Monday, July 15, 2013

The End - A Little Toilet Humor

The Principal's restroom in the #1 Public School in Manado!

And just to play a little Mythbusters - toilets south of the equator (here shown in Jakarta) do NOT flush in the opposite direction than toilets north of the equator. The Coriolis effect has no bearing on water volumes that small.  It's really due to chance and the way the openings are arranged.  See this article for a description:      Fact or Fiction : South of the Equator Toilets and Tornadoes Spin in Opposite Directions.

Manado - A City on the Rise

     Manado was Rodney's and my home for 12 days, and we consider ourselves very fortunate to have had the opportunity to stay here.  The city's motto is "Sitou Timou Tumou Tou" - loosely translated as "Man Lives to Educate (grow, develop, tend, educate) Others" - an appropriate slogan for our trip.  The Manadonese interpret it as "we are a blessed to be a blessing to other people," a philosophy that was demonstrated in their openness, kindness, and hospitality throughout our stay.
     Sam Ratulangi airport (named after an educator and the first governor of Manado) is a 3.5 hour flight from Jakarta and is surrounded by a few homes, rice paddies, and jungle.  The airport has seen an increase in international visitors in the past decade, with up to 20,000 entering the country here annually - compared to O'Hare with 5,100 a day - but even for the capital city of the region, it is still fairly remote.

Manado Airport - a little different than O'Hare  (pic courtesy of

Coelancanth Executive Airport Lounge - you have to love a place
that names their business lounge after a formerly extinct fish

      We stayed at the Hotel Aryaduta, one of the nicest in the city.  It was centrally located on the main street, air conditioned, had a pool, and served a Manadonese influenced buffet breakfast.  My 11 night stay for my own room, including all taxes, fees, and daily breakfast for 2 (we shared our vouchers with Jon and other guests) was $724.

View of the pool and area from my room
View from the room

Breakfast of Bubur Manado  - Manadonese porridge made from rice (of course),
vegetables, corn, and maybe pumpkin or sweet potato.  There were a variety
of things to add to it (some unknown)

     The city has both modern and less developed areas.  There are multi-level shopping malls, fast food franchises, modern hospitals, government offices, churches (Manado is 85% Christian), mosques, a beautiful Buddhist temple, as well as open air markets, dilapidated buildings, unfinished construction projects, and traffic. While eating dinner in the food court one night, I was approached by a woman doing her PhD research in urban planning.  She wanted to know what it would take to get more American and British tourists to the area.  She thought it might be "more American" restaurants - they already have McDonalds, KFC, and A & W - but I think it really needs a more developed waterfront, better access to the port to Bunaken, and increased PR.   Regardless, the people here are wonderful and made me want to come back.
Here are some pictures from our Manado City Tour.

Manado - modern buildings, next to tin-roof sheds, next to new construction,
next to abandoned buildings, with some jungle vegetation mixed in.

Traffic along the main street in Manado - notice the difference between the stores across the way and the modern shopping malls.

Me, Pauline, Betsy, and Rodney in a Mikro - the shared public mini-buses
that take people everywhere for about $0.25

A night-time ride in the Mikro - green flashing lights, loud music (sometimes techno, sometimes rock,
somtimes disco - who could every predict) with a local Muslim woman.

Bamboo shoots at the local market - who knew they looked like that?!?
I thought they just came sliced in a can or in Chinese dishes
The Governor's Office

Central Cathedral - we interrupted a wedding - oops!
Shacks and burning garbage along the waterfront

The "bridge to nowhere" - the left side of the bridge is supposed to
connect to the road - it doesn't.

The right side of the bridge is supposed to connect to the left - it doesn't
either.  This project has been going on for 10 years.

A bendi (horse cart) parked near a bank
Unused amphitheater along Manado Bay

Construction along the waterfront - an underutilized resource
Ban Hin Kiong Buddhist temple - the oldest one in eastern Indonesia

Interior of Ban Hin Kiong temple

Jalan Roda (Wheel Road) - the "coffee shop" where the movers and shakers meet.
 It was a winding series of covered walkways in and around various buildings,
with vendors serving boiled (very strong) coffee, snacks, and fried banana chips - with
spicy chili sauce on the side, of course.
Jon relaxing at Jalan Roda - the stairs behind him don't connect to anything

A teacher getting his weekly salary (about $75 a week) in cash at the
Department of Education
Central Chruch of Manado
Steeple of Central Church

River running just through the outskirts of town - another church

Poco Poco dance competition - a line dance made popular in the 1990s
from the military visiting the Moluccas (Jon's home).  The girls did a series of
prescribed steps and then added their own moves.

Poco Poco dance competition - we were surprised by their costumes.

Tropical flowers everywhere

More tropical flowers

Dried fish in the supermarket next door to the hotel.

You could also get bats (and dog - not shown)

Outdoor karate class

Military memorial in the city center

North Sulawesi Cultural Museum

Museum interior and courtyard - we had a private tour

Rodney waiting to get measured at the tailor's

One of our Fan Clubs!  The girls stopped us on the street for a picture.
The end to another day in paradise!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Life on Tour

     After this trip, I have decided that I am not really interested in being the Secretary of State or a famous rock star (not that either of those were on my list anyway).  We had a daily schedule that included visiting schools and meeting with teachers, and other certain official "duties."

One page of our "schedule"

     In Jakarta, we had multi-hour meetings with school officials and text book publishers, where we learned about Curriculum 2013 - Indonesia's new national curriculum.

Jakarta education officials at our hotel.  Charles (pronounced Char less)
Albert, 2nd from the right,  is the principal of Sekolah Tunas
Indonesia (a local private school) and served as our host in Jakarta.

     Rodney and I met with superintendents, parents, and local and regional education and government officials in Manado.

Meeting with superintendents from all over the region.  We had a
question and answer session, where one of the superintendent's
question lasted about 10 minutes - he was not happy with our answer
when we recommended that they spend more time in the classroom and
less time checking printed lesson plans.

We were the featured speakers at SMK5's closing of school parents' meeting.  The
principal made a special note of stressing how important it is for their kids to
learn English, so they can go to the US, get good jobs, and send money home to their parents.
The Deputy Mayor of Manado, Harley A.B. Mangindaan, stopped
in to make an appearance.  His face is plastered all over the city on
posters, at special events, etc. - he will be running for Mayor some day.
He traveled with an entourage of about 5 people.  They swept in,  interrupted our
presentation, spoke for about a minute, posed for pictures, and left.  Chicago
politicians don't do it any better.

Rodney presenting a Georgia Public Radio bag to
Star Wowor (pronounced "w'war" - I'm not kidding), the
Head of the North Sulawesi Department of Education - the
most important education official  in the "state."

     We made press appearances for the newspaper and on live TV.

Outside the Komentar newspaper office after a 1 hour interview.   The
education section is usually page 7, be we made the front page - it must have
been a slow news day.

We made an appearance on a live Indonesian talk show although we don't know
how much got lost in translation.  It was about 90 in the studio - I was
trying hard not to sweat on camera.
The interview was, of course, after our 10 hour tour of the Minahasan
highlands, including a trek through the muddy rice paddies - hopefully
our feet were not televised.


     We had official dinner meetings....some fancy, some not.

Dinner the first night in Manado with SMK5 principal, Benny, and
Rodney, Wayan, and Jon.  Spicy grilled fish, fiddle head ferns,
stir-fried water greens, fish head soup, and rice - this was the 3rd bowl of rice
put on the table.  All was eaten with our right hand,of course.

Pick your fish.

Final night dinner in Jakarta - in thatched roof huts, overlooking a
  koi-filled lagoon.

Restaurant in Jakarta

ILEP (International Leaders in Education) Alumni from Manado - Jon,
Wayan, and Alce, along with me, Rodney, Betsy Devlin-Foltz (of the US State
Department), and Pauline Abetti (of IREX).  Where else?  McDonald's - they have the best
outdoor seating in the city, and we got to watch the sun sink into the Manado Bay.


     We had private tours of museums and performances done just for us.

Culture Night and Graduation at Sekolah Tunas Indonesia.  The students
sang, told jokes, performed on the gamelan, and held a "second" graduation
 ceremony all for our benefit.

Kolintang (Indonesian xylophone, requires 6 people to play) "private" performance at the Manado Museum

Once the leader finished the group performance, he broke into a solo version of Elvis Presley's "And I Love You So," complete with the throaty growl.

        They even let me take a turn - not bad for a 5 minute lesson

      At every school we went to, students sang, danced, or played for us.  Here an SMK5 students sings an acapella version of a traditional Minahasan song - sign her up for American Idol.

     And, because we were "celebrities," we had to be well dressed.  This included a fabric purchase and a visit to the tailor to be measured for a custom Batik shirt.  Minahasan Batik is different than that found elsewhere in Indonesia.  It includes repeating pictures and symbols of the culture.  Mine has a coelacanth (the "extinct" fish found near Bunaken), pictures of traditional Minahasan houses, and is blue and gold - Leyden colors -  for Spirit Days.

Getting measured for the shirt.  Fabric and tailoring - lined, double front center
placket (area with buttonholes - I had to look up the term), and side slits - all for
less than $22.

With Jon and Rodney and the final products.

     And, life on tour would not be complete without being stopped on the street, being asked for autographs, and the paparazzi.    At the six-floor shopping mall next door to the hotel, it could take almost 25 minutes to go up the escalators, if we stopped to talk to all the people who wanted to say, "Hi."  I was interviewed for a PhD dissertation in Urban Planning because the student needed to talk to a British or American tourist who had been in Manado for more than 2 days.  I was the first one she had met in the past 6 months.  School kids would hang out at tourist areas, as assigned by their English teachers, to try to speak to people in  English.  We think they got "extra credit" because we were native speakers.
   One day we got off the bus in Manado, and a group of school kids, said "Hi Mister."  As soon as we said hello back, they wanted to know if we could take a photo - we told them we weren't Justin Bieber, but they didn't seem to care.  This happened almost everywhere we went.  I have never been asked to be in so many pictures in my life.

     Although the attention was fun, it was exhausting.  I'm happy to have my anonymity back.