Beers in Bira

Trip Start Jan 14, 2014
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of Indonesia  , Sulawesi,
Friday, January 31, 2014

After a few weeks in the city, we were given the opportunity to escape the sprawling mess of Makassar and travel to Bira, an isolated coastal town on the south eastern tip of this leg of Sulawesi. In our short time here we had heard many positive things from numerous expats about the place ("You have to go to Bira, it's beautiful", “Bira is great, as long as the weather is sunny”, “the snorkeling there is some of the best in Indonesia”) so we had high expectations.

In order to properly take advantage of the long weekend, we left Makassar at 4.00am on Friday morning, just as the Mosque’s were starting their 1st daily prayer. We traveled down there in a friend’s car, with 4 of us squashed into the back seat, for what was a 5 hour drive, complete with potholes, bumps and manic motorcyclists. Although these discomforts were worth it to see the gorgeous sunrise, revealing to us a stunning landscape of rice paddies, charming villages and the mountains of South Sulawesi looming in the distance, the peaks shrouded by columns of clouds.

We arrived in Bira with a certain amount of smugness, knowing that it was 9.00am Friday morning and we had two full days ahead of us to enjoy the sun, sand and sea (as well as the occasional beer or two!). Despite the earliness of the morning, the heat of the sun was intense, even now in the rainy season, so much so that as soon as we had checked into the hotel, we headed for the beach and the coolness of the crystal clear waters. The ocean was refreshing and cleansing after being squashed into the back of a car for 5 hours. However, after hours of lying on the beach and swimming in the ocean, like a typical Brit abroad I got sunburn on that morning and spend the rest of the weekend becoming redder and redder which has now turned into a mottled shade of brown!). After hours of relaxing on the beach, we had lunch at a restaurant overlooking the beach front, perfect for a group photo.

Lunch over we headed to Bara beach, located a couple of Km up the coast, in sight of Bira. This was where paradise revealed itself; coconut trees lined the beach, there wasn’t a soul in sight and the water was even nicer to swim in due to a nice sandy seabed (as opposed to shells and grass in Bira). So another session of floating in the ocean was a must! This was how the majority of the weekend was spent, with the occasional walk along the beach to take photos, careful to mind the cute, tiny white crabs scuttling here and there across the white shore. This was our most relaxing and enjoyable time yet in Indonesia, surrounded by new friends on the pristine shores of Bara beach.

On the Saturday afternoon, the Makassar Hash Harriers hit town (the weekly running club that we’ve joined) and the rest of the day was spent running for a brief spell, but mainly drinking beers and eating in good company. It was an enjoyable run around Bira port, providing us with glimpses into the local lifestyle. The end destination was of course Bara beach, where the sand was cooling on our hot and sweaty feet, the beer was flowing and music was playing until the late hours.

The following morning we left Bira, with that depressing feeling one gets when heading home for work the next day after a truly enjoyable holiday. Sunday evening blues still exist out here! However, we knew that this was not the last time we would be seeing Bira – what with the islands to visit and the coral to snorkel around. Watch this space for more Bira updates...
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