Rantepao is the central city of Tanah Toraja, or, in English, Torajaland, the land of the Torajas. As the bus was pulling in to the city, we saw all these banners along the sides of the streets. You know like a flag is about twice as wide as it is tall; these were like flags that were ten times as tall as they were wide, fluttering in the wind. And they all said "BANGKIT" on them, reading down sideways.
We asked a local what it meant. The litteral translation was a rising up again, sortof. A resurection. These people were supposed to be Christian (sortof) so I thought it had to do with that.
Someone else explained. There were four tribes in South Sulawesi. There were the Bugis, the sailors, who through history were the "boogie men" that European sailors feared. There were the Torajans. And there were two others that I forgot.
In terms of implied status and wealth, the Torajans were always considered to be the bottom of the heap. "Bangkit" was effectively saying something like "civil rights" or "equal opportunity" or something like that. It played well in Torajaland. Maybe not elsewhere in Sualwesi, hard to say.
We went to Rantepao, the main city in this area.
We saw a buffalo Sacrifice ceremony. (warning - explicit pictures)
We stayed in Moma Siska's. It's not for everybody, but we had fun.
We went out hiking and saw the beautiful countryside, some friendly little kids, and some graves. (lots of pictures)
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