Lesoy! (cheers in Batak Toba)

Trip Start Sep 01, 2008
Trip End Feb 26, 2010

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Flag of Indonesia  , Sumatra,
Tuesday, December 2, 2008

After another very long day of travelling (3 hours from Bukit Lawang to Medan, an hour to cross Medan, then 5 hours to Parapat) we arrived at Lake Toba - a giant volcanic crater lake with an island the size of Singapore in the middle - but just missed the last ferry to Samosir Island and so ended up spending a night in Parapat (on the mainland).

The next day, we were taken to Samosir Cottages - a small resort in the town of Tuk-Tuk. Our room was very posh (lakeside balcony, private bathroom and hot shower) which made us very happy, especially considering the very reasonable price of 70,000 rupiah (4 GBP).

The island is very beautiful and quiet so we ended up spending 6 nights here. On our first day, we took a slightly disappointing motorbike tour around the island. Everything we saw was great but our guide (having charged us a small fortune for the day) was useless in all respects - he knew nothing about the island (a typical response to "when was this built? by whom?" would be: "a long time ago - by the Batak people" which we had already deduced ourselves!) He also kept asking us for more money having already told us the tour was "all inclusive". He was also very boring, having no sense of humour and repeating everything he told us ten times. The best part was meeting a nice dutch couple on the tour, with whom we spent the evening.

Having enjoyed the scenery so much, we decided to have another go on our own and hired a bike for 2 days. This was much more enjoyable and relaxing - although on the final day Rachel and the motorbike ("Mikey the Bikey") had a disagreement and Rachel's leg ended up swollen and black (see photo). She was only driving for 5 minutes! Stuart didn't go without incident either, locking the ignition of the bike whilst stopped on a very lonely point in the mountains. We had to flag someone down to help us get it unlocked as he just couldn't figure out what he'd done.

The remainder of the week was spent relaxing: swimming in the lake, cloud bathing (the weather wasn't perfect), reading, watching videos, eating some really tasty indonesian food (we recommend Rendang and Gado-Gado) and watching three different performances of traditional Batak singing and dancing. We even bought a CD of indonesian folk songs performed by the Samosir Cottage house band who had amazingly powerful voices, especially for their age (average age of about 60!).

On the saturday night, we experienced the Batak night life - after a few drinks in the guesthouse, we headed to "Brando's Blues Bar", the local nightclub. It was quite alot like a school disco as everyone was drinking soft drinks, there was a circle around the edge of the dance floor and the DJ was playing alot of 90's Europop. Dancing with a hula hoop seemed to be quite popular for some reason. Randomly, we bumped into 'Dutch Jamie' (what Stu's friend Jamie would be like if he was from Holland) who we'd met in Vietnam 2 months earlier. Stuart was very popular with the local teenage girls who all wanted to try out their five english phrases on him (or that's what they claimed!)                                               

All in all, a lovely relaxing week, ruined only by the night we had to spend in Medan (what a dump) on the way back. We have left Sumatra now and will miss the smiley locals who always want to chat to someone new. Hopefully the same is true of the Javanese!
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starlagurl on

Hey guys!
Great blog on Sumatra, it's featured in the TravelPod blog today: http://blog.travelpod.com

Louise Brown
TravelPod Community Manager

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