We arrived in Makassar and as we looked out of the window of our guesthouse, a sickening sense of dread descended on us both – there, not 5 metres away was a loudspeaker attached to a mosque. The call to prayer starts at 4am! As we settled in, the last call to prayer erupted from the speakers and we hastened out to dinner. We were told to walk straight until we reached the seafront, which would be teeming with restaurants. There was a rather threatening feel on the road as there was not another soul in sight. And after walking for what seemed like an age with no sign of the seafront, we ducked into the first restaurant we saw. The speciality there was ayam kampong (village chicken) and we were advised to get a few as they were slightly on the small side. They weren’t wrong! My chicken had clearly been a 3 time gold medallist at the London marathon. It was like eating thin strips of leather!
As we moved up into the Torajan highlands, we learnt that here chickens are friends, not just food. The Torajans value their roosters extremely highly here, allowing them to basically make all important decisions within the village. The tradition is that instead of going to court to settle a disagreement, you each get your best roosters and get them to fight. The owner of the rooster that wins, wins the dispute. They are carved into the doors of all the traditional houses here, to show their importance.
However, I feel that in any dispute with chickens here, dad and I would be the losers. On the 9 hour journey up the only food we managed to acquire was another marathon running chicken and one that possibly starved to death. Not only that, but now we have arrived in our guesthouse, we have been cursed with roosters that cannot tell the time. They begin crowing at 3am and carry on throughout the morning. I’ve asked dad for a shotgun for my birthday (which is tomorrow) so I can pick the buggers off!