Sumatran Sickness Strikes!

Trip Start May 20, 2010
Trip End Sep 05, 2011

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Flag of Indonesia  , Sumatra,
Thursday, August 19, 2010


Day : 93
Temperature : 30 degrees
Weather : Sunny

Apologies once again for being tardy on the blogging front but unfortunately Kevin and I succumbed to a nasty, nasty, stomach bug that has been going around. Kevin managed to get away lightly with a slight stomach ache and a few extra trips to the loo for a day, but unfortunately I have been pretty much wiped out for 5 days! I won't bore you with the details but long and short of it is that I spent 12 hours from 5pm to 5am with my head in a bucket spewing my insides out. Well, that’s not entirely true, I spent much of the time throwing up in the loo, but since we had a shared toilet with 5 other rooms there came a time when the toilet was occupied, so I ended up throwing up over our balcony, and once or twice I didn’t make it in time so I threw up on the balcony!! Then Kevin found me a bucket and you know the rest! Anyway, it took about three days before I could actually make it out of our room and walk in a straight line and it’s been six days now and I’m only just able to start eating properly….it may be a very effective way to lose a few pounds but it’s certainly not the nicest!!

Anyway, we did manage to get a couple of dives in on our last day in Pulau Weh which was very nice but we didn’t want to spend any longer there as we had places to go and things to see. So yesterday we had a mammoth of a travelling day getting up at 6am, we caught a minibus to the ferry terminal which was about 45 mins away. We jumped on the slow ferry which was a two hour journey to Banda Aceh where we paid for a Becak ( motorcycle with side car for passengers – see photos) to take us to the immigration office because we would like to extend our visas. Unfortunately it would take 5 days to process and we didn't want to spend 5 days in Banda Aceh so we decided we will try to extend them elsewhere. After deciding that the Becak driver had slightly overcharged us we caught another one, squeezed in again and headed to the bus station to enquire about buses heading south. After discovering that a bus left at 1pm we made a quick decision to buy the tickets for that afternoon and try to see what we could in Banda Aceh in the couple of hours that we had.

For those who don’t know Banda Aceh is the town that was shown on television screens around the world as the tragedy of the Boxing Day Tsunami unfolded in 2004 killing 170,000 in Aceh province alone. It’s hard to imagine the scale of the disaster here, especially since Banda Aceh now looks pretty much like any other town, such has been the amount of rebuilding that has happened over the past few years. We wanted to see with our own eyes some of the last remaining Tsunami landmarks and so we first visited the "Boat in the House" at Lampulo. As you will see from the photographs, this is a fishing vessel that was carried inland and deposited on the roof of someone’s house and incredibly saved the lives of over 50 people who clambered aboard it.

We also went to see the newly opened Tsunami Museum but unfortunately that day it did not open until 3pm…maybe due to Ramadan?? Since our bus left at 1pm we had to give this a miss which was a real shame.  The other Tsunami landmarks which we didn’t get to see were the two mass graves sites near Banda Aceh which together hold 90,000 unidentified bodies and which I’m sure would have been a very moving experience.

Shortly before 1pm yesterday we boarded our nearly empty bus and eagerly waited for our departure at 1pm. Well, one o’clock came and went and finally we left at 1.45pm, pulled out of the bus station, drove 100 yards and stopped…so the driver could get out and chat to his mates it would seem! Eventually we got on the road shortly after 2pm and arrived in a coastal town called Bireun at 7pm. We grabbed our bags and found our way to the minibus stand, bought our tickets and clambered aboard a highly overloaded, beat up old rust-bucket of a minibus for our 3 hour bone shaking journey into the mountains! Finally, at 11pm we arrived in the town of Tekangon, 1,200m up in the mountains, found a hotel and crashed for the night, only to be woken at 4am by some early morning wake up calls to the guests in the neighbouring rooms…the walls are paper thin! And so here I am, after less than 4 hours sleep and a pretty exhausting past few days doing a blog all for your benefit…that’s dedication, huh?!

Anyway folks, we really need to get out and see some of this town, and also move to a different hotel since our one is booked up for tonight….so, must dash and we will do another blog soon.
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Holly on

Oh Dom, poor you. Really hope you're feeling much better now.
The diving looks great though - beautifully clear.
Happy travels, catch up soon.

Eileen on

Hiya guys !!

We are just back from a great time in Javea .....lovely Spanish fishing port.. did loads with the kids ..quad biking ...water park and catamaran trip..snorkolling not quite up to your standards though still great fun.. really really hot ..although one day we had huge thunderstorm with hailstones !!
Better still Martin.. and I are still talking !! :o)

Great to catch up with the blog ! you guys having such an adventure .... pics amazing as always ....

Got your postcard ..keep sending them .. hope to speak to you soon ..missing you loads .. take care.. lots of love to you both xxxx

Antony on

Just looking at the blog after returning back from Thailand. Diving pics look great and glad to know Dom is recovered from her stomach bug. Antony

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