Published: March 12th 2006March 11th 2006
Orangatangs have aproximately a nine month pregnancy and have, at the most, one baby every three years
Lake Toba was great. in fact, i was a more than a little sad to leave it. but kevin told me about an orangatang convservation center up north and it sounded pretty cool. we got up fairly early to catch the first ferry back to the mainland and then, after a decent breakfest, we headed back to medan. we actually ended up chartering our own car. we never do that but we were able to do it for even less than what the mini bus from medan to lake toba had cost us. plus we all had our own seat. kev and i were able to sleep a little bit. it was nice. but then we hit medan. i can't stand that city. thankfully we didn't have to spend the night and caught a big bus out to Bukit Lawang.
the bus was packed and since i was in the back i felt every bump we hit. sometimes i got tossed up off of my seat and once almost hit my head on the ceiling. but the annoying part was that the only speaker for the stereo system in the whole bus was right next to me and
A view from the trail
We got up at 6:30 so we could eat and be on the trail by 7:00
the driver kept blasting local music the whole way. we met a really nice guy on the bus. his name....i think was cinar. anyone can tell you that i'm not good at remembering names and numbers. anyways, he was great. he spoke good english and he offered to take us on a tour of the jungle. when we arrived, he showed us the way to the hostel and restaurant. we had to walk a little more than 1 km. it was neat though cause there weren't any lights along the way and the moon was out. the only part that i was a little unsure of was when we had to cross the bridge to the river. it was a crazy swaying bridge and with our packs on, it was made all the harder. but we arrived safely and had a really good supper.
we met some girls from holland. they had just got back from trecking and told us that we should definately go. they were amazed (as is almost everyone) at how much we can eat. we don't really think about it but whenever we eat out, we each usually order three different dishes. people always expect
Thomas Leaf Monkey
Our guide thought that these monkeys had hairstyles like David Beckam
us to get to full to finish them but it hasn't happened yet. it was a lot of fun to hear the dutch girls laughing and exclaiming every time another plate came out from the kitchen.
we went to bed and got up early to go trecking. we had given the cooks a list of the foods we wanted for breakfast the night before so they were really quick in making our food. our guide showed up and we set off. we quickly realized that Sinar (dustin just told me the proper way to spell his name cause i'm terrible at spelling) is one funny little man. he had all sorts of hilarious (and often dirty) stories to tell us. he said in his next life he wants to be an orangatang cause all they do is eat, sleep and other enjoyable activities. he showed us lots of trees and plants and told us the local uses for each. he showed us a plant that smells just like cloves, another one that can be used for sandpaper, and even plants that can be taken as laxatives or to cure diaria. his knowledge was very impressive.
the first animals
we saw were the mother orangatang and her baby. it was really awsome. i was even able to play with baby a little bit. but as soon as i tried petting the mother she ran up a tree and made faces at us. we left them after a bit and headed on. just down the trail we ran into a troup of macaque monkeys that were fighting (not seriously, more playfully) amongst themselves and with some Thomas Leaf monkeys. the thomas leaf monkeys were hilarious. they just sat there looking at us and their hairstyles kept cracking me up. they are probibly my favorite kind of monkey that i have seen so far.
next we saw some White Handed Gibbons but were unable to take their picture because they swung so fast through the trees and were very shy. but they were awsome. after that, we climbed to the top of a hill to eat some oranges and bananas that Sinar had brought with him. it felt good to relax and i was in the middle of eating a banana when Sinar started jumping up and down and swearing in English. he was so excited that i could hardly
These guys can swing through the trees so fast that it's amazing
understand him until he pointed at two orangatangs that had apparently been sleeping only a hundred feet away from us in a tree. they quickly came to investigate. it turned out to be a male and a young male. Sinar said they were on their honeymoon. the male was shy but the female came right up and took bananas from us.
after this, i was ready for anything. many people go trecking for three days and never see orangatangs and we had already seen four. after that we found a monitor lizard. he was about 4 feet long and very lazy from having eaten a big meal. Sinar poked him with a stick and all he did was twitch his tail.
we were climbing a small hill when all of the sudden three Black Gibbons showed up. the female was big, almost as big as the orangatangs and she had a baby with her. Sinar was scared of them. when he saw them, he threw all his bananas to dustin and ran down the trail. we were laughing at him until the gibbons came charging in for the bananas. it was a little scary. they're like small bears
These little guys are all throughout SE Asia
that can swing through the trees. we learned later that one of them had attacked Sinar a few years earlier and he's been terrible scared of them ever since.
after we were done trecking, we came out at the river and rafted back to our hostel. it was a great day and worth every penny we paid. anyone who comes to Sumatra should definately visit Buket-Lawang.
hope to hear from you guys,
My guidebook said the first introduction you often here when entering Bukit-Lawang is, "Welcome to the Jungle". Sure enough within minutes of stepping of our bus I was welcomed with that exact phrase, and it is very fitting for the setting that is Bukit-Lawang.
We left Toba at 7 in the morning and did not arive in Lawang until 7:30 that night. The thing I hate most about traveling is the actual traveling. Spending 12 hours in a crammed, smoke filled bus gets old, but it all becomes worthwhile when the destination is reached.
After we stepped off the bus we still had to trek 1km to our hostel. This was fun, because we did this part in complete dark. We
We saw White Handed Gibbons but only from a distance as they swung through the trees
ventured through dirt roads, a rickety bridge, and past houses that were only illuminated with small lamps. The hike was rejuvenating, and I quickly forgot about the torture of travel that plagued me earlier in the day.
We arrange to do a trek with a guide named Sinar, so the next morning we got up early to see everything there was to see. And I saw everything...except a tiger, I didn't really expect to but man that would have been neat. As Matt mentioned our guide Sinar was very knowledgeable, he had a hilarious energy, and the facts he gave us were very informative. It is a great experience to be amongst the monkeeys in the wild, they have so much character. My favorite monkey was the black gibbon, those guys were crazy fast...and a little scarry when they were going for our bananas. Being out in the wild with orangutans also never seems to get old, we were lucky and saw five in a 7 hour stretch, some people did not see any at all.
The trek had the perfect ending too, we rafted down the river, jumping off and swimming when ever there was a lull
in the rapids. We were only in Lawang for a day but we made the most of it. The pretty and tranquil jungle setting of Lawang was a starch contrast to Medan...and the worst part about ending the day was knowing I had to go back!
Well that time management I talked about in the last blog was especially true for the whole getting to Bukit Lawang part. Kev mentioned the travel of it and how we got in late...then early the next morning to trek then back on a bus to get to the city to catch a ferry the next morning so the authorities had no reason to get on our case.
We had a little unpleasantness once we got to Bukit Lawang....such as the rooms mosquito net not really being all that effective and our german neighbors were playing their music really loud while we were trying to sleep. Oh and the Dutch girls later told us they could hear swena snoring through the walls....I had to laugh at that. The trekking was amazing....everything just turned out awesome. It was one of those days like when we were kayak guides and we would see
This guys name is the "lantern bug"
tons of different animals and be able to tell the people on the tour that it was amazing how lucky they were. Sinar told that to us a couple times. The only things that we didn't see were Tigers, Elephants and Rhinos and you have to trek days for those.
Sinar had me laughing off and on the whole trip with his guestures and enthusiasm. It was really nice because even though we laugh lots...it was nice to have the whole laugh so hard you can't breath laugh. I would have laughed just as hard when the Gibbons came for the bananas and he threw the banana's back to me and ran away.....only he kept scaring me by yelling, "quick give them away, give them to them." He has the scars to prove that you don't want to keep the Bananas from the Gibbons so I believed him and got rid of them quick. We also tossed mangoes at macaques but they are dirty little guys and theives. The most fun was watching the orangutans because they are so smooth and methodical in their movements. When we brought out banana's they would hang on to a tree...lean out and
the tree would slowly bend down to the ground....they would reach out for the banana then slowly push off the ground and the tree would slowly swing back up and they were back in the trees. It really was pretty funny and cool all in one.
Sinar reminded me of a river guide we had in Costa Rica...because as we were going down the river he would be just shouting YEEHAAWWW!! and this guy is like 50-60 years old....where I come from those guys are kind of reserved. We had alot of fun, aside from being packed in with a bunch of guys who were wearing underwear instead of shorts. Sinar even arranged a Taxi back to Medan for us ....the guy was awesome.
I tried to talk about stuff with the driver of the van but well since our languages didn't really mesh we had to resort to sign language and he was saying something about how someone was stupid for not fixing the road out to Bukit Lawang so more tourists could come but other than that I was lost and just nodded my head alot.
Sumatra though is worth a second trip. If I
The Next Orangatang We Saw
We stopped to eat lunch. Little did we know that only a hundred feet away were to Orangatangs taking a nap. They woke up and came over when we started eating bananas.
ever find myself back in Southeast Asia again there will be LOTS more time in Indonesia and definitely outside the city. We didn't even have a chance to visit the volcano by Beristagi (SP) that I think is still active. Although the hotsprings at Toba were pretty crazy with vents spewing out sulfur gas and yellow crystals around the opening of the vent. It was actually sickening with the smell of eggs and the heat from the sun and hot water. It was a good trip though and there never is enough time unfortunatly so hopefully there is a next time atleast.
There are more photos below