Thursday, August 29, 2013

Still in Pasarwajo

The events continued while we were in Pasarwajo. One of the events that our stay was timed perfectly for was the 12,500-person dance. Apparently, someone got the idea that they wanted to break the record for the most dancers at a single event, had land cleared and leveled and proceeded to round up 12,500 school children and trained them to perform. Unfortunately, I had come down with a vicious bout of food poisoning and was in no shape to attend but Corie went and came back with a remarkable account of the event. Be sure to check out her blog post.

The following day, the schedule called for a land trip to Bao Bao, the capital of Buton Island. A large fleet of late-model minivans were hired to drive us the 40-kilometer trek over to the north side of the island and, of course, our translators came with us. In fact, they never left our side the whole time we were ashore. Bao Bao is a significantly-sized city, complete with flashy new car dealerships and traffic but also with a spectacular view of a large, well-protected bay. Our procession wended our way through the busy city with a two motorcycle cop and one police squad car escort up to the Most Extensive Old Fort in the World, where we were greeted by the mayor and vice-mayor of the city. Once again, we were given seats in the shade while we listened to their speeches and then we were fed. Again. Beautiful women danced while we waited in the buffet line and after lunch we wandered around the old fort, which offered beautiful views of the city and bay.

In the afternoon, the fleet of minivans showed up and took us to various places all over town, allowing us to see and shop at some of the local markets, after which they dropped us off at one of the newer hotels where we were given complimentary rooms in which to freshen up and relax. Ruthie and I turned down the air conditioning to it's lowest setting and took a nap with the luxury of having a blanket on, albeit a thin one. After showering and dressing for dinner, we left our room (our translators were waiting outside our door), drove to a spot on the bay that had been prepared for dinner. Apparently, our presence was a big deal and it seemed like most of the higher-ranking Bao Bao city officials and their wives in had been invited. An enormous spread of food was laid out, along with more pretty girls dancing and it was followed by speeches. Before we left, we lined up to receive a gift bag from the mayor and vice-mayor and to say our good-byes.

It was almost midnight by the time we got back to Pasarwajo but in the area where the original pavilions had been set up (which had been cleared), fresh pavilions were set up, along with a band. Another spread of food was put out but this time it came with cases of beer and whiskey. Our translators insisted on dancing with us while a big group of locals sat patiently waiting their turn at the buffet. If I had been smarter, I would have refused all food because I could feel a relapse of food poisoning coming on so we decided to leave at the height of the party. Our translators broke into tears as we said good-bye.
At 8/29/2013 1:08 AM (utc) Rutea's position was 06°34.32'S 121°05.60'E

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