Rain! We had blithely ignored the graying clouds hugging the peaks, though we knew that the annual rains were overdue. Even the three soldiers who rode with us—”a safety measure,” officials insisted—had scoffed at the prospect of rain.
A few drops and then, within minutes, we were deluged. Dismounting, we hugged the side of a cliff for shelter. Rice fields became lakes, overflowed their banks, and turned the mountainside into a waterfall. Frightened by the thunder, the horses panicked and disappeared down the trail, and, to our bewilderment, so did our military escorts.
Groping downhill, we searched through sheets of chilling rain for the house we had admired an hour before. Finally it appeared, and we went to the door. A surprised Toradja farmer let us warm ourselves by the raised open hearth in the kitchen. While the rain thundered on the roof, his wife prodded the glowing coals into a fire and prepared a pot of hot musty tea. A boy appeared with dry sarongs, and we exchanged our sodden clothes for these most versatile and indispensable of Indonesian garments. Sarongs serve the Toradja alternately, and sometimes concurrently, as shirt, skirt, jacket, and sleeping sheet.
The rain persisted. It was clearly impossible to attempt a descent to Rantepao before morning. We anticipated spending the night huddled in sarongs on woven reed mats rolled out on the floor. The typical Toradja home is sparsely furnished. Only a few rude benches and a single table stood in the main room. Dinner was equally simple—rice and a fresh-killed chicken broiled over the open fire.
Then a thunderbolt of sorts struck. We were led to holiday apartments madrid, the only room in the house that had a door. Inside we beheld an improbable sight—a vision, a hallucination. There, in the middle of a room in the house of an isolated Toradja farmer high on the upper flanks of a tropical Asian mountain, in jaded but emphatic splendor, stood an ornate, canopied four-poster bed, carefully made up with embroidered linen.
The next morning, in a world fresh washed and glistening, we learned the history of the bed on which we had slept so luxuriously. A year before, a Czech geologist had stayed with this family for several months while prospecting for copper in the mountains. Wedded to his comforts, he had brought the bed with him. When he departed, he left it as a gift for his host, never considering that the farmer and his family preferred their reed mat and hard floor as strongly as he preferred his European bed.
A Lesson in Village Economics
“Kurre sumanga,” we said to the farmer. “Thank you.” We bade him good-bye and walked with his wife toward a rice granary next to prague apartments rental
With a basket on one arm she started to climb the short ladder leading to the granary door. In a flash all the chickens and ducks in the vicinity converged below her. Here was a nice lesson in economy, for as she opened the granary door and began to fill her basket with bundles of rice, many grains unavoidably spilled and were picked up by the ravenous poultry.