Wednesday, July 9, 2008

35minutes to Medan

4th July 2008
It was the 4th of July that we waited the plane to Medan at Penang International Airport. A delayed flight. Before i start writing bout the trip, i just want to share the tiny bit bout Indonesia AirAsia which sent us 2 early notices of delayed flight from 6.10pm to 8.10pm and later on to 10.10pm.Dont say anything. Im saving my anger! We were bummed by the notices as it will shorten our trip and cut off our shopping session. So when we checked in and waited in the departure hall, we still had a little bit of excitement. But we were let down when we did not see any plane to Medan. We ended up flying to Medan at 12.40am! Late flight. No shopping.

At the departure hall with brother, Edros

Upon arrival at the Polonia Airport, Medan, we were greeted by Edros' girlfriend, Hanan and her cousins, Putri and Cindy. We were starving for food due to the long wait so we went to some stall with 2 guys singing, seniman jalanan, as i might call it. We were entertained and i'm tired and happy as well. Just can't wait to get to Polonia Hotel and start snoozing.

Polonia Hotel - Big bed, i like, clean room with a bath tub but i hate the breakfast! Lack of variety. But i cant complain much with the price so reasonable. At least im happy with the room.

5th July 2008

The very next morning, after breakfast we headed off for some shopping but i did not like it as shopping there were not as much fun as i had in Jakarta or Bandung. We had an early lunch as to proceed with our trip to Lake Toba which will take us 5 hours of winding and bumpy roads to get there.

On the way to Lake Toba.

It was a long journey to Lake Toba. I hated it so much that i promise not to go again anytime soon. We stopped a few times and i felt like throwing up most of the time. When we reached Lake Toba, it was around Maghrib, and checked in at Inna Parapat Hotel. It was the best hotel Lake Toba has, but trust me it looked so old and eerie the time i arrived. So 80's. Perhaps, it was the lighting, cos the next morning when we went for breakfast, it was all okay. Who wouldnt be more happier to wake up with such beautiful green scenery. I felt like i was in one of the Lord of the Rings trilogy set!

From the Balcony

Breakfast was okay. Some bihun and an ommelette. I couldn't stand the local breakfast of fried rice and local dishes. It's breakfast-lah! Our plan that morning was to go to Samosir Island, the place of Batak. The once cannibals. Believe me, it my brother was not there, i wouldnt dare. Takut, ok?!

the slow-moving boat

To get to Samosir Island, we had to get a boat. There's free shuttle via a slow-moving boat complimentary to our hotel room. The boat takes up to 30 pax and the problem is, that it will take us forever. So, no thank you for the boat ride.

the speedboat

We chose to go by the speedboat which we had to hike some long flight of stairs to get there. For a fee of IDR400,000 (around RM150) we took the speedboat which took us around the lake and to Samosir Island in a matter of minutes, 15 minutes to be exact. Its all 'bout the money, baby!

Batu Gantung

First we went to 'Batu Gantung' (Hanging stone), which was one of the attractions there and it came with a story behind it. It was said that a princess was to wed a prince, but she wanted to marry her lover. She ran away from the castle with her puppy and slipped down the cliff. Her leg was stucked to the tangled roots and she ended up dying there with her puppy. Hmm, some kind of story, eh?

on the speedboat

Then, we proceed to the beautiful Samosir Island. The well-kept beauty of mother nature. Samosir Island, the home of the Batak, greeted with greens everywhere, no skyscrapers, just trees and hills. So fresh. Like Edros said it looked like we went back in time to the land of dinosaurs.

Samosir Island

We hired a tourist guide at Kampung Tomok (Tomok in Batak language meant Fat) in Samosir Island for a fee of IDR100,000 (RM35) to show us around. The place was full of culture. Full of colours. He, first, took us to the market. The place where u can find just about anything to bring home as souvenirs for family and friends. From keychains to batik, t-shirts to sarongs.

at the market with Edros, Rosli and Hanan

He also showed us the Rumah Batak (House of Batak) which is similar to the Minangkabau houses in Negeri Sembilan. That day, i knew why the houses were built in such a way. The Bataks believed that the roof meant that they hope the future would be better than it is in the past generations. If you realised the Batak dance, the would also hold their hand together hoping that their future would be better than the past. Hmm, really?

Batak house

In front of the Batak house, there was a mannequin of a man in Batak costume. It was believed that the mannequin was made for their King to reminisce the death of his second son.

Notice for the show

The mannequin can actually dance with the help of the Bomoh or witch doctor, like wayang kulit, for a fee,but this one is far better. It can dance with the soul of the second prince if the Bomoh does his mantra and with pretty lady dancers to dance with him. If there weren't any pretty dancers, he would not dance. The tourist guide asked us if we wanted to watch the show. I was like OMG, noooooooo. Seriously, it freaked me out!

The museum

Later we moved on to the Museum where all the historic items were on display. The Batak had a symbol which is the lizard and 4 Boobies, yup Boobs! They believed that they were like lizards who will live anywhere or sumthing like that and the 4 Boobs were the symbol for wealth, health, faith and i forgot cos the thought of Boobs as symbols were hilarious. The Batak believed that no matter how pretty a girl may be but if the boobs were small, they are useless to wed. They'll be fed with herb soup to make it bigger. Hmm. The Batak love chubby ladies with big boobs. Whatever!

The selempang or shawl

After that, we went to the cemetery of King Sidabutar. To enter we were suppose to wear a shall over our shoulders to respect the dead. I had goosebumps when i entered the place. I did not dare take any pictures here as it was too eerie. However, there was a tale of a lady which had her statue carved of stone on a King's stone coffin.

It was his first love who was taken away by another King whom used black magic to wed the lady. Out of love, the Batak King asked the old people to neutralize the lady with white magic, but failed to do so as it was told that both magic had made the lady went nuts. She ran away from the village and was nowhere to be found. Some believed that she ran to the woods and died there. Some believed that she drowned herself in the lake. I pitied the lady as a victim of the two Kings.

Inna Prapat Hotel

After that, we headed home. From afar i saw Inna Parapat Hotel and Home sweet home. My tummy was growling for food and we headed to the town which was five minutes by AngKot (Angkutan Kota) the local van/bus at IDR2500 (RM0.90). We had Nasi Padang and Terong Belanda juice. In Indonesia especially the suburbs, you can hardly find anything else than Nasi Padang or Indomie.


At the hotel, we met Nia a cute little girl who occupied the room next to mine. We managed to get a picture after calling her a few times. he was rather shy. Then, we headed to the lake for the evening activities which involved jet ski, and other water activities, too many to name them.

6th July 2008

We had to wake up early morning as Pak Yussuf, our driver for the day will be arriving at the hotel at 8am. There was no breakfast buffet so we had to search for restaurants and ended up eating Indomie Goreng for breakfast. It was not a good idea to eat Indomie before travelling the bumpy and winding roads. Most of the time i felt like throwing up. Leaving Lake Toba was hard as i had embrace the beauty of mother nature. Nevertheless, i would not want to live there too.

Before heading to the airport, we managed to stop by Grand Palladium Mall for lunch. And i was so happy that at the restaurant they served Burger! I had Cheeseburger, lemon tea and some ice-cream sundae for RM10?!

As usual our flight was delayed, again, by an hour but its okay cos i can't wait to get home and step on the land of Malaysia. Im thankful to be Malaysian, for the yummy food, for the great and convenient tolls (even though the price of it is seriously expensive), for the great roads and great transportation.

Please note: i still dont agree with our "beloved Badawi" and other Ministers whom asked us to change our lifestyle when they do not queue for bus/LRT/Star, they have drivers to wait for them in their Beemers or Mercs, a garage-full of cars, and escorted by police. They obviously do not wear non-branded items, They obviously shop at StarHill and Pavillion or Paris or Milan itself. They do not eat Ubi Kayu or any sorts of such potatoes, they do not shop for groceries, they do not pay tolls and petrols. Everything is paid for by the people. Where do they spend their money then? Yet they tell us to change lifestyle? Hmm think bout it.

Anyways, i'm happy with my trip to Medan so I'd rather not spoil it :)

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