Out of the dark came a voice and there was a trikeshaw and the most desperate looking driver I'd ever seen (most of them look like the lowest form of humanity in Indonesia and they have brains to match) and he must have been very desperate to think he'd find anyone looking for a ride in such a lonely and deserted place at that time of night. He was barefoot and had wads of plastic shoved into his belt and his hatband - one big sheet would have covered him but I guess he only had these scraps which were just about useless and I doubt he had the sense to spread them out anyway! Until then I had nothing but bad experiences with trikehshaw drivers - if you want a cheap ride and be taken well away from where you want to go then they're OK! He staggered along beside me, muttering, pushing his bike and clacking his bell - it's not a bell in the real sense but two bits of flat, rusty metal with a spring that bang together making a 'clack, clack.' sound. I gave in, I thought he could ride as fast as I could walk (wrong) and I would be sheltered in the plastic canopy in front of the handlebars, wrong again and deafened by the rain. I told him I had no rupiah but I'd pay him five Australian dollars.
Soon we were going along a road that actually had a few lights and then, in spite of my protests, he turned right and after a few blocks we were down by the shore - I could hear the sea but not see it in the pitch black. He asked for his money and then began my long explanation (again in my pigeon Indonesian) about me wanting to go to the terminal to catch the ferry. He suddenly ran off splashing thru the mud and then I hear him rapping on someone's door and there was a conversation coming and going on the wind with whoever he had woken up. He came clattering back, he jumped on, I jumped in and once more we were flying along at walking pace and onto the main road again that soon turned into a narrow track with potholes that did terrible things to both his bike and my bum. Most of the time we just walked as the progress was faster and once or twice his chain came off and he was lucky I had my now fading flashlight. I was never really sure whether we were on the road or off but just before 6 am and still dark I was AMAZED when (against all odds, it seemed to me) we arrived at a desolate port. We woke up the harbour master who gave us a cup of tea and confirmed we had the right place. I paid the driver his $5 and he looked so worried that I also gave him a US$5 bill - he still looked a bit unsure as he sat there on floor of the veranda, occasionally retrieving the notes from his rags he would hold them up to the light and put them away carefully again only to pull them out and start the inspection again and passing them to the harbour master for his opinion.
When I finally came ashore on the other side I had to hitch a ride to Ambon and it was still raining.
Lots to tell but no time - I just found the only internet connection since the Spice Islands and the ferry is about to leave for the Togean Islands - survived the trip from hell to get here last night - 55 klms thru the jungle on back of a motorbike in sheets of rain and had to wade across several rivers, holding my pack and boots above my head, where the rain had cut the road. A 'bemo' (minibus) and motorbike were swept away by a landslide on that same road last night and a number of lives lost.
Finally meeting some tourists and it's a bit scary - big hire cars and personal guides. They are particularly interested in Tana Toraja with it's hanging cave graves and the frenetic slaughter of animals from chickens to pigs and buffalo that marks the annual funeral season where THOUSANDS of animals are hacked to pieces - the Torajans believe the more animals slaughtered the better chance the departed one has in the after-life. The terrible sounds of squealing pigs and bellowing buffalo can be heard all over the valley as they go about the slaughter with gusto. This goes on for two months every year.
Met two girls, travelling separately and each telling a different tale re the perils of being a female travelling alone; the short little waif with the red hair had many problems with flashers and perverts whereas the tall good looker had no problems - could be the fact that the little one had piercings only a scrap metal merchant would be proud of - you name the type and place and she had it! There was even a faint ringing sound whenever she moved or even opened her mouth to speak! She had already lost her passport and bank card and was sleeping on a sofa in a hotel lounge while she awaited help from home