For a superficial traveler, Sorong might appear to be quite boring destination – the city known as the gate to Papua is spread around the long motorway paralleling the beach, but it gets another level of thrill once you’re there for quite some time – the daily struggle with heat and malariaquitos.
Everywhere is the center of the city, and people walk and ride the ojek (the motorbike taxis) or yellow busses. Public transport has been something to miss in most parts of Indonesia, but Papua is doing better – there’s some space here, and some good ways to move besides having a personal motor.
Besides bursting into my fieldworks of transgender already the very first evening here, I quickly grow a fascination for the local fruits. Each day I was passing by the market and later fell into juices of sweet mangos, bananas and pineapples. They are incredible in Papua, probably due to the fertile ground and sunny air. This is the sweet part of it, but it also has another. The weather is booming hot here – i’ve been sweating tons of water, having showers at least three times a day, and feeling constant lack of air, as it’s so hot, so humid, so dusty, so strong. We were also sweating at night-time, when the sun was gone long ago, but it was still hot. And my body was constantly waisted. To sleep less that seven hours was absolutely impossible. And as they say, the mosquitos with malaria are sneaking around. It was quite common to hear remarks such as:
“Oh, I’ve been in bed for three days – because of malaria!”
“Oh, I am not in a good mood, probably having malaria fever again…”
“Oh, this poor little girl has no father, the father died of malaria couple of years ago…”
So I swallowed the malaria pill once again, but it did not do any good. Rather it made me existentially loaded and worrisome, so that after couple of days I decided to stop it all. Just keep the pills ready in your pocket once you get bitten by the malariaquito – but don’t screw up your body and mind with these strong pills daily.