Organized Chaos

The exhaust smoke from diesel trucks carrying everything from cows to cabbages blackens my nostrils as I enter closer to the city of Poso in central Sulawesi, Indonesia. The deep muddy pot holes that freckle the road bounce Pandemic The Magic bicycle to new heights as I hold on tight in the congested street. Motorcycles zoom by on all sides as it is sundown and another long day of fasting for Ramadan has commenced. Eating this month (day 14 in the Muslim calendar) is allowed by non participating Muslims and Christians but not in public. Eating, drinking, smoking or physical displays of affection are not condoned outdoors during Ramadan. I was busted today hiding in a farmer’s field chugging water, the farmer laughed, flashed his toothless grin and carried on driving his two cow cart as I apologetically smiled and quickly put away the water.

The street is lavished in organized chaos; the traffic pattern is original in that every vehicle drives down the street together all giving way to the faster vehicle whether it be truck, motorcycle, cow or goat. There are no stop signs or traffic lights just a patient understanding that there is always room for more on the road. Pandemic The Magic Bicycle is about the speed of the motorcycles therefore Pandemic and about 50 motorcycles and a couple of cows all carry on.

I have cycled 140km(89miles) today into Poso City the largest city in central Sulawesi. Poso is known for hosting Sulawesi’s religious conflicts from 1998-2006. As in other locations throughout Indonesia Muslims and Christians rose up in violent protest. The most gruesome of the many incidents is the beheading of 3 Christian school girls in 2005. A radical Muslim man, in an twisted terrorist attempt of retribution of over 2000 Muslims being unfairly killed over the 1998-2006, 8 year period, beheaded three Christian schoolgirls with a machete, put the heads in a plastic bag and then left a note that said 100 heads needed. Many mosques and churches were destroyed during that time period. The story of the violent religious clashes is long and full of many such incidences. Poso has been stable and without conflict since 2006. And today, Poso is filled more with organized vehicular chaos then organized crime.

More information concerning the violent protests from 1998-2007 in Central Sulawesi can be found here

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Hi Loretta,
I cannot believe that you are still traveling! That is wonderful!
So I guess it didn't work out with the film set thing in Wellington ?!.....
I don't know if you remember us, we are the couple from Germany / Italy. We just met for one night in NZ, Punakaiki, Te Nikau Accommodation. There were also the 3 girls: Katrin from Germany, Helene, France and the girl from Spain. Plus another one from Australia.
Anyway I wrote down your blog and now (that we arrived in Melbourne and live with friends, having internet) I just cannot stop reading.
You are such a good writer! it's so much fun to read your blog. Thank you very much, that you share it with others.Cuz I know how difficult it is sometimes to sit down, find electricity (you have a netbook with you I guess) etc. Respect!
and still: I just cannot believe what you are doing with your bike,!
I was just wondering, why there are not more comments...would you mind if I tell at least my friends about your wonderful blog - or you want to keep it more private? I guess a lot of people that are maybe not as brave as you would like to read about you travel experience. really!
I remember somebody (was it your sister, or just a friend) was suggesting you to make a book out of it or should definitely think about it. And with the money if it sells, you could travel more and more. That'll be great!
I just hope that more people find your blog, you write great! Continue like this!
Already waiting for new stories from you! wish you all the best and enjoy your traveling (cuz for us for now it's over, Michele found already a job and now it will be also my turn to earn some money again ;)!
greeting, Domi and Michele

Skalatitude..."When humans and nature are living in harmony there is magic and beauty everywhere"
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