How sadly, everything sooner or later needs to take an end. And when it concerns adventuring on an Indonesian island, this end could not outstrip the one month’s validity of my Indonesian visa. So, my visa soon to expire, I ended up in Makassar, Sulawesi’s largest city, where I spent my last few days on that magical island, before flying out in seek of new adventures in some other latitudes and longitudes of our spherical home.
Makassar, the provincial capital of South Sulawesi and Indonesia’s fifth largest city, home to nearly two million of people, is a big and crowded city. It contains a few sights one could visit, as: A lively promenade by the sea, where locals will enjoy their evening strolls regarding the artists, jugglers and the various sorts of street exhibitions taking place there. A 17th-century Dutch garrison known as Fort Rotterdam, which is something like a reproduction of a Dutch village on top of the equator, or maybe a replica of Rotterdam itself. And a floating mosque, more mosques, some parks, neighborhoods of various characters, traffic and like city stuff…
The most interesting place I happened to see in this city, though, was the place I resided itself. For my great fortune, I got to be hosted by a local family in the midst a traditional marketplace called Pasar Terong. Getting the local bus from Makassar’s bus station, where I just had arrived by a night bus that early morning, I got dropped off just outside Pasar Terong, and heavily loaded with all my stuff I started striding, meandering through the densely accumulated in the market’s narrow lanes crowds, while requiting the joyous salutations the surprised to see me people were giving me from all around. Enquiring directions, it didn’t take long till I reached the house of my host family, where I got cordially received and led inside the house.
The family maintains a clothes-stall in front of their small house. We first got to the small living room on the loft where they already had laid my bedding on its floor. Then we exited to the balcony overlooking the busy lane underneath, where I got offered coffee, and rambutan, longans and various other boons of their lush earth. In the course of the next couple of hours, a great multitude of their closer and more distant kindred had passed by that very balcony to pay me a visit. What the precise relation of all those people was to one another, I could not say, as my poor Indonesian did not allow me to understand much more than that they were family members, and, needless to say, no one of them or anybody I met in the market could speak more English than I do Chinese (5-10 words). So, I there found as well a great opportunity to practice my Indonesian skills, most particularly with my new little 5-years old friend, who displayed earnest interest and steel patience in discussing his matters with me for hours and teaching me more and more words.
The next days, I came to realize that, quite obviously, not all the people my hosts introduced my as their kin were necessarily their kin in blood, as they would indistinctly apply the word keluarga (family) to pretty much anybody we were to meet around the market. And as for my impression, taking in consider the intensity of affinity that bids them all, those people could not be characterized differently but family, a big happy family. And as a part of this big family I also felt after the three days of my staying there had elapsed, by when I had met so many people that, all over the market, they would stop me every few steps to greet me, inquire of my tidings, and offer me some fruits or duck eggs. With my feelings warmed up and my optimistic views on humanity well rejuvenated, I was farewelling Pasar Terong and its lovely people, when, after all, time had brought forth my outgoing.