Count Your Blessings

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July 12th 2012
Published: July 19th 2012
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We got onto a boat with Mike and Michelle for the last time as we headed over to Manado. The guys at the resort look every small but picked up our 20kg bags 2 at a time without straining. At the port in Manado, we docked next to another boat and had to walk through it and up a makeshift ladder to get to dry land. Again the bags were transported by the guys as if they were light as a feather.We said goodbye to Mike and Michelle and also to our wonderful diving guide, Adi. He was going back to the mainland for a day off with his family. It was actually quite sad to leave them all.

We hadn't booked a car to the hotel and were just going to get a taxi but a driver offered to take us for a decent price so we took it. The hotel was quite far out of town. It was a little run down but very pleasant and so nice to have a shower after the bucket baths we were used to at Bunaken.

We wanted to get some of our diving stuff dried and so we put it out on the patio. As I was doing this the gardeners all asked for a photo. This is so normal in Indonesia. Anyone with white skin is considered a novelty, so you are stopped constantly and asked for a photo.

The hotel advertised bikes for hire and we thought that would be a relaxing way to spend the afternoon around the golf course. Unfortunately they only had 2 so we decided on a sightseeing trip. A car was too expensive so we grabbed a taxi and persuaded the driver to take us around for 6 house for less than the car.

We started by visiting the Blessing Jesus Monument. 80% of Manado residents are Christian. There are churches everywhere. This huge statue towers over Manado reminding them of Jesus's blessings.

We next drove to Tomohon. On the way we passed restaurants which sell the local delicacies - fruit bat, snake and dog. We stopped but not to eat! The road had been slowing winding up the mountains and there was a great view back over Manado. It was a little cloudy, but we could still make out Bunaken and Manado Toa where we had just come from.

In Tomohon we visited a Chinese Pagoda. We weren't sure why it was there but enjoyed the climb and the view. Then we went tot the markets. They were very busy and sold all sorts of things. We stopped to have fried bananas. They were nothing like any other fried bananas we had ever had, in Inodnesia or anywhere. They weren't battered and were served with chilli paste and ketchup manis. Not a combination we would have considered before. They were delicious.Then we wandered around some more until we came to the meat section. The sight of pigs heads, loads of blood and fruit bats for sale was a little stomach turning. Then it got worse - we saw dogs. Fiona had been taking photos but couldn't bring herself even to photograph the dogs. They looked so pitiful and not at all appetising.We left the market and went to Danau Linow.

This lake was obviously once a volcanic crater and sulphur bubbles up through it and around it. It was a little smelly yet incredibly beautiful. As the light changed so did the colour of the lake. The bubbles made the lake look and sound as if it was boiling but when Fiona touched it it was actually cold. Our admission entitled us to a cup of coffee which we devoured and then we were off again in the taxi back to Manado.

We looked around the mall in Manado briefly and the grabbed a quick dinner at a seafront warming. Because it was cloudy the magnificent sunset was hidden, but Toby got his first avocado juice, which he loved.When we got back to the hotel we swam and did some water aerobics before bed. We needed an early night because the flight to Kalimantan was leaving very early the next day.

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