31 October 2010

Night out

I made my first attempt to “go out” at night in Tana Toraja. A few other Fulbrights were visiting Toraja so we agreed to meet up at the Gazebo restaurant in the nearby town of Rantepao. We wanted to try pa’ piong, a traditional Torajan dish composed of coconut chicken baked in bamboo and tuak or palm wine.

We began dinner at seven and after a few hours of sharing stories we were ready to retire. As we were getting up to leave, our waitress inquired as to how we intended on getting home. She then informed us that there is no transportation from Rantepao to my town after seven pm.

We were a bit caught off guard but still optimistic that we would be able to find someone willing to drive us home. I made some sort of uncomfortable joke to the waitress about us sleeping at her place. Poorly received. Though she did offer to call someone she knew to drive us home. After fifteen minutes of trying to hail a car in the rainy darkness with our flashlights, we decided to take her up on her offer.

Unfortunately we had to pay 90,000 rupiah instead of the usual 5,000. Our drive was also terrifying because 1. Toraja does not have street lights 2. It was raining 3. Our driver was speeding and swerving about 4. The cars don’t have seatbelts 5. Most of the roads are busted 6. The tires are most likely not new. It was scary but I kept reminding myself that the driver must do this all the time and he must know what he’s doing. I was therefore relatively cool until the driver made some joke about palm wine. That’s when it hit us: the man driving us had been drinking at the Gazebo restaurant at a table near us earlier. We hadn’t recognized him in the dark until his comment jogged our memory. The drivers here are generally fear-inducing enough without the added element of even a little intoxication. Terrifying

We arrived home safely and overall it was a fun night. 

Moral of the story: I’m ready to return to my beautifully wholesome lifestyle of staying in after dark.

Pa' Piong

Black Rice

Palm Wine

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