consider While Traveling to China

China is known to be the fastest growing economy in the world. The country has established itself as a strong manufacturing base. It had opened to foreign visitors in the late 1970s, and it is remarkable that it has become the fourth most visited country in the world since then.

China is known for its rich culture and history and there are many must-see sites. There are just a few things to do prior to your visit to this wonderful country.

Visa Mandatory

It is mandatory to carry visas to enter into this country. You may use any visa processing services like The Visa Machine to get rid of the pain in the ass. If you are applying for a tourist visa, then you should have a copy of the detailed itinerary with all your confirmed hotel bookings well in advance. Hotel bookings in China can be done online with sites like booking.com once your visa is approved.

Cash over Cards

Despite the proliferation of credit cards, cash is the preferred mode of payment in China. People find it easier to transact with cash than cards. The currency of China is called Yuan or RMB, whose informal name is “quai.” Chinese stores and businesses do not entertain other currencies.

Currency Exchange at ATMs

A few financial bodies like HSBC offer local currency withdrawals from foreign bank accounts. Such global banks offer good exchange rates compared to other foreign exchange services. Prior to your visit to China, it is better to check with your bank if there is no problem in using cards. Carry a translator with you for any banking transactions in China, since many Chinese bank employees will not understand English.

Pourboire is Not Liked

The Chinese do not like or encourage pourboire, even if offered as a token of appreciation for the excellent service. This holds to any car services, hotels, or recreational centers in China.

Never Mind Hindrances

While traveling, you may get a bit irritated to see people spitting or belching. Whether you like or not, to enjoy the enthralling journey do not bother some hindrances.

Varied Weather

Pack up your outfits according to the weather conditions of the destinations. It is no surprise to see quivering cold in the Great Wall and sweltering heat in Xi’an.

Avoid Tap Water

It is not safe to drink tap water in China, as it mostly contains chemicals and is not drinkable. Instead, you may buy bottled water from local stores or restaurants.

No Sanitizers

Carry some toilet papers, sanitizers, and other tissues with you. Most Chinese restrooms do not have such stuff, except for those in high-class or opulent restaurants.

Flight Delays

Do not expect on-time services of flights, so be prepared. Be early to the airport, as otherwise, you may see long queues. Most airports in China are crowded and frantic most of the time. Always have your passport with you.

Transport

China has a well-established transport network and almost all places are covered by either buses or trains. There are some high speed trains that will take you across China in a jiffy. The rates are also extremely affordable.

Purchase VPN

The Internet is a censored thing in China, so if you want to access sites like YouTube, Yahoo, Facebook, or even Google, you may require VPN. Examples of VPNs available for the Chinese Great Firewall are VyperVPN and Cyberghost.

Above all, the language barrier and cultural difference of China pose a real challenge, while it is the country of wonders worth exploring.

Traveling to Argentina

Argentina is a lovely country in South Africa with its iconic monuments, colonial sites, majestic Andes, glacial lakes, beaches, and gaucho culture. It is home to biodiversity, cultural offerings, and natural beauty. Spring and Autumn are the best seasons to travel to Argentina. The following features of the country attract visitors around the globe to travel to Argentina.

Urban Attractions

Buenos Aires is the largest and most popular city with more tourist places. It is the main airport interlinked with the rest of the cities in Argentina. The grandeur of the Maya pyramid and Recoleta Cemetery, tango dance, hush gardens, and nightlife make the city stand out from the other cities. In addition, there are in numerous libraries, boutiques, and eateries here. You may visit the National Museum of Fine Arts in Buenos Aires for the best collection of European arts from the middle age to the 20th century.

Colonial Settlement

Salta is a town with its fine Andean colonial houses, the neo-classical style Cathedral, and museums. In the Museum of High Altitude Archaeology, you may explore the exhibits of mommies and Incan remains.

Ushusia is an isolated town in the Tierra del Fuego Island. Previously, it was a penal colony and naval base for the Argentine Navy because of its detachment from the other Argentine cities. The locale has become a tourist pick, which is now a base for nautical trips to Antarctic, trekking, and winter sports.

Natural Beauty

The Great Andes

The Andes passing through Argentina is in Mendoza. Aconcagua is the highest mountain outside Asia. This is the best point to get 360 degree views of the Andes.

Iguazu Falls

It is the world famous falls located in Puerto Iguazú. The Devil’s Throat acts as the border between Brazilian and Argentinean Iguazu Falls. Grab wet gears to go for an exciting boat ride. Then, go to Iguazú National Park to view subtropical rainforest and diverse wildlife like toucans, coons, and jaguars. Visitors may even go to dense forests like Selva Misionera, a neighborhood, for rappelling and ziplining.

Quebreda de Cafayate

Quebreda de Cafayate in Santa is a splendid landscape with multihued sandstone, red mountains, and rocks. Most rock formations took place in the Canyon of the Shells. Some sites to visit in this valley are the Devil’s Throat, the Castle, the Monk, the Obelisk, and the Natural Amphitheater.

Perito Moreno Glacier

Perito Moreno is the best pick for glaciers in Argentina. Its white azure ice sprawling across the turquoise water of Los Glaciares National Park is breathtaking. You may reach this destination easily from El Calafate. Spanning Argentina to Chile, it is the third largest reserves of fresh water in the world. Lake Argentino is another point, 5 km away from this location. Staying for a while, you will gaze at the crash of the ice chunks into the water with echoing effect.

Culture

According to historians, in the past, Argentina had been sparsely populated by diverse culture and social groups until the era of European colonization. European and Latin American immigrants have made up the country’s population and thus the culture. You will get intrigued by the avant-garde music, arts, and cinema and rich heritage.

Besides these, public transportation is cheaper and if you carry a map, you could easily travel to destinations. Do not miss out the aforementioned sites, as they are both worth exploring and popular. Happy vacation!

Exciting Things to Do When You Are Traveling

There are is an exciting joy in traveling. Every travel adventure is sure to be filled with excitement, fun, and laughter. You are given a chance to enjoy majestic or historic sites with your family and friends. Above all these – you have the big chance to discover!

Traveling lets you explore tourist’s destinations that you read books, watch on TV or have seen from travel guides. You have the chance to see this and more if you are traveling. You are given the excitement and delight of anticipating the things that would happen in the trip.

You feel a huge amount of joy because of this.

However, have you even think of making your traveling unique? Here are a few things that would help you make it more exciting.

Do Something Exciting

One of the best things you could do to experience a great travel adventure is do something unique. Instead of taking pictures of sites, make the effort of film your travel adventure and make each take sound and look awesome. This would give you a me1moravble and fun time during the entire course of your travel.

Take Public Transportation

Riding a bus instead of a rented car or van brings you closer to the place you are visiting. You have a great chance to see exciting things such as the people. You have a chance to talk to them and know the culture of the place.

Riding in a public transport sets you to enjoy the ride with the passengers. Furthermore, you might discover places that are not included on your travel list. So, prepare for a great adventure tine that sets your mood.

Purchase Souvenirs

One of the best joys that are experienced in traveling is purchasing a souvenir. However, try to buy the souvenir items in the market rather than the gift shop. The purchase items would be worth to cherish as you go back home.

So, are you ready for the best travel adventure of your life? Pack your bags and consider the above-mentioned things to do when you are on a trip. Rest assured, fun and excitement would be yours.

Zoo’s in America that you should take your kids to

Taking your children to that zoo is something that they will never forget. This is an experience that every child should have. There are a large variety of zoos in America that you can go to, especially if you want to give your children a great experience. However, not all the zoos are great and recommended. This is why this list of zoos in America is going to give you the best zoo that you should take your kids to:

Brookfield Zoo in Brookfield, Illinois

Brookfield Zoo that is situated in Brookfield, Illinois is one of the best zoos that you can find in America. This is also the number one zoo if you are looking for a large variety of animals that you can show your children.

There are over the 2,000 animals that are living in this zoo. Meaning that your child has a good chance to see his favorite animal here. The other great thing about this zoo, is that children can get close and personal with farm animals. We tend to forget that so many city children don’t really have touched a farm animal in their lives.

Miami MetroZoo

If you are fine with the hot weather and you know that your children will still have a good time, even if it is hot in Miami, then you should for sure make time to visit the Miami MetroZoo.

This is a zoo that is known as one of the top 10 zoos in America that you can visit. They have a large variety of animals that you can see, and children will have a great experience with seeing animals like tigers, giraffes, wallabies, and Komodo dragons at the zoo.

National Zoo in Washington D.C.

Most people living in America are aware about the National Zoo that is situated in Washington D.C. This is because this is a zoo where you don’t need to pay any admission fees before you and your children can see the large variety of animals.

This is also one of a few zoos where you can see a panda. This is for sure one of the zoos that you should visit when you are in the area and if you have children with you that are in love with all the different animals.

Dallas Zoo in Dallas

Dallas Zoo isn’t just one of the most popular zoos in America that you should visit, but this is also the largest zoo in Texas. It has about 106 acres of land full of animals and has about 430 different species of animals and fish. This zoo was opened in 1988 and is still one of the best attractions in Dallas and in Texas that you should see.

Visiting a zoo is something that your children will remember for the rest of their lives. This is because this is an experience to see all the different animals live, in front of you, and not on the television or computer. But, if you want to make the experience the best experience for your children, then you should make sure that you are visiting these zoos mentioned. It is the best zoos to go to in America.