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Itchy Feet "I am going because I would have no peace if I stayed" - Donald Crowhurst.


INDONESIA | Tuesday, 12 August 2014 | Views [412] | Comments [1]

Day 12.  I wrote a haiku:

Sitting in the car

And watching the world go by

Contemplating life.


Through the hotel we arranged transport from Danau Toba to Berastagi.  135,000 Rupiah each ($13.50).  We shared the mini van with a family of four.

I love doing long drives in Indonesia.  You can sit safely cocooned in the comfort of the vehicle, windows up (sometimes they are tinted) with cool air conditioning, so you can sit back, relax from the heat and the madness of the streets and watch all the life on the streets without needing to interact with anyone for a few hours.  It’s like a mini holiday within a holiday. 


Here are some of the things I saw on the drive:

Monkey with a hair lip, teeth exposed.  Until now I’d never considered that it was something we shared with the monkey family.

 Apricot coloured Bouganvillia.

A young woman sitting on the ground at the petrol bowser collecting payment for petrol.

Four large circular structures on the lake.  Probably a fish farm?

School marching bands at every town we passed.  They are all practicing for Independence Day on 17th August.  One parade even took place on the street, passing by our vehicle, all the kids waving hello to us.

A flat bed truck loaded with cabbages and five men sitting on the top of the pile.

Lots of cats & dogs wandering along the roads, so many that I thought it would be great if an injection was invented to de-sex animals.  Quick, easy and no operation required…


Our driver uses his hazard lights every time he passes through an intersection.  He also drives on the wrong side of the road on hairpin bends.  Yet we made it safely to our destination.  He gave us two breaks on the journey to stretch our legs.  One stop was at a King’s Palace.  We had to pay a small fee to enter, about $1.  We didn’t know the name of the Palace and there was no signage to let us know at the ticket booth.  I asked our driver, he apologised as he didn’t know either.  The palace was a long house, a timber structure with a thatched roof where the king used to live.  To look inside we had to climb steep rickety stairs, the dangerous stairs that I often have in dreams.  Inside was dark, and we had to step carefully on wobbly wooden beams.  It was a primitive structure and you could tell which part of the building was used for the kitchen.

Only later on looking at the internet did I find out the history:

It was the Batak King’s Palace.  It is the old tribal residence of Batak Kings of the Purba dynasty. It is located in Pematang Purba village, 32 km from Parapat.  It is made of teak wood and housed the king and his 12 wives. 

The Purba dynasty began in 1624 with the first Batak king, Tuan Pangultop Ultop.  The dynasty lasted until 1947, after which the Batak kingdom was integrated into the newly independent Indonesia.

Our second stop was at the Sipiso-piso waterfall in the Batak highlands of Sumatra near Tongging & Kabanjahe in the Tanah Karo regency. It is formed by a small underground river in the Karo plateau that exits from a cave.  It is 120 meters down to lake level.   It is the highest waterfall in Indonesia.

At the end of our journey, our driver dropped us at Sibayak Multinational Resthouse in Berastagi.  It’s situated away from the town, on a couple of acres.  The room is large and tiled and very clean with a lovely view of the green gardens and a mountainous vista. It is run by an entire family and is only $20 per night.  Had delicious pumpkin & coconut soup with garlic jaffles in the small restaurant.  It is very cold here in the mountains.  I wore thick socks & a beanie. 

Dave had a rest (he’s still feeling quite ill and weak).  Dan & I put on disposable raincoats & went for a walk in the drizzly rain which quickly turned into a heavy tropical downpour.  We walked past women working in the fields wearing the same raincoats as us, squatting down & hunched under umbrellas.  We saw an angkot approaching (small mini bus used for public transport) so we decided to hop in to see where it went.  We found out pretty quickly.  Our journey ended 200 metres up the road at the angkot terminal.  I guess that’s why we were the only two passengers!

We bought 3 bottles of water, a pack of coconut biscuits & a packet of peanuts for tomorrow’s volcano hike snack food.  For a total price of $2.60 Australian dollars.

Dave is still off his food, so Dan & I went to the hotel restaurant for dinner.  Three small dogs & six very cute puppies wandered around in there.  A Scottish woman was wearing a very new looking Good Morning Vietnam t-shirt, which I thought was a bit unusual.  That movie was made in 1987 but her t-shirt definitely wasn’t.  Two minutes later I read on Facebook that Robyn Williams has died.  I am so sad.  I really liked him.  He made people laugh yet his eyes never laughed.  He had sad eyes.  

Tags: berastagi, brastagi, king, longhouse, robyn williams, sipiso-piso, waterfall



Very good Kiddo you definitely have nine lives considering motor bikes, food stairs etc.

  PRaff Mar 17, 2015 9:11 AM

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