Day 5 & 6: The Road to Bukittinggi


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July 22nd 2015
Published: January 24th 2016
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Day 5 & 6: The Road to Bukittingi


Lake Toba - SunriseLake Toba - SunriseLake Toba - Sunrise

Goodbye Samosir, goodbye TukTuk. I really enjoyed the stay here and the impressive Batak culture. Curious? Read my previous blog!
Yesterday, we enjoyed the culture of the Toba Batak, on the island Samosir at Lake Toba. Today is the day, that we leave Samosir and drive in two days to the city of Bukittinggi. During these days, we will drive though the jungle and it’s mountains, we pass a lot of small towns and a lot of rice fields. However, we had also some small excursions. During two trips we found out about the plantations and wild-life plantations, we visited the Market of Balige, the Sumatra hot-springs (or do I need to say liquid garbage?) and we passed the Equator by Bonjol. However, this little fairytale came to the end, due the travellers horror: getting sick after a restaurant when we arrived in Bukittingi.



The day started quite early, where the hotel opened breakfast for us quite early, already at 05:15. It would be a long day and a long day. But, luckily we had some good excursions. The boat was waiting at 6:00 to leave, and bring us back at the mainland. It was still dark, however, we were able to enjoy the great sunrise. It was a little bit cold, without the sun, but it was
Lake Toba - SunriseLake Toba - SunriseLake Toba - Sunrise

It is time to leave Lake Toba. During our sail back to the main land, we could enjoy the beautiful sunrise.
nice to enjoy, to see the sun rise and to see the island slowly taking more distance from us. I liked the Batak, the Island, and if you did not read my previous blog, I should recommend you to do it. We sailed back to the harbour of the main land, where some ships were waiting. It was quite early, but a lot of man where already hard at work. By trucks, the drivers are driving to the harbour. Here, they carry the goods at the boat, and they sail to the island. Mostly, the boats contain rice, but also drinks, for example like cola, is transferred via the boat. The boat is in fact the only way to reach the Samosir island, due the fact the only connection with the mainland is not reachable by car or truck. We shall take the fastest route to Bukittingi, which is in fact the only good road that is leading there. But, it also brings us high in to the mountains and the beautiful jungle. Before we reached our first stop, we first had to pass almost 2 different of landscapes. The first landscape is via the jungle. The road is bringing
Harbor at mainlandHarbor at mainlandHarbor at mainland

This is the Harbor at the mainland. Many boats are waiting until they are completely fully load to sail back to the island. Mostly they do contain rice.
us in to the jungle, but not very deep. We encounter some mountains, which we had to pass; to climb and to go down again. They were not very high, and also the road was in good condition. There were not much hairpins, and when they were there, they were easily to drive. Of course, a lot of traffic is on the road, by scooters, trucks and sometimes a car. We pass some small towns, where you can see that the people there are not living in very wealth. Mostly build from wood, and they try to sell fruit, vegetables, gasoline and water at the side of the road. The other landscape also contains jungle, but also a lot of rice fields. You pass some bigger towns, or sometimes city’s, but still not very great conditions. Especially in the small towns, the conditions are the same as in the jungle, but in the bigger towns to the small cities, you see a slightly difference where the houses are build from stones, which is looking a little bit more welfare. However, if you drive outside the “centre”, you will see fast again the poor, wooden houses. You see that the people are living here from the rice coming of the big rice fields, but keep in mind that these rice fields are not that big as on Java and Bali, or at some places by big cities. And sometimes you see some small plantations. They are not that big. But, everywhere, you are able to see something of jungle or mountains in the background. Then we drove into the city of Balige, where you were able to see some difference. Balige is quite famous, due his market.



The market of Balige is quite big, for a local market. A lot of people are visiting this market, and you are able to buy everything here that you need to survive. You find here a lot of food. Fruit, vegetables, dried fish, but also fresh fish. If you would like a living fish, that is possible! I did not saw any meat, but that might be possible as well. Also herbs, rice, like everything you need for cooking, you can find it here. But, not only food. Also other things you need to live, it is here! Clothes for example. If you would like to buy a souvenir shirt, for
The Market of BaligeThe Market of BaligeThe Market of Balige

This man is posing with his little daughter.
example from Lake Toba, or Sumatra, try here! The prices here are around 1/3th of Samosir. And, your still able to haggle, however, I did not do it. The price was already so low, and probably the people that sold the shirts are probably not very rich. The people who sell souvenirs at Samosir, probably would have on the end of the day or month a higher sales, than the people that are working here. At least, that is what I am thinking (I am not able to proof it). So, that is why I did not haggle it. Probably I still paid too much, but at least it is not so dramatic as on Samosir itself. Balige has more to offer, but the market is the biggest highlight you have in the city. The market is fast crossed by feet, however, I agree you probably would not get a very good insight of the market and the live. If you stand still and observe the market, you will see the live. First off al, the awfully smell, and then you find out the market is busy and hectic. Or better said, the people are sometimes hectic. A lot of
The Market of BaligeThe Market of BaligeThe Market of Balige

In the small corridors, you can find almost everything. This is the food part, where you can buy vegetables, fruit, rice, spices and fish. In some other corridors, you are able to find cloths and other things you need.
people, sitting behind their marking space are very calm, but everywhere you hear people, you have to cross them in narrow corridors. Here, you have a good opportunity to get in contact with the local live, and you see the local live is living before your eyes. Try to chat to the people, and just easy walk though. And, always keep you photo camera with you. This place is so great to make great pictures. The people like to beenphotographed. Sometimes they pose, but if you ask to continue their activities, you get very great pictures. This is also due the covered sail, hanging over the market. Or, at some points the market is inside. Which led to the fact that the light is almost perfect to make pictures. The fruit looked more coloured, the vegetables looked even more fresh. In some cases, it looks like the fish is almost neon. But, there is one thing at the market which is not very nicely. I probably already gave a spoiler: the smell. By the fruit and the vegetable section, you probably have some luck. However, at the places where they sell fish, it might smell to fish. But, mostly it does not smell good. Also on the market, you are able to see that Sumatra does have a problem with their waste facility. Actually, there is no waste facility. They do their best to hide it as good as possible, however, the smell keeps. It is not like the people are going to toilet on streets next to their stand, but a very good waste facility is also no there. Balige is a nice place to visit. Here, you have multiple options what you are able to do. Lake Toba is easy to reach. From Medan, it is a longer drive, approx 240 km. The market is great place to stay, but if you would like to stay longer in Balige, that is possible. Especially if you did not went to Lake Toba, Balige is a great place to meet the Toba Batak people. You can spend here a fully day, there are many things to do. For example, visit the local Huria Kristen Batak Protestan church. You can find it across the street, from the hospital. The hospital was build in 1881 and much of the original materials are still in used today. Or try the museums from TB
The Market of BaligeThe Market of BaligeThe Market of Balige

These fish are alive, and if you want to have one, they slaughter the fish, so it stays quite fresh.
Silahali. Silahali is a general and has one of the museums open for public, it is in fact the Toba Batak museum, where you can enjoy from a good collection of the Toba Batak culture. Try the good restaurant which should be not far from it. You also can visit the Mausoleum of the Indonesian national hero Raja Sisimangarja XII. He is very known recognised Indonesian. Sisimangarja XII was a Batak leader in the 19th century, which fought against the Dutch Colonial Rule. Just outside the village, you are able to go to sight points where you can have a great view over the Lake Toba. If you like festivals, just have an eye out for the Lake Toba festival, held in September. The festival, changes each year of destination, but in 2014 it took place from 17 to 21 September in Balige. Here, you can enjoy the Batak culture and the people at its purest. Dancing, music, photography contents and of course the living Toba Batak culture are everywhere. If you are not able to go to the festival, but you still want to meet the Toba Batak People, the best way is to go to the market. In
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During our two-days jungle ride, we had some great views over the Island of Sumatra.
total, the complete area of Toba Batak, contains around 2 million people. The people are friendly and they mostly are nice to talk. In Lake Toba, I got a great sight over the Toba Batak People. If you would like to receive more information from my experience, just visit my previous blog.



Before hitting the road again, I had some small time for a drink. Coming a little back into rest. Therefore, the bus was leaving again. We left Balige, and you notice that if you drive out of the city, small towns and houses pop up everywhere. Close by these towns, you see plantations and rice fields popping up. And, of course you see children. They like to wave to us in the bus and when we are standing still, they pose so we can make pictures. But, then, we drove deeper in to the jungle. First of all, the roads are of good quality, but still you see we drive the mountains up and down, and we are able to see cliffs. But, if you go deeper, the situation is changing. The roads are from less quality. There are holes in the road, and not
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The jungle, and the mountains, are almost everywhere in Sumatra.
just one, many of them. You are shaking in the bus. You drive mountains up and down where a lot of mountain passes should been passed, and therefore, they have hairpins. The cliffs can be high or low. You almost do not see any human live, but most nature. The human live you see, are some small markets (together with a house) where they try to sell water, food and sometimes gasoline. But sometimes, you see a bigger town. In one bigger town, there was a restaurant where we stopped for our lunch. It was the local restaurant “Makanan Minuman”. For the first time, I ordered Mie Goreng. We know that “goring” is baked, and “Mie” is noodles. So, baked noodles. The restaurant was a small, local restaurant where a lot of local people where enjoying their restaurants mostly in small families from grandmother to the smallest children. The atmosphere was very good. And the most important was, they did have very good food. The Mie Goreng was nice flavoured, a little spicy, but not too much. The quality is very good, and what you have to pay is probably less than 30 euro cent! The people in the restaurant
Local WeddingLocal WeddingLocal Wedding

Suddenly, at the side of the road, we saw a local wedding, where we took a small look. We were invited to dance and party with the local people, and to give the newlyweds our best wishes.
maybe do not all speak very good English but they always want to help you out. Also here, the soda drink was mostly out of stock, but at least the atmosphere and the high quality of the food made this lunch stop it perfect again. Before we knew it, it was time to head on. After leaving the town, we were fast in the jungle, where no town or human live was too been seen...



Until suddenly, what where these much people on the side of the road? All that people... well, did it looked like a party? Probably. We heard music, people where dressed very beautiful and in their best clothes. Our bus stopped and our travel leader Bob asked the local people what was going on. It was a wedding. It was an Islamic Wedding in Sumatra with Sumatrian rituals. Which means, that the rituals are different than you find in the Middle-East. The local people were surprised and soon, Bob was asked, why we not all joined them? So, and suddenly in the middle of a wedding party. It was simply at some space at the side of the road, where the tent was
Local WeddingLocal WeddingLocal Wedding

Me during the wedding ceremony, dancing
build. In the tent, they had the wedding. According to tradition, you have to give the parents of both the bride and the groom 2000 Indonesian Roepia. We dance and followed the ritual and give the parents the money. The bride looked very beautiful. This wedding gave us a very good insight of the this wedding in Sumatra. We were told that attendance is very important at the wedding. How more people there are invited and coming, how better the wedding is. Because, you a more attendance, the more status you create as a wedding couple. Even better, if strangers are coming to the wedding – and in our cases Western people – it is a truly honour! It shows you that you do care about the wedding couple and you want to show them you support. In fact, you also do support their honour and especially the honour of the family. It is a truly honour, so of course that probably was also the reason why we were invited to have a look. Most woman were clothed in long sleeved dresses, in very bright colours. But soon, the wedding couple was not the biggest attraction, but we! Everyone suddenly
Local WeddingLocal WeddingLocal Wedding

These two little girls liked to pose for our camera.
was family and also want 2000 Indonesian roepia. It did not took long until everyone want to have a picture with us. Children, grown adult man. It seems like it was Everyone. For the last 5 minutes we had to take pictures with people and it was almost a hard job to get away. The people became to get so attracted to us, that it really was time to go on. Some people of our group began to felt themselves a little bit concerned about the situation that just started. Bob decided it was enough, and we walked back to the bus. I really liked the wedding and it was nice to see.



We drove further, and we saw multiple weddings everywhere. But this time, we did not stop. And, we also slowly encountered another type of landscape. Here, we found that a lot of trees where cut down. Cut down for huge plantations, plantations with much palm trees, open fields with grass. The roads are good, almost no holes to drive and in fact we did not drove through that much of mountains. But still, the landscape does not looks like how it should be. Here
The "Monkey" plantationThe "Monkey" plantationThe "Monkey" plantation

You probably are guessing why I call this excursion The "Monkey" plantation? Well, simply: this monkey, is trained by the owner and the guide to climb in the tree, search some ripe coconut and throws it out of the tree. That's easy! And cute as well.
you see how much impact the cutting of trees have. It does not look natural and normal, and that is very sad. The landscape switched a little bit, where the small towns came back in sight with their small rice fields and their small plantations.



We stopped by one of the small plantations. The owner of the plantation give us a small tour though his plantation. And this one was special. It was, due the monkey. The owner had a monkey, which was trained to search the ripe coconuts and was able to throw it off the three. And of course, we got this demonstration. The monkey is climbing (fast) in the three and the owner is shouting words to him. The monkey does understand that he has to pick a fresh, ripe coconut. When he found one, he is making some noise, and the owner shouts a command to the monkey. The monkey does react and is able to lose the coconut of the three (how exactly I cannot tell). The monkey cannot bring the coconut down, so the coconut falls on the ground. Probably around 10 meters. So you have to be careful that it
The "Monkey" plantationThe "Monkey" plantationThe "Monkey" plantation

We were able to try some coconuts.
is not falling on your head. Then, the monkey is coming down, very quickly and get a small threat for his work. The owner cut the coconut, and we were able to taste some fresh coconut. Approved! The tour went on. Indonesia is home to a lot of species. Many can grow in the wild, and do belong, and some people which leaves in small towns by the road and the jungle are harvesting this spices for sail. However, the most plantations are on field belonging to an owner. By this owner, the plantation was not very big, but he was able to make a good living from it. His tour also attacks tourist, like we. Spices you can find on these plantations are in all cases cinnamon, nutmeg and peanuts. But other spices, mostly used in the kitchen of Sumatra were also available. Laos, cumin, turmeric, coriander (cilantro seeds), lemon grass and garlic. The owner stopped by each of the spices and explained what we saw. The Cinnamon is coming from the cinnamon tree, which can only grow in Tropical climates, but mostly you find them in tropical climates shortly by the coast. The bush itself will be pruned
The "Monkey" plantationThe "Monkey" plantationThe "Monkey" plantation

The guide showed us some local fruits and herbs, which he has on his plantation.
twice of three times each year and is always been kept low to the growth, however, the long shoots can reach a length of 2 meters in around 1,5 year, before the bark will be harvest. Only the inner side of the bark will been used, which is very thin and starts to roll. These small rolls will be dried, and they start to get their Cinnamon colour. We got a demonstration how the bark will been harvest. Nutmeg is coming from the Nutmeg tree, growing in Tropical area’s short to the coast, and the tree needs also a rainy climate. The nut is quite hard, formed oval and 2,5 cm long. Because it is quite hard, it is used in grated form. He showed us the seeds on the train. Peanuts, no it is not a nut, but actually it is a legume. The flower of the peanut plant is undergrounds, but after it’s fertilization a legume is forming, mostly of two seeds. The shoot will develop itself and will grow out of the ground, but underneath the ground, the legume is going to germinate. Then, they will be harvest and been put up, to dry. They have to
The "Monkey" plantationThe "Monkey" plantationThe "Monkey" plantation

Herbs and fruits.
decrease their water level from maximum 50% to 10% before they can been stored. Laos is Indonesian Ginger, and Ginger is was also here in this plantation. The ginger is growing out of the ground, which is in fact a rhizome from the ginger plant. A rhizome is coming from underneath the ground, and is growing horizontal shoot, which is in some cases swollen but in some not. At the end, the rhizome cannot hold its weight and is bounding back to the earth, and can so form a new plant. Here, we saw the ginger and the rhizomes coming out of the ground. Cumin is coming from a plant, but the name is coming from the Arabic name “kammūn”. The leaves of the plant looks like the leaves of fennel. Also here, he showed us the leaves. The plant itself is beautiful because it can create white and purple flowers. That is really nice to see. Lemon Grass is in fact grass. The grass can grow, but only the leaves will been eaten. He cut some leaves off and we were able to taste. The tour did not took quite long, but it is nice to see that the
Nasi Goreng & Sate Kacang AjamNasi Goreng & Sate Kacang AjamNasi Goreng & Sate Kacang Ajam

Restaurant "Lia Garden" in Payabungan.
Owner can has a good business with hisplantation. Of course, we were able to buy some species from the plantation ourselves.



In the dark, we had to find the way to the restaurant, which we reached around 7 pm. There were not very good restaurants on the way, so this was the only good option. The restaurant was called “Lia Garden”. It was quite busy, and the people which were working there where quite busy with the many visitors they had. A lot of Indonesian, local people enjoying their meal. However, the restaurant was probably one of the best we had, but it was not the best meal we had today. The breakfast was simple but good, the lunch was great, but this restaurant serves the dishes a little cold and they are afraid to flavour the dishes for Western people. The last issue, I had with the Nasi Goreng. I did not only ordered Nasi Goreng, but also Sate Sate Kacang Ajam. Sate are small pieces of meat, which is put on a small wooden stick, and baked on a grill or in a pan. Normally, sate is served as 3 to 10 wooden sticks, depending
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Out of the bus, we had some great views of the rivers, the jungle and the rice fields. Very enjoyable to drive though these roads.
on which restaurant you have. There are different kinds of sate. First, the meat. Most Sate is made from chicken (Ajam), but mostly you can find Sate also as be Pork (Babi), Beef (Daging) or Shrimps (Udang). In restaurants, you can have a choose between different kind of meats. In most restaurants they do order 2 up to 4 kinds of meats, Ajam, Daging, Babi or Udang, but in small restaurants you see the most beloved choice: the Ajam. Then, you can choice your sauce. Restaurants offers different kinds of Sate and therefore you need to choice your sauce. I had Kacang, which means peanut sauce. I also could order Daging Kacang. But, I ordered Sate Ajam Kacang: chicken meat on small sticks in a peanut sauce. The quality of my Sate was good, I really enjoyed the sauce and the meet was baked perfect. But, here comes the issues. In general, the food was served not hot enough. It was not the first time we will encounter it, especially in Sumatra or Java this might been a small issue. The baked egg by the Nasi was cold. It was cooled down. The Nasi Goreng itself was not flavoured enough.
Rice fields & Jungle & Hasan's TourRice fields & Jungle & Hasan's TourRice fields & Jungle & Hasan's Tour

It is Sumatra at her best. Here, we made a stop, because Guide Hasan was waiting for us.
It did not hat very good taste. Probably, the issue is here that they are afraid that a lot of Western People do not like spiced food. If they encounter people like this, they do not dare to use that much spices, to be afraid the food is spiced to hot. Therefore, they do leave out, in my eyes necessary flavours to make the Nasi Goreng a success. To flavour my Nasi Goreng, I used the sauce from my Sate, took the chicken meat of the sticks and mix it together. That combination did taste.



It was time to drive to our hotel “Paya Loting”. Our hotel was in the small town of Payabugan. It should be the best hotel of these in this area. But, there are no much hotels, so in fact this hotel was our only option. But, it does not meet our Western quality standards. My room, number 229, did not have that much problems. Almost all problems were caused by the sanitary. The toilet did not flushed, when you showered everything became wet. And my light was not working. But, some other people really had problems with their toilets, the warm water
Hasan's TourHasan's TourHasan's Tour

Hasan showed us that the local people here were living from a "wild life plantation". In fact, these threes and herbs are living in the wild, and the people here are collect them, and sell them. Here, you see a rubber three.
was not working. But, at least they had good beds (in my room), so I could sleep without problems. But, some other people did not. The biggest issue was the next morning, the breakfast. Again, we had a long day of driving ahead of us, so our breakfast was planned early. At 6 am in the morning. Coming down in the breakfast hall, nobody was there. No employee, just some people sleeping on the ground. They rushed to make our breakfast and that was not a good success. A half hour later, we finally had our breakfast. The baked egg was the only good part of the breakfast. The toast was bad, not goo to eat, and the butter and jam were from bad quality. I think, this hotel suffers from bad managing problems: there is no communication and problems will be not fixed. If they can change it, this hotel can be a very good hotel. So, it pleased us when we drove away, later than we planned.



From Payabugan it was a long drive to our ending destination of Bukittingi. But, at least one big highlight was waiting for us. But first, we had to
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Hasan is showing how the cinnamon is collected from a three.
drive again to the jungle. The landscape was similar as yesterday. From bad jungle roads, to many plantations, small towns. The reason why we follow these road, is that it is a highway. Not we are making use from it, most people use it. You do not see that much cars, but mostly scooters. But, trucks use it. In the many hairpins we have to look out if no truck is coming through us, and the trucks do keep a high speed as well. Sometimes, they do have trouble to get up the mountain, because they are overloaded, and it takes some time before we can past them. But, this is part of the adventure. At the side of the road we saw some small houses. Our driver told us it was an Islamic school for children. The children are coming from huge distances here to study. They are living in these small houses together. They are cooking, cleaning, doing their homework and they also have to follow their classes. This school is a very important and well known school in the area. Parents can be proud if (one of their) children are on this school. The boys can study
Hasan's TourHasan's TourHasan's Tour

Banana's
to become a Imam, but if you finish this school and you are good you can also go to university. But not all children can come to this school.



After some time, we reached a beautiful area. The rice fields are build with a decor of the jungle. A large river was streaming in between it. It was also a stop, where we met our guide Hasan. Hasan is giving here tours, and he include the local town where he lives. He lives just outside the town and he has a nice hall, a restaurant and he is doing the tours. And he is a good tour leader. He gives us very good explanation, about everything he is doing. About the local live, about the wild plantations they do have. He gives a lot of information. After a cup of tea and enjoying the beautiful sight from his restaurant, it was time to go on his tour. First, we walked at the side of the road, before he took us in the nature. He, and the people here, are living from the nature. It is a wild plantation, which means, the threes, plants and the herbs are
Hasan's TourHasan's TourHasan's Tour

The tour also led us though a small village. That was so nice. The people here, the kids here. We had some small look inside their houses, a Batak house and we were able to see something about their live here. Walking alone in some small streets is here great, and it does not feels dangerous for a woman.
living here in the wild. The people are just harvest the spices and the belongings they need, and they take care about the area. This means the wild plantation stays wild and stays healthy; which means: they can do produce fully maximum. A lot of spices I already discussed, because the plantation we saw yesterday, mostly contains the same herbs as you can find here in the wild. But luckily, Hasan showed us also some other new products, and spices. Let’s start with Rubber. Do you know that Rubber is a naturally product coming from the Rubber three? Yes it is. And Hasan showed us, by give us a small demonstration. In fact, Rubber is coming from latex, but latex is a natural product itself while it is nothing else than en emulsion from the liquid of some trees. If you cut open the bark of the tree, the emulsion (latex) is coming out. You do not find this threes only in Indonesia, but the Brazilian Rubber Tree is probably the most known, but the Indian Rubber Tree is second known. Rubber will be produced out latex, and probably 33% can be used. The Latex will be filtered and diluted
Hasan's TourHasan's TourHasan's Tour

The people here are great to photograph. They even like it as well.
with water. This dilution will be threaded with some acids, and therefore the Rubber parts will form a reaction and goes to clot and solidify. You can take the rubber out and it will been dried. The emulsion coming of this trees are sold on the local market. Therefore, you need a lot of emulsion. You only can use just one part of the tree, and if you used the bark, you are not able to use it again. Also, we did not discussed cacao. Cacao is famous for one of the best products of the world: chocolate! Cacao is coming from the cacao tree, and this tree is growing in the wild in Indonesia. The tree can become 50 years old and grow up to 10 meters in length. The stem forms a maximum of 5 heading branches quite close to the ground, of approximate 1 meter. But of course, smaller branches are growing out of the 5 heading braches. The tree will go flowering when it reached an age of around 4 years. The small, white (or sometimes little pink) flowers are direct on the stem or at the very broad braches. Since the day he starting to flowering, he not only will always carrying fruits, but will flower continuous. However, the fruit carrying is limited, because the tree only can grow 30 to maximum 40 fruits each year. The fruits looks almost like melons, but you have to brake them open. The cacao is laying in between, which is simply looking like beans from around 1 gram. A tree can produce around 1 to 2 kg of beans each year. The small trail itself was beautiful. We had a small walk to the town, and here we had a great look in the culture of the people. We were invited in a local Batak house, became information about the Toba Batak. But, also we could walk alone in the small town. I really liked walking through the town. The town is not big, but the local live is living their lives. Mostly the woman’s and the children were inside the town. They did like to pose for our camera, but the best was, they just kept going with their lives, and that is what the pictures is making special. The houses are from wood, but the colourful clothing is which is washed and hangs to dry gives
Hasan's TourHasan's TourHasan's Tour

It seems like, that almost everyone here has a scooter. And it is not depending on where you are living.
colour to the already warm feeling town. Chickens are walking around, trying to pick up some food from the ground. The children were playing and they do like our attention. This is a very great experience. The town is not big, but it feels like a big community. When we had to go back to the place of Hasan, lunch was waiting. Here, we had almost the same problem like yesterday, the flavouring. Hasan receives a lot of Western tourist and he with his employees learned that a lot of them do not like spicy food. Which means they are so careful with the spices that it is not very flavoured. First, we received some soup, but it was not very nice flavoured, but luckily they did had some sambal to spice it up and bring some flavour in the soup. The rest of the buffet almost had the same problems and we had loempia’s for the first time.



It was time to leave Hasan and the lovely town. In 2 hours of driving, we should encounter another highlight, one of the many the Hotsprings from Sumatra. Hot springs can be found everywhere on Sumatra, but this
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The Hot springs, or do I need to call it "Hot damping garbage dumping?".
one was known as “Rimbo Panti”. I did read quite a lot reviews from different kinds of hot springs, this should be quite awesome to see it. So, I looked forward to our hot springs. Hot springs are great wonders of the nature, which is a spring, and it contains hot water. This hot water is rising from the earth’s crust, and it is heated by geothermal activities. There are cases where the water is lovely for bathing and spa, but in some cases the water is boiling and it is dangerous to get in touch with it. The hot springs I visited, called “Rimbo Panti” is the last case. The water which is coming out from the earth is just bowling when it’s coming out of the ground, but the pool does have a temperature around 95*C. So, let’s buy a ticket and go head to see this great mystery from the nature. Instead, our “hot spring” was just a “hot thrash dumping place”. No really, it was just a big bunch of trash and a very huge disappointment. Plastic bottles and other waste was simply laying in the pools, boiling with the hot spring water. People are just
Hot SpringsHot SpringsHot Springs

Well, atleast these threes are awesome!
throwing their thrash inside the boiling pools. The walking path was really nice. Sometimes you had to cross heat water (not boiling), with some road made of tree stems. But, the tree stems was also a way to not step in the thrash, because the complete park was just one big thrash camp. It was so very disappointing. I do not want to put much pictures online, because I simply do not have any great ones. And all pictures contains thrash. If you want to visit hot springs in Sumatra, please choice a different one.



Disappointing I stepped back in the bus. It was one hour drive to Bonjol, and I finally will cross the equator by feet! The equator is crossing in West-Sumatra at the city of Bonjol. We made a very fast stop to make pictures. But first, just cross the Equator by feet! Probably everyone will ask, is it true the water is turning the other side around? Well, let’s have a look. In Bonjol, local people are walking around with buckets of water and if you pay them a little bit of money, they show you. First, we go left of the Equator,
Equator at BonjolEquator at BonjolEquator at Bonjol

I am ready to cross the Equator, for the first time in my live, I will cross it! Great!
and we look to the water. Via a funnel water will be transported to another bucket, and you have to see how the water is turning. Yes, it is turning one side. Just quickly move to the other side, and repeat the experiment. And, and? Indeed, it is turning the other side! It is true! But why? Actually Physicists were also quite surprised and started to do their research already quite early in history. After experiments in Germany and Australia, this is the official conclusion. When you are standing on the North Half of the earth, the water will swirls at left. But, if you stand on the South Half of the earth, it will swirls right. This is known as the Coriolis-effect, named to the Scientist Gaspard Gustave de Coriolis (1792-1843). He always loved to play billiards and was asking himself how a ball would move if he was played on a rounding table. With experiences he found a some kind of force, which is responsible for a deflection for everything that is moving. And this force is known as the Coriolis Power. And this force, is responsible for the weather we known. If the earth would stand still,
Equator at BonjolEquator at BonjolEquator at Bonjol

Wooo! I am standing on the Equator in the small town of Bonjol.
the high pressure area’s will just flow to the low pressure areas. But, with this power the air coming from the North Pole and is reaching south will move via deflection to the west. At lower widths of the earth the earth surface will turn faster and the air from the equator to the north will than deflection to the east. But, if you stand on the other side of the Equator (the south) it is just the other way around. But, if you are standing on the equator itself, there is simply no preference. This means, the water is going straight down when swirling. And the man with the bucket showed us. The water going into the funnel is going straight...





After a long day, we finally reached our hotel “Royal Denai View Hotel” in Bukittinggi. First, it was time to get our keys. I got room 012 A. After putting our luggage in the room, it is time to go into Bukittinggi, and go for dinner. But, that you will read in my next blogpost. I am sorry to tell you the story will start to get a little bit less, because I woke up sick...

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