There is something about being in the field that makes one crave things that one would normally despise. Going to Makassar is one of these things.
Let me tell you about Makassar. Makassar is hot as hell. And humid. And smelly. I once counted the mosquito bites I received from 1 day in Makassar; I had more than twenty – covering my feet, arms and face. And this is after I doused myself in deet. In fact, it is highly likely that Makassar is where I was bitten by the devil mosquito that gave me dengue fever…but that’s another blog post.
Depending on our mode of transport (either by public van or private car), it can take upwards of 3 hours to get into the city (normally a 1.5 hour drive if there isn’t traffic…which NEVER happens). Did I mention the humidity? Oh yeah, and all the random people asking us to take photos with them. By now, I estimate about 2/3 of people from Sulawesi have a picture of us on their facebook. And, my gosh, those mosquitos!
Under normal circumstances, Makassar is a place I would avoid at all costs. So, what I say next may come as a surprise to you: Makassar is like heaven on earth. It is Disneyworld. It is Christmas morning. In Makassar, the world is at your fingertips. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a little bit, but seriously…going to Makassar means a hot shower, fast(er) internet, a REAL bed, and COLD beer. Deprivation can be a wonderful thing sometimes. After 6 months living in a village, everything I would normally take for granted at home makes my month.
So in light of my love for Makassar, I have complied a short list of the top 5 joys of Makassar.
As you’ve probably guessed by now, Makassar is a place to embrace hypocrisy. Where I would normally despise “dining” at a McDonald’s or Pizza Hut in a foreign country, I delight in it. After weeks of eating tofu, tempe, and nasi in the village, I can’t imagine anything I would want in and around my mouth more than a Big Mac. So, going to McDonald’s is always on our Makassar ‘to do’ list.
- All day at the mall.
Who wants to spend all day at a mall in America? Answer: not me. Who wants to spend all day at a mall in Makassar? Answer: ME ME ME, pick ME!!! The mall has something called air conditioning, and in Makassar, where one steps outside and melts like the wicked witch of the west, it is a gift from the gods. In my opinion, AC is the number one motivation for wandering around the mall all day. There is also something delightful about seeing new, shiny things in store windows. It’s not even like I want to buy these things, it’s just been so long since I’ve seen something really, truly NEW looking.
- Paying someone to do your laundry.
You know when you’re shopping for clothes and you find a really cute top, but then read the label and decide not to buy it because it says “hand wash only”? Well, my friends, there is a reason for that, and I have lived it for the past 6 months. Hand washing totally sucks. Especially when you are washing dirty field clothes—which ironically, are really the only clothes I need to wash in between visits to Makassar. And now that it’s rainy season here, nothing ever dries. They start to smell, and you have to wash them all over again, and so it goes. But in Makassar, there is a wondrous invention called laundry service. You send your laundry off to a magical place, and in a few hours, it comes back to you smelling fresh, feeling soft, and most importantly, everything is dry! The bonus? It costs literally nothing. Once, I sent almost every piece of clothing I brought here, save for the outfit I was wearing, and I paid the equivalent of 6 US dollars, including tip.
Despite needing a serious name upgrade, a creambath is as close to ultimate relaxation as one can get in Makassar. It involves someone massaging a moisturizing treatment into your scalp, followed by a neck, shoulder, and hand massage. It is an hour of bliss that costs less than 10 bucks. Can you get any better? I think not.
- Karaoke…specifically at Happy Puppy.
How do I even begin to explain how AWESOME karaoke is here? Happy Puppy has become our go to place for karaoke in Makassar—we have spent many a malam minggu at HP, and consequently have become friends with most of the Saturday night staff. The idea is simple: you rent a private room equipped with comfy leather couches, disco balls, flat screen TVs, and A/C, then proceed to sing your heart out while ordering cold pitchers of beer and peanuts for the next 5 hours. And yes, I am not ashamed to admit that we have actually spent 5 hours singing karaoke!
Well, there you have it folks…KT’s definitive list of the best Makassar has to offer!