Edit Blog Post
Published: August 27th 2012
Our home away from home for a week or so
Our trip from Berastagi to Toba wasn't too bad. We decided to get here by taking public bus which meant 3 cramped vans/buses and a ferry - cramped meaning 15 seaters with 24 people in them leaving standing room only and two people literally hanging out the door! Luckily, all of our bus connection points went extremely smoothly. Whenever we got off one bus, another was waiting to take us to our next destination. In Parapat, the ferry boarding town for Tuk-Tuk, we met a local named Roman who asked where we were headed. We had been recommended a guesthouse by a friend in Berastagi, so we told him MAS Cottages. A huge smile came across his face and he exclaimed “That's where I work!”. When we got to the island he got us some free transportation to the guest house, and made himself some commission by bringing us to stay here.
We have been on the lake for about 5 days staying at the fantastic MAS Cottages. It's located just between Tuk-Tuk (the main harbour town) and Ambarita (another town nearby with a weekly market). Our room is right on the water where we can see sunsets and sunrises
every day - we have yet to see a sunsrise though.
Before going on too much more about our last few days, it's time to pause for a mini history lesson: Danau Toba (Lake Toba) was created 30,000-70,000 years ago when a MASSIVE volcano collapsed in on itself. Since the volcano continued to erupt, an island was formed in the middle. Later, a lake was created when the caldera filled in with water - which gets 450m deep in some spots – to become South-East Asia's largest lake. The island itself has a fairly high elevation while the lake is surrounded by steep volcanic slopes. We are basically in the crater of an extinct volcano where we get to hang out with the awesome Batak people.
Bataks are the local ethnic group that live on Samosir Island and the surrounding mainland. They have a unique history, there own style of architecture, as well as elaborate funerals and grave sites. They are Christians, which is uncommon for Indonesia, and they love to play there acoustic guitars and share a glass of jungle juice (the local beer).
So! We got to Samosir Island last Wednesday and immediately fell in
The village elders would gather here 300 years ago to discuss current topics and try criminals
love with it! It is hard to come across places on your travels that can be considered “perfect” but this island is. The lake is perfect temperature; never too cold to jump in, not to warm that it isn't refreshing and you can stay in as long as you want without getting a chill. We have a rope swing hanging from a palm tree right outside our room and it's the perfect way to jump in. Every morning is sunny and beautiful, then in the afternoon when the heat would usually take over, huge puffy clouds form to shield you from the sun. Yes it has rained/sprinkled most days in the afternoon/evening but it is more refreshing than annoying and has resulted in some entertaining thunderstorms to watch. The temperature each day is usually between 20 and 25 degrees celcius... aka perfect! Also, tourists are few and far between. This gem that hasn't been taken over by corporate resorts and we hope it remains just how it is!
Last Thursday we went to the market to load up with fruit (we have come across a new favourite called Mangostein, tough to describe but sooo good) and then walked to
a grouping of 300 year old stone chairs. Village elders would congregate here to discuss island politics and also try wrong do-ers, some of which were beheaded! We have had a number of “nothing” days just hanging out around the guest house enjoying the atmosphere and spending the nights listening to local music played on the acoustic guitar by our friends Roman, Paul and San.
We rented a motor bike today to tour the north end of the island, where we saw some stunning scenery and met some funny local kids. In the next few days we hope to do some kayaking or canoeing, and maybe another day on a motor bike to see the south end of the island. Maybe a night out to see some live music and have a local beer called Tuak (made from palm trees).
But for now.... back to the peace and quiet!
We'll be sure to get you another update before we leave and will load pictures then.
P.S. We fly to China on Saturday. Eeeeek!
Tot: 2.732s; Tpl: 0.094s; cc: 9; qc: 55; dbt: 0.0485s; 2; m:saturn w:www (126.96.36.199); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb