We head north along the seaside in Makassar to Fort Rotterdam, a Dutch fort, and apparently the best preserved example of Dutch architecture in Indonesia. It looks like it’s just had a new paint job—all tan and red.
No crumbling buildings here. We have to go to the outer wall to feel its four centuries of existence.
Walking along this outer wall, we find a class is in session taught by a thin, tall man with a wiry beard in a long white kurta and Islamic skull cap. I take it for a religious class, but the teacher calls to us, “Hello, where are you from?” with a contrived London accent. “America”, I shout from fifty meters away. He then requests that I come to the front of his makeshift classroom and his forty young adult pupils.
It is an English class and the guru laments that his students are less than enthusiastic about trying out their English language skills. I encourage them to make lots of mistakes using the example of me today asking for a haircut. Instead of using the bahasa word for hair I used the word for head—potong kapala means to cut my head. They all laugh and seem to get the point.
The teacher, Lala, wants Melati and I to come stay at his home in Makassar and be taken around the city tomorrow by some of his pupils so they can practice English. When I tell him we are to go to Toraja, he offers his pupils to accompany us there and stay in their house. When I say we wish to take a motor there, he says that his pupils will take us on their bikes. I politely decline the kind though overzealous offer, but insist that we will get in touch with him when we return to Makassar.
We hurry out to a dock across the street to catch the sunset. Here we find three guys peering at fish between the planks at the end of the dock and dangling a line held by their hands between them.
I laugh at the prospect of them catching fish this way, only to be shown twenty minutes later that indeed you can when one of them lands a 12 incher.
Melati and I sit atop a small, wooden boat moored at the dock to watch the sun dip into the water and disappear.
A light sprinkling of rain finishes off the sunset. Nearby is the container port and its large cranes, and closer than that is an Indonesian navy vessel with cannon out front.
We drink a cold Bintang beer at a deck near the dock and retreat to street-side to sip kalapa muda (tender coconut). The old man cutting the kalapa has a seasoned face and a cigarette dangling from his mouth. He makes change for our 10,000 rupiah bill from his cash collection kept under his black skullcap.