Uniknya Pasar Tomohon di Minahasa


Oleh Olenka Priyadarsani

Sekilas, Pasar Tomohon di Sulawesi Utara tampak seperti pasar tradisional biasa. Ada yang menjual ayam, sayuran, dan berbagai jenis keperluan dapur lainnya. Namun, melangkah lebih jauh lagi ke dalam pasar, terdapat lapak yang menjual binatang yang tidak umum dimakan.

Harus saya peringatkan, pasar ini tidak cocok bagi pencinta binatang!

Tomohon terletak di Kabupaten Minahasa, sekitar satu jam dari Manado. Tomohon menjadi salah satu objek wisata di Sulawesi Utara ini karena topografi alamnya yang indah. Kota terbesar ketiga di provinsi ini terletak di antara dua gunung, yaitu Mahawu dan Lokon yang belum lama ini meletus.

Salah satu atraksi wisata paling menarik di Tomohon adalah Pasar Beriman Tomohon. Saya beruntung karena baru mengunjungi pasar tradisional ini hari Sabtu lalu, tepat sehari sebelum Hari Raya Paskah. Pada hari itu, warga setempat berduyun-duyun pergi ke pasar untuk membeli berbagai keperluan pesta perayaan.

Jalan menuju pasar pun sempat macet karena banyaknya angkutan umum dan mobil pribadi yang bergerak menuju pasar. Lalu, apa yang menarik di pasar ini?

Di samping menjual berbagai keperluan sehari-hari, pasar ini juga menjual berbagai jenis daging dan binatang. Di situlah uniknya, binatang yang dijual tidak akan Anda temukan di pasar-pasar tradisional lain di Indonesia. Binatang-binatang ini, baik yang dijual dalam keadaan  hidup atau sudah mati, biasa dijadikan santapan bagi penduduk sekitar Tomohon.

Binatang pertama yang saya lihat adalah babi yang sudah mati. Babi ini diangkut dengan sepeda motor oleh pedagangnya. Sebenarnya daging babi umum dijual di mana-mana, namun baru kali saya menemukan babi yang masih utuh. Ukurannya pun sangat besar.

Seorang pedagang sedang mengangkut babi dan anjing untuk dijual di Pasar Tomohon. Foto: Olenka Priyadarsani

Melangkah masuk ke pasar yang penuh sesak saya melihat tumpukan binatang lain. Ternyata itu adalah tumpukan tikus yang telah dipanggang. Tampaknya tikus menjadi salah satu barang dagangan yang cukup laku, karena banyak jumlah pedagang yang menjajakan binatang ini cukup banyak.

Tikus bakar yang tengah dijajakan. Foto: Olenka Priyadarsani

Babi hutan pun dijual di pasar ini. Berbeda dengan babi ternak yang ukurannya besar dan berwarna putih, ukuran babi hutan lebih kecil dengan bulu berwarna hitam. Sebagian sudah dikuliti, dan sebagian lainnya masih utuh.

Ada pula satu lapak yang menjual ular besar dan sudah disembelih. Terlihat beberapa pembeli tengah menunggu daging ular dipotong dan ditimbang.  Kelelawar juga dijual sebagai bahan masakan, sayapnya sudah dipisahkan dari tubuhnya.

Binatang lain yang tampaknya juga banyak dijual di Pasar Tomohon adalah anjing. Ada anjing-anjing yang masih hidup — yang akan dibunuh dengan cara dipukul oleh pedagangnya bila ada pembeli. Ada pula anjing-anjing yang sudah dibakar dan dibumbui. Anjing-anjing ini dibakar dalam keadaan utuh sehingga terus terang saja saya sedikit ngeri.

Anjing adalah makanan yang cukup umum dikonsumsi di wilayah ini. Foto: Olenka Priyadarsani

Yang tak kalah menyeramkan adalah kucing bakar. Menurut pedagangnya, kucing-kucing tersebut juga telah diberi berbagai macam bumbu tradisional. Satu ekor kucing dijual dengan harga Rp 100 ribu. Tidak seperti maraknya pedagang anjing dan tikus, saya hanya mendapati satu lapak yang menjual kucing.

Kucing juga dijadikan bahan masakan penduduk setempat. Foto: Olenka Priyadarsani

Menurut orang setempat yang kami sewa sebagai pengemudi, hanya babi dan anjing yang cukup umum dikonsumsi di wilayah Sulawesi Utara. Kucing dan tikus merupakan bahan masakan khas Tomohon saja. “Kebanyakan yang makan kucing adalah anak muda,” kata Hok, pengemudi kami tersebut.

Bagi banyak orang pemandangan di bagian daging Pasar Tomohon cukup membuat kita bergidik, walaupun juga sangat menarik. Setiap suku dan daerah memang memiliki makanan khas yang berbeda-beda!

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Geliat Wisata Merapi Setelah Letusan


Letusan Gunung Merapi di akhir tahun 2010 menyisakan kesedihan mendalam, termasuk bagi sektor wisata. Tempat-tempat yang dulunya adalah objek wisata, seperti Kaliurang dan Kalikuning, sempat ditutup hingga beberapa bulan akibat abu vulkanik dan material lain yang disemburkan salah satu gunung berapi paling aktif di dunia ini. Ditambah lagi penutupan bandara dan penetapan radius aman 20 km dari puncak Merapi.

Namun kini ketika letusan telah usai, geliat wisata Merapi makin menampakkan potensinya. Letusan yang awalnya dianggap hanya sebagai bencana, kini dapat menjadi ladang usaha bagi masyarakat setempat.

Hey I’m back — with a new blog admin


Akhirnya setelah puasa ngeblog selama hampir setahun, saya kembali lagi. Kali ini dengan janji untuk lebih rajin menilik dan mengupdate blog ini. Tampaknya menikah, pindah rumah, mengurus anak tanpa babysitter, selain juga menjadi kontributor Yahoo! Travel dan menulis buku panduan perjalanan membuat saya seolah “melupakan” blog ini — walau sebenarnya tetap jalan-jalan terus. Nah, sekarang dengan diangkatnya admin baru — adik saya Fadila Adelin — tidak ada alasan lagi untuk mmbuat blog ini terbengkalai.

Saya meminta maaf bila tidak membalas komen-komen yang masuk selama blog mati suri. Untuk ke depannya, saya akan berusaha secepatnya membalas.

Bagi yang ingin tanya langsung tentang jalan-jalan bisa tweet saya di @olenp atau cek terus Yahoo! Indonesia Travel.

Ciao for now but this time I’ll be back soon!

 

Welcoming the third backpacker in the family


9 months has passed and new sunshine has come to our life. Gembolan has turned into Oliq: the latest backpacker in our small family.

During the pregnancy period, with bulging belly, relentlessly we prepared our baby to become a travel addict. Traveler from the womb. To be fair, it also satisfied our hunger of traveling.

Cibodas, Aceh, Batu Karas and Green Canyon, Ciater, Delhi and Agra, Phuket, Kuala Lumpur, Ciwidey, Merapi, Siung and Wediombo in Gunungkidul are among those visited.

Today Oliq is 22 days old and is ready to conquer the world. After all, he is named after Thariq bin Ziyad, the conquerer of Spain.

So, welcome my son. The world is big but you will have your whole life ahead of you. Welcoming the third backpacker in the family: Thariq Naveed Risanto (Oliq).

Flashpacking Vietnam-style


This was our honeymoon, so please do not comment on why we did it in style and splurged. Well, actually the splurge part is only the Halong Bay cruise, we dedicated the rest for our usual-budget-backpacking style.

OK. Right after the wedding, avoiding post-wedding disaster (we managed to learn how to do that after successfully avoiding pre-wedding nightmare) we headed to our newly-rented apartment in Jakarta, to head for Ho Chi Minh City the next day

Hup hup hup, leaving Indonesia on AirAsia flight we arrived at Thanh Son Nhat airport  in the evening. Catching a metered cab to downtown HCMC is not very expensive, pretty similar to the taxi fare in Indonesia. It took us 45 minutes. We headed to Dong Khoi. For those who have been to Vietnam, yes Dong Khoi, not Pham Ngu Lao, although it’s within walking distance.

Pham Ngu Lao in Distrct 1 is famous for backpackers as it offers a range of budget up to 3-star hotels, guesthouses, backpacker lodges, dorms, you name it. Nightlife, massage, coffee shops, pho vendors, restaurants, souvenir shops pamper tourists with their bargain prices. Ben Thanh Market is just around the corner.

While Dong Khoi is the hipper side of the city where four and five-star hotels are located, along with fancy malls, consulate offices, and so on.  And I chose to stay in Dong Khoi, because I’ve been to Vietnam and previously chose to stay in a budget hotel in Pham Ngu Lao.

Around Saigon

Whatever you call it, Ho Chi Minh City or Saigon, you will see the pictures, statues of Uncle Ho everywhere. As a national hero, the most prominent figure for Vietnamese, Uncle Ho depicts the independence of Vietnam. His statue, in the heart of HCMC is only one evidence. The other is the Dong that you are holding.

Cu Chi Tunnel

As I did not have the chance to go to Cu Chi Tunnel in 2008, this time I must go. Paying equal to Rp 100,000/person we joined for a half day tour. They picked us up in our hotel and we started the 1,5 hour trip. Around a few kilometers from the destination, the minibus taking us there got flat tire. After almost an hour we got a replacement, a better and bigger bus.

Cu Chi Tunnel is complicated networks of extremely small underground tunnels, used by the Vietcong to move around during the Vietnam War in the 1970s. Hundreds of tunnels would cause the inexperience lost. The entrances of the tunnels are very small it’s impossible for American soldiers to enter them. My husband tried to enter one of the tunnels and he could fit in. OK, I should feed him more!

Overall, with a 10-minute experience exploring the tunnels, I enjoyed it. The fact that I’m a fan of history, war history particularly,   may contributed to that. In the tunnel, there were chambers where the VC women cook. They created the tunnels in a certain way so the smoke from the kitchen would go out hundreds of meters from the original chambers. Cooking it during dusk, the enemies would mistaken it as fog.

The site also offers original tanks and traps and weaponry used during the war. And don’t be scared if you hear a loud pam pam pam pam – sounds of fired arms. They want to add an atmosphere of war for the tourists. For those who fancy shooting, a shooting range is provided in site.

Mekong Delta

We did not join this one, because my husband thought that going to weedy river would only remind him of his previous oil rig. But since I went to this tour before, I think I will share whatever I recall from 3 years ago.

It cost around USD 15 for a day trip. At first we went to the pier using minibus. Transferred to a wooden boat, we went along the muddy river. And yes, it may look like a river in Kalimantan. Brownish with some floating villages – I would definitely prefer to see floating villages in Halong Bay where I will tell later in Hanoi part of the story.

We visited coconut candy factory, which tastes like ‘sandal jepit’ or even harder. You cannot chew the candy, the candy will chew you! The best part of the tour is a short trip using very small boat (2-4 persons per boat) across the bushes.

We got back to the city using speedboat (with extra cost). For those don’t want to spend extra money, you can take the minibus back to the city.

The tour provides you with tea and snacks, also lunch (I came during Ramadan, so no comment on the food).

Reunification Palace

It is a five story palace where the President of South Vietnam lived during the Vietnam War. When the Northern Vietnam Army crashed its gate in 1975 marked the victory of the Communist, also the lost of the United States in Vietnam.

The Palace is massive, you can see the presidential suites, war room, radio room, replica of cars used by the president. From the rooftop you can see the life of Saigon.  For you who has children, they maybe like to play on the garden, you can take a break from the hot sun sipping coconut juice. Just don’t get ripped off!

War Remnants Museum

At the first glance, you would see a lot of planes and choppers. If you go inside, there will be weaponry such as bullets, grenades, guns, bombs etc. If you go up, you’d see pictures, a lot of pictures. And you’d have to walk from one side to another – don’t do it the other way around if you want to enrich your knowledge on Vietnam War.

That’s just about it. I kinda enjoy it. First, I got the history, second the planes are great background for my photos.

Hanoi

On one of VN’s Airbus 330s, we flew to Hanoi.  The flight took 2 hours. It’s around 45-one hour drive from the Noi Bai Airport to Old Quarter. For me, walking around Old Quarter and Hoan Kiem Lake is just lovely. In the middle of the lake there is a temple where you can go in through a famous red bridge – one of the landmarks of Hanoi.

The Old Quarter consists of silk shops, restaurants, bars, all with its own style without losing their Vietnamese touches. You can find some halal restaurants in this area. Souvenirs are even cheaper than in Saigon.

Halong Bay

If you go to Hanoi, I know that you will go to Halong Bay. It is 175 km away. And it is stunning!  Halong City is a bit of a drag, an overdeveloped town with some unfinished construction. But when you aboard the junk – a wooden traditional boat – and sail away, you can just forget about your problems.

We took a tour from Handspan, cruising on Indochina Sail which cost us USD 192 2D/1N. Yes it is expensive, but let me remind you once again, it was our honeymoon. The junk was great. A real 5-star. The bedroom and attached bathroom was even better than the most 4-star hotels I’ve ever stayed in.

On that day we sailed to Bat Cave and visiting floating villages nearby. The villages have houses, schools, shops. All is floating. Well, that why they are called floating village. These villages are so far away from the mainland where they can get their basic supplies.

We also visited Titop island where tourists can climbed the step up to the top of the hill and see the breathtaking view of Halong Bay.  It was just magnifique.

The meal – don’t get me start it. They provided us with complete set menu for lunch – appetizer, main course, another main course, dessert. Oh my, let’s forget the wedding dress, it would never fit me again. The dinner was indescribable. CRAB. And clams, and prawns, and fish, and squid, and crabs again. Lots and lots of seafood, along with other menu for buffet dinner.

The second day started with taichi session. It was continued with breakfast while enjoying the misty Halong Bay from the sundeck. The karst was gorgeous, better that Phi Phi islands. The boat was then sailing back to Halong pier and this ended our cruise.

For you who want to do the cruise, you can pick a 1N2D or 2N3D, a fancy or more pocket-friendly cruises. Aloha junk is among the most favoured.

Around the Old Quarter

Bargain down – the phrase that always appears in my blog post!  Generally the price in Hanoi is cheaper than in Saigon. Do buy some silk for your moms. They are good quality and indeed very nice.

You can just stroll around the city or take cyclo to some of its attractions: Perfume Temple, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum (I told you that the country is full with Uncle Ho!), One-Pillar Pagoda etc.

Walk around the Lake in the evening, have a sip of Vietnamese coffee with Vietnamese spring rolls. It’s simply heaven!

An Indonesian travelling family, been to 25+ countries as a family. Author of several travelling books and travelogue. Write travel articles for media. Owner of OmahSelo Family Guest House Jogja. Strongly support family travelling with kids/babies.