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THE THINGS I SAW

INDONESIA | Saturday, 9 August 2014 | Views [286]

Day 9.  Bukit Lawang to Danau Toba

 

This morning Retno picked us up at 6:30 am for the drive from Bukit Lawang to Danau Toba.  From the car, this is what I saw:

An albino school boy coming out of the school yard with friends.  School finishes at midday on Saturdays.

An abandoned truck stuck in a deep ditch.

Many large pot holes.  We drove around them into oncoming traffic.

Man riding motorbike with his helmet tucked under his arm.

A man walking along the road wearing a motorbike helmet.  (He probably takes it off when he gets on the motorbike).  J

Motorbike loaded with leaves.  Driver leaning over the pile, just able to reach handlebars.

Petrol is 65 cents per litre.

Diesel is 55 cents.

An egg truck and a motorbike piled high with trays of eggs.

A t-shirt reading: Burgerkill.

Caged bats hanging upside down beside the road.

An AQUA factory.

A red Holden.

Several HIV Aids billboards.

A restaurant called Bill Clinton.

Yellow trumpet flowers.

Cigarette billboard:  Gentlemen, this is taste!

A cabbage town.

A skinny old lady pushing a wheelbarrow full of wood up a steep grassy hill with a 45 degree incline.

A family having a picnic inside the hairpin bend of a very steep road.

Six big trees fallen halfway across the road.

A deserted hotel in the shape of a giant fish.

The worst thing I saw today was live dogs for sale to be eaten.  They sat calmly in the heat on the side of the road, watching the world go by, enclosed neck-deep in bags, awaiting their fate.

 

Retno dropped us in the port town of Parapat on the edge of Lake Toba (Danau Toba).  We took a boat to Samosir Cottages where we were greeted by a man who called himself Doctor Bloom (because his Indonesian name means ‘flower’).  He greeted us with ‘Welcome Home’ and told Dave to help himself to a beer from the fridge while he showed Dan and I a few rooms.  We chose rooms with private balconies with a view of the lake for 225,000 Rupiah – about $22.

We chose to stay at this hotel because it has traditional Batak dancing on tonight.  Dave and I got pulled onto the dancefloor to follow a very simple dance with prayer-like hand movements.  One performer played a wooden flute and did an incredible whistle, probably only possible due to his missing tooth.  Another male performer had an angelic singing voice and even yodelled!  Doctor Bloom played guitar and a two-stringed Batak mandolin.

I ate the hottest chilli of my life, which came with Dan’s meal.  I actually wanted to cut my own tongue off!  I wonder who was the first human being to eat that and think, ‘yep, we’ll add that to our dinner’ rather than making an announcement ‘Attention all cavemen, do not touch that plant EVER!’

Tags: batak, batak dancing, chilli, danau toba, lake toba, on the road, parapat

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