Berastagi...The Town Of Fruits
Trip Start Feb 02, 2011
16Trip End Feb 06, 2011
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Where I stayed
Green Garden Hotel
The moment we arrived, we headed straight to lunch, at one of the most famous restaurants at this place, where prior reservation needs to be made. The driver, through his company, had made the necessary reservations, and surprisingly, I did find quite a number of South Indian Tamils here at this location. In fact, the parking attendants were also Tamils.
Lunch was average at this restaurant. the taste seemed more like a Malay preparation in Malaysia with a slight twist, whereby everything was slightly sweeter. However, this is in deep contrast to the Padang style food which typically has chilly as its base ingredient in any dish. Right after lunch, we headed to the hotel.
The driver took charge of the checking in procedures. Actually, the usual temperature in Berastagi is around 10 degree Celsius, however, on this day, it was hot. I was really disappointed. I was hoping for cold weather. In fact, some of us, came prepared with thermal wear and other garments suitable for cold weather. Of course, I am not denying that it was not completely cold, the breeze was cold, but with the sun shining brightly, you could sweat profusely. This definitely was not something that I had expected. Just a short note as to how Berastagi got its name, it is through it's rice quality. Here the paddy planted is hill side paddy and somehow over the years,people got addicted to the taste of such rice, Hence Berastagi literally means addiction to the local rice. Beras = Rice + tagi = addiction.
However, in lieu of this, all the hotel rooms neither had any fan nor air cond. This made the rooms warm by my standards. Also in contrast to the room in Parapat, where we had a direct view of the lake, here the only thing we could see is a dividing wall between us and the coffee house. It was built like a centre court facing the swimming pool. As we were the initial rooms on the block, we had to face this wall. Just at an angle, we could see the poolside which is clearly shown in the photographs.
Just before the checking in, we had visited a so called ex kings palace which was built in the traditional Karo home concept. However, this was a disgrace. Apologies for the harsh words, but indeed it was. The houses were in a dilapidated condition and not preserved at all despite it was a national heritage. Sad to see that. On the other side of the coin, we were able to witness the freedom of religion. This was displayed by some of the graves itself where by locals could bury both Christian and Moslem family members side by side in the farms. However, this would be a no go in Malaysia where it would have been interfered with by the local religious authorities and a separate Moslem burial ground would be prepared for the Moslems as opposed to the non Moslems. Indonesia, being the largest Islamic country in the world, DID practice religious freedom.
Once we had checked in, due to the unanticipated heat, we were just in the room. Just in between, I had to walk across the streets to buy some mineral water as in Indonesia, it is always advisable to tourists to consume bottled water then tap water.Not to forget, a couple of cans of beer where it would be consumed later tonight. Beer is so cheap here. It is USD 1.20 per can.P.S. Thats the price after taxation.If in the Batam Islands where it is a tax free island, it would cost less that USD 0.60 per can of imported beer. After that, we were in the room until 6pm.
I got hold of the driver and told him to take us to the market. Basically, that is all there is to visit in Berastagi. This town, is commonly known as the 'Fruit Town' as fruits are easily cultivated here and not to forget, it is also the main exporter of cabbages for the world market. The largest of such produce for the world market.
Of course, to those that are interested in mountain trekking, there is the Mount Sinabung and Mount Sibayak, within close proximity. Both of these are active volcanos. Mount Sinabung had actually erupted last year after being silent for 400 years and Mount Sibayak, is still waiting for its turn. From a distant, you could see the fumes coming out from both of these volcanos. There are many tourist guides available for this activity where you could register yourself at the tourist information counter right in the centre of the market. Mont Sibayak last erupted 420 years ago and is expected to erupt anytime soon. I did see a documentary of National Geographic Channel on the sulfur collectors and it is very sad, If you have an opportunity, please do watch this documentary.
In the market, you would find lots of fruit stalls and handicraft shops. Besides this, I also came across some stalls selling rabbit, mice and puppies, all for human consumption. It is believed here that the consumption of puppies is good for sexual virility. I hope the followers of my blog would not be bought by such beliefs. It is sad to see the puppies being killed for consumption. They look so adorable. I would rather rare one. Another common feature here in town is the horse carriage ride, One could hire a carriage to take them around the town. You would not have to worry about the fare as it is controlled by the local council and the pricing is displayed at the hiring centre. It is quite cheap though. We took the 30 minutes ride along town and it had cost us a mere USD 2 approximately.
After the ride, it was quite late at night and we headed back to the hotel. Nothing much to do in town after dark. Even the market closes at 7pm. At 7.20 pm, we arrived at the hotel.
Tonight our itinerary was to have the buffet dinner at the hotel restaurant itself, which was typically a Chinese menu. However, by the time we arrived, it was quite full, and we got the very last table available. I feel sorry for those who came later than that. Most food had already finished and the hotel did not manage that buffer management aspect well. Topping up was limited and very slow. Each time they topped up each dish, by the time it reaches the 4 th person in the queue, it would have finished. We just made do with whatever was available and then returned to the room.
The next things in our mind, was to get our bath. Just like Parapat, hot water is rationed here as well. We were in time to catch the shower. By 8pm, we were all done and just walked around the hotel. Luckily, or else hot water would be shut off at 9 pm. There were some fireworks display for a brief moment and then we just continued to the respective rooms to relax and called it a night then. This fireworks was mainly for the Chinese New Year celebrations. Each hotel took turns and did a 10 minutes show each.
We have another not long, but tiresome journey tomorrow to Medan. In lieu of that, we hit bed around midnight.