In Palu for the total solar eclipse

Me in front of the Eclipse Monument

Only a week before the solar eclipse I found out about it. As these things don’t happen often, and mostly far away, I did not think for too long, but changed my travel plans to incorporate Sulawesi, to see the total solar eclipse.

On the evening of March 8 (one day before the eclipse) I arrived in Palu, a pleasant and not too crazy Indonesian city. I got picked up from the airport by Rukly, an unbelievably friendly Indonesian I had met via couchsurfing. We spent the evening in a cafe by the beach, and the next morning we went to see the eclipse together. At around seven o’clock it started, very slowly, from the top right; the moon moved in front of the sun and gradually began to cover it.

We were standing by the beach where they had even build a monument for the event, and were watching this natural phenomenon take place. Thousands of people were there, and while they were waiting for the special moment they were looking for some alternative thing to do. And they found something: taking pictures with me! I was one of the few white people there, and everyone seemed to know me (Mister!) and wanted their pictures taken with me.

“Why?” – Never got a satisfying answer. I had to give in though and spent the next hour trying to figure out which phone to wave at next, which camera to smile to. And I learned: it is rather exhausting and not too much fun to be a celebrity!

Getting there...

People watching the Eclipse

Then, at least for a couple of minutes, the collective attention was drawn away: As the moon covered the sun completely the atmosphere changed thoroughly: Before, the light had been a little funny, the shadows somewhat diffuse. But now it went dark – not night-dark, but past-sunset-dark. The sky turned orange around the horizon and deep blue above, almost black. And then there was this thing hanging in the sky, pitch black in its round center, and glowing brightly around. It was unlike anything I had ever experienced before, incredibly powerful, and too bad it only lasted for 90 seconds or so…

People watching the Eclipse

Total Solar Eclipse Palu 2016

The crowd had been cheering continuously, but when the light returned people started loosing interest fairly quickly – an almost-eclipse really is nothing like a total eclipse! I had another photo session, but we decided to leave at one point, it would just have gone on forever!

Indonesian girls taking pictures with/of me

Everyone's out on the streets, watching the eclipse...

At the immigrationAfter less than 24 hours it had already been more than worth going to Sulawesi, and it just got better and better: Here in Palu I met some of the nicest and friendliest people of my entire trip. What might have been an annoyance – the lengthy procedure of extending my visa – turned out to be great since that meant I could go on adventures with Rukly and get to know his family and many of his friends. It was a special and wonderful time!

Terima kasih banyak, sampai jumpa lagi!At Oppo

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