While planning this 3 weeks in Indonesia my first idea was to spend a few days relaxing in a beautful Indonesian beach. The first problem was to localize one of the thousand lovely places which could be reached in a reasonable time and at a reasonable cost, immediately. looking at the map I thought about Sulawesi, this huge island with the shape of a beast. Around it there are too many islands like Togean, Bunaken (near Manado), Sangihe and many more but we opted for kepulauan Wakatobi. Pity that a few days before we discovered that all the little accommodation (no more than 50 places available actually) of Wakatobi had already been booked by a group of Koreans thus we decided to spend our 3 days in the near Selayar island. The second problem was to find a good, reliable, sturdy, experienced travel companion who could speak a decent bahasa and could bear my sometimes heavy and childish behaviour not to mention my nosy attitude toward any aspect of a new country and culture.
No need to say that Ibu Galuh was definitively my first choice given all her travel tales with her friends in every corner of Java and in even basic accommodation.
Thanks to my good luck she was able to take a one week vacation and work for free as my personal travel guide.
We arrived in Makassar, a huge, polluted, extremely hot city and got a nice comfortable hotel not far from the marina area. In the weekend there were some festivals with foodstalls, live music and lot of locals enjoying the festival despite the usual motorbike jungle and the lack of sidewalks.
Galuh got phone number of local guides arranging a rented car with driver(700KIDR) who took us from Makassar to the easternmost coastal tip of the left "leg" of Sulawesi island, travelling around lovely rice paddies, green emerald fields and already harvested ones gold coloured, coconut trees and water basins used to produce salt until we got to the ferry dock toward Selayar island.
We arrived on the late afternoon in the island and I immediately loved it's silence, dark and quiet atmosphere totally opposite to the chaotic traffic and noise of Makassar.
I can't remember the name of the ugly and shabby hotel with its ridiculous uninspiring breakfast BUT our lovely guidetook us to the small Oriente restaurant which served delicious homemade food whith a huge choice of fish, noodles, vegetables and soups in a very relaxing atmosphere. We loved this place! The following morning we bought some food at a local Padang (Elizabeth Pisani describes this food as the In donesian McDonald for its ubiquity thanks to the Sumatra tribe which travelled all around this huge country) and by a typical 2 stranded roofed pirogue we cruised toward the marvellous Liang Kereta Beach with its white soft sand and pristing, emerald, phenomenal, enticing water. By the time the boat landed on the beach we took thousands photos of this magnificent cove I immediately took fins and snorkel and hurried in the warm water, the reef was nice but not super, I mean not so many fishes and not too many colors.
Once returned on the island we visited an ancient hamlet with old cosy wooden houses built on stealts, some of them lovely painted, all of them with lot of flowers, little friendly dogs and nice smiling dwellers then we have been shown some old big cannons, a huge metal bell.
I's a pity we could not visit other beautiful island b ut it was anyway a great relaxing experience!