Ever wanted to feel like a celebrity, be swamped with people requesting your photo to the point you can’t even walk 20 metres? Head to remote parts of Indonesia instead of Bali and you’ll find it!
Recently I went on a trip with a group of writers, photographers and social media influencers to experience the total solar eclipse in Indonesia. We went to South Sulewesi and in many parts the locals had never seen a caucasian person before. There were squeals of delight, requests for selfies and we got swamped. Even the local military and police wanted photos.
On our first day we landed in Makassar, then flew out to Luuk where we were to witness the total solar eclipse the next morning. On our way to our hotel we stopped at a local festival that was being set up and were greeted by the local government official who said he was honoured we chose to come to their town. We were treated like celebrity with parents pushing their kids next to us for photos and all the locals converging on where we were standing, asking for photos and wanting to be near us. It was a peek into the life of a celebrity. In the end our guides had to pull us away and kept saying if we don’t leave now we never will, because of the amount of people wanting pictures with us.
We headed up to a cafe whose name translates to mean “Hill of Love” where we sampled fried banana and a drink called saran – a mix of ginger, milk and egg which was surprisingly delicious.
The view from the cafe was stunning and we returned the morning after the eclipse to catch sunrise there. When we arrived the cafe was closed. Some made the decision to jump the fence to the courtyard and set up their cameras to catch the sunrise. Breaking and entering is not something I would advise you do anywhere, especially in a country as strict as Indonesia! We had guides and government officials with us. When the cafe owners arrived our officials informed them who we were, that we had requested their cafe as the photo location this morning, ordered some Saraba for us and the owners were happy. According to Theo, one of our guides “As long as you spend money, it’s all ok!”
The eclipse was only going to be fully visible in a small section of the world and where we were headed, Pantai Kilo Lima beach it was going to be visible for a couple of minutes, which was longer than most other spots.
It was a still, quiet morning, with our group being the first to arrive and select our spots. With numerous expensive cameras set up, our accents, language and dress, we stood out! A crowd quickly gathered, with kids asking for “selfies” and swimming in the beach. The water was so clear we were able to see to the bottom of a coral reef only a few metres off shore. It was incredible. Kids laughing, playing, splashing, the crystal clear water and coral all made the experience relaxing and fun.
In the lead up to the eclipse the beach filled up with more locals filled with the anticipation of this special event, something that won’t be seen in Indonesia for another 375 years. The beach went silent then erupted in celebration as the eclipse formed. Total elation filled the air and we knew this was a defining moment in history.
Soon after we headed off to Salodik waterfall, which according to our guide aren’t even the good ones! We thought differently, would love to know your thoughts!
The waterfall was long, with numerous pools for swimming and huts to sit in, eat, spend the day as a family. They seemed to go on forever, winding through the rainforest, shades of blue, aqua, teal and green.
This was just some of the pieces of paradise we were lucky enough to experience. Having only sampled a tiny portion of what Indonesia has to offer, I can’t wait to head back!
Kylie Travers is the CEO of Occasio Enterprises, an author, speaker and avid traveller. After becoming a homeless single mum of two because of domestic violence she has managed to create a life she loves, writing, speaking, travelling and loves to help others do the same. You can check her out at www.kylietravers.com.au or follow her on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.