The Batulicin contact who’d offered to host me was an English student, so my prime difficulty was not an issue: we could speak freely. And he knew just what to do.
Kiki helped me arrange my surface transport from Kalimantan to Sulawesi and back. But it became immediately evident that the words “boat”, “ferry”, “barge”, “ship” and “speedboat” have very different meanings here. To me these words can be loosely interchangeable as in a method of getting from one landmass to another, across water. But Kiki was thoroughly confused when I asked if there was a boat, ferry, barge, ship or speedboat to Makassar. So, being prepared to consider only ferries (which I stressed as being passenger vessels that go backwards and forwards between two fixed points on a published schedule), this was the term I settled on. I knew that’d mean Kiki wouldn’t consider any other type of surface transport, which could mean I’d miss the chance to catch, for instance, a speedboat to a nearby location to my destination: Makassar city.
Thankfully, after investigating ferries, Kiki found one. But it took several phone calls and over an hour of motorcycling across Batulicin because everyone seemed confused about what, where, how, when and who. Eventually, in the Indonesia Ferry office, Kiki located the very man we needed – the boss, seemingly pinned to his chair by his constant need to smoke. He listened patiently as helpful Kiki spoke at length about how important it was for me to reach the Sulawesi city soon.
With translations flying this way and that, we got to the bottom of the confusion. From then on, it was easy. Kiki and I had been searching in the wrong places and all we needed was right here at hand: easy. The Indonesia Ferry boss would supply me with tickets to ensure a hassle-free, efficient sailing journey to the endpoint, Barru, several hours’ drive from Makassar. I was mighty pleased to hear this positivity and noted down the Indonesia Ferry Batulicin office details for future reference: Jln. Pelabuhan Ferry No. 1, Kabupaten Tanah Bumbu, Kode Pos 72171, Batulicin (their address), 0518 70408 (their booking line) and 0518 71128 (their fax number). I also noted their email, email@example.com, in case I’d like to book online in future… so convenient.