Quiet, it tuk the piss.
Trip Start Nov 25, 2011
25Trip End May 10, 2013
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Where I stayed
What I did
Saw the Stone Chairs
Saw the hot springs
I remember coming to somewhere on Lake Toba for a holiday when I was about 13 and really enjoying it, I’ve heard that since then the tourism here had gone down a bit so I was looking forward to some (more) relaxing on my tod. The village runs along the side of the lake for about a 1km, and walking around to find somewhere to eat in the evenings it’s almost like everyone has just up and left to run to the hills from some natural disaster. The place is like a ghost town, 90-95% of shops and restaurants completely empty, not even a member of staff in sight for the majority; I can only guess it’s low season for tourists at the moment. What’s also weird and eerie is that the place is so peaceful, as in nowhere is playing music, it’s kind of nice but being on my own I’d kinda like a bit of external sound to drown out the voices in my head. On my second night I walked past a pizza place ACTUALLY playing music, one of my favourite bands to be fair, there were also 6 customers so I popped in and sat down, the next song that came on was also one of my favourites, followed by a couple more; so I was happy with that.
I took all my clothes to some lady to be washed as my bag got wet on the last coach, making everything smell lovely. I rented a ped and had a razz around, driving past the local hot springs. I decided against going in them as from above they just looked like a little man-made swimming pool and obviously smelled like they’d been used to poach eggs in.
I visited the Stone Chairs of Siallagen Ambarito. As soon as I got there I recognised it and remembered coming when I were a littl’un. A feller showed me around a typical Batak house and then to the circle of stone chairs that were over 2,000 years old. The Batak people used to be cannibals until the mid 1,800s (in some small villages they allegedly still are); killing and eating criminals who were tried and tested at the stone chairs. The sacrifice was made a few meters away in another circle of stone chairs, he showed me this also before taking me to his 'mother’ in the souvenir shop. She tried selling me a Batak book that predicted the future, she was stroking my arm like a nan might do. I refused to buy and told her I had no money for food that day if I were to buy this book, to which she said it was a good price and that 200,000Rp wasn’t a lot considering I should pay my ‘guide’ (a feller that was sat on the floor when I arrived) 50,000Rp. I managed to get the total price down to 120,000Rp (just under a tenner). So I bought a book that looks like it’s made of bone and that I didn’t even want, written in the Batak language (I haven’t yet mastered this language yet, I gave it up at GCSE so am a bit rusty) purely ‘cos I thought that her rubbing my arm was putting some kind of curse (or seasoning) on me and that the delicious mix of sun cream and sweat on my tender white, hairy skin may turn her and the rest of the locals back to cannibalism, leaving me without a leg to stand on (you having that?).
One night I went to Roy’s Pub, where I caught the start of the 2nd set of the live band. They started off murdering High and Dry by Radiohead, Hey Joe by Hendrix, and many more. There was some enthusiastic arm pumping to Maroon 5’s This Love by some middle aged feller with an Indonesian wife. If I wasn’t there on my own I’d’ve stayed much longer than ½ an hour, it was piss funny though.
There’s not a great deal else to tell apart from I had breakfast the next morning while watching a dog walk around the slippery floor, this poor dog’s back legs kept falling asleep so he was half walking half dragging his back end, quite funny but sad. That night there was some live Batak music and dancing at the hotel, introduced by the Indonesian Shayne McGowan. The performers were probably all fucked on palm wine as they seemed like the cast from One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, with one of them bursting in to Operatic Involvement after the music and dancing ended; this was where he performed what can only be described as local opera, at the same time attempting audience involvement.