Lazy Days at Lake Toba

Trip Start Jan 07, 2009
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38
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Trip End Aug 04, 2009


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Flag of Indonesia  , North Sumatra,
Wednesday, June 3, 2009

So after spending an absolutely amazing time in Bukittinggi, it's no surprise that the next place I visited just couldn't compare. I've had absolutely no regrets on where I went on this trip, I wouldn't have done it any other way...except maybe I should have stayed in Bukittinggi. When I left, a few people were seriously telling me that I should stay if I am enjoying it, and I thought they were just hoping to sell me some more tours...but now I can see what they meant! I can imagine that it would have been very cool to keep getting to know the cool people that I met, and maybe swap some english lessons for indonesian lessons or something of the sort. Or maybe volunteer at the English school. See things from a different angle than the backpacker-on-the-go angle, for another week or two. But after spending a good 15 or 16 hours on the bus to arrive in Parapat...I don't think I'm going back now! lol What a crazy bus ride. Everytime I opened my eyes it was a bit scary and I felt a little panicky (big bus, small swervy road)...so I didn't open my eyes much for about 14 hours of the trip. lol

So I arrived and checked in to the guesthouse that had been recommended by Roni from the Orchid, and it was a very good recommendation. Cheap, nice setting, and the staff are cheerful (if a bit wacky). Seemed like a pretty lively place too. So that was 5 days ago, but I am not so sure where the time has gone. I rented a book from the "library" because all the books that are for sale are very very very old, and the only nice books can only be borrowed. I think the old ones may be from the time where Sumatra had lots of tourists...which was a very long time ago. It's a strange place to be. It's a big island in the middle of a lake, and it's a beautiful place for sure. There's tons of beautiful accomodation and cute restaurants, and if there were many tourists it would probably have a similar atmosphere to Pai in Thailand, with lots of singing songs around a campfire....except it's completely empty!! There's a few guesthouses that have their share of guests, and I guess the word gets around which ones they are...and the others seem totally deserted! There's loads of huge souvenir shops and I have no idea how they stay open...I am sure they must only get maybe a few sales a month! It gives this place a strange atmosphere...

Well that's just Tuk Tuk, the tourist town. The island is much bigger than that, and absolutely delightful to explore by bicycle, which is what I did on my third day here. There's hardly any vehicles and after some hard work pushing my bike uphill (haha, I am so not fit), there were some rewarding views!

On that same day I ran in to some local guy who was having a cup of a tea with a tourist, and they called me over to sit with them, and the tourist guy was like "have I met you before?" and I answered with quite a bit of certainty "no". Normally I have a better memory for people than they do, so I was sure that if I didn't remember, than we probably had never met. So he started "Bukit Lawang? Kuala Lumpur?" no, nope. "Bogor...yes, Bogor, with Dan!!!!"...and then I was confused, I did know a guy named Dan in Bogor...and then finally I remembered him! Anyway, it was very random...and turns out that this Dan was also here. We had flown to opposite ends of Sumatra on the same day, and now our paths are crossing in the middle. Random random! So I had a new crew of people to hang out with for a while, until they left as well............and then people from Bukittinggi arrived! So anyway, despite the quietness of this town, there was some good company here. (Except that one guy, who is only just 19, is so very condescending and it really irks me and gets me a bit angry at times.......last night we were playing cards and one of the Indonesian guys comes over and asks if he can play too, and this guy just sighs and goes "well it's complicated rules....but if you really want to....".................ugh I couldn't believe it!!!!! So rude and condescending!!! and today I had to make an ATM run to the mainland with him (there's no atms on the island) and it took a lot of deep breaths to keep it to topics that would not trigger this attitude in him and make me angry...lol

and yesterday I also took another cooking class, this time a bit more "official" than the one in An's kitchen in Bukittinggi...and actually came with recipes and whatnot, so I can make my own peanut sauce when I get home! Yay! :)

Alright, so here I go to attempt to upload some photos, although I am not so sure that will work here or anywhere else in Sumatra! But I'll give it a try so you can enjoy the sunshine of this island too. :)
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