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Published: August 10th 2010
It has been easy to meet really nice people here. From the left it is Pascal (who has taken the underwater photos in this post) and Cyril. On the right it is Eric who I am going to be travelling with into the Sumatran mountains.
Ramadan, Tsunami and going up
Hi again. In a little while I will be heading out on a night dive which is also going to be the last dive here on Pulau Weh for now. Tomorrow I will be going back to Sumatra and heading up into the mountains to go trekking in the jungle. When I laid out my plan in the dive shop Eric, an American from Connecticut and Sylvia, a Canadian from Victoria, BC became very interested so the three of us travel together. Excellent, since they are both funny and clever and I'm sure that we will have a great time together.
Everything is a bit complicated though. Ramadan also starts tomorrow and that makes everything quite a bit more challenging. It basically means that it will become tricky to get anything to eat or drink during the day and many, many Indonesians will also be travelling. So we will try to rent (or possibly even buy) a minivan in Banda Aceh and see how it goes from there. I would also like to get my visa extended before we head up there, but that is probably also going to be tricky although a
Lumba Lumba has just been the perfect spot to start diving. Here are my two excellent instructors, Rich and Lesley who guided me through Open Water and Advanced Open Water. Patient and thorough and lots of fun. THANKS!
bribe can get you far in Indonesia.
The jungle does however sound spectacular. A couple of days ago Harold and Angie arrived at the beach and they have just come from Ketambe where we are heading. They went for a three day trek in the jungle and they did see quite a few wild orangutangs up close. There is another place fairly close to Medan where recently released orangutangs come to be fed, but this sounds a whole lot more like what I have been hoping for.
Pulau Weh was right in the middle of the Tsunamis path but the topography meant that only 15 people died on the Island. The city of Banda Aceh was however the worst hit area. 80.000 people died that morning. I drove through it on the way to the ferry on my way here and it is largely rebuilt by now and there are only a few UN trucks to be seen. One of the few buildings to go relatively unscathed was the big mosque in town and some of the locals have seen this as a clear sign of Allah intervening. Something like that is completely incomprehensible to me. If he
This is the front of the Lumba Lumba diveshop. There is a line on the top row of windows indicating how far up the Tsunami reached. The tree just behind the shed on the left was the one that the owners of the shop, Ton and Marjan, had to hold on to to save their lives. I am sitting on those benches as I am writing, but it is just impossible to imagine the horror of that day.
had the power to intervene then why let 80.000 people die in the very same city. Seeing a silver ligning in such catastrophes is quite common. When they found survivors in the rubble in Haiti after the earthquake they also claimed that it was a result of miraculous divine intervention. If I had a single religious fibre in my body it surely would completely disappear if I had to survive something like that.
Going into the mountains will most likely mean absolutely no internet for a while.
Take care till I'm back in "civilization".
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