Postcards from Rantepao, Indonesia
Just see it yourself.
“And I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff – I mean if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s all I do all day. I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it’s crazy, but that’s the only thing I’d really like to be.”- J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
I guess Holden was picturing something like this.
Bulls are considered the sacred animal in Tana Toraja. They aren’t used in farming, being bred and kept only for a special occasion – the funerals.
The Christianity has been brought here just around 100 years ago and got well-mixed with the local pagan beliefs resulting into very peculiar traditions. If you ask a Torajan what’s his religion, he would proudly say that he’s a Christian. But would say that he often brings small gifts to a cave tomb where his ancestors are buried to receive the spirits’ goodwill.
When anyone dies, it is considered that the bull will guide the spirit safely to the underworld. And yes, the animals get killed during the funeral ceremony…
The more – the better as this would accelerate the soul’s transition to the afterlife.
A rare blue-eye, marble breed that can cost up to 20.000$ How do people earn money here for buying around 10-12 bulls for a funeral ceremony?
I’m still wondering about that question…The local guide carefully avoided answering my question and started telling me about rice.
They grow a lot of rice here in Tana Toraja.
That is carefully hand-picked by the local women, spending whole days ankle-deep in the muddy waters. Yet, they still smile. Not only to a weird, white haired foreigner, approaching to take pictures of them. But to each other too, continuing their talks, methodically grabbing, cutting and stocking new and new sheafs of rice.
Hey, look whom else I’ve met here! A few new friends came to say “Hi”!
Foreigners are rarely seen here at the villages, so get ready to extra attention, loads of smiles and touching. And of course, everyone will point at your camera and ask for a picture. Nope, you don’t need to think of the ways how to hand it. The kids just want to have fun here and now :)
If you happen to be in Rantepao one day. Take the time and spend in wondering around the nearby villages and hiking the dump sloppy hills around. Each new turn you take – opens a new jaw dropping scenery.
P.S. Grab appropriate shoes! Your legs would probably look like this by the end of this long, emerald green walk inside the heart of the Tana Toraja Region.