A Bloody Good Night Out!

Trip Start Aug 13, 2008
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Indonesia  , Sumatra,
Sunday, October 31, 2010

As many of you will know, we never need to be asked twice to don a bit of fancy dress so Halloween falling on our friend's last weekend in Medan gave us the perfect excuse to hit the town in scary guises! Luckily, we had a Halloween party at school the day before so, in true Blue Peter fashion, we had some outfits we'd made earlier.  We could also allow ourselves to be a bit scarier with the make-up, not having to worry about causing sleepless nights for 100 or so pre-school kids!

Our house smelt like the set of Fame! with so much hair spray and talcum powder in the air, but after an hour or so of back-combing and face painting we were all zombied up and ready to wreak some havoc.  First victim was the security guard on our complex, who jumped out of his chair as we approached.  He told us he thought something had emerged from the jungle!  We stood out in the road, trying to flag down a becak to take us into town.  As motor cyclists swerved violently out of our way and a group of kids on BMXs did an about turn and sped away screaming, the guard pleaded with us to come back inside and order a taxi – he was worried we were scaring people too much!

We decided to walk up to the main road where we could take a lift from the becak stand.  En route we were stopped by a passing car for a photo and also sent another pack of petrified children racing off into the darkness.  Indonesians believe very strongly in ghosts, black magic and spirits, so the sight of two zombies plodding along a side street in the darkness was obviously too much for them.  We couldn’t help but think that this fear of zombies and the living dead may stem from the sight of ex-pats celebrating Halloween in the past – ancient urban myths and ghost stories passed down about the time they saw these pastey-skinned, incredibly tall beasts stumbling past them…

Having been turned down by the first two becak drivers through fear, we finally found somebody who would take us.  And so we made our way into town, two zombies leaning out the side of this motorbike and sidecar, wailing and moaning at passers-by.  Our driver was loving it: slowing down and pulling over to cafes, couples on motorbikes and Angkots and giggling to himself as we let out a pained groan.  The reaction was an even mixture of astonishment, confusion, fear and hilarity.  At one point, we stopped at a red light, whereupon I got out of the becak and stumbled around the traffic, screaming 'Aku mau minum darahmu!’ (I want to drink your blood!).  One young girl on a scooter was so overawed by it all she drove off, straight through the red light and into the oncoming traffic – being flattened by a bus was obviously preferable to the thought of a blood-hungry zombie!

We (eventually!) arrived at the restaurant for dinner, to find many couples and families out for a pleasant Saturday evening meal under candlelight.  The place fell silent as we crashed through the front doors and came stumbling in.  I immediately spotted a friend of ours at a large table and made a beeline for him, wrapping my hands around his throat and demanding blood again.  As it transpired, he was out with his girlfriend’s rather wealthy and respectable family for her niece’s eleventh birthday party!

After more photos, we were finally able to order as one waitress plucked up the courage to come to our table – the rest of them were too scared and kept avoiding us!  The delicious dinner was washed down with red wine (cue more calls of ‘blood!’ with each gulp) and we were then informed that our bill had been taken care of – one of the parents from school was there and picked up our tab!

We left the restaurant and flagged down another becak.  He actually already had a passenger but he was so desperate to take us, he let us gatecrash this guy’s ride and take him on a detour!  Charlie clambered onto the back on the sidecar as I sat on the back of the bike, and once more we set about spooking the traffic and posing for on-the-move photos from passing cars and bikes.  We arrived and realised none of us had any small change, so I went for a wander round a few food stalls looking to break a note.  Having already been in costume for so long, I almost forgot what I was wearing and couldn’t understand their reluctance to speak to me.  It then dawned on me that not only was a 6 foot 4 zombie stalking around these poor people, but I had also come out with no shoes on and was lumbering around in ripped-up and holy socks beneath my tattered trousers.

Our chosen port of call for the end of the evening was the bar at the JW Marriott hotel, a fantastic Halloween band providing the music as we treated ourselves to some scary cocktails and posed for yet more photos.  During their set, one of the girls tossed me a microphone as I danced on top of a table and asked me to sing with them for the Cranberries’ ‘Zombie’ and I improvised a little with a Halloween rap mid-song.

Once again, our drinks bill was ‘taken care of’ and as Charlie’s costume began to fall apart, the band announced that there was a prize for the best Halloween costume of the night: considering the competition was a few masks and a few girls in school uniform, it was no contest really... more freebies in the form of a bottle of ‘blood’ (red wine) and a fitting end to a more-than-eventful evening!
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