We were hoping to go north from Tana Toraja to Manado by bus and stop on the equator, but Sulawesi has not decided to cash in on this potential tourist opportunity yet. Extensive googling showed no equator marker on the narrow bit of Sulawesi that straddles the line, and going north overland would require 30+ hours of bus travel. Actually that would be the best case scenario, assuming that we could make connections right away, reality could mean many extra hours waiting. After weighing all this we decided to backtrack 10 hours by night bus to Makassar, and take an hour and a half flight up to Manado.
This ended up being a brutal day of travel. The night bus left at 9pm and arrived at the Makassar airport at 5am. A woman started vomiting about 45 minutes into the trip and did not stop the ENTIRE WAY. I do not know how that was possible. We were hoping it was motion sickness and not some new strain of Ebola. It's nearly two weeks later now, so I think we're in the clear (I know, I'm so late on posting!), but let me tell you very hard to sleep with all that going on. Once we reached the airport I had a four hour wait for our flight, a hard seat which made napping near impossible, and I was a twee bit grumpy. Neal took pity on me, and bought me a “I heart Makassar” tshirt to cheer me up.
We finally arrived in Manado, which Lonely Planet was pretty dismissive of as a large bland city, but we both really enjoyed it. We spent the night at our favorite Indonesian chain of hotels, the Aston, and things looked much brighter the next day when we headed out to Tangkoko Batuangus Nature Reserve.
I wanted to go to Tangkoko for one important reason… Spectral Tarsiers! And I wanted to see tarsiers because of this video, which I implore you to view ASAP before you look at the pictures below. We arrived in the afternoon, did an evening trek into the park to see the tarsiers as they came out of their trees to feed.
After our trek we stayed the night just outside of the park at a VERY basic homestay. It was not basic in a charming way, it was basic in a jungle prison camp way. The next morning we headed out for another trek to see some of the other famous wildlife in the park, but first we had to DEET up as we did the night before. Along with the cool wildlife, the park is also know for gonone, microscopic mites that cause serious itching, and like to “squirm past clothes and settle in warm moist places”. Yes that means what you think it means. Yes I had to put bug spray in places I never considered before and hope never to again. I think it was worth it though, I saw some pretty amazing animals.