What should I order for dinner? I was in a simple eatery in Makassar, Sulawesi, called Rumah Makan Nelayan, which means “the fisherman’s eatery”. The menu had photos but it was very unclear what was what, and my knowledge of Bahasa Indonesia, the common language for the thousands of islands that make up Indonesia, is limited to counting to five, saying “good morning”, “how are you”, “thank you” and “grilled banana”. Not of much help in a seafood restaurant.
The solution was to point vaguely to one of the photos and mumbling “barbecue”. All seafood is kept in an icebox on the sidewalk outside the restaurant, to the right of the entrance, and the barbecuing takes place to the left. The grilled fish (I have no idea what kind it was) that soon appeared in front of me was grilled to perfection, and it was accompanied by an array of little bowls with spicy sauces and condiments. On the whole a culinary experience out of the ordinary.
Before dinner I had done what the locals do: taken a walk along the seaside to see the sunset. This was all very romantic and beautiful until I spotted something I wish I hadn’t spotted: several young men walking around with huge pythons around their necks. I immediately fled the field, suspicious as I was that they might have enjoyed scaring the life out of a tourist (i.e. me).