Aug. 23 – 20,000 dancers in Buton

The Rally provided transportation up the hill for Pasawajo’s record-breaking event – 20,000 dancers.  It was mostly women and children who assembled themselves into the shape of two sailboats and a ship’s wheel while keeping time to the music in traditional dance steps. They practiced for weeks in the blazing heat on this dusty field to honor us.  When the show was over we were invited to go down among them to dance.  Even the dignitaries boogied with us.

It was a mob scene with everyone taking pictures with us, being squeezed into group shots and countless kids thrusting camera phones in front of us.  Thankfully my guide, Sila, was able to pull me away.  We continued to be well fed with snack boxes, plastic cups of water and a buffet lunch while the rubbish swirled around our feet.  I’ve never experienced so much constant attention and the pressing of bodies and squeezing of hands.  After lunch the little girls came into our sitting area for yet more photos.  As they filed by they pressed their foreheads to our hands.

Later in the day Jim got a special tour of the area from three of the guides.  He saw an asphalt dig, the fortress (walled village) and some kind of fish farm.  You’ll have to ask him for details.  Here is Sila, Angie, Jim and Reby.

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It’s no surprise a flu and “bali belly” is making its rounds amongst us cruisers.  Jim got sick the next day so we had to miss the goodbye ceremonies (and all that food…) and delay leaving a day until we were both feeling up to the trip.  Next stop Baubau on the other side of the Island of Buton in Sulawesi.

And here’s one last shot of us with our guides onboard Chesapeake before we left.  Reby, Jim, Sila and me.

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