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Here, there, everywhere... A modest attempt at chronicling my around the world adventure over the next year (or so).

why did the chicken ride the bus?

INDONESIA | Wednesday, 12 November 2008 | Views [1057]

chickens riding the bus...poor chickens!

chickens riding the bus...poor chickens!

The ferry docked in Belawa, about 25k from Medan the main city in Sumatra, Indonesia my next destination. After getting the usual cajoling by the transportation touts I boarded a minibus with three other travellers, two french women and an italian guy. I was bound for Butik Langawa to see the orangutans, the others were heading to Medan. On the way the Italian decided to go with me to see the orange apes. The drive through the jungle was well let'say bumpy. Some of the holes in the road(used loosely) are like bomb craters, not kidding. We made it about 10pm and met a guide named Alex that our van driver set us up with. After some trekking discussion I decided to go on a two day/1 day trek and Christian the Italian only wanted one day.

I got up the next morning and met my trekking group, 1 Belgian woman, 1 Republic of San Ramino (Italy) guy, a french guy and two Germans. We set off with our two guides into the jungle with one main goal: to see orangutans. Within the first hour we saw plenty, nine to be exact. Now these are for sure semi-wild apes, they will bite you, etc. But they were all at the rehabilitation center nearby and have been reintroduced. Nevertheless, they are magnificant to watch and study. And the babies are so cute, I think there were two or three. We also saw some other kinds of primates, monkeys but they paled in comparison to the orange apes. After many a photo was taken we moved further into the jungle for lunch of fried rice in banada leaves. Eric, the Italian is a professional photographer took some great photos that I hope to see later. We also tracked a wild peacock that I was able to call back so we could photograph. The guides thought I was pretty cool with my amazing peacock calling ability. I think I developed it back the first weekend of freshmen year at BSU on an all night scavenger hunt with one Erik Cline. He should remember the night well as he ran face first into a barbed wire fence and now has the trophy to prove it, another story. A few hours more and we came to a river that we needed to cross so we stripped to our swimming suites or underwear and waded across a rather strong river. We were making camp on the other side for the night under a bamboo poled and black plastic structure. Just as we arrived it began to rain and we were so hot and sweaty we just stood in the river after crossing and let the rain cover us, it was a refreshing.

We unpacked and made camp under the "tent" while the guides cooked dinner. The rain continued off and on into the evening so we camped out under the "tent" for dinner and tricks from the guides. No one brought any cards so they showed us tricks with match sticks. They of course had some marijuana to smoke which no one obliged so they smoked alone. (second time that has happened on a trek). After a few hours we all decided to turn in meanwhile a major thunderstorm was brewing in the jungle. It was a thunderstrom almost all night and when we awoke the river had swollen to a dangerous level and I was worried because I knew we were supposed to cross to continue trekking. Thankfully, the guides also thought the same (well they were worried they could not carry bags over their heads in the river but close enough). So we hung out at the river after breakfast for a few hours before rafting down the river to the village. During that time the guides prepared the "rafts" Actually they were innertubes roped together, five to be exact and we would each share a tube with one guide in the back and two in the front. It was like a centipede and looked really not safe especially in rain soaked river (this town was almost entirely wipped out by a flood in 2003). But like a good adventurer I grabbed my spot in the back with one of the Germans named Phillip, a software engineer and we pushed off. They also did not use paddels but rather wooden poles to push off rocks. It turns out the 20 minute float was a blast and our innertube express road the rapids quite well almost like a roller coaster and I was sad when it ended.

At the river bank of the village we disembarked and I crossed the foot bridge with Arnaud the frenchman to retrieve our bags because we were heading straight to Medan on the public bus. Christian, the Italian I came with was going to wait for me but the guesthouse staff told me he decided to travel on to another destination so Arnaud and I walked 20 minutes to the bus "station". At the station we were greeted by the normal hello, where are you from question. I had entered the jungle on the day of the election and left the day after so I had no idea who had won. However, as soon as I told the guy I was from American cheers for Obama arouse from every corner of the cafe at the bus stop. For the next week until I left Indonesia the Obama victory was big for me everywhere I went. Everyone wanted to talk about the election and the fact that he lived in Jahkarta when he was a kid and still owned a house there apparently (news to me). Good to be an american for a change!!! We waited for the bus (which was there the entire time but Indonesians never do things in a hurry) we finally borded an hour later and made our way through the jungle big craters in all. The public bus, truly public fared no better then the minivan in fact I was worried we would not make the four trip to Medan. But we trucked through and picked up/dropped off lots of people on the way including a bunch of chickens with their legs all tied together. I felt terrible for the them, they looked very uncomfortable and the guy just shoved them under the bench. I tried to pet their heads a little during the ride and they would get to squaking at times and their owner would shove them further under. Poor chickens, even they deserve better then a dirty, old bus floor. Oh well someones' dinner by now...Next stop my crazy journey to Dunau(lake) Toba.

P.S. My orangutan pictures are probably not great, tough to get good shots in the jungle with my camera phone but I tried. But you will at least see a few that show off these wonderful creatures that are of course very threatened with habitat lose and poaching.

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