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A Trip to the Water Buffalo Market: Pasar Bolu

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.

The market is large and sprawling — a true feast for the senses.

As I have mentioned earlier, Torajan coffee is my favorite variety of Indonesian coffee. So I was thrilled when we discovered baskets full of coffee for sale at the market, something I’ve never seen in a market in Jakarta.

Chloe and I decided to purchase our coffee from one vendor in particular. Why? Well he seemed like a nice guy, but it was his sparkly pink nail polish that really sealed the deal for us. One bag of ground coffee was a little over $1.

We watched as the vendor sealed our bags with wax and a candle (just don’t tell customs).

If you don’t have a chance to make it to the market, I would recommend buying coffee at Rezeki on Jalan Emmy Saelan no. 28 in Rantepao.

Chloe indulged in some sweet snacks at the market. I jealously watched, stomach sickness while traveling is the worst!

Fried banana chips:

I think this is sago, but anyone out there in the wide world of bloggers know exactly what this is?

After the fruits and vegetables, we hit the fish area of the market:

One specialty we saw on Torajan menus was river eel. We tried to order it, but the restaurant was habis (out, one of my least favorite Indonesian words).

After passing a dentist working in very unsanitary market conditions, it was buffalo time.

I asked various vendors how much their animals were selling for and it ranged widely. The unique buffaloes with whiter hair and blue eyes (photo at the top of the post) were more expensive at well over $2,000 USD. Two thousand times 24, it makes sense why Torajans save all of their lives to be able to afford funerals.

It was fun to watch Indonesian men bartering over water buffalo. When walking through this area of the market, mind the droppings everywhere and be careful how closely you get to the back of the animals. I would recommend not wearing flip flops!

I imagined this man must have been thinking, “Yeah, so what that I have a floral patterned umbrella? I’m holding a buffalo and smoking a cigarette.”

Our final stop at the market was the illegal DVD and music stand. We got some dangdut CDs. Oh how I miss these stands.

Then we boarded a bus to what we thought would be a weaving village…

6 Comments Post a comment
  1. WOW! that must of been an INCREDIBLE experience, I buy stuff at the market but just to see it packed and made from scratch? amazing :)

    December 12, 2012
  2. Great post, I love the blue-eyed buffalo.

    December 16, 2012
    • Me too! If I had to buy a buffalo, that would of been the one.

      December 21, 2012
  3. tana toraja is really beautiful. always want to be there … thanks for posting this… love it so much

    January 31, 2014
  4. kopi toraja should be belong to Toraja people. but now the patent is under Japanese firm. it is not fair. Japan is doing not good things to toraja people.

    January 31, 2014

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