Taxi-ing to Tana Toraja, South Sulawesi

Catching a coach from one part of the island of Sulawesi to another was not quite how Lewis the Lion had expected as there was little infrastructure on the island. He had found himself in a place that was out of the way of main connections, in the middle of nowhere. The coaches, which you hailed in these locations, were full and so he, Helen and Marion had to try to hail a private taxi instead. From Parepare to Tana Toraja it was a five hour drive and so they turned the first two taxis down when they were rammed full of people and there wouldn’t have been space to even have put their luggage in. Third time lucky though as they managed to find a taxi with no other passengers at that moment in time…or was it? Lewis the Lion closed his eyes for most of the journey, it was such a nail biting experience! Here has written a poem about his first taxi adventure in Indonesia:

Fast, crazy driving all on the left
Beeping and overtaking
Heart’s in your mouth as you miss or stop by a whisker.
Motorbikes, a minimum of two astride
Babies and children too
Helmets an optional extra.
Uneven road as you buckaroo over the bumps.
Vans and buses crammed with bodies and luggage
Curving through mountain villages
Banana trees and palm trees filling up the spaces.
Washing strung up between wooden raised huts selling salats, mangoes and rambutans.
Huge satellite dishes turned skyward
Imams calming prayers welcome in the new day from decorative coloured mosques.
Cockerels, hens and chicks run around in gardens.
People sleeping on wooden slats, succumbing to the stifling heat.
Posters of men with hats for political election.
Women with umbrellas to shade from the sun
Or else the whitener comes out as the big make-up statement.
Long-horned grey buffaloes, goats, stray cats and dogs all nuzzle in the grassy verges.
Muddy, flooded paddy fields surrounded by high mountains.
Bow-shaped roofs curving up towards the sky…phew!
We’ve got to Tana Toraja!

Have you ever had a scary journey somewhere? What happened?
Like Lewis the Lion, why don’t you see if you can write a poem about a journey?
It may even be your journey from home to school in the morning!

About Helen Molloy

Helen Molloy has been a Primary Learning and Teaching Consultant, leading on the introduction of Primary Languages in the City of Stoke-on-Trent for the past 5 and a half years. She is passionate about language learning and inspiring children into developing a curiosity and awareness of other people's languages and cultures.
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2 Responses to Taxi-ing to Tana Toraja, South Sulawesi

  1. Penny Barker and Dominic says:

    Hi Lewis & Helen I really wish could meet you. What has been your favourite language from your journey? Please could you tell me a few word

    • Helen Molloy says:

      Dear Dominic,
      Lewis the Lion would love to meet you too now he’s back in England (even if he still has to tell you about what happened in the last part of his worldwide adventure). His favourite language? That’s a really difficult question because he loved the sound of so many languages from around the world. Perhaps he would have to say Brazilian Portuguese as he thought it sounded as if people were singing as they spoke. What language would you like to learn the most, Dominic?
      Best wishes,
      Lewis the Lion and Helen

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