Makassar was our first dock on shore in Indonesia since we set off (other than the tender port in Komodo the day before). Although we hadn’t booked a tour with P&O themselves, we still wanted to have a walk around to experience what this part of Indonesia was like.
We had no idea what to expect; I had no preconceptions at all, and I have to say I didn’t know what I would see.
We walked off the boat, and we were greeted by some Indonesian dancers and music, it was beautiful. We walked into the port, and there were money changers there, so we changed some money up (Lee counted it meticulously), and we continued to walk out of the harbour.
As we walked along the harbour you had locals selling prepacked ‘tourist’ food; all the sellers were selling the same things and all gesturing for you to come over.
We walked out onto the main road, and there were literally thirty people with these bikes with a large front section for two people to sit, all gesturing and saying taxi! Taxi! You want I ride; I take you! Erm nope we just have a walk today we think. So we dipped down one of the side streets and walked along a road with plenty of shops. They weren’t tourist shops, they were real local shops. It was so hot; we decided to walk back along the seafront road back to the ship.
OMG, The Heat!
As we walked back, we still had locals stopping and saying taxi! Taxi! We see people from our ship, and they say there’s a shopping center along the road. Ummm okay, we thought why not! So back along we went in the raging heat (it was about 33 degrees, and the humidity was relentless). We walked for what seemed like miles; we never did find the shopping centre! But we did find Fort Rotterdam.
Fort Rotterdam was built on the location of an earlier Makassarese fort, called Ujung Pandang. Although it has been claimed by some that this fort dates back to 1545.
The Dutch Invaded!?
I honestly didn’t know the history of the Dutch invasion of Indonesia at this point, and I’m not sure I would have looked around if I did. It’s not a prominent part of history that the English are taught. We did get to meet a local there though with an excellent understanding of English. His teacher asked us to take him around with us so that he could practice his English. Of course, we obliged, and he was a very sweet guy.
We walked back to the ship in the ridiculous heat and happily embraced the air con again.