Last Christmas I hiked a volcano in Indonesia. This year, I’ll be comfortably seated in California with family. In the past few weeks I’ve been on both ends of the US. In NYC, we did the traditional 5th Avenue Christmas stroll. There was a 1920s theme at a lot of the department stores, perhaps because The Great Gatsby movie comes out in the spring? (Click the individual image for a slideshow and enlargement). I must say, there really is something about New York during the holidays.
The first step is admitting you have a problem: I love textiles, but textiles are an expensive habit to have. So I really shouldn’t have gone to a weaving village…
After walking around the market, Pasar Bolu, Chloe and I decided we wanted to visit a weaving village that was, according to Lonely Planet, supposed to have a market. So from Pasar Bolu we go into a public minivan. We drove for some time and finally asked and realized we had passed where we were trying to go. So we got out and started walking and hoped another minivan would pass. The confusion started as we got off the minivan — some people said there was no market that day in the village we were trying to reach. While we walked back down the road we got conflicting advice. I stopped to buy some water and the woman suggested we go to Sa’dan and she hailed a van for us.
As luck would have it, there was a weaver, Linda, in the van and she took us to the small village of To’barana next to Sa’dan. As men farm and harvest rice, women sit on the ground at wooden looms in stalls lining the small neighboring villages of Sa’dan and To’barana in the hills of Tana Toraja. On this rainy day, my friend and I were the only visitors.
If you’re ever in the market for a water buffalo, I have just the place for you.
Pasar Bolu market is a quick van ride from the main street in Rantepao. The market is famous for water buffalo. But, before you get to the large field packed with buffalo and salesmen, there is a traditional Indonesian market selling almost anything you could desire, including (photos in descending order): Torajan coffee (delicious), betel nut for chewing (with grandmas haggling over the price) and fruits and vegetables galore.
One of the best parts of the trip to Tana Toraja was all of the terong belanda juice (and the jus campur, mix juice with terong belanda and passion fruit). Terong belanda translates from Indonesian as Dutch eggplant, in English this fruit is commonly known as tamarillo.
I asked Pak Agust early on about local fruits and he made sure to find me a terong belanda during our first day hiking together. On our last day in town we passed a street vendor with a table full of the fruit and Chloe and I decided it would be a good idea to buy some fruit and take it all the way back to Jakarta.
Terong belanda is a bit tart and has a berry taste, like a blend of raspberry, blackberry and blueberry, but still its own unique taste. The beautiful exterior purple hues are an added bonus.
To make juice from the fruit you need to scoop out the interior of the fruit and add some water and sugar and then blend.
So if you find yourself face to face with a tamarillo, give it a go.