Onto Medan...in a roundabout sort of way!!!

Trip Start Nov 25, 2004
Trip End Jan 26, 2005

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Saturday, April 16, 2005

Reluctantly we left Lake Toba and decided to make our way to Berstagi which is a town surrounded by 2 volcanoes! Our modes of transport throughout the day proved to be adventuresome and never boring - the first we literally must have passively smoked about 20 cigarettes each and I got covered with some foul smelling white liquid that was pouring in through the roof!!! Nice! Paul found it highly amusing that I sat in the only seat to get wet and that had a constant run of chainsmokers sitting next to me! Must be the pheromones! 2 buses and couple of bemos later we arrived in Berstagi and literally the heavens opened - it's a good job we purchased a huge golf umbrella put it that way! We decided to catch some food to wait for it to stop...it didn't so Paul headed out equipped with umbrella and out-of-date guide book to find us somewhere to stay...in the meantime I had great fun being asked for a threesome by the locals and getting stared at for about 30 minutes by a scary looking beggar! Reckon it might be quite intimidating travelling Sumatra on your own! Anyway quite a while later a bedraggled Paul returned with no hotel - basically since there are not so many tourists the whole place seemed to have gone into mass decline with alot of the hotels closing! So with the rain still pouring we decided to catch a bus straight onto Medan as we were also planning to fly to Sumatra on the 18th and as yet didn't have a flight booked! Hmmmm!

The bus to Medan was obviously very popular in the late afternoon as there were 5 of us squished onto a seat for 3! Our bums must have shrunk abit!!! We arrived in what seemed to be the middle of no-where and got bombarded by an array of taxi and moto drivers all insisting the town centre was about 5km away! Hmmmm! After the eighth bemo came along we finally managed to convince them to take us into town and a lovely local on board helped us with our map and pointed us in the right direction so before we knew it we'd found a very cute little guesthouse which was perfect and even provided us with a 4 o'clock wake up call...being located literally 5m away from the National Mosque!

Medan itself is a huge city and really modern! I had this really out-of-date concept that Sumatra was going to be quite under-developed but all the towns we went to were huge sprawling modern towns with all the latest shops and stuff! We even spent a happy hour watching a ten-pin bowling competition! Random eh? Our popularity was on the increase as well when we went for our normal walkaround the next day, with a group of school kids bezzing across a playing field so they could have there photo taken with us! Think there was an ulterior motive as well as they were trying to get us to help them with an English test!!!! We also met 2 really nice locals from a Christian church nearby who were trying to recruit us to go to a service and we ended up having a really intellectual conversation with them...I know...it doesn't happen very often and believe me my brain hurt afterwards! Paul just sat there laughing as ususal!

All in all there's not really alot to see in Medan but the city has a great feel to it and lots of lovely people!!! Our first island in Indonesia and we had the bug!!!!
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